Thursday, April 20, 2017

Is it time for you to add a new member to the family?

It is so exciting to bring a new puppy home. We get to go shopping.We take it everywhere with us and show everyone. It is exhausted by the end of each day and sleeps with us perfectly...
Then we go back to real life...

Now we have a little peeing, pooping, and sometimes chewing, nipping, and barking machine on our hands. 😇 At this point, we decide to take the puppy to a class where we can learn how to manage and train our little ball of fire. Class is so fun! We learn how to use our dog's brain and keep them busy so they don't eat our house....and the puppy sleeps like a rock afterwards!!!
Then real life again...

According to the ASPCA, "Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.3 million are dogs..."

Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself before getting a puppy/dog:

-Do you have time to walk/exercise them at least 2x daily?
-Do you have a way for them to run their little legs off?
-Do you have 1-3 minutes 2x a day to train (at the least)?
-Who is going to help you with exercise and potty training while you are gone?
-Can you afford the food, supplies, and vet bills?
-Can you afford a trainer if there are behavioral issues?
-Where is your dog going to stay if you have to leave town?
-Are you going to crate train?
-Are you sure this is the best time in your life to have extra responsibilities?
-Do you have the time and patience to repeatedly gently remind your puppy the right ways to do things?

Pet ownership can be a ton of fun and a great blessing. A new pet can also be just like having a toddler. Have a support system in place to help you throughout your pups life and to help ensure that your new furry family member will stay with you forever. Dogs are never too old to learn new things, so choose an age and temperament that fits your lifestyle. And most of your research! 

Carrie Galvan CPDT
Precious K9s

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

When should you start training your new dog?

When should you start training your new dog?

The long and short answer is..." Immediately"!

First impressions are important with humans, but imagine what they are like for a dog... They are brought out of familiar surroundings and put into a whole new life. Sometimes they are changing from no dogs to multiple dogs. Sometimes they have to be a quick study on children and how they move and make loud noises. You never know what a dog has encountered in it's life so you want to slowly introduce it to all of it's new surroundings without causing some sort of emotional trauma.

 As if this isn't enough pressure," You have to start teaching it how to act appropriate immediately???". Yep!

Starting at square one and teaching your new dog to be calm for things can be priceless. The fewer times they get to practice the wrong behavior, the fewer times they will need to practice the right one for it to become muscle memory. If we always sit for a food dish...then we ALWAYS sit for a food dish. There has just not been another way. It can also decrease any anxiety when you give them positive structure. I know I like knowing what is expected of me when I go somewhere new...

Now, realistically we are not going to get everything perfect the first day, or even the first week, but we can always try our best. Just picture the way you would prefer your new dog to act, in any given situation, and practice getting closer and closer to accomplishing that behavior. Maybe you want them to sit before getting their leash put on. You might start with a few seconds of standing still the first time, then a sit with a second of sitting the second attempt. Just gradually increase the criteria in increments and you will eventually reach your goal.

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Helping your four-legged family members live in our two-legged world.
Carrie Galvan
Precious K9s
Springfield, Mo

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Unwanted Behaviors

I often times start out a lesson listening to all of the things a dog does that the parents don't appreciate. "How can I get my dog to stop digging, barking, shredding my house, etc."? The long and short answer is...EXERCISE... Yep it's kind of that simple... Although, it's really not that simple in this day and age. We are all to often go, go, go in our lives and find ourselves too exhausted to throw a ball or go on a run. Dogs need mental and physical exercise to stay sane. They crave companionship and yes, get super excited to see us come back to them after a long day at work. So what can you do to keep you and your dog sane and happy? Find ways to keep them busy that fit your lifestyle... Here is a list of things you could possibly do to enrich the lives of your dogs:

Hire a dog walker
Teach them a trick
Give them safe bones to chew on
Leave work early just for your dog
Find interactive toys that dispense treats
Hide treats around the yard and/or house
Go home on lunch and take a walk with them
Take your dog to daycare on your longer days
Do a training session focusing on obedience and calm behavior
Teach your dog to fetch and play while on the computer or better yet outside
Take a training class with them for fun one-on-one time with no interruptions

This is just a small list of fun things to keep your dog happy and tired. It really is all about carving out a few minutes of your time daily to spend bonding with your dog. It should be a stress reliever to interact with one of the few animals in the world that will play for their entire life.

Some of my favorite sessions during the week are those where people want to teach their dog something new with me coaching them. I love to see the relationship between humans and dogs change for the better over time. So many times I look at them as a team six months or a year later and think, "I wish I would have had a camera crew to document our first session. There is such a difference in the teamwork. This has really developed into an amazing friendship and it could have so easily have been a colossal mess for both the two and four-legged animals involved". 

My professional advice to you today is to set aside just a few minutes of your day to play with your four-legged family member and over time watch them become a loving and happy member of your family.

                                                                     Carrie Galvan CPDT
                                                                     Precious K9s Training and Behavior
                                                                     Springfield, Mo

A quick training session with Achilles.
Working on leaving treats while he lays down.