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Dog Training is Fundamental: Get Started in the New Year

Did you know January is National Train Your Dog Month? The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) began the campaign in 2010 and it’s been a huge hit with dogs and their people ever since.

According to the APDT, January is the perfect month because many people have brought home dogs and puppies over the holiday season. Since it’s the beginning of a new year, what better time than to train your new family member. It’s a month dedicated “to bringing 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!” 

Although January is the month, it’s important to realize that training and education last throughout the year and beyond. But there’s no better time to start than the beginning of the year. 

Even if your dog has been a part of the family for some time and might need some work, you can reach out to a professional who can offer additional guidance and suggestions for new behaviors. 

Training your dog only leads to happy dogs and happy pet parents. Keeping them well balanced in their daily lives is not only beneficial to your dog, but also to you.

“Too many dogs are turned into animal shelters each year for behavior and training issues that could be easily solved with proper socialization and positive, gentle, science-based methods of training. Moreover, we want the public to know that training your dog is not just beneficial, it’s FUN!” according to the National Train Your Dog Month website.

It’s easy to start getting involved with a variety of training resources and events from training tips and videos, found at the website. For anyone who loves dogs, has dogs or is ready to bring a dog into the family, training is for them. Help celebrate and tell everyone you know, from trainers, veterinarians, and groomers to shelters and friends who have dogs.

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers is a great resource for trainers and pets parents alike. You can search for trainers in your area and find out about educational programs.


Start the New Year on the Right Paw with Your Pet

Some people like to make resolutions and some don’t. Like most things, it’s a matter of personal choice. Some people make resolutions and follow through. Others fall through. But there’s one thing we all want in the New Year, and that’s to have a great one, possibly better than the previous year.

While we strive to have a better
year for ourselves, we can also aim to do more for our pets. Maybe you didn’t spend as much time last year as you would have liked with your pet. Maybe you and your pet need more playtime together. Maybe they need even more exercise.

Forget about resolutions, as some of them can seem intimidating and difficult to achieve. Instead try to just make a list and call it New Experiences for Me and My Pet. They can include:

  • Make sure to take your pet in for yearly exams to ensure they are in good health; that goes for dogs and cats. As Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When you keep up with their health, they can live longer, healthier and happier lives. That makes you happy, too!
  • Take a hike! Sure, you should take your dog (and some cats), always on a leash or a harness, and yourself for a nice walk. By doing so, you both get some exercise and will enjoy spending time together. Broaden your horizons and once in a while schedule a nice hike. You’ll get to spend more time outdoors and see beautiful areas that you might not normally get to experience.
  • You know what they say, all work and no play… Set aside time every day for playtime. Even if it’s just for five or 10 minutes, throw a ball, or play Frisbee or chase with your pet. Your dog will thank you for it, and you’ll be happy you did. The result here is lots of smiles and a happy dog. For cats, get feline-appropriate toys and watch them just have fun while they run and chase.
  • Take five for a belly rub or scratch behind the ear. No matter what, even if you’ve come home from a hectic day, take five minutes to show your pet he or she is appreciated, cherished and loved. Give a belly rub or a long scratch behind the ear. Your pet will love you more and you may find your own stress levels have decreased.


Fashionable Faux Paw: Dress for Your Pet’s Sake

Who doesn’t love to play dress up? Some of our beloved pets love it, too. And even though it may not be Halloween, there’s something more chic for your pets: National Dress Up Your Pet Day. 

In support of our loving pets and the pet fashion industry, National Dress Up Your Pet Day was created and is celebrated every year on Jan. 14. 

Not an official holiday, although some of us pet parents think it should be official, the holiday was established in 2009 by Colleen Paige, pet lifestyle expert and animal behaviorist. 

Do you have a dog or cat who is styling? Loves new outfits? Does your dog love a great denim dress? How does your cat get creative with hats? As long as your pet is up for it, dressing up is a great way to bond and show off your furry family member. 

However, there are dogs and even some cats who absolutely love a great outfit, or even just a hip scarf. It’s always important to be mindful of your pet’s reaction to dressing up. If you can tell your pet is uncomfortable and really does not want to take part, it’s best to leave your dog or cat naked except for a collar and tags. A birthday suit is just fine for those who don’t want to partake. 

In a article, “Paige encourages pet owners to take time today to have fun with their dogs, cats, and critters by dressing them up in cute, safe outfits and pet costumes.”

She encourages pet parents to make sure not to force their pets into wearing costumes. It should be about bonding and having fun. 

Most important, the article says, “Garments should allow pets to see, hear, breathe, eat, and relieve themselves comfortably, and should be made of breathable material that prevents pets from overheating. Clothing should fit properly and be rid of any parts and small pieces that can be chewed off and swallowed by the pet.”

Make sure to keep it lighthearted, have fun and as always, take lots of photos. You never know when your pet might be asked to be on America’s Next Top Pet Model.

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