National Train Your Dog Month

Once again I’m participating in Blog The Change for Animals and I wanted to write about something that is more important than I used to think it was: dog training.  January is National Train Your Dog Month.  My own dogs are small and fairly well behaved, but lately I’ve been thinking that our lives would be improved if they were very well behaved.

Alice G Patterson Photography, Syracuse Pet Photography, CNY dog portraits, Golden Oldie

Photo credit: Alice G Patterson Photography

Not every dog can be expected to spell his own name like Gatsby, but without basic training a dog is at a higher risk to becoming homeless.

When we think about all the dogs in the shelters we have to wonder why they are there.   I know many dogs are there for reasons that are out of anyone’s control: long term illness or death of an owner.  Sometimes dogs are found roaming loose and you have to wonder, if it was properly trained, would it have gotten lost?  Sadly, there are also times when a person turns in their pet because the animal is destructive or poorly behaved because they have not been properly trained.  Rescue dogs can be wonderful canine companions, and with training many become therapy dogs and service dogs.

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I am not an expert in dog training or behavior.  In fact, I could use a little help in training my own dogs to be better behaved.  Specifically, I worry that if Theo gets loose, he will be lost.  One of my goals for this year is to train my dogs so that we can enjoy our lives more.

There are many philosophies about dog training as well as people who claim to be experts on dog behavior and training.  It can be overwhelming to try and figure it out.  Fortunately, there is a great resource available to the dog lovers of the world.  The Association of Professional Dog Trainers has a lot of articles to help choose the right trainer.

Once we get started, I promise to update you.  In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your favorite ways to train and “must have” behaviors for your dogs.

Check out Alice G Patterson Photography on Facebook to see more of her photography.

About Alice G Patterson Photography:  Based in Syracuse, New York, Alice specializes in pet photography and portraits for small business owners.  Alice has three very well behaved dogs of her own, Lulu, Franny and Darla.

Please take the time to read some of the other ways you can help be the change for animals by following this blog hop.

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Training can (and should) be fun 🙂
Sit, here, leave-it, drop-it, and kennel are on our must-have list of necessary communications. Beyond that it depends on the dog and what they’re wired for.

Kari says:

I’m a pretty lazy trainer myself, when it comes to obedience, but that’s because I’m satisfied with my dogs’ behavior. I’m constantly working on improving Leo’s leash-reactivity though.

I hate seeing dogs surrendered to shelters for behavior that could be easily trained or managed. Thanks for this post!

I love dog training, so it’s interesting that I fell in love with a breed that doesn’t find interest in training. We work a lot on manners, but you’ll never find a pyr bouncing around doing endless amounts of tricks. It’s just not in their genes.

It’s really sad to see a dog surrendered because of behavior that’s easily fixable. Our first dog, Kaeto, was adopted from the shelter at about a year old. He didn’t know his name, let alone the word ‘sit’. The frustrating thing was that he was such an easily trainable dog. His previous owners just didn’t care.

Bethany says:

I believe you will find this advice in most articles about finding a trainer but always observe a class or the trainer in action before signing up. It is important that you really click with the trainer. While classes with a trainer are unparalleled I learning and socialization opportunities, there are plenty of free training resources too. There is never an excuse to live with behavior problems or not have fun training! I hope you’ll consider sharing your training journey this year in the First Monday Positive Pet Training Blog hops. We shared training goals for 2015 last week. The next hop begins 2/2.

My first dog as an adult, Tynan, was dumped at the shelter twice because he was “out of control.” He was declared “unable to walk on a leash,” “alway ran away” and “highly destructive.” Funny how that supposedly awful dog graduated to advanced obedience classes in record time, trained in specialized search and rescue, was my marathon training partner for many years (yes, walking for hours on a leash!) and he never destroyed a single thing aside from his own toys and a few for-fun holes in the yard. Training does in fact make all the difference and if everyone took just a little time to appreciate a dogs brain, lives would be saved.

    Beth says:

    I will be sure to check out and hopefully share on the First Monday Positive Pet Training blog hops!

Nanci bowers says:

My lab rescue Bandit benefited from positive training. It was fun for him. I also received valuable information from the trainer. Living in an urban area,I realized the only way Bandit was going to get a walk and my concern for my safety (bandit would pull me ) was to get professional training. It was the best investment of time and money. Bandit learned to walk with me! Not in front or behind me – he walked next to me. Because of training his life was saved one day. A car startled me as we were crossing the street and I dropped Bandit’s leash. Bandit started to run away but the training we both got kicked in. Training saved Bandit’s life. We enjoyed many happy walks together. Sadly Bandit passed away and he remains in my heart with much love.

A new rescue dog is part of my life. Holli is a small Terrier mix. I using the knowledge and experience from previous training. She is a fabulous walker. I do realize that she needs targeted training to improve in other areas. My goal is to make time for that to happen.

    Beth says:

    How lucky you and Bandit were to have had that training experience!

Good luck on your training goals! I can always do more training with Veruca and Ava and if there is anything that I need to focus on it is Veruca’s Recall. I started working on that last year and didn’t make it very far.

You are so right – training is vitally important whether that’s teaching a dog to come when called or teaching a cat not to claw the furniture or jump on the bench. It can make a difference in their likelihood of them finding a forever home.

Athena and Marie says:

Good post! Though I’ve never owned a dog, I do agree that training is very important for the reasons you mention.

Purrs xx
Athena and Marie

Kim Clune says:

My dogs were adequately trained for the environment they live in but we found a class that takes a step beyond, asking our dogs to behave in a variety of different environments, interacting in a new space each week. We’ve visited a farm, a shopping mall, Empire Plaza in Albany, NY and a grocery store. It was amazing to see them rely on their skills, and us, no matter where we went. Sadly, we didn’t keep up with it and skills not practiced are often lost. For us, they seem retired comfortably into their older ages and an enticing piece of chicken sure jogs the memory when needed.

But I also manage a dog rescue and have seen the untrained go missing to end up with us. I’ve seen dogs not get adopted because they didn’t already know enough. Training does keep dogs in their homes and helps to rehome them in the case of surrender or escape. That’s why I’m so thrilled that you wrote this. Thank you.

Thank you for being and blogging the change!
Kim C.

Rebecca says:

Dogs are as different as people and training will be different for every dog. I’ve had dogs that with no training would barely leave my side when going out the door to those that would bolt and run no matter what, just to be running. I think patience and rewards are the key. Just like people learn.

    Beth says:

    That’s a great point that all dogs are different and may require different training!

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