What’s your resolution for your dog in 2014?
Smart Dog University wants to help you make — and keep — a resolution with your dog. How about a little more training. It can be do-it-yourself style, a group class, or just teaching new tricks. Whatever, we just want you to spend some good quality time in 2014 with your dog. The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) developed Train Your Dog Month in 2010 and it’s gotten bigger and better every year. SDU is getting involved this year and will be bringing you weekly updates, challenges, tools, and training tips to get — and keep — you and your dog motivated on this new goal.
WHAT is Train Your Dog Month (TYDM)?
A month dedicated to you and your dog — how much fun (and how helpful) training is for both of you.
Too many dogs are turned in to shelters because of behavior problems. Many of those issues can be easily solved with a little training and information. Smart Dog U’s mission is to make dogs and their people happy together. We want everyone to know that training can be — no should be! — fun for both of you!
January is great month to start teaching your dog. It’s a time when new habits are created and when people are looking for change.
Here’s a common dog problem: boredom. Your dog doesn’t have social media. He can’t sit and watch the entire season of Orange is the New Black. He doesn’t have a J O B. While many people dream of hitting the lottery and never working another day, we’d still keep ourselves busy. Unfortunately, our dogs don’t have the luxury of keeping themselves busy. Well, they do. But we tend to throw fits when the dog amuses himself (chewed carpet, destroyed sofa, cat chasing, you get the picture). Let’s do what we can to occupy our dogs’ brains and bodies and I bet both you and your dog be a lot happier at the end of the day.
Another common dog problem: lack of manners. Dogs don’t grow into good manners — manners need to be taught. You are your dog’s teacher. It’s up to you to convey the house rules, the neighborhood rules, and the life rules to your dog. Thankfully, that’s an easy fix by simply teaching your dog a few good manners.
Training your dog solves both issues fast. A dog who’s learning new things doesn’t get bored and look for ways to amuse himself. And a well-mannered dog will likely be able to go more places with you and have more fun. Guess what? A dog who gets to go places is also not bored! See how those two things are connected? A little bit of training not only solves each issue, but it’s got a synergistic effect (that’s fancy words for it works and it works great!).
WHO should train?
You should train your dog. Even better, get your whole family involved. The more people in your dog’s life that “know the rules,” the better.
WHEN should you train?
Train whenever you can fit it in. Train while your coffee is brewing. Train while you’re brushing your teeth. Train while you’re waiting for your kid’s bus. Train while the commercial is on. Train whenever you can!
There’s no hard and fast rule about when to train. The more you do it, the more you’ll like it. The more you like it, the more your dog will like it. The more your dog likes it, the more you’ll train. The more you train, the more you’ll love your dog.
WHERE can you train?
Train at home. Train in a class. Train wherever you can!
WHAT can you teach?
The sky’s the limit. You can teach your dog anything he’s physically able to do. Can you teach your dog to fly an airplane? No. He doesn’t have opposable thumbs. Can you teach him to bring you a soda from the fridge? Yes, indeed! You’re limited only by your own creativity and imagination.
HOW to teach your dog?
The how is the fun part. There isn’t any required equipment. At Smart Dog University, we like to use a little dohickey called a clicker. But it’s not imperative that you have one. You’ll get much faster results and your dog will understand you much more quickly by using one, but dogs can learn without it. (You just have to be full up on patience without the clicker.)
The internet will make your head spin when it comes to the “how to’s” of anything. Here’s the straight skinny on dog training:
There isn’t good behavior. There isn’t bad behavior. It’s all just behavior.
Here’s an example:
Your dog hears someone come through the door. He greets the person with woofs and barks, jumps right up on them planting his paws on their chest, and grabs their hand in his mouth. Is that good behavior or bad behavior?
That kind of depends, doesn’t it?
If it’s your mother in-law, you’ll probably tell me that it’s bad behavior.
If it’s an intruder bent on doing you harm, you’ll tell me your dog’s the best dog in the whole wide world.
Behavior is just behavior.
Most dog owners hate that statement. That statement doesn’t help them fix their dog.
Ah, but it does!
Because behavior is just behavior, there’s not a whole lot we can’t fix about your dog! Your dog jumps on mother in-law? Not a problem: we’ll teach your dog a new and different behavior. We’ll teach him to sit. And not only to sit. But to sit when people come to your house. Problem solved. Just like that.
It’s that easy.
We’re spending January teaching you how to teach your dog. We do this every month of the year, yes, but we’re highlighting all the training why’s and wherefore’s this month. All in one place. We’re giving you the tools, schedule, tips, and information you need right now to start teaching your dog.
We’re making it easy to understand, easy to fit into your lifestyle, and even better, easy for your dog.
Ready? Let’s get started!
I’m learning how to run a 5K. In all my 45 years, I’ve never liked running. I’ve not stuck with any running program for more than about a week. Until I met Couch to 5K (C25K), that is. C25K is a program designed for couch potatoes who’d like to get in shape to run a 5K. (A 5K is 3.1 miles.) I’m two weeks away from finishing the program and I’m running without stopping now and I look forward to running. Two things that have never happened to me before!
The key to my success is the way C25K set up their program. They make it really hard to mess it up! And they make each step really easy so I’m rewarded every single time I run.
Smart Dog U is setting up TYDM the same way. We’re going to ease you into training your dog, set up lots of fun rewards for you and your dog, and then sit back and bask in your success!
Stick with Smart Dog University for your dog training needs for the month of January and beyond.
This is just the beginning. Come along with us as we get you geared up to get your dog’s training in shape. Think of all the progress you can make in four short weeks. Think about how impressed your friends and relatives will be by the end of the month.
The next article will get you prepped to start teaching with a (very short) list of training supplies. We’ll also have articles with ideas on what to teach, as well as videos to show you how to teach. We’ll also be dropping in all month with cool ideas and training secrets to help you reach your goal.