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APDT has introduced the month of January as National Train Your Dog Month

To help and educate new pet parents as well as experienced pet parents whose pets have gotten a bit rusty on their manners, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) has introduced the month of January as National Train Your Dog Month. Professional pet sitters and pet parents can agree that a pet receiving proper training is important, and that a well behaved pet in the home causes less chaos and stress when family and strangers arrive.

There are many advantages to having a trained pet, but the most important is that a pet does what is needed from them when instructed. Trained pets have good manners, which means that they may be more welcome at certain places than pets who are not trained. A pet who is taught proper training techniques may not exhibit destructive behaviors such as digging or chewing. Certain commands such as “stay,” and “come,” will also keep your pet safe and can even save their life. Mental stimulation is also something a pet receives from training, so on a day when they don’t get as much exercise, a half hour or so of training will keep their mind active. Instead of trying to train a pet themselves, some pet parents choose to instead take them to obedience class. This option offers a way to socialize a pet while also being able to mingle with other pet owners. Once a pet is able to understand basic commands, they can go on to understand advanced commands and tricks and even move on to agility classes.

The theories and techniques used to train a dog vary widely from trainer to trainer. Constant rules, structure and communicating are key components to training a pet so that they understand what acceptable behavior is.

Positive reinforcement is the primary training method used to train pets today. Positive reinforcement can be used with either a clicker or treats, and teaches the pet which behaviors are acceptable. Positive reinforcement makes learning fun for the pet and during the time of training, gives a chance for the pet and pet parent to build a stronger relationship as they work towards a common goal.