Sunday, October 4, 2009

How to Raise a Puppy

Although the majority of my blog posts are about the programs I do with children, I actually do work quite a bit with adults. While I truly enjoy spending time with kids and being able to pass along my knowledge and passion for animals, I also love that I get an opportunity to make a difference with grown-ups. And lets face it -- when you spend a lot of time with kids it's sometimes refreshing to be able to relate to someone in your own age range (although it goes the opposite way sometimes as well!)

Working at an animal shelter we see many cases where an owner gives up on a pet because they cannot understand why the animal won't conform to their expectations. In some cases their expectations may be unreasonable. In other cases it may just be a matter of showing the owner how to train their pet so that they fit into the household better.

Some of the programs I present involve education for dog owners. While I love animals in general and know quite a bit about many pet species, my background is in dog training and behavior. As a Certified Pet Dog Trainer it gives me a great deal of pleasure to be able to help dog owners understand the canine members of their family and find ways to make it easier to live with them. Let's face it -- we are two different species and what each species finds "normal" can be two very different things.

Today it was my pleasure to be able to run my "How to Raise a Puppy And Keep Your Sanity" workshop. 9 puppies, 3 kids, and 10 adults all came together for an hour and a half to try and learn a little bit about each other. We talked about socialization, housetraining, nipping, chewing, and toys.

The most fun was allowing the puppies to play off leash. It was actually more than fun -- it was an opportunity for the pups to play with each other in a safe environment, and learn how to interact appropriately with members of their own species.

The hour and a half went way too quickly -- there was so much more information I would have liked to have shared with the new owners if I would have had the time. But hopefully I gave them enough information to get a good start, and many of them intend to sign up for the puppy socialization classes HAWS offers -- which will give them an even better opportunity to create well mannered, well adjusted dogs living in their homes.

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