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Training Your Dog is Not a Luxury

Here’s a quote from the most recent Karen Pryor newsletter by Ken Ramirez, executive vice president of animal care and animal training at the world-renowned Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Ken is a brilliant trainer who applies his skills to dogs, people, and exotic animals, too.

I just had to share it with you all, especially since January is Train Your Dog Month!

We’ll be hosting a seminar with Ken Ramirez in Seattle in 2013. Keep your eyes open and check our Events Page frequently, or subscribe to our seminar newsletter. Here’s the quote (the bold part is my emphasis):

“My message would be simple: training is not a luxury, but a key component to good animal care. Everyone who has a pet should understand that basic fact. Training is a way to enhance the quality of life for our pets. It is far more than just teaching a dog to do a cute trick. Training is about teaching a dog (or any animal) how to live in our world safely.”

This is so true. I had a conversation with some friends last night and one of them said, “my goal is to pick a dog that doesn’t need training, like our last two.” Newsflash: all dogs need training, some more ‘officially’ than others. Everything we do with a dog teaches them the rules of our household, so whether you think you are training or not, you are! Having a consistent plan just makes things simpler, less confusing, and more fun for human and dog (if you’re using rewards).

For example, with training, you can simply say, “leave it” if your dog is checking out something you’d rather he leave alone, instead of raising your voice and yelling something random. Isn’t that better for everyone?

And don’t even get me started on the importance of puppy and teen dog socialization… Skipping socialization in puppyhood is neglect — a lazy version of dog abuse.

Interested in training your dog or puppy? Check out our list of dog training classes, which now includes Agility and Control Unleashed classes by Ali Johnson, CPDT-KA, plus Troubled Teens, Growly Dog 1 & 2, Basic Manners, Puppy Kindergarten and more.