Train Your Dog Month

Jan 21, 2017

This little dog did well - he even has a diploma!
Credit andreaarden (Andrea Arden) [Flickr]

Training a dog is all about communication between you and your furry friend.  It gives your pet an understanding about what you expect.  Because a dog has a desire to please its pack leader (you), knowing the rules and boundaries makes for a happy dog and a happy owner!


January is National Train Your Dog Month. Some pet owners think it is not necessary to train a dog, that an animal just adapts to life with its human family. But these four-legged friends are becoming more like members of the family. Good, positive training can make the difference between just sharing a house and being a true best friend.

The right way to train a dog is through communication and reward. Never use punishment or intimidation as a means of training an animal. Use training time as a way to build a strong healthy relationship with your pet. Rewarding good behavior builds the bond between you – and remember that reward does not necessarily mean food. It could be petting, or extra play time, or a favorite toy.

Positive training also can help to avoid behavior problems. One of the main reasons adult animals are surrendered to shelters is because of behavior issues.

You can train your dog to do tricks, which will entertain your family and friends, but the most important things for your pet to learn have to do with good manners and proper behavior in various situations.

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers has a program called “CLASS” which stands for Canine Life And Social Skills. Owners learn to teach their canine companions how to be better pets, beyond just “sit”, “stay” and “roll over”.

For example, you can train your dog to come when called and stand or sit while a leash is attached to its collar, or to wait until you give the okay to go through a doorway. Visit their website at “” to learn more about the program and about dog training in general.

Once your dog has great social skills, you might even decide to continue with training in other areas, such as agility activities, or search and rescue - or as a therapy dog if your pet has the right temperament.

Think of time you spend in any training as an investment, because the more positive interaction you have with your furry friend will help make life more enjoyable and fulfilling for both of you, when you’re speaking of pets.