How to Train Your Dog Through Play – National Train Your Dog Month

by Mary Haight on January 25, 2012

It’s National Train Your Dog month – have you trained your dog?  We all have different ideas about how much training is enough depending on why we have our dogs.  My dog is a companion, not a working dog or a protection dog, so I am content with Tashi paying attention to recalls, and remembering sit, stay, speak, for treats, and go get your bear, ball, bone when it’s time for play.  I have often incorporated reinforcing exercises during our walks and in the house – that relating helps to keep him paying attention to me.  Well, until you let it slide for too long!

It’s been a rainy winter, sometimes cold and snowy, and I confess I just let Tashi sniff and live in his dog world during our outside time. He documents with his nose each and every dog that has walked across *his* parkway, taking in every square inch of scent experience possible, oblivious of me during that time. Maybe that was not such a great idea, not totally. For the first time my dog did not respond to  “Tashi, come”. Oh, yes, he heard me – he was just much more interested in other things!

Lucky for me I listened to Kelly Gorman Dunbar’s interview with Dr. Ian Dunbar, founder of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), co-founder of Dog Star Daily, and creator of puppy classes among many other things.  Kelly had an informative, fun chat with Dr. Dunbar during which he explained that he has always wanted to see things from a dog’s point of view.  Working with a dog as a member of the team, he said, is so much easier and results in a stable, trustworthy companion. He suggests using “games and activities” to train your dog, reminding us of a very important point: This is FUN, not a job!

Give a listen to Train Your Dog, Kelly’s interview with Dr. Ian Dunbar at Animal Café.  He offers, among other things, some ideas for you and reminds everyone there are mountains of free training videos at – oh, you’ll hear it all on the podcast – enjoy =)

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