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Monday, December 27, 2010

TRAINING: THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING


Many of you may have gained a new family member this holiday season. A puppy? A rescue dog? Congratulations! You’ve received the best gift of all -- a four-legged companion to enrich your life for years to come. Now is the time to make sure you both get started on the right paw.

Set up an area that is comfortable and secure to be your dog’s room. A small space is the best because dogs are den animals and they feel safe there. Many people teach their dogs to use a crate. Schedule specific times for feeding, exercising, elimination and training. This will set up good habits for housebreaking and the time spent with your dog will begin to develop your bond with each other.

Start your new dog’s training the minute he comes into your house. Why? Although dogs are amazingly adaptable, they don’t speak English and they don’t think like humans. A dog does NOT know that peeing on the Christmas tree is bad. He does NOT know that eating turkey out of the trash is forbidden. He has to LEARN these things -- you must TEACH him how to live with a human pack. Building good habits in the beginning is much easier than trying to break bad habits that have formed over time. A professional dog trainer is an invaluable resource to give you the skills you need to teach your dog to successfully adapt to his new home and family.

Housebreaking, the chewing phase, adolescence, socialization, basic manners -- the list seems overwhelming. A good trainer can break these down into manageable lessons for you and your dog. The best trainers use a combination of private consultations, one-on-one lessons, group classes and even training while boarding to tailor a learning program to suit your needs. Positive reinforcement is the most humane and effective method of training being taught today. Look for a trainer who is experienced and continues to update her learning with seminars and continuing education. Check with your vet, local boarding kennels and owners of well-mannered dogs in your neighborhood to see who they recommend. Interview prospective trainers and observe one of their classes to make sure it’s a comfortable fit.

It’s never too early to begin a training program and never too late to learn additional skills. Give your new companion a jump start toward becoming a wonderful, lifelong companion. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Stay N Play Pet Ranch has training programs beginning the second week in January! Check out our training options and schedules here!