She’s a counter surfer and has stolen enough bread, chicken, and other foods from the kitchen to feed several people at our local rescue mission. She jumps on people and pulls on the leash. Her name is Sadie, and we adopted her last September. He barks when we eat dinner. He doesn’t come when I call him and he only sits when he wants to, not when I ask. His name is Jeremiah, and we’ve had him for more than two years. Both of our dogs need corrections to their behavior …
and stubbornness. Yes, both dogs had lives before their adoptions, lives that were unstable and unkind. Yet, our neglect of training has not alleviated
bad behaviors. My husband and I resolve to change that in 2020.
Welcome to a New Year! With each calendar roll into January comes pledges for new goals and resolutions, especially when people think of their health. This month is also designated
as a special month for pets and their people: it’s National Train Your Dog Month.
Started by The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), this unique designation reminds pet owners of the many benefits of trained pet, including bonding with the owner, positive behavior around guests, and safety. From counter surfing to lack of control on a leash or voice command, untrained animals run the risk of eating things that will make them sick, or worse, and of being run over by a car, among so much more. Jumping on people, barking incessantly, and chewing on shoes are behaviors not welcomed by guests, neighbors, and household members. Therefore, curbing these traits with training keeps your friends friendly.
Brandon McMillan, celebrated celebrity dog trainer, pet rescuer, and host of the CBS Saturday program “Lucky Dog,” teaches animals seven basic commands: sit, stay, come, no, off, heel, and down. He says, “Instead of teaching my dogs 20 commands that they might not be great at, I teach them to be perfect at the 7 most common commands you say on a daily basis….” McMillan authored a book titled, Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in Seven Days. I purchased this book for my husband as a Christmas gift; we both need to read it – and put the lessons into practice.
A dog trained in the seven basic commands as outlined by McMillan on his show, on his website, and in his techniques will be a dog that is well-behaved at home, in public, and while traveling. S/he will be a dog welcomed by hotels, vacation home rentals, and your in-laws (or sister, brother, cousin, parents, friends). Your dog will be safer by coming when called; you’ll enjoy dinner more often without a beggar or barker; and you’ll not worry about the next holiday meal served in your house – the food will remain on the counter instead of being swallowed by your untrustworthy canine. A deeper bond will develop between you and your furry friend as you share more time together.
Dogs aren’t the only pets that can be trained. Rabbits learn to use a litterboxand cats learn to come when called. One blogger trained her cats to do agility. For cat training tips, visit this blog post from Hill’s Pet Foods:
As this New Year goes into full swing, engage your pet in some mental as well as physical
exercise through training. You’ll both benefit in many different ways.
There are many “pet holidays” and “special days” throughout the year; January is no exception. As noted last week, this is Walk Your Dog Month. January is also Train Your Dog Month.
Training our dogs even the basic commands, like sit, stay, come, and heel, is a great idea for several reasons. First and foremost, emphasizing these obedience words helps keep them safe. Daily, dogs in yards and visiting parks run into the street and are hit by cars. Having your dog respond to your voice command to “come” or “stay” helps prevent such tragedy should your beloved furry friend leave your side.
Training doesn’t have to be all about commands, however. Training can also include fun activities, such as agility, field work, and even games of fetch. Training can involve both voice commands and hand signals, and such activity is not only good for your dog’s physical health, but also its mental health as learning engages your dog’s brain.
Dogs aren’t the only animals that can be trained. Believe it or not, cats can also respond to words. “No” and “off” are good to use with cats as well as dogs; some felines are notorious for getting on tables and kitchen counters. I know a woman who uses clicker training with cats, rewarding them with treats for their good responses to her words.
Pet people want to bond with their beloved animals; training helps do that. For our pets, especially dogs, training is like playing games, and engaging your furry friend in games is fun for them. Therefore, they view it as time spent with you, which dogs especially enjoy since they are pack animals.
Take time this month to stimulate your pet mentally and physically with training. You’ll discover not only enjoyment in spending more time with your pet, but you’ll also reap the benefits of knowing your pet is safer by positively responding to commands as well as experience a stronger bond with your special friend.
Learn more about training dogs here:
Learn more about training cats here: