January is National Train your dog month.  This was developed to bring awareness to the importance of proper training and socialization for dogs in order to enrich their life and well-being.  A well-trained dog is a happier healthier dog.

The month of January was chosen for this because the holiday season has the highest rates of purchasing and or adopting a new family pet.  Sadly, a large number of these dogs will subsequently be relinquished to local shelters, or abandoned, simply for behavior problems. 

Even though most new dog owners have the best of intentions they wind up not being able to cope with many different types of behaviors, from nuisance behaviors such as barking, destructiveness, poor leash manner, to more severe problems with different forms of aggression. 

The majority of these dogs are wonderful pets who just haven’t been given the proper tools they need to be the good dogs they truly are. 

This makes the start to the new year a perfect opportunity to remind pet owners to take the time to work with their dogs, training and obedience is a constant work in progress.  Even our most well-behaved pet can use a refresher course on basics.  Dogs thrive off of both physical and mental exercise, and teaching your dog a new trick, or just practicing the ones they know is very rewarding for your pet on a daily basis.  Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks!

If you are struggling with a behavior problem, please don’t wait, contact your veterinarian for recommendations on a behavior consultant in your area.  The sooner you can address the problem the sooner you and your dog will have a happier more enriching life together. 

Beth Broome
Certified Canine Behaviorist
Alpine Animal Hospital