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January is National "Train Your Dog" Month - Five Benefits to Training Yours

January is ‘National Train Your Dog Month’ and the Animal Rescue League of Boston is offering a 50% discount for ARL alums and 10% off for Boston Veterinary Care clients for dog training classes.

Here are 5 Benefits of Training your Dog from Kim Melanson CPDT-KA
Behavior Counselor at the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

Freedom:  A well behaved dog can have an enriching life by spending more time with his family.  He can hang out with visitors, go places with you and join in on family activities. If your dog has learned some basic house and outdoor manners, he will not jump all over guests or bother them too much. He can ride in a car safely, go to a relative’s house and settle, go to the park or the beach for an outing and come back when called.

Bonding:  With just a few minutes a day of active training and adding some training into every day activities, you and your dog can learn more about each other and have fun. The benefits of Positive Reinforcement Humane training are abundant. Both human and dog enjoy the training, they teach each other and learn from each other, creating trust and an enriching and lasting relationship.

It lets your “dog be a dog”:  Dogs like to do natural things that sometimes do not fit well in the human home such as; chewing, jumping, chasing, and digging. Training them in an appropriate way to have their fun lets them to do ‘doggie’ things and lets you join in too all while making sure they do not disturb the household in a negative way. Train your dog to chew on dog chews and toys instead of shoes and pillows, sit for greetings and attention instead of jumping, playing ‘find it’ with treats and stuff Kongs instead of digging, and retrieving balls with a drop for chasing. Not only will your dog be happier but you will have fun too!

Burns mental energy and relieves boredom:  Positive training promotes thinking in dogs and humans and a thinking brain can relieve excess energy. A few minutes a day can really help your dog rest well and not seek out other ways of burning energy that may be destructive. Teaching tricks is a great one to do on a rainy day, kids and friends love seeing your dog do tricks.

Keeps dogs in their ‘Forever’ Home:  Many dogs are surrendered to shelters for behavior problems and just being too much to handle for the owner. A well trained dog stays in her forever home because she has become part of the family and is a joy to live with. She can also become an ‘ambassador’ for dogs everywhere. There are public places, apartment buildings and areas that are banning dogs and some people are frightened of dogs. If our dogs are well behaved in public, people see that we can keep dogs as an integral part of our society and families.

