Did you know that January is National Train Your Dog Month? Putting the time and effort into training your dog will make your time with him much more enjoyable – for both of you.
A well trained dog will make you a happier owner and your friends and family will enjoy spending time with your pet too. A little time training now will continue to pay off for many years to come. This week I was able to sit down with Casey Newton, a professional dog trainer, to talk about some dog training tips that every pet parent can use.
Training is an important part of raising a dog and so is providing them with appropriate mental stimulation. Check out my column from last week, The Importance of Mental Stimulation for Your Dog, for more information.
Casey is the owner of Wonder Puppy Parenting Center located in Portland, Oregon. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) as well. Casey has been a professional dog trainer and a member of APDT for the past 12 years. She has been a speaker at the annual conferences for APDT USA multiple times and also works with APDT Chile.
Expert Dog Training Tips for Train Your Dog Month
Casey is a crossover trainer (a trainer who has switched from punishment-based techniques to positive-reinforcement) and she recommends relationship-based, positive reinforcement training whenever she dives dog training tips. Though both styles of training can achieve desired training results, she believes that reward-based training tends to have less fallout and is emotionally healthier.
Plus, she says it’s a lot more fun! Specifically, she says that clicker training is super effective and great for bonding with your pup. Capturing and shaping methods are great for using rewards without having to much focus on the rewards themselves.
She calls her business a puppy parenting center – what does that mean? It means that they specialize in training dogs under the age of 2, but even though their focus is puppyhood, they also welcome dogs of every age. The holistic puppy school is paired with a doggy supply store to bring together everything a pet parent will need to raise a dog.
A properly trained dog is more fun to live with! And, a well-socialized dog is less likely to become fearful, anxious or aggressive. – Casey Newton
Most pet owners are on a budget, and paying for the assistance of a professional dog trainer is expensive. Casey says that when considering bringing a dog into your home, you should always budget in money for schooling. A live puppy class, or at least a well-run playgroup, for proper socialization should never be replaced due to budget issues.
However, outside of puppy class, Casey told me that you can find a Youtube dog training guru to help out if your budget is extremely tight. A couple of good choices to check out are Kikopup and Victoria Stillwell’s Teacher’s Pet Series, according to Casey.
When discussing dog training tips, Casey also recommends a few a books for pet parents looking for information about dog training. They include:
- On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas
- Clicking with your Dog by Peggy Tillman
- Puppy Start Right by Kenneth Martin & Debbie Martin
You're also going to need some training supplies while working with your dog. Of course, you could spend thousands of dollars on the fanciest training aids, but Casey says there are only a few essential things that every dog owner must have while training their dog. They are:
- Healthy food rewards
- Front-clip harness
- Boundaries – like a crate, exercise pen and/or pet gate
When it comes to dog training, Casey lives by two dog training tips. First, start socializing and training as soon as you bring your dog home. This is especially important during puppyhood. The first 12-16 weeks of a dog's life is the critical learning period of brain development, and essential to raising a well-adjusted dog.
And second, set up for success. Make sure your dog has tons of opportunity to practice good behavior and get rewarded for it. Those good behaviors will ultimately turn into good habits.
If you're constantly correcting your dog, the negativity will wear on him after a while. Keeping things positive will keep your pet happy and make training much easier for both of you.
The Association of Professional Dog Trainers started National Train Your Dog Month to highlight the importance of socialization and training. It’s a powerful, yet simple way to address a serious problem.
Casey says that every year in the US, over a million dogs die in shelters. Many of those dogs were given up because of simple behavior issues that could have been prevented or resolved through training. National Train Your Dog Month is a great reminder that training is an essential and fun part of living with a dog.
I need to thank Casey Newton for sharing her knowledge, advice and dog training tips with me and our readers. Don't forget to check out Casey’s website at Wonder Puppy Parenting Center, and let us know what you thought of this interview in the comments below! Don't forget to share your dog training tips and tricks too!