Sunday, February 21, 2010

Time to Train

When is the best time to talk to a professional dog trainer? Well, the obvious answer is anytime. But I see some guardians out there who wait so long. The best time to contact a trainer is before a problem arises—or at the very least before a problem escalates. Dog training has changed completely from the rough-handling tactics of the 1970s and prior. There are lots of great trainers out there who can give you great advice. Why do guardians put off training? If you have a puppy, you have a sponge. If you just rescued a dog, now is the time to start things off right. Why would you let a housebreaking problem continue for longer than a month—let alone for years? (True story.) Trainers hear about problems so late sometimes. That’s not fair to your furry friend.

Let’s show your dog how to walk nicely on a leash! Let’s keep him from barking at the neighbors! Let’s get him to enjoy car rides! Now is the time. My sessions are only $85. Having a trained dog is not expensive and it’s lovely!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rescue Dogs

More and more people are taking home shelter and rescue dogs to live with them! Hooray! It seems adoptions are greater than ever and the numbers are growing by leaps and bounds. Nowadays the public really seems more educated about where to find great dogs. Of course ALL dogs are great; it’s their guardians we have to worry about.

But two things need to happen: people need to choose the RIGHT dog for them and people need to spend more time training their rescue dogs.

If you live virtually a couch-potato lifestyle and don’t want to spend hours walking your dog and throwing a ball, you can still make a great companion for a dog. You need to pass right by that adorable Jack Russell! Do not pass go; do not collect $200! There are so many fabulous dogs who have already seen their puppy years and who enjoy shorter walks and more couch cuddling; choose an older dog or a lower-energy breed. I LOVE connecting guardians with the RIGHT dog for them. Send me an e-mail and I’ll meet you at the shelter!

Now that you have found your new friend and are ready to take her home from the rescue, what next? Be sure she is secure and happy in the car (more on that another time), then get her home but WALK her for at least a half hour before even going into your place! A dog who feels as if she’s migrated to a new home will usually settle in more quickly. Easy! It’s what would happen in the wild.

Rescue dogs often experience separation anxiety and/or have some housebreaking issues. Who can blame them? They’ve usually lived in a place with lots of other animals and people coming in and out all the time; now they live in a great place but it’s quieter and their person goes to someplace called the Store and leaves them. And their schedule at the kennel may have had some routine but their walks hardly happened at the same time. Now they’re supposed to piddle outside only?

Ninety-nine percent of dog issues (which are really human errors) can be fixed! Don’t let your new friend down! Do whatever you can for her. You probably don’t even deserve half the love she gives you. TRAIN HER! Exercise her mind with some obedience work! She CANNOT end up back in the shelter again.

I’m here to help!

Coming soon: Why Dogs Are Like Potato Chips