The Association of Pet Dog Trainers has declared January National Train Your Dog Month, so I’m going to challenge you to a different training question or task every day in my blog.  Sometimes the question will be for discussion purposes, sometimes it will be a challenge to provide your dogs with a more enriched life, and sometimes it will be guidance on a fun trick to try.

I think the idea of having a month dedicated to dog training is a great thing, and having it be January is perfect.  Think about it, how many resolutions do you set in January?  How insanely busy is the gym this month?  How many weight loss ads are on the television right now?

Trouble is, the passion people put toward their goals in this month tapers off as we near the Spring.  People slack off on their resoultions because that is the nature of them.  

My challenge to you, dog people, is not to resolve, but to decide that you will take a critical look at your dog’s behavior or quality of life and take small steps to improve it.  Here are some areas that most often deserve a closer look:

Do you feel like your dog gets enough mental stimulation?  This is something that I feel is lacking for most dogs.  Don’t worry, I’ll show you small ways to get your dog more brain work this month. 

Does your dog get enough physical exercise? Most dog owners shamefully reply no to this question, and my goal is not to make you feel guilty, I know it’s a daunting task.  But usually there’s a root reason dogs aren’t getting enough exercise.  Dogs that are pleasant to walk get walked more often, and we will address that too.

Does your dog have any annoying issues that you’d like to solve?  Barking in the backyard, pulling on leash, and jumping on guests are usually not severe enough issues that people shell out the big bucks for professional help, but the fact is that they are easily solved and your life with your dog (and therefore your dog’s life) can be improved with a little work.  I’ll teach you how this month.

The bottom line is that you can have the dog of your dreams.  It’s usually a matter of changing your behavior, not Fido’s.  So here’s to January! Let’s train some dogs!