National Train Your Dog Month

We all love our pets. We are drawn to their cute faces; their human-like personalities and how they love us unconditionally. It is almost impossible to be angry or resentful towards them – even when they’ve destroyed our favorite pair of sneakers, or managed to raccoon through the trash.  When it comes to disciplining those bad behaviors, we’re often afraid of being too harsh towards our friends. Think your dog is ‘too old to learn new tricks’? Think again - Believe it or not, dogs do crave correction and a positive dominant force, as well as physical and mental stimulation attained through exercise, activity, and new challenges. Similarly, the key to effectively training your cat is an understanding of typical cat behavior, recognizing their communication cues, and engaging them through interactive play.

It’s never too late to start a training routine!  According to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), the month of January is dedicated to bringing awareness to the idea of training and socialization with your pet while creating a fun bonding experience.  The APDT offers free Webinars and Facebook chats with pet training pros for the duration of this month to help you get a handle on any of your pet’s bad behaviors, or for basic obedience tips and tricks.  There are also local trainers, like DTLA’s very own Bark & Clark, who specialize in Private and Group Training and ‘walking workshops’ known as Pooch Parades where basic obedience and socialization go hand-in-leash.

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Keep these two ideas in mind when training to make it an overall positive experience for you and your pet:

Reward - Know your pet’s favorite treat and keep it accessible (ZiwiPeak for dog/cat and Zukes are great training treats) for an easy (and tasty) motivational tool to reward their positive behavior.

Routine - Practice makes perfect. Be realistic about the amount of time you can dedicate towards your new routine. Dogs/cats learn and retain behavioral traits from repetition.  Your consistency will be a major determining factor in your success.

Whether you utilize the APDT resources or seek a professional trainer in your community, this is the month to take control and create rewarding experience for you and your pet in 2012!  Be sure to stop into either location and ask a Pet Expert about additional training referrals!

Trainingadrian