From Shara Butterworth; Director of Training
Q: How do I pick the right dog for my family?
A: “The biggest mistake people make about dogs is choosing the wrong breed for their lifestyle and personality. Although you may be mesmerized by a beautiful husky, are you prepared for the daily exercise this dog needs to be emotionally and physically balanced? If you’re not, a host of bad behaviors will crop up to release that pent up energy including: barking, chewing, digging, jumping to name a few.
Do you like a dog to follow you around the house? A needy Golden Retriever is great for a lot of people but if you prefer a more independent dog perhaps consider a different breed like a Mastiff. If shedding or allergies bother you, consider a Poodle but be prepared to take him to the groomer.
Do you want to take your dog everywhere with you? Pick a highly social breed; most breeds adapt well to their family but guardian breeds will be wary of strangers despite great socialization. Like people, dogs breeds have their social butterflies and their wall flowers and it is important to respect who they are as individuals; it’s not fair to get a high energy dog and expect her to be content laying at your feet all day. Get to know your dog’s likes and dislikes and, do some research before you take that dog home.
Talk to trainers, breeders, breed enthusiast who’ve had experience with your chosen breed so you can have realistic expectations. You can find a lot of online breed selectors that can point you into the right general direction, but really, the voice of experience will give you more valuable information to consider. If everyone would take the time to get to know what they are signing up for (for up to 15+ years), we would have a lot fewer dogs in the shelters.”
If you would like help choosing the next dog for you family, contact our office. Shara or one of our other trainers can provide temperament testing and “Pound Puppy” evaluations for a nominal fee that benefits the mission of CST. (Contact our office to set up an evaluation appointment or ask about training classes for the public.)
From Deborah Norman; Training Instructor
“Nuisance barking” is a common complaint of dog owners when they come for training and help, and it can lead to a host of problems for families. No one wants a call from angry neighbors or a citation from code enforcement because their dog is barking. BUT, barking and whining, howling and growling is how dogs communicate; it is their “native language”. Dogs bark for many reasons: to discipline their pups, to alert to danger, repel intruders, to initiate play, or to express curiosity. These types of barking are generally short lived and specific to the occasions.
Barking for companionship or reward (your attention, food, etc.) is more likely to develop into a problem. Determining what triggers your dog’s barking will tell you how to retrain the issue. So why is YOUR dog barking?
Here are some SOLUTIONS:
Once you have figured out the triggers, there are some steps you can take to control or curb the problem
Remember to give both negative and positive reinforcements. Use an appropriate correction making sure to only correct while the dog is barking. For example, use a quick, sharp verbal command (QUIET! HUSH!) to discourage the barking then IMMEDIATELY follow with a positive word (Good dog! YES!) or a treat as soon as the dog stops. Like good comedy, timing is critical. You may feel like Jekyll & Hyde but your dog will quickly get the message of what behavior you do/not want.
DO NOT reinforce the barking behavior by giving in to your dog’s demand for attention. Only reward the dog when it is quiet and well behaved. The reward may be a word of praise, a scratch behind the ears or a belly rub – not always a food treat.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are a few tips you can use to prevent unwanted barking:
From Patty Lee
Patty Lee is a Puppy Raiser and Apprentice Trainer with Canines Support Teams.
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