Sunday, May 26, 2013

Yours........Mine..........Ours.............Who's The Walk For???

When I think about walking my dog, I've found that there are three different types of walks.

This is a walk that belongs to the dog.  It is all about sniffing, exploring, observing, scanning, lingering, all things dog.  All dogs need to have opportunities to explore the world around them and what better way than on a walk.  This walk is totally directed by the dog, I'm following his lead. 

This walk is for the human.  I gave up my gym membership many years ago so that I would have the time and energy to walk my dogs everyday.  I love walking and typically get 4-6 miles in per day.  When I head out on my walk it's pretty faced paced so I typically take my older dogs who are seasoned walking buddies and can keep up with me.  It's important to note that 'forced exercise' is not appropriate for puppies, senior dogs or dogs without appropriate endurance.

These walks are geared towards training and socialization.   When I have a young dog in training we spend alot of time walking and training in public.  These walks include working on leash manners, heeling, greeting people and ignoring distractions.   I'm not concerned about the distance we walk and often times we are just going places and hanging out, so this is not meant to be a physical workout for either human or canine. 

By determing which walk you're going on you can decide if you should include friends or just walk alone.   I've found over the years that both myself and my dogs get more exercise and enjoy our walks when we abandon the one-size-fits-all approach to walks.

More great info by fellow trainers.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bringing Puppy Home

The moment you have been waiting for has arrived, your new puppy is coming home!  There are  things you can do to make this process easier for both you and your puppy.
Have the necessary equipment

The most important piece of equipment you will need is a Crate.  All puppies benefit from having a Crate and learning early on that it's a safe and happy place.  Great things happen in their crate, meals are served, wonderful toys are there and it's the best place for sleeping and quiet time.  It is also helpful to have a few gates on hand or an  X-Pen.  A puppy should not have free run of your home, using gates is a great way to keep them confined to a smaller area. 

Write out a daily routine for everyone to follow

A young puppy needs a schedule, one that everyone complies with.   The first few days will be trial and error as you get to know your new puppy.   They need to eat, head outdoors for bathroom breaks, playtime and sleep.   Following a schedule will ensure that your puppy is getting all their needs met.

Be available and close to home for the first week 

The transition away from the litter and into a new Human home is stressful.  It's best to have someone available 24/7 for the first week.   If you're going to establish a good routine, someone will need to be there to make that happen.  A puppy has limited bladder/bowel control and should not be expected to go more than 2-3 hours without gaining access to the outdoors, especially during the day.  If you can't be home, hire someone to come and cover for you. 

Establish good sleep habits

The average puppy is sleep deprived and this can lead to a whole host of problems.  A young puppy should sleep 18-20 hours per day.  The following article explains why this is so important.
Take things slow

It's best to keep things low keyed the first week or two, stick close to home, avoid having lots of visitors and resist the temptation to go visiting people or places for the first week.  Having a new puppy in your home is exciting and stressful, taking things slow will allow everyone to adjust.  If you have other pets, these early days are equally as important as they establish new relationships.
Enroll in a Puppy Class

Take the time to research and find a Puppy Class, one that is reward based and taught by a professional trainer.  Once a puppy has started their series of puppy vaccinations they can attend a group class.  A puppy SHOULD NOT go to public dog parks until they are fully vaccinated and have had time to develop age appropriate play skills.   By laying a solid foundation you can help your puppy get off to a great start!

We offer Pup Start Classes year round, visit our website, for details and to enroll.