Each year, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), the largest professional association for dog trainers in the world, proclaims January "National Train Your Dog Month". This campaign’s goal is to promote the importance of training and socialization to all dog owners.
According to the ASPCA, nearly 4 million dogs are turned in to animal shelters each year, and over 1 million are euthanized. Studies by the National Council on Pet Population have found that most dogs are turned in to shelters for common behavior and training issues that could easily be solved with the assistance of a professional. In fact, research has found that training and socializing dogs when they're young can reduce or even eliminate behavior problems in the future.
· Puppy classes provide the opportunity to get your new family member started off on the right paw by providing the experiences and opportunities to develop interaction skills with other puppies, with people, and in new environments. Puppy socialization has been found to be critical to the psychological health of adult dogs.
· Training classes provide dog owners the skills and knowledge for dealing with common, normal dog behaviors, such as housetraining, chewing, digging, barking, and pulling on leash.
· No matter what age you start training your dog, foundation training provides the basis for any activity, behavior, or job you want your dog to do.
· Training provides dogs with the basic good manners we all want - from polite greeting when guests arrive, to walking nicely on the leash, to coming when called.
· A trained dog is a fully participating member of the family by joining in the fun when company comes, accompanying the family to the kids’ sports games, going with you to visit friends and relatives, going for hikes, swims, and everything else a family does together!
· Training enables you to choose from a broad range of activities and dog sports to participate in and enjoy with your dog such as dog agility, rally obedience, dancing with your dog, tracking, search and rescue, disc dog, skijoring, sledding, dock diving, water rescue trials, obedience, carting, reading programs, therapy work – it’s a nearly endless range of fun things to do!
· Training has been shown to be the single most important thing that keeps a dog in his or her “forever” home.
· Training builds your mutual bond and enriches the relationship you share with your dog.
· A trained dog increases the quality of life of both you and your dog!
As a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) I see too many instances of owners waiting until their dog’s bad behavior has become a habit that is hard to break before they seek help. Since January is the time for New Year’s resolutions it is the perfect time to begin teaching new, good habits! If you need the help of a professional please contact me.
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, IAABC-ADT, FFCP, CTDI