July 13, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Did Your Holiday Present Go Woof?

While the practice is frowned upon by most animal industry professionals, the holidays still see a huge increase in the giving of puppies as gifts. Of course, some conscientious owners have taken the necessary steps and are prepared for what lies ahead. But unfortunately, many puppies will be entering in to homes that aren’t prepared for their arrival and the responsibilities that come with owning a dog. This can lead to a series of problems; most seriously abandonment.

As it is with children, consistent and proper teaching during a dog’s early life will set the stage for a lifetime of happiness for both the owner and pet. Expert Dog Behaviorist Jonathan Klein offers up these basic tips for how to create a positive and ‘puppy-friendly’ environment along with some training methods that all dog owners should know.

1.)Prepare Your Home
Puppies, like children, are curious so ‘puppy proofing’ your home is essential. Lock away all household chemicals, keep any potentially poisonous houseplants or breakables out of reach, try to tie back any electrical cords and keep doors closed. It’s also important to create a specific space for a new puppy and using portable gates is a great way for the puppy to feel safe without the sense of abandonment that comes from being locked alone in a room. Don’t give in to the occasional whine and mix solitude with “together time.â€

2.)Consistency Now Brings Happiness Later
Dogs have incredible memories. They’ll never forget something that is fun or rewarding so it only takes one time getting on the couch or finding scraps in the garbage for them to learn “the sofa is really comfortable†or “there’s free food in the trash.†Supervision and consistency is crucial in the early days and months because it’s a lot easier to teach dogs good habits than to break bad habits.

3.)Stay Positive
Right from the start it’s crucial to always use positive reinforcement to train your puppy what you want them to do rather than what not to do. A reward and praise for using a ‘potty pad’ goes a lot farther than a scolding for missing the mark. Showing puppies things they have done wrong makes them “hide†and virtually eliminates the ability to teach them what’s right.

4.)It’s a marathon…not a sprint
While you may want to show off your new puppy at the dog park or a neighbor’s house this shouldn’t be done for at least 8 weeks. Socialization is vital but it’s important not to expose your puppy to any situations that may cause fear. The truth is that more dogs are put down due to fear issues than are lost to illness. Give your puppy time to feel safe and secure before introducing him to new environments. And when the time is right, play dates and puppy classes are great but dog park visits need to wait until all vaccinations are completed.

5.)Learn About Your Puppies History
It’s important to learn as much as possible about your puppy’s history as this information will help a veterinarian determine which vaccinations are necessary. Most vets recommend a series of shots at 9, 12 and 16 months old. A good idea to help familiarize your dog with going to the vet is to set up a “fun†visit with no medical treatment. Set your puppy on the table and have the vet give it a treat. This will reduce anxiety for the next visit and help you determine if you’ve chosen the right vet.

Expert dog behaviorist Jonathan Klein has successfully trained more than 6,000dogs, and their owners, over his 20-year career. He is the founder of the Culver City-based, personalized dog-training center I Said Sit which was voted the #1 Dog Training School in 2009 by KTTV-FOX L.A. He was one of the first trainers to implement the “causative” approach to training which moves past the symptoms of behavior and instead focuses on the cause allowing him to successfully address the behavior without breaking the spirit of the dog. For more information go to www.isaidsit.com.

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