This is the Year to Do More with your Dog
By Frances Goodman
Happy New Year!
As resolutions are being pondered, the American Kennel Club urges pet owners to remember the family pet!
According to the AKC, 81 percent of dog owners buy gifts for their dogs. But the best gifts would be consistent exercise, training and stimulation.
That’s why they are promoting the concept “Do more with your dog in 2010.”
So if your beagle isn’t being walked briskly, your terrier getting trained, or your Rottweiler racking up ribbons in the ring, consider getting involved in a mutual activity with your dog this year.
Most really rewarding mutual activities require a foundation of basic obedience. My area of specialty is in-home training with owner and dog together, in the dog’s own environment. I consider this the ideal scenario for owner and dog to get started.
Then, once you have learned to communicate properly and your dog is responding nicely to your direction, it’s time to join a group class. Group lessons are good for socialization and fine-tuning obedience skills under distracting circumstances.
In the West Palm Beach area, Tailwaggers Learning Center Obedience Training Club offers both obedience classes and agility lessons, and they host sanctioned agility competitions at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in Okeeheelee Park. Their phone number is (561) 804-9247.
Until you see it with your own eyes, it’s hard to imagine how much dogs enjoy all levels of group classes, provided the classes are taught using positive methods. They actually look forward to “class time.”
Another really rewarding mutual activity for pets and their people is helping others. Dogs are invaluable in providing service to humans, such as visiting the sick or serving as “listeners” in reading programs with children. Dogs are good at such things because they are accepting and non-judgmental.
If a dog has the correct temperament, there are many ways dog owners can put their special skills to use in service to their community through approved volunteer program such as Delta Society or similar “therapy dog” groups.
All in all, be sure not to overlook the terrific potential you and your pet have for doing more together in rewarding ways in 2010.
And when it comes to those all-important daily walks together, be sure to follow a consistent schedule so your dog can anticipate the arrival of “walk time.” Oh, yes, they can tell time!
Frances Goodman is a professional dog trainer and pet care writer who lives in Royal Palm Beach. Got a question? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or click her ad to visit her website, www.mypetnews.com.