Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Why an In Home Trainer?

Dog training has been around for decades but now, more than ever, dogs are becoming true members of the family. With this fact we come to realize that our four-legged family members need to be well-mannered and listen to us so everyone can enjoy them!

You can find just about any type of dog training today—group classes, private lessons at a facility, boarding-and-training and even training at the trainer’s home for a few weeks. However, to have the dog that everyone wants to love and enjoy takes a true commitment and only one-on-one training can provide that.

One-on-one training can be completely customized (when you find the right trainer) to your needs, goals and priorities. It can work with your lifestyle and what works best for you, your family and best of all—your four-legged companion!

Not only is in-home training beneficial to the dog owners but it is great for scheduling! You can schedule it around your own schedule to accommodate the rest of your life!

We value the importance of every aspect of a puppy’s life, including socialization, proper nutrition, exercise, training and activities. However, for years, people have preached that puppies do best when put in a puppy class first for training. Our trainers at Adventures in Canine Training (based in the Dallas/Forth Worth Metroplex) do not agree with this for young puppies. Let us list reasons why in-home training is best for young puppies (and adult dogs alike).

  1. First, puppies are too young to join a class until they have at least 2-3 rounds of vaccinations to ensure their health and safety. They could be 12 weeks, or older, by this time and many critical learning phases have been passed up.

  2. Puppies need to bond to you in their environment. When a new puppy is brought into your home he/she is most likely scared, nervous and afraid. They have been taken from the only home they have ever known as well as their furry dog mamma and littermates. Therefore you need your puppy to adjust to his/her new home properly.

  3. While adjusting to their new home, a puppy needs to have leadership, rules, boundaries and training in place to grow up to be a well-rounded, confident and happy puppy. This is best done in the home and can start as early as 8 weeks of age (puppies shouldn't leave the litter until 8 weeks).

  4. We discuss how to properly socialize your puppy, as we do in fact stress and understand the importance of this for puppies. However, sadly, most places and trainers go about it the wrong way these days. Puppy class is not the best way to socialize your puppy! (We discuss socialization in detail in our in-home training!)

  5. Setting training up from day one makes raising a puppy so much more pleasurable. You can curb unwanted behaviors or prevent them from ever occurring at all! You can also teach very young puppies all the basic obedience commands right away.

  6. Once training has begun the puppy will find a new respect for you, your family and his/her new environment.

  7. If your puppy does not have any training under his belt, so to speak, at home he will definitely not do very well outside of the home in a group setting or in a strange place. It can be overwhelming and often traumatic to take a young puppy to training outside the home without starting leadership, rules and training in the home first.

  8. We highly encourage our puppy owners to join a group class, once basic training has been well established in the home. We offer an array of wonderful classes for puppies and dogs once they have successfully completed in-home training!

Our in-home programs are extremely successful as we are able to train the owners as well as the dogs! Truly successful dog training lies with the owner and their abilities to use the resources and training we provide to the best of their abilities! You will find that training does not depend on the trainer but rather the trainer's education, resources and then the owner's ability to follow through.

Sending a dog away for training is not a good idea. You do not form a relationship with your dog and from a trainer’s perspective—any trainer can train a dog. So what happens when the dog goes back home with the trainer absent? The dog can quickly become “un-trained”. The relationship lies with the trainer and the dog, not the owner and the dog.

And lastly, in-home training is fun for the whole family! You can learn so many things about dogs and behavior that you may not have known. These things will help you along the road throughout your dog’s life!

Our trainers are all highly skilled, trained and certified in just about all areas of dog training. We offer all aspects of puppy raising, training and socialization as well as training for dogs of all ages. We have in-home training and many great, fun group classes as well. We also offer therapy dog training and then visiting hospitals through our non-profit therapy dog organization—Paws Partners, Inc.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Helping Feed the Hungry this Holiday Season

I have volunteered our therapy dog group, Paws Partners Inc., to do a food drive for the Tarrant Area Food Bank. We are hoping to collect as many items from our list as possible between now and November 19th.

You can download our list of items here, if that doesn't work you can visit my website for details via this link. If you live in the DFW area and have anything to donate let me know and I'll arrange a way to meet you and get the items from you! . . . and thanks!!

We are also doing our annual Xmas fundraiser where we sell our dog biscuit reindeer ornaments. Yes! Aren't they cute? I made those all myself! I do all the ornaments and we sell them for $5. Cute, eh? So if anyone wants one please place your order online by filling out our online form here.

Thanks to anyone who helps, we can't wait to help the community more and show what great things our therapy dog group can do!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Halloween Safety for Fido

brought to you by Courteous Canines, LLC

Don't leave your dog unattended outside, even briefly, on Halloween. Even dogs contained in fenced yards are not necessarily safe. Eggs, candy, and other materials may be thrown at the dog and consumed. Less benign items may be thrown at him which may cause serious damage. Sadly, many animals - especially black cats and dogs - may be the objects of serious, malicious abuse on this holiday. Mischievous youths may leave fence gates ajar or enter fenced areas, even if "beware of dog" signs are posted. Especially on Halloween, where visitors may be numerous and very disarming to the resident dog, make sure your dog does not have unsupervised access to visitors, nor they to him.

Keep your dog on a leash during Halloween. Even normally obedient dogs may be sufficiently aroused or frightened to behave unexpectedly on this holiday. Walk your dog at times when you are unlikely to encounter mobs of trick-or-treaters. Keep the dog restrained by a leash - even if you ordinarily use some sort of "invisible," electronic fence system - to prevent the dog from either charging towards trick-or-treaters or bolting away from them. You do not want to lose your dog at any time, but certainly not on Halloween where pranksters often cross the line and become cruel to animals.

Keep your dog away from the front door when you answer it for trick-or-treaters. It is actually best to keep the dog in another room in a crate or safe area, away from the door and ruckus.

Give the dog something to chew on. Just because your dog is locked away from the front door, doesn't mean he can't have a good time. Give him a rawhide bone, Kong or marrow bone stuffed with something tasty--peanut butter, cream cheese, liverwurst, etc. to keep him occupied. Not only will this give him something to do, but chewing helps reduce stress.

Be careful about what your dog eats on Halloween. Candy can make any of us nauseous in sufficient amounts, and dogs generally eat wrapper and all. Chocolate, in particular, is toxic to dogs if they consume enough of it. Some dogs will find Halloween make-up, candles, and other small-sized items appealing and try to eat them. The day after Halloween, you may find broken eggs strewn on lawns and streets. All of these temptations are items that your dog should not be allowed to eat. For a complete list of hazards to avoid and how, visit the ASPCA's website.

Try to foresee potential hazards on Halloween and prepare for them. As indicated, particular areas of concern are things that dogs might eat, interactions between dogs and children, and the general level of excitement or fear, which might create opportunities for escape or promote irritable behavior. Remember that dogs don't grasp that Halloween is a holiday, and they may find throngs of loud, raucous, peculiarly-costumed children genuinely frightening and traumatic. Be sensitive to your dog's stress level and safety, and have a Happy Halloween!