Lack of training is one of the primary reasons dogs are surrendered to animal shelters and rescue groups. In order help save dogs' lives and keep them in their homes, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, a national organization for dog trainers with more than 5,000 members, has declared January to be National Train Your Dog Month.
The APDT suggests some of the following benefits of training your dog:
- Puppy class starts you off right with your new family member. Puppy class provides experience and opportunities for your puppy to learn to interact — with other puppies and people, and in new environments.
- Puppy socialization is critical to the psychological health of adult dogs. Puppy classes provide the opportunity for this important facet of your puppy's development.
- Training class provides dog owners-skills and knowledge for dealing with common dog behaviors, starting with puppy housetraining and chewing.
- No matter what age you start, good manners training is the foundation for any activity you want your dog to do, including being your well-behaved companion.
- Training provides dogs with basic good manners, including polite greeting when guests arrive, walking nicely on the leash and coming when called.
- A trained dog is a loved and welcomed member of the family — a gift for all.
- A well-behaved dog can accompany the family to the kids' sports; go with you to visit friends and relatives; hike, swim and do everything else the family does.
- Training enables you to choose from among a broad range of activities to enjoy with your dog, such as agility, rally obedience, dancing with your dog, tracking, search and rescue, carting, reading programs and therapy work.
- Training is the most important thing that keeps a dog in his or her "forever" home.
- Training builds your mutual bond, enhances the partnership and enriches the relationship you share with your dog.
- Having a trained dog is a joy for you and your dog.
Pat Miller, owner of Peaceable Paws Dog and Puppy Training in Fairplay, is a member and past president of APDT, as well as a trainer, speaker and author.
Miller encourages all dog owners to celebrate this month by committing extra training time to their canine family members.
To help dog owners do this, the facility's winter dog-friendly classes begin this week with puppy and adult basic on Thursday or Saturday; intermediate good manners classes (Tuesday) and an Introduction to Canine Drive Ball class (Tuesday).
New classes start each month. To register, go to www.peaceablepaws.com or call 301-582-9420.