Training obedience cues of sit, down, stay, drop, come and more are great for dogs to learn, but training also means teaching your dog to live in a human household and beyond. House training, learning to settle, go to a mat or crate, to chew appropriate chews, to play appropriate games, to walk on leash and polite greetings for people and dogs are the cornerstones of a well mannered and well liked family dog.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston offers many dog training classes that review basic and advanced cues, along with house and outdoor manners. We also offer some dog sports and fun agility classes. We are offering a 50% discount for ARL alums and 10% off for BVC clients. For more information about our Boston classes check out our schedule.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Carolyn Costain January 29, 2013 at 02:20 PM
Ronnie G. "you're more likely to get a serious illness from kissing a person than kissing a dog." look it up! I just did and this quote was from a doctor. Did you know that a dog can sense when a person fears or don't like them? I hope we never have a major earthquake and you get buried in the rubble because the search dog might sense your hate and pass you by with his nose in the air.
Carolyn Costain January 29, 2013 at 02:39 PM
My dog goes in his own yard to but walks do stimulate dogs to go and if they got to go, they go and all you can do is clean it up. All this crap talk and people are still forgetting the "good" dogs do, from companionship, to aiding the disabled, to saving thousand of lives in disasters like quakes and mudslide etc.and to the K-9s that catch criminals and arson sniffing dogs. I think it out weighs a little poop that gets cleaned up by the responsible dog owners!
Carolyn Costain January 29, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Jean your wrong! my dog goes in the yard and gets more exercise at home but he is still a pup not an old dog. "Its a known fact that walking a dog will stimulate him/her to have to go the bathroom its the same with people." So Jean next time you walk "Hold it until your intestines nearly explode and you will see how cruel it is to force a dog to hold it for hours as you say. Older dogs some times can't hold it and pups are still in the learn stages. " Its obvious you don't have a dog and if you do I feel very sorry for it."
Jean January 29, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Carolyn Costain, a well trained dog can go for hours without relieving itself if properly trained. Someone walking their dog to stimulate it shows the dog is not properly trained and they know nothing about dogs. Dogs have been crapping for thousands of years without human help. It shows these dog walkers have no brains. Does your significant other put a collar and leash on you to stim you?
Nicky January 29, 2013 at 03:45 PM
Carolyn, I got to agreee with Jean because it's unhealthy and unfair to those who want a clean environment. Dog fouling causes gross filth in the city. Dont add to the problem.
Em January 29, 2013 at 04:18 PM
You're right, Nicky. Nevermind the broken glass, litter, or used condoms. Let's concentrate on the rivers of dog waste ruining our city. It's an outrage! I mean, you're more likely to get an infection from cut glass or riding the T, but we should seriously blow this whole dog thing out of proportion to make it sound like a major issue. I think that would benefit the most people in our city. Why try to compromise or educate the public about the realities of sickness running rampant in our city due to all the dog owners slinging waste all over? I think it's best to just make up statistics and condemn all pet owners.
Bert January 29, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Dog owners think just because the community dosent accept their dirty habit of using our streets for their dogs to deficate and pee dosent mean the community are dog haters. It is the dog owners only excuse to say because of guilt. The fact is dog owners are actually people haters due to their bad actions of degrading the community.
Em January 30, 2013 at 12:21 AM
Actually, no.. they don't. Also, doesn't that make you a people hater since you hate dog owners? Congratulations on not making any sense.
Dan January 30, 2013 at 04:19 AM
Sammy - Define mess here, if they are leaving the pile I agree! But, if they are picking it up what mess is there? How about the people who spit or chew gum or chewing tobacco and drop or spit it out on the ground? Are they abusing the public space as well? Again, in the big scheme of things here as far as human health, dog poop is not the biggest risk. And don't forget most people are picking up after their dogs.
Beth James January 30, 2013 at 04:39 AM
I can see why people are upset about dog waste, because we have all stepped in it. City needs to enforce strict dog ownership laws.
Joseph January 30, 2013 at 01:14 PM
@Patch - Why is this still open for comments? It's been open since the 12th and same people are saying the same thing. You close comments for less banter than this. Personally, I don't want to continually see this story in the Charlestown comment section. Thank you. G'day
Jay January 30, 2013 at 02:40 PM
Joseph, dog crap is one of the biggest threat to human health, and the good people of Charlestown should not be living in it.
Em January 30, 2013 at 03:04 PM
"dog crap is one of the biggest threat to human health" - Are you serious? You seriously believe that this statement is true? Nevermind drugs, violence, heart disease, cancer, homelessness... the biggest threat we face is dog feces. This epitomizes the ridiculousness of this entire conversation.
Sarah Lydon January 30, 2013 at 03:35 PM
Seriously--this thread is beyond ridiculous and frankly I'm tired of receiving another email notification every ten minutes with a comment from some genius who thinks that my 20-pound dog is a menace to their health and their otherwise pristine urban lifestyle. Before I spend time figuring out how to turn off notifications, can we just shut this thing down?
Donna R. January 30, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Em, dog feces is a proven fact that it is a serious health threat to both human and animal. Let's be serious here. Please do some research on the subject before responding.
Em January 30, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Donna, I have done some research. If you'd bother to read some of the other comments in this article, you'd be more knowledgeable yourself. Yes, dog feces could possibly lead to serious diseases... but it's not a major issue in our city. You're more likely to contract diseases from other human beings. Do your research. Show me the statistics of people getting sick because of dog feces. Take the time to read about how many people are getting sick from other things. Please stop perpetuating the ignorance and misinformation.
Sarah Lydon January 30, 2013 at 04:21 PM
