Thursday, January 17, 2013

We are proud parents to a new puppy and want to do everything right...

"We are proud parents to a new puppy and want to do everything correctly" Canine professionals will tell you, that this is not a statement you often hear. At Doglando, we certainly are hearing it more and more, and it is such a pleasure to work with the families who have this will. Fortunately or unfortunately, next to the Summer holidays, the Christmas holidays is still a time of the year when most puppies are acquired. It's actually not a bad time of the year to get a puppy, and there is really nothing wrong with gifting a puppy to someone who is knowing, prepared, well read about the breed and what to do, and ready. In real estate the saying goes: are you "ready, willing and able?" I know this from the days I practiced real estate and it has stuck with me since. Pet parents have so many different options when it comes to training programs for their dogs. To complicate matters, they are at the mercy of pet professionals for guidance and quickly realize there is no standardization or consistency in theory, application, or knowledge.

There is a whole lot of opinion though! Many seek advice from their veterinarians, and while some veterinarians have progressed their understanding in animal behavior, socialization and critical periods for exposure, many are still quite traditional in their advice to not begin any form of training or socialization until the puppies have recieved all their necessary vaccinations. In this case, it is important that you do your own research. There are many great scientific articles published by researches, that prove the importance of early socialization and training. So what exactly should a puppy class consist of? Our belief is, that puppy classes should be comprehensive, including opportunities to: - Develop and practice social skills. - Build confidence. - Learn body awareness. - Learn to balance and stabilize. - Learn real life skills such as grooming, greeting people especially children, walking on a leash while sharing the side walk with bicycles, wheelchairs, pedestrians, shopping carts, people using walkers etc. - Exposure to different sounds, stimulus, surfaces, textures etc. - Physical handling and restraint exercises. - Increased ability to cope rather than to run off or fight. - Impulse control activities. - Enrichment / Interactive toys for the home. - Potty training. - Nutrition. Every puppy is unique to themselves in temperament and development. This is critical in your consideration for the type of class you choose for your puppy. At Doglando, we believe training is a lifestyle, a progressive and enriching experience that continues all the way up until the dog is at least one years of age.

This should be mandatory in allowing puppies a fair chance to learn and apply themselves to living with humans. It is most beneficial and ideal that you continue after one, for the next year to prevent complacency, testing, or development of bad habits. There are so many fun classes you can take to continue developing your dog's mental capacity and behavioral repertoire such as: Agility, Dock Diving, Search and Rescue, Scent Work, Tricks, Rally Obedience, Flyball, Trieball, Lure Coursing... the list goes on. The benefits of continuous learning outweigh the expense and your time commitment. It is so much easier to live with a dog who has critical thinking abilities, a dog who can regulate and manage excitement and arousal, a dog that is adaptable and has heightened levels of coping skills to stress or new surroundings. This is the type of dog you can take anywhere with you, and not have to depend on who is going to be there, and if you have access to a fenced yard. This is the essence of dog-ownership, but you must want a dog really badly to have the desire to do all of this. The challenges are not challenges but part of the process, and patience, understanding, fairness, opportunity and consistency are what make the process whole.

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