Here we are in January 2024! Time for the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) National Train Your Dog Month—the perfect month to improve your dog’s training sessions.
But there’s a problem.
Many of us start the new year trying to implement big changes. But there's a reason why the changes don't take hold—we don't enjoy doing them. After all, if we enjoyed doing what we wanted, we'd probably already be doing it!
Have you ever heard the saying, "If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got"?
Well, the same holds for New Year resolutions:
1- You make a New Year resolution and promise to keep it.
2- You do your best to keep your promise.
3- You give up.
Do you feel you're the one with training issues—that you need training instead of your dog?
You're not alone. Pet parents everywhere go through the same thing. To develop a healthy relationship with your canine friend, begin by developing a healthy relationship with yourself. It all starts with what I like to call "resolution behavior modification," where you reframe your training techniques to make them fun instead of a chore.
Here are ways to enjoy dog training and make it a lasting commitment:
Training Bonds You to Your Dog
Regular training with your canine companion fosters a beautiful relationship built on understanding and mutual respect. Think of it as a way to show friendship to your dog.
Training enhances your partnership and opens the world for your dog because they will be welcome in many places. You can take them to parks, dog-friendly stores, pet patios, and more!
Training Is More Successful If It Is Fun
Dog training can be a blast, even if working on a frustrating behavior issue. Adjusting your training criteria so it is manageable is key. A qualified trainer can offer tips to make you and your dog happy.
Training is a Family Affair
When training a dog, it is important to involve the whole family. One person may introduce the skills and prepare for the training. Still, it is crucial that everyone in the household understands the cues and can interpret the dog's body language—this will help prevent future issues.
Practice Throughout the Day
Instead of setting aside a large chunk of time for training, try integrating it into your daily routine—this helps your dog understand that your expectations are constant, regardless of the time of day, surrounding environment, or the presence of treats.Just as a child learns how to behave based on parents' behavior, your dog consistently observes and learns from you. So, set the tone by finding quick and easy ways to let your dog know what you want.
Plus, it is easier to find a minute to ask for a few repetitions than to find an hour to work on dog training.
Use It or Lose It
Training takes time and maintenance. Dogs learn at their own pace and, just like humans, if they don't use it, they lose it.
Stay consistent with short training bouts, and avoid expecting your dog to perform at the college level (i.e., at the weekly Farmers' Market) when you have only worked at the kindergarten level (i.e., your living room).
Now, Enjoy Celebrating National Train Your Dog Month!
Now is the perfect time to dedicate yourself to making our furry friends' lives even better through fun, effective, and consistent training—it's about forging bonds, improving your and your dog's well-being, and creating a healthy relationship with our dogs.
Would you like to know more about dog training? It's as easy as booking a free Discovery Call.
Let's make this month one to remember!