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Eliminating Your Puppy’s Fear-Related Behaviors

The intent of puppy socialization is to convince the part of the puppy’s brain that reacts emotionally to his world (the amygdala) that, in general, the best/most appropriate emotional responses are calm, relaxed, and happy. These days, the importance of puppy socialization is well-known and widely accepted. Interesting, then, that some behavior professionals (myself included) report seeing an increasing number of canine clients with fear-related behaviors.

How an Intense Behavior Modification Program Saved One Puppy’s Life

Squid almost didn’t make it to the dog adoption option at the Humane Society of Washington County (HSWC), Maryland. Whole Dog Journal readers who have been with us for a year or more already know part of his story: the eight-week-old Jack Russell Terrier mix was surrendered to our full-service shelter by his owners because they “didn’t have time for him.” What that really meant was that the small white-and-tan pup was a heckuva handful: they couldn’t deal with his incredibly high energy level, fierce puppy play-biting, low tolerance for frustration, lack of impulse control, resource guarding, and sudden, intense aggression when restrained. He easily failed his canine behavior assessment. It’s a good thing he was impossibly cute! We started by identifying all Squid’s inappropriate behaviors and creating a modification plan for each. Some of the pieces overlapped, so it wasn’t quite as daunting as it might appear – but it was still plenty to work on!

How to Train Your Puppy Not to Bite

Contained in every puppy’s mouth is a set of amazingly sharp little daggers known as “teeth.” Puppies explore the world with those mouths. Since you are part of your pup’s world, it is inevitable that those sharp little teeth will at some point come in contact with your tender skin during a behavior known as “puppy biting.” It hurts. So what should you do when your puppy bites you, or other family members (including children)?

A Safer Way to Spay Your Puppy

Making a fresh look at the things we take for granted can be wonderfully enlightening. Sometimes, the little light bulb overhead begins to sizzle and sparkle, illuminating a new and better way of doing things. Consider this example: When some savvy veterinarians took a fresh look at performing spays, a surgery we've been doing the exact same way for decades, they came up with a revised technique that accomplishes all of the objectives of the spay surgery with fewer complications. How cool is that?

Getting the Most Out of Puppy Kindergarten

You've got a new puppy and are about to start puppy classes (or are planning ahead for your new pup – even better!). You know good puppy classes are an integral part of helping you and your dog invest in a long and harmonious future. Puppy classes aren't magic. Just signing up, paying, and attending aren't enough. You have to train and practice and build your relationship with your puppy. It will last a lifetime and the effort you put in now will pay off multifold. But keep in mind that the bad habits that you and your puppy develop now will also give you payback many times over! So let's assume you have really committed yourself to rearing a puppy well, and talk about how to get the most out of your puppy classes

Problems Associated With Adopting Two Puppies at the Same Time

There's no denying it: a new puppy is one of the world's most wonderful things. It's a cold, hard heart that doesn't get all mushy over puppy breath, soft pink puppy pads, and the fun of helping a baby dog discover his new world. So, if one puppy is wonderful, two puppies must be twice as wonderful, right? Well, not usually. Most training professionals strongly recommend against adopting two pups at the same time. The biggest challenge of adopting puppy pairs is their tendency to bond very closely with each other, often to the exclusion of a meaningful relationship with their humans. They can become inseparable. Also, owners often underestimate the time commitment required to properly care for and train two puppies; as a result the pups often end up untrained and undersocialized.

Conditioning Confidence in Your Dog or Puppy

There was once a time when you rarely encountered the word socialization" in dog circles. Today it's the new training buzzword; if you haven't heard it at least three dozen times by the time your dog is a dozen weeks old

Get Your Puppy Enrolled Into Puppy Training School As Early as Possible

The optimum time to start a puppy’s education is as early as possible: about eight weeks of age. With food treats and clickers as the primary tools in our training arsenal, we can help owners start educating their youngsters at an optimum training age, before pups have had several months of reinforcement for unwelcome and inappropriate behaviors. Paradoxically, some veterinarians still counsel owners to wait until their new puppies are six months old and “fully vaccinated” to take them to training class. Unfortunately, this advice is just as outdated as the use of choke chains in puppy classes! It’s true that you shouldn’t wantonly expose your pup to high-risk dog populations; you should never take him to a dog park, or let him play with stray dogs on the street. But the risk of contracting an infectious disease in a controlled setting, with other healthy puppies, is quite low.

Holistic Puppy Care Starts With The Parents

Responsible, holistic puppy care begins long before the puppy arrives at the homestead. In fact, the first step to creating a healthy puppy is the selection of the puppy’s parents! The best predictors of long-term health of puppies are the health history and personality of the parents. Breeding stock should be proven to be sound in body, mind, and socialization.

Puppies Who Demonstrate “Alpha” Behavior

Teddy’s owners were distraught as they explained to me on the phone why they had called. Their veterinarian had told them that their nine-week-old Golden Retriever puppy was “dominant aggressive” because he was biting their hands. He had advised them to alpha-roll the pup every time he tried to bite or otherwise challenge their authority.

Pre-Puppy Preparation

Most people spend months preparing for the arrival of a new baby. They're just as likely, however, to bring a baby dog home on a whim, without any preparation at all. Small wonder they find themselves playing catch-up for weeks, months, years, or even getting rid of" the dog as they struggle to recover from the mistakes made in the pup's formative months. "

Puppy Training Classes Teach Self Control

When Hera was about 18 months, we went to an adult dog training class. This instructor told us to use a prong collar. We bought one but often we forgot" to bring it to class. We walked her with it a couple of times but just couldn't get ourselves comfortable with the tool even after we'd followed the instructor's directions to put it around our own thighs and jerk so we'd know it didn't hurt terribly much."

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