This year, the 8th annual National Train Your Dog Month takes place in January and is being promoted through the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. As a professional pet sitter, I always ask if a dog has a “come” command and a “stay” command. I know from experience that these two commands can save a dog’s life
Besides teaching your dog how to behave appropriately, training is an excellent bonding experience for dog and owner. Proper training helps to eliminate destructive behaviors, ensures that your well-mannered pet is welcomed in places you want to go together, and provides mental stimulation when physical exercise opportunities are limited. Today, positive reinforcement is the most accepted training method. Positive reinforcement uses either a clicker or treats and rewards the pet for good behaviors instead of punishing undesirable behaviors. Not only is positive reinforcement training more effective, it is the most ethical way of training. The days of asserting yourself as the “Alpha” and bullying your dog into submission are over. In addition to teaching skills, obedience classes provide a wonderful opportunity for socialization for your dog in a controlled environment. If you need help with training, check out local trainers and obedience classes. The Obedience Training Club of Greater Lansing has a Facebook page where you can see their array of training opportunities. Other questions? Visit trainyourdogmonth.com. They have videos and webinars that can help make training fun for everyone.