National Train Your Dog Month: Best Tips & Practices
Happy National Train Your Dog Month!
While training your dog should be a consistent, lifelong responsibility, commit to making this January the month you get your canine companion refreshed and back on track to being a “good boy” / “good girl.”
At Smith Veterinary Hospital in Fitzgerald, GA, we celebrate all dog personalities and welcome the opportunity to help our dogs behave better for a healthier, safer, and happier life. To help you celebrate National Train Your Dog Month, we’re bringing you these effectively pawsome dog training tips and practices.
Let’s get started!
Why We Celebrate National Train Your Dog Month
Training our dogs is not only for show. The extra help can go a long way to maintain their health and well-being.
Following the holiday season, January is traditionally a peak time of year where families adopt or bring home dogs. Sadly, humans give away hundreds of dogs per year due to behavioral and training challenges.
In 2010, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers started National Train Your Dog Month to raise awareness about the significance of training, socializing, and providing our dogs with a nurturing and loving home environment.
Learning is a precious opportunity for humans to bond with their canine companions, and even just a little bit of work each day can go a long way for your dog’s well-being. Without further ado, let’s dive into the ultimutt dog training tips and tricks!
A tired dog is a well-behaved dog, and if your dog tends to act out after being cooped up all day, it may be time to integrate more brisk and intentional walks into their daily routine.
Taking your dog for a walk provides them with the physical activity and mental stimulation they need for strong mental health. Bored dogs are more prone to destructive behaviors. Walking helps them release pent-up energy, burn calories, and regulate their digestive and musculoskeletal health.
It’s a good idea to take your dog for a walk before a training session. Your dog will listen and focus better when they’re already stimulated and tired.
Don’t treat your dog’s walk as a glorified potty break. Your dog loves your attention, so what better way to make an hour all about them by joining them for an adventure in the great outdoors?
Calling Your Dog to Come
Teaching your dog to come when called is essential to your dog’s safety. Otherwise known as “reliable recall”, teaching your dog to come when called can protect them from getting injured, lost, hit by a car, or engaging in abrasive behavior with other dogs and animals.
If your dog can’t go off-leash right away, that’s okay. Start small by working with your dog in a fenced-in area or with a long leash.
Treat reliable recall like a game. Let your dog run around, explore, and keep distractions to a minimum.
Anytime your dog makes eye contact with you or starts to move towards you, give them the verbal cue to come or verbally praise them using a high and positive inflection in your voice. You can also incorporate direct verbal cues to “come” and reward your pup with treats or their favorite toy.
Even if your dog takes their time to come when called, you should still praise them ‒ not show your frustration.
Don’t repeat yourself if your dog doesn’t immediately come when called. There may be too many distractions, or they haven’t yet learned the skill.
Remember: It can take time for dogs to develop trust in their owners and to reliably come when called. The best way to earn their trust and build your confidence in them is to work at this skill every day and always make their training environment happy and positive.
How to Stop Dog Jumping
Even though a jumping dog can be a nuisance, it is a common behavior problem as it is a natural way for dogs to greet those they love and are excited to see. So, even if your dog is a jumper, you are not alone. And luckily, this is a behavior that is relatively easy to fix.
The first thing to stop jumping is to remove the emotional stimulation causing the behavior. Refrain from getting your dog excited when you walk through the door by changing your tone and using a quiet and low inflection in your voice.
Don’t greet your dog until they are fully calm and have all four paws on the floor. Be consistent with this. The more repetition, the more your dog will come to control their excitement and understand the proper way to greet you and others.
Establish the House Rules & Stay Consistent
Every dog owner is different when setting off-limits areas of the home or letting their canine companions up on the bed or couch.
Early on, establish what your dog can and cannot do and where they can and cannot go. Whatever you decide the house rules are with your dog, ward off any confusion and stay consistent. By doing so, your dog will come to understand and obey the rules, preventing them from getting scolded unnecessarily.
With all that said, designate a part of your home as your dog’s special area. Make this environment as calm and comfortable as possible and place their bed here or incorporate their toys and blanket. You want your dog to feel like this is their safe place. Choose a location where you can also be nearby.
Pawsome Tips & Practices for a Healthier & Happier Pup
There’s nothing better than the loving look your dog gives you when you commend them for being a “good boy” or “good girl.” As National Train Your Dog Month comes to a close, stay consistent and keep practicing these tips and tricks so you can instill healthy behavior in your dog for years to come.
If you’re struggling to train your aggressive or impulsive dog, pet anxiety may be to blame. The team at Smith Veterinary Hospital is happy to guide you on how to train your dog, alleviate their anxiety, and help them improve their behavior and well-being. We encourage you to contact us today if you have any questions or would like to schedule a behavior consultation with a veterinarian.