Finally the big day is here, you’re bringing home your new puppy! Congratulations, how sweet a day is this? Your puppy turned 8 weeks old and the breeder let you have him. By law in some states, California, this is the earliest you can take your puppy, but is it the right thing? Your vet, in whom you have the world of trust, informs you, you must not take your puppy anywhere until all his vaccinations are complete. And from her standpoint, she is correct, but and this is a big one, from a behavior standpoint we know the window of socialization is quickly coming to a close. What to do, what to do? You may have a vet that tells you there is no reason to rush and puppies can’t learn at this stage and may even suggest you not begin training until they are 6 months old or older. My response to that is…would you allow your puppy to eliminate in your home for 6 months? No, I’m sure. The truth be told your puppy is learning from the first day he comes home. And if you’re a wise owner, you will see there are many desirable behaviors your puppy will offer from day one and if you reward them you can capture them now.
Sitting is a very good example, if you stand upright and your puppy looks up at you his little head will come up and back, as this happens his little bum will go down, smile, coo, treat, pet, do something that tells him you love that behavior. If he learns sitting makes you happy, you may just have a pup that sits when greeting people instead of jumping. What if from day one you don’t allow your puppy to charge through an open door, wouldn’t that be helpful later when he’s older? I wonder how many dogs wouldn’t end up in shelters, if only they learned to wait to be invited outside. So back to your vet’s recommendations, no, none of us want our puppies to become ill but I know for a fact we have more dogs turned in to shelters for behavior issues than illness. What’s a new owner to do? This truly is a conundrum, and I fully appreciate your dilemma. You don’t want to take you puppy to classes at a Big Box store where no one checks dogs coming and going, nor do you want to take them to a public setting, such as a park, where there are absolutely no controls and by the way did your vet tell you, you could bring home the parvo virus by walking through the urine of an effected dog?
OK, don’t panic, I know I’ve given you a lot to think about but take a deep breath. First of all, when I get a puppy, I take him to the beach, NOT on the beach, but we park and he can smell the ocean, hear the waves, see people. He has also had a short car ride, probably in his crate. All good stuff. Now, perhaps we’re off to a local school, again for sounds, sights, and smells. It gives him an opportunity to learn about my body language, a smile is a good thing, me ignoring him means I’m displeased with his actions. This also gives me time to begin to assess what type of puppy I have. Is he reactive, shy, bold, or confident? I know what I have to work with and where I need to concentrate my training; so much easier to train in the beginning than trying to correct re-occurring behaviors. Always think of a re-occurring behavior as a rehearsal, remember if you practice something over and over again, even if incorrectly done, you will get better at that behavior. Re-read that and really give it some thought. This is why one time should be a flag, the second time means you'd better get to doing something about it, unless you like that behavior, don't wait until the behavior is set. I remember a phone call once that went something like this...Caller: I need help. My dog bite someone and is now in quarantine. Me: is this the first time your dog bit someone? Caller: Well, yes the first time on the record. Me: What does that mean? Caller: he's bitten 7 others but they were just family members. Me: (face slap) Ah, you didn't think that counted? Caller: No, not really, should I have? Me: Awkward silence as I try to say something profession (To myself, CRAP! You think?). So you mull over this for a bit and I'll post more soon.
Owner compliance; is it an owner problem or trainer problem? Or is it both?
In observing many trainers over the years I have witnessed trainers that were just going through
the motions, not connecting with their clients; dog or owner. But I've also observed owners that
are not connecting with trainers. So who's problem is it really? I think in order to get this answer
one needs to be honest with themselves and take a hard look at themselves. If I'm teaching a
class and I know that one of my student doesn't have that 'hook up look', it's incumbent upon
me to find out why. There are times that people are in class just to say they going to class, I'll
give you that. But in my heart of hearts I do believe most people are in class to learn, perhaps
they have a problem with their dog, perhaps it's their first dog. The training for a person who is a
first time dog owner can be quite different than a person who has had dogs before when relating
to them at a training level. I take a great deal of time trying to ferret out which type of person I'm
working with at that moment and how to connect with that particular person. If for no other
reason than for the sake of the dog.
WOW, can you believe 2011 is in the rear view mirror now and 2012 is here! I'm not sure what kind of year you've had but I'll tell you its been interesting for me, to say the least. Beginning with being awarded "trainer of the year" at the Westminster festivities. A nationwide search produced my name. How cool is that? This wasn't a contest I entered, this was a search conducted by Comfort Zone and Bowtie Publications (publishers of Dog World and Dog Fancy magazine and many others) of my peers. That made it all the sweeter.
