National Train Your Dog Month: tips for tricky pets

Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on Jan 30 2012

January has been declared “National Train Your Dog Month” by the good people at the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT).

Too often, good pets are relinquished to shelters due to behavior problems that have just gotten out of control. Sometimes, owners are even forced to consider euthanasia because bad behavior has become too much to bear. A puppy chewing on a shoe or nipping your fingers may seem cute, but to ensure bad habits don’t upset a happy home later on, training your dog from the very beginning is imperative.

The same can be said for cats. Though cats are generally fiercely independent, they also need to cultivate good house habits to maintain healthy relationships with family members, both two- and four-legged.

The APDT has several webinars on their site to help you learn how to remedy canine and feline behavior problems. Even if you are lucky enough to have very well-behaved pets, it’s a good idea to at least peruse their website in case your pet develops a rebellious streak someday!

Topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Dog safety around children
  • Basic dog handling
  • House breaking
  • Litter box issues
  • Scratching behavior in cats
  • Separation anxiety
  • Successful dog-cat interactions

Behavior problems in both dogs and cats can be very frustrating, and I think it helps to know that you not alone, and other people are also going through the same thing.

If you have serious concerns regarding your pet’s behavior, bring it up with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Without meaning to, you may be reinforcing bad behaviors that will only get worse (and therefore more difficult to curb) with time. Serious problems may be referred to a veterinarian who specializes in behavior. These vets have gone through extra training to become board certified in dealing with behavior and training issues.

Shelters are full of pets who are relinquished for behavior problems, and these dogs and cats can be difficult to adopt out because of them. Nipping behavior problems in the bud and working with basic obedience commands daily goes a long way in fostering healthy, happy relationships in the home.

What resources have you found successful for curbing behavior problems in your dog or cat? Let us know by commenting on this post!