Donna--note that no one here is advocating for not cleaning up after their dog, but the multiple comments that dogs should not be allowed in public places, that all dog owners are selfish, irresponsible jerks, etc. are awfully tiresome and pointless. I'd be happy to look at a single statistic regarding the lethal impact of dogs on the citizens of Boston and then compare it to...oh, almost anything. And then maybe we can start talking about what should be banned from Charlestown and elsewhere.
Amanda Barrett January 30, 2013 at 05:06 PM
A dog living in a home is unhealthy. You are living in his cage, breathing his air. When I vist some friends home who own a dog, I can smell the dogs odor when walking through the door and their home is very tidy. Odor comes from bacteria. Dogs do not wear undergarment or clothing and take no daily bath, so, therfore, his dirty butt is sitting everywhere. Get a microscope and you will see his bacteria everywhere, couch, rug, bed spread, especially kitchen floor. I never eat/drink over anyones home who owns a dog, I skeeve. I appreciate all animals but do not like their mess in my home. I enjoy a clean and healthy environment in which to live and I expect the city sidewalks to be clean as well.
Dan January 30, 2013 at 05:24 PM
The kind of dog you have makes a big difference as far as odor and keeping him clean. Odor does not imply bacteria or cleanliness. And of course keeping your dog and his spaces clean is important. I have a very sensitive nose, I can't stand perfume or even most cooking odors and I have dogs, which my visitors don't smell when they visit.
Em January 30, 2013 at 05:47 PM
Sounds a bit like OCD to me. Those who compulsively worry about germs that are simply not a threat or don't exist to the degree you believe they do should seek help. Furthermore, if you want the city sidewalks to be clean, expand your crusade to include littering, homelessness, cats, rats, etc. That should really keep you busy.
Dan January 31, 2013 at 02:15 AM
Amanda - Here's something on human odor that also can explain why some dogs don't smell - http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2013/01/a-lucky-two-percent-of-people-have-a-gene-for-stink-free-armpits/
The Town January 31, 2013 at 04:02 AM
Walking a dog is an act of Neanderthalism according to a new study from the Journal of Anthropological Research. I guess some people in Boston have not evolved.
Matthew January 31, 2013 at 04:04 AM
I bet the author of this blog thought that their article would be relatively benign and would not spark vicious attack posts. Just goes to show that nowadays, nothing can be civil. Everything is a controversy and everyone has a bone to pick. It's ridiculous.
Karen Giordano Catizone February 01, 2013 at 06:48 AM
OK if this gets posted twice-sorry about that. I thought I posted my comment, and nothing happened. Anyways- OK I have a dog, and I am also a Veterinarian Technician. I know more than most what diseases etc a dogs feces can have and what we as humans can get from coming into contact with them, Never mind how gross it is to see it on the ground. It's not that hard, bring a few bags out with you and pick it up! Those of you that don't do that, make the rest of us who do look bad. It's gross, and you could be spreading diseases to people-especially small children who come in contact with the feces. Having said that, here is something else I almost never see people talk about. What about people who have cats and let them out? (I have three cats, they all stay indoors). At least if you are out walking your dog, you can see where he/she goes to the bathroom and pick it up. How can that happen when you let you cat out? It can't, and it doesn't get picked up or cleaned. And cat feces and urine can carry the same diseases that dog feces can. But no one ever brings that fact up. It's always about the dogs and their waste, never the cats. Clean up after your dog when you take them out, and keep your cat indoors (for the reasons listed above and so many more!) and the problem is solved! It's that simple!
Karen Giordano Catizone February 01, 2013 at 06:58 AM
Here are a few examples of diseases we can get from our pet's feces and how easy it is to get these diseases...... http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/giardia/giardia-and-pets.html http://www.ehow.com/list_5962882_diseases-transfer-between-dogs-people_.html http://www.ehow.com/list_6748385_health-hazards-cat-feces-urination.html
Sandy February 02, 2013 at 05:32 AM
Dog owners need to wake up and understand that dog waste is toxic to human health. Thank you Karen Giordano Catizone for sharing that information. Also, have you heard about "Cat Lady Suicide" ...search it.
Sandy February 02, 2013 at 05:36 AM
BHD needs to fine dog onwers violating are health. Eliminate dog fouling in public.
Dan February 02, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Sandy - How many people got sick in Boston or even New York city over the last five or ten years that could be traced to dog waste? Nope not a one! OK, How many people got sick from lack of human hygiene serving food (just in Boston alone is about 2,000 reported cases in 2012, and likely more not reported (per Mass Health & Human Services). Are we not in the middle of a flu & no-var outbreak. How is that transferred between people? Not by dog poop! Just in Boston, close to ten people have died. That is not to say you can't get sick from your pet, in the scale of things dog or cat poop is not even in the top 100 health threats. A pet owner them selves are at a greater risk then the general public and that is still very rare. Why is that? Because most people pickup their dogs mess. Yes, some don't and THAT IS THE CRIME! because these folks are the ones that could pass something to all of us (including our dogs!) If they don't maintain their dogs or cats health and don't keep them clean. I think we need to make the fine much higher than the $30 it is today for leaving a mess. A $100 should make it more attractive for the police to ticket offenders. And, $20 for a dog license and $200 if the dog is found not to have one (currently just $7). All of this money needs to be put to creating and maintaining dog friendly spaces & parks. People need to yell at these folks for not cleaning up not blasting the people that are good owners. Remember, I'm a dog owner.
John February 02, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Dan, you still dont get it. Its not about cleaning up after your pet, its about completely stopping dog owners from using the streets for their dog to mess. The streets are not a dumping ground for dogs. You need to use your own property. If you dont own property then dont put the burden on the public. You are what makes society rotten these days because you were never taught respect as a child.
Dan February 02, 2013 at 08:07 PM
Why do you think that makes sense here? Public space is for all to use. If people are cleaning up why does it matter in your mind. Health issues? That makes no sense. The environment by nature is unhealthy.

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