Start Your Pet’s Year Off on the Right Paw

January is National Train Your Dog Month, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is reminding dog owners that no matter the age of their pup, now is a perfect time to consider training to have a positive impact on your dog’s health, safety, and overall well-being.

ARL is a resource for pet owners and offers a variety of dog training courses with certified, experienced, and caring dog trainers to help teach pups physical and mental skills including basic manners, advanced commands, healthy socialization skills, and mental enrichment exercises, among others. Group classes and private training sessions are available at ARL’s Boston and Dedham locations. Enroll in a dog training course today!

Have a question about your pet’s behavior? ARL also offers a free pet behavior helpline to address a myriad of potential concerns including crate training, excessive barking, and house soiling. To contact ARL’s free pet behavior helpline, call (617) 226-5666, email, or submit a question online.

Additionally, consider the following to get your pet’s year off on the right paw:

1. Increase Activity. An additional daily play session with our pets, no matter the species, can go a long way in improving their overall health, particularly as our pets age. More activity also decreases boredom and helps keeps their bodies and minds in peak condition.

2. Improve Their Diet. When bringing in your pet for their annual wellness check with your veterinarian, you can discuss your pet’s diet to see if there’s anything we can improve upon to fulfill the animal’s dietary needs. This is key especially for our aging pets as their nutritional needs change over the years.

3. Try Something New. Whether it be a play date with a new dog, bringing your pup on a hike or to the beach, or introducing your cat or small animal to interactive toys like food puzzles, allowing your pet to try something new is a great way for them to increase activity and engagement, practice social skills, and helps improve their overall happiness and well-being.

4. Get Your Pet Microchipped. A microchip drastically increases the likelihood of being reunited with your pet should they go missing, so if you have not microchipped your pet, please consider doing so. The process for your pet is pain-free and it is a low-cost and lifelong added peace of mind for you and your pet.

We all want to start the year off on the right foot or paw, and it’s important to remember that you are not alone in the journey of pet ownership and to take advantage of all the resources you can to ensure your pet is happy and healthy in 2023 and beyond.