January is National Train your Dog Month AND Walk your Pet Month
Good for you, good for your dog!
Dog owners are ahead of the game on exercise, typically walking an average of 300 minutes over a week, which averages 43 minutes per day. Incorporating training in your walking adventures is easy and fun to do!
Lead researcher Thomas Fletcher explained in a press release (Social and Cultural Geography at the end of 2016), “The study reveals that humans walk their dogs in large part because they feel a deep-rooted emotional bond with them and hold a strong sense of obligation to ensure they stay fit and healthy. Perhaps more interestingly, humans also walk their dogs because they believe their dogs have fun and are able to be more 'dog-like' while out on a walk.”
The association of pet dog trainers (APDT), the largest professional association for dog trainers in the world, proclaims January “National Train Your Dog Month”. The campaign's goal is to promote the importance of training and socialization to all dog owners.
Training is a key component to excellent pet care. Good training rewards positive behavior and ignores bad behavior, allowing the bad behavior to disappear on its own. It also builds a strong bond of trust and mutual respect between you and your dog. The benefits of training go far beyond visible behavior.
Training instills good manners, helps keep your pet safe and encourages your pet to be mentally and physically agile. It also opens a whole new world of fun things to do with your pet!
Between 6-8 million dogs and cats are turned in to shelters yearly, most commonly for behavior issues. Training and socializing puppies can prevent problems in adulthood. Behavioral issues, not disease, are the number one cause of death for dogs under three years of age, as pets are relinquished to shelters for misbehaving.
The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) “emphasizes that behavior modifications and training should focus on reinforcing desirable behaviors and avoiding reinforcement of undesirable behaviors. They promote methods of training and behavior modification based on compassion, respect and scientific evidence. Information on choosing a trainer link. (.pdf)
The most common behaviors we are trying to modify with our pets involves barking, over excitement (jumping up when happy to see you), pulling while on a leash and not coming when called. Usually, problem behaviors occur because they have inadvertently been rewarded, instead of the appropriate behaviors being trained.
Here is a great list of 25 uses for "sit"!
And, here are some easy to learn tricks that use what your dog has already learned in basic obedience and builds on it, strengthening the bond you share. AKC fun tricks.
AAHA Training Tips
AAHA Tips for Socializing your Puppy
AKC Dog Training Basics
Obedience Training for Dogs
The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT)
Understanding Popular Dog Training Methods
A Comparison of Training Methods
Bradfordville Animal Hospital, Alex Steverson, DVM