The universe seems to need balance so with the good must be some bad, I saw many dogs pass this year. Most were dogs I've been honored to know for many, many years and their journeys had ended. Some went peacefully, others not so much. They all will be missed, and I think of them often. My greatest loss was my beautiful Cane, he left too early. The pain is still daily, but this is what we call life.
Did you know that all fees for nail trims, ear cleaning, re-cycling go to our medical fund? Last year we assisted owners of 12 dogs/cats with medical expenses. Most were subsidized spay and neutering but there were two cases where we contributed to medical emergencies. Bring us your cans and plastic bottles and we'll add your re-cycling money to the medical fund. Thanks, as always, for your continuing patronage. We feel blessed to know all of you.
Got some spring cleaning going on? We are an official drop-off location for Annie’s blankets. There are some items Annie’s Blankets won’t take; however, many items can still find a home elsewhere. We will take bulky comforters and blankets to use here or find other homes for them. To see what Annie’s Blankets will take please check out their website www.anniesblankets.org . Don’t forget to bring a donation during Homeless Pet Day.
A rare occurrence! We have a couple of openings for part-time help in the daycare. If you know of someone or you are interested, please see Barbara for more information.
Casey and I took a quick run up to Portland, OR a couple of weekends ago to go see, Butch Cappel, a speaker I had not seen before. His seminar was on basic bite work, since this is a field where egos can run amuck, I didn’t take a dog. Boy, do I wish I had; what a great trainer! Many a dog has been ruined by a trainer’s ego, and the protection field seems to excel at this. Butch worked dogs at their levels, understood when the work was too much for the dog and respected them. I was so impressed that we have invited Butch to come a do a two day seminar in August. See more in the events section.
I have recently been asked to aid with some children what have some physical problems or limitations. Most are in wheelchairs and they’ve come in to watch the dogs play at day care, some are thinking about getting service dogs and need to know what services a dog can provide. Cane picked up a tin of candy about 10 times to aid a young girl when she dropped the tin. I think it was fun for both of them. If you have a dog that would be good with young people who may be erratic with their movements or lack language skills and would like to visit their classrooms, please let me know, their teachers would love to have some visit. We all know how much our dogs mean to us, now think how much joy they might provide for someone limited in their exposure to dogs or the outside world.
Have you missed a class or just didn’t seem to “get it”? There’s help on its way….coming soon our “a la carte” classes. You will be able to attend a one time class where a certain behavior (each week will have a topic) will be taught. The emphasis will be on “cleaning up” or teaching that behavior and that alone. The cost will be $20.00 per class and all fees will be put into our medical/spay/neuter fund. I’m still working on the schedule and other details, but will probably have a “buy 4, get a 5th free” sort of thing. Keep looking at the training section for more information soon.
Well, after almost a year off I will be returning to teaching more classes. I want to thank Amanda Appling and Jon Sparks for carrying the majority of the load in this last year; they have done a great job. Thank you, thank you, both! But after two new hips I can’t sit back and watch class from the sidelines any longer, I miss classes and the students. I will still be doing private in-home lessons and consultations, in addition to the classes. At this time I’m not sure which classes I will teach but as this develops it will be noted on the schedule. Thank you for your continued support over the last 30 years.
We recently held our first Canine Good Citizen workshop. Read more about it by clicking here.
<Postponed until next spring>
I am so excited From the Heart Dog Training has booked Lew Olsen for Aug 5, to discuss nutrition in dogs. I’ve followed Lew for years with all of her information on nutrition and feeding. She writes a wonderful newsletter on a multitude of nutritional issues, she give information that is preventative as well as how to live with many ailments. We will have much more in the near future regarding her lecture, so check back at the Events page often. If you would like to see some of Lew’s work, check out www.b-naturals.com for some of her writings. I can’t wait until August.
Kathy of Kathy’s Grooming has moved! She has re-located to From the Heart Dog Training Center and we are proud to have Kathy involved with us in providing the best pet services in Salinas. She is very kind when handling grumpy Fidos and does a wonderful job with all dogs. I’ve known Kathy for several years and she is the only person I let groom Barney. She can be reached for an appointment at 206-0782. Please help us welcome Kathy on the team!
Read about our adventures to
one weekend in May. See more pictures on our bulletin board at the training center.
Barbara was recently interviewed for an article, Re-habilitating a Rescued Rott for Training Secrets for Rottweilers, a Dog Fancy magazine publication on sale now.
Katrina Update - I’ve just returned from New Orleans and although I am very behind in returning phone calls and re-scheduling private lessons, I feel it’s important to post an update on the situation in New Orleans.
The Canine ScENTINEL