Now that we’ve recovered from all the festivities and holiday kibble, it’s time to start 2011 on the right paw. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers is jump starting our resolutions by designating January as National Train Your Dog Month. Visit the official site for training advice that includes ways to help your dog love visiting the vet, teach them to play with toys and become socialized.
The APDT is also holding a contest to promote the importance of training and socialization for all dogs. Now through February, upload video and photos that illustrate how training can improve the lives of dogs, their owners and the community at large. Winners will receive a prize package and be featured on the APDT web sites, Facebook page and in a press release.
To help you get started with training, Sarah Westcott, CPDT-KA, owner of Doggie Academy has shared a few tips. As a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Sarah offers obedience training and behavior counseling throughout Brooklyn and New York.
- Behavior that is rewarded is likely to be repeated. If your dog does something you like, even if it’s as simple as sitting next to you quietly, reward him.
- Not all rewards are created equal. Some dogs love affection, some dogs love to chase a ball. Most dogs do not like to be pet on top of their head. Spend time finding out what your dog likes most.
- Behavior that is ignored is likely to stop. Does your dog sit and bark at you? Next time, ignore him completely and wait for him to offer a different behavior. Maybe he sits or goes in his crate, either way he’s quiet. Once he does, reward THAT behavior.
- If you’re in a bad mood, skip training your dog. Training should be fun for both of you and if you’re frustrated, it will not be fun for either of you.
- Food dispensing toys are indispensable! Need a few minutes to yourself? Give your dog a food dispensing toy to keep him busy. Better yet, feed him his entire meal from a toy. Great examples are the Kong, Kong Wobbler, Tug-a-Jug and Busy Buddy.