Dog Training and You

There’s no question that a well-trained dog has a great and very busy social life. This is because pet parents enjoy taking a pooch places knowing with confidence that she will behave around other people and dogs.

January is National Train Your Dog Month and Mychelle Blake, president and CEO of The Association of Pet Dog Trainers, says that the biggest mistake pet parents make is not socializing their dog properly.

Here are some tips to help you improve your relationship with your favorite canine:

  •  Your dog is never too young to learn. The critical socialization period is between 4 and 16 weeks of age. Puppies need to experience the world and learn to cope with their environments in order to become confident and happy adult dogs.
  • Don’t wait for problems to appear to begin training. By getting in first, you can prevent behavior problems from happening. A trained dog knows how to communicate with a pet parent and knows what is expected of them in the household. For puppies that misbehave, try a product that helps modify destructive or aggressive behavior by combining a quick, attention-getting noise with a scientifically proven pheromone mist.
  • When you sign up for dog training classes, it’s important to practice what you have learned so that it becomes second nature to your dog.
  • If you live in a home with more than one person, everyone needs to be on the same page about how to interact with the dog. It’s not fair to the dog to be given mixed signals and can make the good results of training take longer to achieve.
  • Positive training is all about positive reinforcement. And, from a dog’s standpoint, this is all about rewards — whether it’s yummy treats or a game with a favorite toy.
  • Dogs are pack animals and understand having a “top dog” and in a household that is the pet parent. Thus, it’s a huge mistake never ever to train a dog. It’s also a primary reason wonderful dogs end up in shelters.

Finding the right trainer is very important, as it must be someone you can connect with on a personal level. Recommendations are always a good idea. Alternatively, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers has a website www.apdt.com that can help in your area. Don’t be shy! It’s perfectly fine to ask:

  • Questions about the training methods. Some trainers like to train the dog themselves. Others like to instruct the pet parent on how to work with their own dog.
  • About their own training and professional background.
  • For references.
  • Don’t be shy to ask how available they are for questions once the training is officially completed.

If you dog doesn’t “get it” right away, don’t blame it on stubbornness. Just like people, some are slower learners than others. Patience and perseverance are key!

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