by Jill Lundgrin
School is in session for the children to learn their ABC’s, but what about your dog? September is the month the American Kennel Club (AKC) promotes responsible dog ownership. Every dog owner, when they get a puppy or dog, should commit to responsible care throughout the dog’s life. A study conducted by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP) showed, 10 of the 10 reasons dogs were surrendered to shelters were due to owners not properly preparing for life changes and circumstances.
Part of being a responsible dog owner is properly training and exercising your dog. This can be done through clubs, organized dog sports, shelters, private trainers, boarding or pet stores that have training classes. There is help for you to train your dog, whether mixed or purebred. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) recommends puppy training begin before vaccinations are complete.
When puppies are old enough you can look for classes that might be called puppy, basic, pre-manners, or dog obedience classes. They can vary in length and cost. The “S.T.A.R.” class of AKC stands for Socialization, Training, Activity, and a Responsible owner.
The AKC Canine Good Citizen test is an on leash test that can be taken by purebred or mixed breed dogs. It has been recognized as a basic standard in the industry for training as it focuses on 10 areas of training every dog should master. The fee is usually very nominal and it’s given at various times throughout the year by certified evaluators.
If all dogs were potty trained, capable of accepting a friendly stranger, sitting politely for petting, welcoming grooming and being examined by a vet, walking on a loose leash, walking politely through a crowd, staying in a sit or down on command, coming when called, behaving politely around other dogs, staying confident when faced with common distracting situations, feeling comfortable in a crate, riding safely in a vehicle, leaving or giving objects as trained, limiting barking and easily separating from owner when supervised we would have fewer pets in our shelters and euthanized.
If it is challenging to attend a class, private trainers can come to your home and train with or for you. These can be one time sessions, or a series. It is recommended you follow the training endorsed by the AVSAB which has position statements on the theory of dominance relationships between animals, the use of punishment in the training of animals and puppy socialization on their website.
There are more than 100 ways you can teach your dog to exercise his mind and body.
Let’s encourage responsible dog ownership for everyone’s health, safety and peace of mind.
Coastal Canine Academy LLC