Friday, January 28, 2011
I'm a ZUMBA ADDICT and a major dog lover! Both passions have come together for a wonderful day of dancing and doggie adoptions! Event is March 12th at the Cottonwood Civic Center in Old Town from 10:30 -3pm. Come learn about fostering, volunteering and adopting. Speakers will present training tips, nutritional and behavioral advice and MORE! Then, learn how to ZUMBA from ERIC AGLIA, quite possibly, Arizona's hottest ZUMBA instructor! All proceeds will help Golden Bone Rescue realize its dream of building a NO KILL sanctuary where dogs will not only find safe haven but will receive the behavioral therapy they so desperately need to become adoptable again! For more information, please go to www.goldenbonerescue.org. On Facebook, please "LIKE" ZUMBATHON for Golden Bone Rescue & Rehab's page & Golden Bone Rescue & Rehab's page.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Imagine what the world must look like to a pup. Everything is new and cause for exploration. Guided by a powerful sense of smell, their spirit of adventure starts to form as soon as those little legs start gaining coordination. Couple that with teething, sore gums made better through stimulation, no wonder your shoes with the bonus of your scent, become favorite chew toys, the laundry pile a playground.
Watching a pup with its littermates, before it’s fully weaned, or with a group of other pups of similar size and age, can reveal lots about what you can expect as he or she grows. One will be more assertive than another, stronger or more vocal. They instinctively find their place in their family structure. If you’re choosing from a litter, it’s best not to be influenced solely by appearances. People often chose a pup based on how it looks rather than innate characteristics that may be better suited to their household. The little one who scrambles over to you while others linger behind may simply be more demanding when your home may do best with a gentler spirited pet.
Puppies start off sleepy little cuddly things. They eat, potty, play a bit, but mostly they sleep. It’s easy to fall in love with those little fuzz balls that make endearing noises and kiss our chins with puppy breath. Efforts to run and play and climb over things are awkward at best. Their little bodies are still forming and bursts of energy are quickly followed by a snooze.
Soon, they grow. Before long, a sense of adventure takes hold and suddenly you’re faced with a full time job keeping your pup out of mischief. Rugs, shoes, bits of paper and electric cords start showing up shredded. It’s time to get serious about potty training and setting boundaries about what is and is not acceptable. If you let your puppy up on the bed or sofa now, it’s going to be much harder training him later, when he’s big, to stay off the furniture. My dogs take turns claiming the bed as their domain but out of respect for the wishes of friends and family who may have other standards, it’s important to teach your pup that while visiting outside the home, furniture is for people, floors are for dogs.
Leash training should also begin in these early months. It’s much easier to get a dog used to a leash and collar or harness very early on. The leash should be a cause for joy, not something to be feared. It’s not a tether but a training tool to help guide your pet towards appropriate behavior no matter where you are.
When I start leash training, I prefer to use a harness. With dogs that pull relentlessly, the Premier Easy Walk harness is wonderful. It redirects pressure from the shoulders or back to the front of the chest and makes it impossible for the dog to pull against you without losing his or her balance.
It’s important though, to learn how to use it correctly. Most people try to hold their dogs back by pulling them back physically and keeping a taut leash. Most dogs will naturally pull against a taut leash. It’s the same natural reflex that makes sled dogs so good at what they do. I rarely, if ever use choke collars and certainly never pinch collars. There are many effective alternatives that rely on technique rather than force and pain.
Puppy time is also great for crate training. A crate should be a safe, comfy haven, not a prison. If you travel a lot, with or without your pets, a crate trained dog will do much better in boarding kennels and will travel better with a safe and familiar place to retreat from unfamiliar surroundings. If you start your pup out with a crate as a bed, the job is basically done for you. He or she will naturally seek the comfort of his own “den”. If you need to crate train later in a dog’s life, start by placing a familiar bed or blanket inside the crate, leave the door open and lace the back of the crate with aromatic little treats scattered in hard to reach places. Let your pet go in and out at will and encourage him to settle down inside, with the door still open. When you have to confine him behind the closed crate door, make sure he or she has access to water and a good, safe chew toy or treat. Don’t leave him in there with a meal unless you know you’ll be able to take him out to potty within half an hour.
Never leave a dog confined in a crate more than a few hours. If you have to be at work, have a friend or neighbor come over and let him out for a bit. It’s just flat out uncomfortable to be locked up too long.
Bringing a new dog into a family is a major decision. Consider that your pup, given proper care may live to be 15-20 years old depending on breed, genetics, size and nutrition. If you’re not prepared to commit to a long life with your pup, consider adopting an older pet. It’s not fair to a dog to bounce from home to home. While you will probably have to spend time training and helping your new pet adjust, you won’t be up against the distinct energy of growing pups, and a shorter commitment may well be appropriate for your situation. There are many wonderful adult dogs needing homes at shelters everywhere.
Nadia Caillou is an animal behaviorist and co-owner of Golden Bone Pet Products in Camp Verde, Arizona. She is the founder of Golden Bone Rescue and Rehab and has over 30 years experience helping distressed animals and helping pet owners, shelters and pounds overcome problem behavior in animals.