For pets, this time of year is a time of both joy and sorrow.  Joy because come Christmas morning, many puppies will find themselves in new, loving homes.  It can be a time of sorrow, too, however, as many of those puppies find their stay in that new home short lived.  Unfortunately, shelters are busiest this time of year as the shelter is most often the place where these pet “gifts” are returned.

It’s no accident then that this month has been designated by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) as “National Train your Dog Month.”  Whether you’ve received a puppy as a gift, given one has a gift, or even have a long-time furry friend who might benefit from a “refresher” course in training, make this a New Year’s resolution:  Get that dog some training!

Now, if you have a new puppy, your first stop should be to your Boca Raton pet care specialist, of course.  Your vet can help the relationship between you and your new friend get off on the right foot.  You’ll probably learn more about your pup’s breed and with that, critical insights into behavior such as sociability and eating habits.  You’ll want to have your pup checked for any potentially harmful conditions that can often go undetected to the untrained eye, as well as given the vaccinations needed to stay healthy.  Finally, you’ll also want to get set up with a schedule of regular visits.  This is important as your pup grows into “doghood”.  Why?  When your dog is ill, it’s important that he or she feel comfortable with their vet.  There is nothing worse than having a sick dog who is also deathly afraid of going to a vet!

Now, back to the training.  Once you’ve established the relationship between care-giving vet and your pup, establish a working relationship with a trainer.  Let’s face it, training is not just for your pup; it’s for BOTH of you.  A well trained dog is happier, and safer.   To learn more about the benefits of training, special APDT events and general tips on how to be a good pet parent, visit the APDT website at    Train that furry friend of yours!  You’ll both be glad that you did!