Train Your Dog Month, 2011

N.H. Sunday News - Dog Tracks Column
By: Gail T. Fisher

 

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) has designated January as National Train Your Dog Month. Last January, the first NTYDM, I was thrilled to receive a proclamation from Governor John Lynch declaring January Train Your Dog Month in the state of New Hampshire. While many municipalities across the country adopted TYDM, New Hampshire was the first state to have done so. I’m so proud of us! To quote from the Train Your Dog Month website (www.trainyourdogmonth.com):

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers believes it is long overdue to dedicate a month where we can bring awareness to the importance of socialization and training, and most of all, to inform the public that training your dog can be easy and fun! We selected January as the perfect month because so many dogs and puppies are adopted or purchased from breeders and brought home during the winter holidays. Our desire is to help these new pet parents start off the new year right with their newest family member."

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of the APDT and I am also the President of the Board of Directors. Of course, as a dog trainer, I believe that any month is the right time to train your dog, and to get the month started off right, here are some different ways to make training fun and varied for both you and your dog, not just this month, but all year.

Most of us have a concept of what constitutes “basic training”—responding to “sit,” “lie down,” “stay,” “come,” and walking nicely on leash. Beyond laying a foundation, gaining a reliable response takes practice, and there are a growing menu of activities for dogs of all ages, sizes, breeds and mixes, that offer a wide variety of fun things to do with your dog, while increasing your dog’s responsiveness and reliability—a win-win for everyone! Here’s a run-down of just a few activities that are available in many training schools throughout the region and the country:

  • Dog Agility—is the first widely-popular dog sport beside "dog obedience." As the dog and handler team negoaitate a course with obstacles such as jumps, tunnels, weave poles and an A-frame, the sport encourages and practices off-leash control, and is great fun for both dog and owner!
  • Rally-Obedience—A relatively new dog sport, Rally-O involves the dog and handler team negotiating a course of “stations.” At each is a sign for a behavior to perform such as to simply sit your dog and walk around him, or more actively send your dog over a jump and then call her to you. With over 60 possible behaviors, Rally is always new and different, providing tremendous variety and interest for perfecting the behaviors owners want most.
  • Dancing with your dog—also called Canine Musical Freestyle. In this sport the handler and dog perform a choreographed routine to music. Even for the rhythmically challenged, this sport provides a fun, interesting, and always varied way to practice fun behaviors such as spin, weave between your legs, move backwards, stay, come and move together with you—enhancing the partnership and teamwork we all want.
  • Using your dog’s instincts—There are lots of activities that provide an outlet to do the things our dogs love. The opportunity to perform instinctive activities truly is a gift to our dogs. While many of sports need a special environment, there’s a relatively new one that can be done anywhere, indoors and out, in your home or in a training class. It’s called K9 Nosework. We are so excited about this new sport, and we’re offering a free workshop January 19th so you can learn more about it. Click here to check it out.

These are just some of the many things you can do with your dog. For the rest of TYDM, and all year ‘round, train your dog—you and your dog will love both the activities, and the results!


Copyright © Gail T. Fisher, 2011. All rights reserved. http://www.alldogsgym.com For permission to reprint this article or suggestions for future topics, please contact us.