January - National Train Your Dog Month

By Dr. Lindsay Lane, Managing Veterinarian

It’s January again and you know what that means? No, I’m not talking about the resolutions we all make and then (very likely) fail to keep. I’m talking about national train your dog month! This is way better than your average resolution. It’s time to put that treat or reward to use folks and teach those pups something new! 

We all know that dogs have an inherent ability to just love. It’s what they do best, no teaching required. But what about some other engaging ideas to not only have fun with your dog but learn to communicate better? And this not only goes for those new puppies but your old dogs too! Yes, I promise. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. 😉

Training requires communication, incentives, purpose and fun! Try going on a walk with your dog somewhere new at least once a week! This not only gets you both out and moving, but it changes up the scenery. Your dog might already know the basics of sit, stay, place or watch me, but can they do it anywhere!? Training starts with consistency (cues and environment) and moving to new territory takes that training up a notch or two! Always start somewhere easy like your home or your yard, where you can mostly control the environment and master your cues/training there before venturing out into new territory. Remember, set yourself and your dog up for success while you are both learning! 

If you and your pup are already masters at the same old stuff, any-old where, then try a new/different trick!! Whatever happened to fetching the paper, playing dead or my personal favorite, bringing a cold adult beverage from the refrigerator. 😊 Get creative with your training! There are plenty of appropriate resources online too. Social media, or my all-time reference for anything behavior or training are the works by Dr. Sophia Yin. Just remember to keep it fun and positive! Your 4-legged friend will be much more willing to please when the incentives are good and communication is plentiful! After all, you wouldn’t work for free would you? Don’t expect your dog to either!

In conclusion, training is a fantastic way to not only enjoy your dog but it will absolutely strengthen that bond of trust and love. Enjoy the new year everyone and go enjoy your dog! I hope we get to see some of your hard work on our Facebook page too!! 😊

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