I see lots of ads for dogs between 5 months and 1 year old–only somewhat housebroken, sweet, but active and rambunctious and needing a big yard to run around in.
Every time I read one of those ads, I think of a harried mom, active kids, a busy dad, and a dear, sweet pup who doesn’t know what’s expected of him and doesn’t understand why he’s being sent outside, yelled at, or just ignored. After all, he only wants to have fun with his family.
With a little bit of training and socialization, this story could have a different ending–one that doesn’t end with an out-of-control adolescent dog moving from home to home looking for someone to provide the instruction he needs to live happily in a home. Or worse….
Why January? Because January is the month when many families are getting acquainted with their Christmas puppies. The APDT feels that if they can get the word out far and wide that dog training is fun, results in a happier life for people and dogs, and can be learned with the help of thousands of positive-training professionals that just maybe some dogs will stay in their first homes.
I think it’s a great idea.
Here’s how you can help.
- Share the news far and wide. You can find the APDT at Facebook to easily share National Train Your Dog Month with your friends (a great way to get the word out beyond the usual “dog-crazy” people hanging out reading blogs).
- Enter the National Train Your Dog Month Photo and Video Contest. You and your dog could win prizes and your images can be shared to demonstrate the fun and importance of training.
- Use some of the suggestions here, like writing a letter to your local paper or posting flyers.
- Renew your own enthusiasm for training. Honey and I will be working this month in particular to prepare for the Canine Good Citizen test.
Discussions about decreasing the number of dogs destroyed in shelters generate a lot of heat and not much light. I think that promoting options that teach well-meaning but inexperienced families how to enjoy living with their dogs is something everyone can support.