Is it time to train your dog? I have a few tips and tricks on why it’s important to train your dogs.
Reason 1: Basic training for your pet makes life a little easier for you, because it creates good habits for your dog.
Reason 2: Training your dog helps to create a bond between the two of you. It helps you to pick up on your dogs silly little quirks that you otherwise wouldn’t have noticed. Training also helps you to find what motivates them and what distracts them, and can help build the trust in your relationship.
Reason 3: Teaching your dog basic manners allows your pet to be welcome in more environments and situations, such as guests coming to your home or visiting the public dog park.
Reason 4: Teaching your dog basic manners is helps your pet get off on the right foot in their forever home, and can help you both stay on a positive path.
Puppy classes are a good place to start because they provide opportunities to develop skills with other puppies, other people, and in new environments.
Other training classes provide dog owners with the skills and knowledge in dealing with common dog behaviors, such as housetraining and chewing. Basic training can provide your dog with good manners such as greeting politely, walking nicely on the leash, and coming when called.
Having a good foundation of training provides your dog with the basis for any activity, behavior, or job you want your dog to be able to do. Training helps give you a broader range of activities and dog sports to choose from: dog agility, rally-obedience, dancing with your dog, tracking, search and rescue, sledding, therapy work, the list is endless!
Socialization is an important part of training, particularly in puppies. We recommend keeping your puppy limited to public exposure until they have had all 3 sets of their vaccines. Once they have a complete set of puppy vaccines (usually by 16 weeks of age) they can visit more public places like the dog park, pet store, etc.
When socializing your puppy we recommend:
From infants to the elderly; different sizes, ethnicities, glasses, hats, facial hair, different clothing, anything you can think of that would be nerve racking to your pet.
New environments like urban areas, country settings and everything in between. Visit your friends’ homes, your kids’ soccer games, and take quiet walks in the park (once they are fully vaccinated, of course!).
Dog-friendly cats and other vaccinated pets, household appliances, cars, busses, fire hydrants, trees and flowers. Anything you can think of that may be new to your puppy probably is so the sky is your limit!
Pleasant car rides, a positive trip to the veterinary’s office just to get treats, and other activities your pup might enjoy. Puppy class is one of the best places for socialization!
The 4th of July is coming, people are hustling and bustling to get ready for their parties, they are buying all the fixings for a good 4th of July party and that usually includes what pet owners dread most; fireworks. We know summer thunderstorms are on their way, and pets sense their arrival. Dealing with a panicked pet is stressful.
Knowing the signs of stress
Common signs include panting, pacing, drooling, barking, licking their lips, hiding, etc. If your dog hears the booming noise of a firework or a thunderstorm you know you are in for a long night. Be sure to monitor your pet for changes in their behavior, especially if you don’t know if they have ever been around loud noises or bright flashes.
Provide comforting distractions
If you know there will be fireworks or know a thunderstorm is coming, try to create a safe place for your pet. A safe place may be in a quiet secluded room; maybe a bathroom downstairs towards the middle of the house with the fan on would be helpful as well. If you don’t have a fan, maybe try a white noise machine or playing some gentle music to help drown out the booming sounds. If your dog is motivated by food maybe try a Kong toy, or something similar, filled with their favorite treats. To fill the gaps of the toy you could use peanut butter, yogurt, or applesauce and then freeze it so it’s hard by the time the fireworks start so they have an enjoyable treat to work on.
You could also comfort your dog in a loving voice. Holding them and speaking in a soothing tone may help them relax. Try playing fetch or tug-of-war with their favorite toy. When your dog hears the booming noise they feel a very genuine panic and you may be their only comfort.
If your pet still seems anxious try putting them in a room with a TV or a radio on to help distract them. You could also try putting a Feliway (for cats) or Adaptil (for dogs) wall diffuser.
If you have tried everything you can think of but nothing is working you should consult your family veterinarian about what would be best for your dog. We have many different options that may or may not work for your dog. Alprazolam and Trazodone are good medications to try; but please consult your family veterinarian first.