January is National Train Your Dog month and it seems to always be our most full Basic Obedience Class. Between the addition of new puppies and rescues over the holidays, the January class is always overflowing with anxious pet parents and their even more anxious pups.
Registering for a group training class is a step in the right direction to a balanced dog and a happy life, but it’s only the first step. There are several other key factors to being successful in training your dog, and they involve YOU!
- Commit to class-you have to bring your dog (and yourself) to class in order to benefit from it. Even though dogs are driving cars in Australia…it’s not happening here in the U.S., which means you have to brave the dark and cold Michigan winters and commit to class. The hardest part is getting out of the house, once you’re on the road you’re almost home free, just make it inside the door where it’s nice and toasty warm and settle in to enjoy an hour of bonding with your dog.
- Commit to practice-Although our training methods are highly effective, we only have you and your dog for about an hour a week. You have your dog 24/7 and you’ll get out of the class as much as you put into it. One hour a week isn’t nearly enough time to make anyone an expert on anything….so be prepared to practice. We’re not saying you have to carve out an hour every single day to drill your dog on obedience commands, but 10 minutes at feeding time (breakfast and dinner) is the ideal time to make your dog work for their food. You’ll be amazed to see the difference in dogs who’ve had practice during the week vs. those who didn’t.
- Commit the whole family-Family members are welcome to attend the classes, even children that are supervised by adult. If you know you have a busy schedule and chances are you won’t be the one with enough time during the week to devote to the dog’s training…enlist the help of your family. Having your children participate in the class and with the care of the dog will teach them responsibility and it will also educate them on dogs and how they should be treated and cared for. This comes in handy even with younger kids, of the 4 million dog bites in the U.S. annual, the majority of them involve children 12 years and younger.
- Commit to the cause-Investing in training for your dog is far more than making your dog learn “sit”. You are making an investment in your dog, to make them the best dog they can be, and you’re making a huge impact in being a responsible pet parent. Train your dog be’cause’ you want them to be well balanced, train them be’cause’ you want them to obey, train them be’cause’ you want to have that bonding experience with them, train them be’cause’ you want them to be a good citizen in the canine community. Train them be’cause’ you want to educate others that even “bully breeds” deserve a loving home and shouldn’t be judged on breed alone.
A little bit of time now will save you a lot of heartache later! Did you know the majority of surrendered dogs were given up because they aren’t potty trained? If only that pet parent understood the importance of putting the time in to train their dog, there would be a lot less dogs in shelters being euthanized each year.
The time you put in now will guarantee you years of a great dog for the future. Think about all the enjoyable walks you’ll have when the dog isn’t pulling and dragging you down the street, or how much your kids will learn from being responsible for their dog, how many fun tricks you can show off and the good manners that will wow everyone!