7 Tips for National Train Your Dog Month originally appeared in Dog Tipper.

January is National Train Your Dog Month. Whether you’ve recently adopted a rescue–or you’d like to start the year by polishing up on your dog’s manners (yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks!)–we’ve got seven tips here from Camp Bow Wow to help get your year off on the right paw:

  • Create a “Chew Toy” Corner: All dogs unintentionally chew, rip and slobber on some of your most coveted items. Until your puppy can be trusted not to destroy your home, do not allow them to roam around unsupervised. Give Fido an area of his own where he can enjoy himself when you are out of the house or unable to closely monitor him. Flood this area with a variety of toys. He will naturally learn to chew and play with these items instead of yours. Also, be sure to protect your belongings by storing them in places that aren’t easily accessible.
  • Dinner Time: You may find that every time you sit down for a meal your pet runs up to the table for a snack as well. If you do not want your pet to ask for food while you are eating, teach him a “go to your place” command to steer him away from the table. Offer Fido a doggy treat once he has learned this command to prevent him from hanging around the dinner table.
  • “Potty” Training – Get to the heart of the problem: If you’re having issues with your dog urinating inside of the house, it can be for one of a few possible reasons:
    • The dog might be dealing with a medical condition such as a urinary tract infection;
    • The dog might be anxious and in distress about being left alone;
    • The dog was left alone for longer than he can hold his bladder;
    • He is not fully house-trained;
    • Be sure to take Fido for walks regularly and consult with a veterinarian for possible health issues that may be related to this behavior.
  • Move Around: Exercise is the key! A majority of behavior issues stem from the lack of proper exercise. At least one 30-minute walk per day is sufficient for most dogs. Playing in the backyard or in the house does not count as exercise.
  • Seek Outside Help: If you’re finding difficulty in training your pet, try taking a pet training class. A professional can help you learn the skills needed to make changes in your pet’s behavior. Getting your dog to respect you is critical to having your dog listen to you. It may be beneficial to seek assistance from someone who is skilled in this area.
  • Socialize Your Dog: Socializing your dog can have a tremendous effect on their development and interactions at home. Newly socialized dogs become calmer, friendly, affectionate, and can adapt better to a new environment. Camp Bow Wow understands the benefits of social interaction and exercise, and offers group and private training classes through its Behavior Buddies program for pets. Training classes are held at Camp Bow Wow locations nationwide, as well as at client’s homes.
  • Teach An Old Dog A New Trick: Despite the common myth that you can’t train older dogs, older dogs actually learn quite well. Not only will doing some reward-based training help you and your new dog create a positive bond, it will also help keep your dog’s brain active and challenged.

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