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The best in health, wellness, and positive training from America’s leading dog experts

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Puppies

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."

How to Socialize Your New Puppy

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.

Begin Training Your Puppy as Soon as Possible

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.
puppy gate

Using Baby Gates as Puppy Management Tools

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.

Puppy Shots – Understand Vaccinations

Modern-day dog owners enjoy the comforting certainty that their puppies can and will be given a series of vaccinations, so-called “puppy shots,” to protect them from life-threatening canine diseases such as distemper, parvovirus, and rabies. Most of us were indoctrinated in early childhood to schlep Shep to the vet once a year for his annual booster shots in order to extend that vital protection year after year. We accepted without question that a failure to do so was the height of dog owner irresponsibility.

Buying a Naturally Reared Puppy

Read any good puppy contracts lately? Probably not. Health and placement guarantees, spay and neuter requirements, limited registration and other legal details are important, but they can (yawn) put you right to sleep. Well, that used to be true, but today some breeders are writing contracts that leave people rubbing their eyes in disbelief because they contradict everything mainstream veterinary medicine recommends. These contracts require puppy buyers to feed an all-raw diet, avoid routine vaccinations, and use holistic therapies instead of conventional veterinary care.
white lab

Preparing For and Training Young Puppies

The first time I saw Buddy he was a tiny tan morsel nestled in his owner's arms, a perfect pudge of a yellow Labrador retriever puppy – eight weeks old, fat, round and chunky with a shiny black button nose, warm brown eyes and milk-sweet puppy breath. His owner, Tena, had carried him into my training class to hand him over to me for three weeks of in-home boarding and training.

Housetraining Puppies

A primary concern of all responsible puppy owners is housetraining. Nothing gets old as quickly as cleaning up piles of puppy poop and puddles of puppy pee. An effective management and training program that prevents accidents is key to successful housetraining (see “Getting Off to the Best Start”), but even the most dedicated puppy owner is likely to slip up and allow at least one mistake. Of course, when that happens, we clean and scrub and remove all traces of urine and feces. We work on two levels: we want the carpet to look good again, and we want the smell of the dog’s mistake to disappear.

Pin-Sharp Puppy Teeth

they learn how to play so that they can get what they want and have fun. If they are too rough

No Need For Force When Puppy Training

Following a rash of reports of puppy deaths at the hands of their trainers, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) released a statement denouncing any training methods which cause physical harm to dogs. The last straw for APDT members was the news report of a trainer in Raleigh, North Carolina, who allegedly killed an eight-week-old Shar-Pei puppy by repeatedly using a choke collar and pinning the puppy to the ground to correct it for “puppy biting.” The pup died at its vet’s office, reportedly from damage to the trachea. The APDT was already aware of at least three similar cases: Some weeks prior, two puppies (one in Virginia and one in Hawaii) died when their trainers stuck their fingers down the dogs’ throats attempting to stop them from nipping.

Teaching Your Puppy Critical Social Skills

If you are ever in California, you might want to make it a point to visit Carmel Beach, at the end of Ocean Avenue in Carmel Village, Monterey County. Carmel Beach is a canine utopia. Dogs are allowed, even encouraged, to run off-leash along a breathtaking Pacific Ocean backdrop. On any given day, at any given time, you’ll see Golden Retrievers racing along the sand after tennis balls, Labradors fetching sticks from the surf, Border Collies herding shorebirds, and any and all varieties of mixed-breeds and purebreds romping together in happy groups. Rarely, if ever, does a fight happen. Oh, an occasional brief scuffle maybe, as two ball-obsessed Aussies squabble over possession rights. But it’s hardly ever serious.

Latest Blog

Nobody’s Perfect! Least of All Me!

I strive to be a good dog—I mean, a good dog owner. But recently, I was stuck between being a responsible dog owner and being responsible for my dogs’ well being, and I broke a leash law in order to protect my dogs. And I got yelled at, a couple of times.