Train Your Dog Month!
with Melissa Dallier of ACanineAffinity, Training Advocate

January is “National Train Your Dog Month” 


We at A Canine Affinity strongly encourage training your dog all year long, but will take any excuse to remind you to set simple, fun and productive training goals for your dog. 


Why? Dog training is so much more than just teaching your dog to behave. In fact, dog training should be so much more than this! When we train our dogs is shouldn’t feel like work for dog or human! If you aren’t having fun, stop what you’re doing and try again tomorrow! After all communicating with a different species is hard.


Daily/Weekly/Monthly Dog training is an opportunity to: 


  • Create a healthy relationship and stronger bond with your dog 
  • Create clear communication with your dog through games and exercises that clearly define what you want from your dog 
  • Help your dog learn to express safe behaviors to ask for what they need and want 
  • Teach rules in a humane, reward based, and force free manner 
  • Improve recall and leash walking skills outside with games and daily short sessions 
  • Work on consent related behaviors surrounding vet care, husbandry, grooming, handling and more to reduce and eliminate fear.
  • Find new activities to explore with your dogs such as various dog sports, rally, nosework, obedience and more! 


Our goal for you is to MAKE TRAINING AN EVERYDAY PART IF YOUR LIFE WITH YOUR DOG! 


This may sound daunting but here are some easy ways to incorporate training into everyday life


Reward Check In’s - Carry rewards (food treats) on daily walks - reward your dog for checking in with you (looking at you) this encourages you and your dog to be more connected on walks. Put down the phone, take out the ear buds and just enjoy a walk with your dog. The more you reward natural check ins the more they will happen! 


Ditch the Bowl - Try feeding your dog out of a food puzzle, toy or through training at least 2 meals a week! This will strengthen your bond with your dog and encourage problem solving each meal - Check out my Instagram @acanineaffinity for ideas or check back soon for future posts.


Teach one new behavior this month - It doesn’t matter if your dog knows 1 or 100 behaviors already most dogs LOVE learning. It can be as simple as a hand target or as complicated as fetching the mail from the mailbox. As long as you and your dog are having fun and enjoying the process, that is all that matters! Get in touch with me here for ideas and if you join my one on one community I can give you a step by step plan for dozens of behaviors! 


Stick with positive, science backed training - This means you are rewarding your dog for making good choices and never punishing. Your dog is never feeling fear or pain. You are always communicating what you want clearly - this can be hard with a different species but having a qualified trainer on board helps! No dog needs coercion, fear, pain or corrections to learn. Training should feel good. If you ever question what a trainer is asking you to do, don’t do it. Ask questions. Get clarity. Advocate for your dog. 


Happy Training! 


Melissa

A Canine Affinity