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Teach your dog some new skills in the new year

Daisy learns the sport of scent hurdling.
Daisy learns the sport of scent hurdling.

January is National Train Your Dog Month. It’s a new year and a perfect time to think about training your dog. Maybe you want to work on improving your dog’s manners. Perhaps you want to teach your dog some tricks. Or maybe you want to take up one of the many available dog sports such as agility, tracking, obedience, or canine freestyle. Whatever you want to learn, this is a good time to get started.

Regardless of your ultimate goals, all training should begin with basic manners. Teaching your dog sit, down, come, stay and walking politely on a leash can go a long way toward making him easier to live with. You’ll also need these skills as a foundation for dog sports and other activities.

What if you are fostering a dog for a local shelter or rescue? Train him, too! Even if you only have him long enough to teach him a single skill such as sit, it will improve his chances for a successful adoption. Check out the Foster Dog Alliance at Your Dog’s Friend in Rockville, MD. The Alliance offers low-cost classes for your foster. The schedule is flexible, and if your current foster gets adopted, you can take your next foster to finish the classes.

Whether you train your own dog or your foster, the rewards are great, and you'll have fun, too.