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?
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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. "
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."
Dogs who are confident, comfortable, and safe in public are made, not born. Here’s how to socialize your new puppy – or provide remedial socialization for the dog who missed his best chance to learn these critical lessons. By the time a pup is weaned at 7-8 weeks, he should already have a positive worldview programmed into his little puppy brain.
A native of Britain, Dunbar earned his veterinary degree in that country, but came to the U.S. to conduct further research into canine behavior at the University of California, Berkeley. After earning his Ph.D. there, he founded Sirius Puppy Training, the first and best-known provider of puppy training classes. Dr. Dunbar is widely credited for popularizing dog-friendly training methods in recent decades, thanks to his appearance at hundreds of lectures (his best guess is that the number is over 850), and a number of books and videotapes he’s written, published, and produced.
There are lots of other wonderful applications for baby gates in addition to basic puppy management. We have long used one to bar the dogs from our cats’ room (the cats jump over the gate); this keeps the canines from dining on kitty kibble, and prevents them from devouring that grossly delectable dog treat, litter box “kitty rocca.” Gates can also be used to keep a dog out of a baby’s nursery, or out of the bedroom of any family member who is allergic to dog hair. And if your clever Collie has learned that the sofa is off limits when you are there but fair game when you’re away, you can use a gate to block her access to the room with the forbidden furniture.