Tips, Tools & Deals for National Train Your Dog Month

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National Train Your Dog Month Tips and Tools

Did you know that January is National Train Your Dog Month? To help celebrate, and give you some ideas if you are just getting started or want to brush up on your skills, I’ve put together a roundup of tips, tools and ideas to help!

Puppy Socialization and Training

Start early! According to Debbie McKnight, a PetSmart training expert, “Before 12 weeks is the best window for meeting new people, other dogs and taking in new experiences that will inform puppies’ future behavior and reactions.” Puppies that socialize with other puppies, dogs and humans develop into healthy, confident dogs. A dog that hasn’t been properly socialized may startle easily, bark at a certain type of person or clothing or react poorly to other new experiences in the future. This type of interaction is especially important during the winter months, when dogs spend a lot of time indoors.

training puppies and dogs

Puppy Playtime: In honor of January’s National Training Month, PetSmart is hosting Puppy Playtime each Sunday from 2 – 3 at all PetSmart locations. Pet parents are invited to bring their dogs (2 years and younger) to have leash-free play time in gated area of the store! It’s just $10 – no registration needed and no long-term requirements, pet parents are invited to just bring their pup and enjoy the fun!

puppy starter kit

Puppy Starter Kit: If you’ve recently adopted a puppy, or know someone who has, be sure to check out this Puppy Starter Kit. It’s only $19.99 and you receive almost $200 worth of products, coupons & services to help you and your new fur kid get started. In addition to answering common Puppy Parent issues like puppy nutrition, potty training & chewing, pet parents will find great savings on puppy essentials like food, grooming & care.  This kit includes vouchers for:

  • FREE Bag of Specialty Puppy food (up to $15)
  • FREE 1-Hour Puppy Orientation Seminar
  • FREE Puppy Bath, Brush & More
  • FREE Banfield Veterinary Consultation
  • FREE Doggie Day Camp Visits (2 sessions – new campers only)
  • Coupons for discounts on Microchipping, Gear, ID Tags + More

 Training Tips for Dogs of Any Age

It’s never too late to work on obedience skills, behavioral issues, manners and learning some new tricks! Involving your dog in life-long learning keeps them engaged and helps to strengthen the bond between you and your fur kid.

pet trainer

PetSmart has Accredited Pet Training Instructors who teach positive reinforcement techniques in a fun, interactive environment. Dog training school can help give you the tools you need to sustain success when your classes are complete. Classes range from Puppy to Advanced, and there are private lessons available, in addition to all the great group classes.

At-Home & DIY Dog Training Tools: Whether you take a class, watch some training videos, or borrow a book from the library, there are many different training products and aids that will help make training easier. For example, having great training treats available to quickly reward your dog as he or she displays the correct behavior or response, will give them positive reinforcement and let them know good stuff happens when they figure out what you want them to do!

treat bag

To make treating super fast and effective as a reinforcer, keep treats on you and accessible with something like this hands-free dog treat bag that clips on your belt or waistband. Some people also use clicker training. Daisy and I didn’t have the patience to stick with it, but many experts swear by it so I’ve been thinking about taking a more advanced class to work on it again!

dog training products

High-Value Treats: Also be sure that you have plenty of really yummy treats. You want something really tiny but yummy so that your dog will work hard for them but not get fat, since you’ll be giving a lot at first. We like little bits of carrot and cheese. Also check out the deals on natural training treats like these Zuke’s Mini Naturals in Salmon Flavor. They’re on sale along with other treats over at PetSmart right now!

Are you celebrating National Train Your Dog Month by learning some new tricks or skills? Share your stories, tips, questions and advice. We’d love to hear from you!


  1. Bailie is in obedience school, training daily trying to pass her class. We use Zukes Minis all the time, they are great. Bailie and Mom also are hanging our at PetsMart and places like that to work on her training with distractions. Tough job!

  2. Daisy thinks distractions are the best part! LOL we’re working on that, too! It’s hard!

  3. I love that treat bag, so much easier when you have easy access to the snacks. I was reading some great training articles the other day about clicker training, and I’m also a bit inspired to give it another try. I also really want to try using a target stick (I think that’s what they are called). Has anyone used them? You can train your dog to follow a point and ultimately use it to teach your dog the names of people and objects. This article has some great tricks: using training sticks and clickers. Ultimately you can teach your dog to bring his bowl or find something…perhaps one day my dream of having a dog who will fetch my slippers can be realised! Great post, makes me want to do some training…now where are my slippers? 

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