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Puppy Training in Calgary

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Common Mistakes

The biggest mistake I see made with puppies is not having enough positive experiences in their socialization period which ends roughly around 12 weeks of age.  This usually means you only have 4 weeks to do lots of socialization.  Now the big problem here is that Veterinarians advise against going anywhere until your puppy is fully vaccinated.  By this time you are passed your socialization period.  What you are best to do is set up play dates with other dogs you know are vaccinated and take them with you to as many places as you can safely, to have positive experiences to their surroundings.  You can use their food, toys or attention to link positive things to their new environment.  Lap dogs most commonly fall into this problem as people tend to keep them more sheltered in the home when they are a puppy.  This is largely why people think of the iconic little yappy dog.  They are under socialized and fearful of everything so they bark like crazy.  This can lead to biting which is a big problem for many pet owners.

Let me tell you some stories from my experience on the importance of proper socialization as a puppy.  A friend of mine has a colleague who got a Wiemaraner puppy and she was paranoid about the dog being exposed to anything outdoor prior to getting all of its vaccinations even to the point of not letting anyone come over to see the puppy as they may bring disease with them.  This puppy grew up to be extremely fearful of everything and became aggressive over this extreme fear to the point that no one can come over to look after the dog if the owner is away.  This lady, so long as she has this dog, is trapped from going anywhere or having any company over.  This is such a severe case that it may take years of proper training to overcome what could have been prevented with 4 weeks of proper socialization and the dog will likely never be as good as it could have been if these preventative steps had been taken.

I have had several different clients who have either not had the time to socialize the puppy when they were younger or the owner got sick (short term disability) just as they got the puppy and these dogs grew to become very fearful and aggressive towards people, dogs and some other things.

So if you take anything from this, understand that you want a properly socialized dog.  When you have a properly socialized dog, obedience training is a piece of cake.  Without it you need to do months and sometimes years more of training to reach the same level.

Myth of Dog Parks

I hope this reaches as many people as possible because this is the most commonly practiced myth out there today.  Many people think they need to take their dog to the dog park to socialize them properly.  This is a very bad idea.  Yes you need to socialize your dog to other dogs but in a positive and controlled manner.  Dog parks are uncontrolled in which you have no control over the other dogs that are at the park.  Dogs here are mainly comprised of dogs that are very hyper, lacking control and almost no obedience.  These dogs tend to be a nuisance at home and people deal with it by cutting them loose at the dog park.  The big problem is that many people do not know how to effectively train their dog.  Another problem is only using treat training as treats very often are not motivating enough when there are a bunch of other dogs running around.  If I got a $1 for every time I heard this exact sentence I would no longer need to work: “My dog used to be really good with other dogs until it got attacked at the dog park and now my dog is aggressive to all other dogs”.  I routinely get phone calls with people wondering what to do with their dog because they attacked another dog and it cost them $1000 vet bill.  I have even been called about a dog killing another dog at the dog park and wondering if anything can be done.  Many people go to the dog park to socialize their dog and then find that they are starting to become aggressive with some other dogs (usually because the other dogs are quite rude and probably deserve it) so then they think they should go more to really ensure their dog stays socialized.  Unfortunately they are perpetuating the problem.

If you want to properly socialize your puppy these are the best ways to do that:

I can’t recommend enough on how important it is to properly socialize your puppy in a positive way.  You can end up with two completely different dogs if you go the route of socialization or no socialization or bad socialization.  Dog parks I do not recommend at all unless you have a nice quiet neighbourhood one where you know all of the other people and dogs.

Dog Park Etiquette

Should you still want to go to the dog park against my advice these are the things that should take place (I used to go prior to getting our acreage but I would go at quiet times and pick and choose the dogs we would go see).  Dogs should socialize in a proper manner.  Many people do not understand what proper socialization is so I have a very clear and effective way of laying this out: If you were to do to the other dog owner what your dog is doing to their dog or their dog to yours, would you be afraid of getting punched or thrown in prison?  If you answer yes then it is not proper play.  If a dog rams other dogs from the side then imagine doing that to a person at the park.  You might be up for assault charges.  Ideally you want to train your dog to think of other dogs as boring distractions and your dog just wants to play and have fun with you. Dogs rarely play with other dogs for fun.  The more you understand proper dog play the more you will see what I mean.  I think it is much better to teach your dog to play fetch with you or go for a run, bike ride, tracking, agility, flyball, wall climb, dock dive etc.

Puppies are one of the greatest things in the world.  They are cute, cuddly, curious and they all seem to have their own personality.  Your puppy is very impressionable at this age and puppy training is very important and should be started the very first day you bring your puppy home.  How you raise your puppy will make a very large impact on the demeanour of your dog later in life.  

Dogs are a pack animal and thrive on structure and leadership.  It is very easy to become their leader in a kind and calm way.

If your puppy chews, nips, has potty accidents in the house or you suspect someone is giving your puppy Red Bull because no animal should have that much energy then we are here to help.  Raising a puppy is extremely easy and stress free with the right tools and knowledge.

It may come as a surprise but you can train a puppy right from day one to have zero accidents in the house and never chew any of your favourite shoes or pants.

Puppies are one of my favourite things in life and I want to ensure that you have the best time possible with your puppy.

For puppy training in Calgary give us a call if you have any questions: 403-224-2224.



Potty Training and House Broken - Would you like to have a dog at 5 months of age (and even sooner for some dogs) that you can trust to leave loose in the house to not have any potty accidents or chew on anything?  This is all possible with the right steps.