Monthly Archives: November 2016

Getting A New Puppy For Christmas | Dog Training In Northern Virginia | Off Leash K9

Picking the Perfect Christmas Puppy
If there’s one surprise that is sure to bring your family untold levels of joy during the holidays, it’s a puppy (unless of course you didn’t discuss it with your spouse, but that’s on you). Many dog professionals claim that it is a bad idea to bring in a new family member that needs a lot of attention during the already hectic holidays, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. If you’re determined you can bring a puppy into the fold during Christmas and make everyone, including your new pet, happy.
That said, you’ll need to decide what kind of dog you want to get! There are a lot of things to consider for such a decision, including where you are going to find a dog, what kind you want it to be, and so on. These are just a few of the things you should discuss with your family (or just consider yourself if you’re in charge of the process) before coming to a decision.

What size dog do you want? Do you actually want more than one dog, and what gender do you want? Should you get a puppy that will require a ton of attention or an older dog that won’t need as much? And of course what kind of breed do you want? A dog specifically raised by a breeder, or maybe a rescue dog instead? And do you want a purebred or a mutt? The answers to all of these questions are personal preference, and will likely determine the kind of dog you want to get.

After answering all of those questions, you should make a short list of the dog types that interest you the most, and then try to find some you can visit physically, whether at an animal shelter, a local breeder, or something similar. After all, you may think you want a certain dog (a St. Bernard maybe?), but if you haven’t physically interacted with that dog you can’t know for sure. And considering that you’re bringing a new member into your family, you want to be absolutely certain that the dog you choose is right for you. Of course, it’s important to remember that you can find a great dog in any breed.

And you don’t have to pick the very first puppy you see either. Sure, most of us don’t want to say no to a puppy of any sort, but remember that you’ll be spending several years with the dog you choose, so picking one that matches your preference the best is important. As for finding out which dog is likely to come into your life with as much acceptance and happiness is possible, it’s pretty easy to test during your visit. A dog that will come to you is moderately comfortable with people. A dog that follows you around is fond of you, and one that will snuggle with your physical compliments is unlikely to bite. Just be on the lookout for stress signs, such as physical withdrawal or unusual panting, as these are signs that the dog doesn’t really want to interact with you.

If you need training for your new puppy, contact Off Leash K9 Training!

www.offleashk9training.com

Bringing Home A Christmas Puppy? Off Leash K9 Training | Dog Training Blog

Getting a Dog for Christamas

Bringing your Christmas Puppy Home
So, you’ve finally chosen the perfect dog for you and your family, and it’s time to bring them home to experience the good life. Before deciding this, realize, that you are giving someone a life to take care of daily, for the next 12-15 years. You are giving them a big commitment! Keep that in mind, first.

What’s the first step? It’s not a complex thing, but necessary nevertheless.

Establish the Ground Rules
If there’s one thing dogs value in life (aside from companionship of course), it’s stability. Dogs value consistency in their lives, and that means establishing a routine for them. To do this you need to talk through the major points of note with your family. Will your dog be allowed on furniture, or allowed to eat leftovers from the dinner table? We recommend no to both of these. Will it be house trained indoors or outdoors, and where will it sleep? You need to establish these things before ever bringing your dog home, so you can provide it with a clear set of rules and routines the moment it walks through your door. Having conflicting standards or rules will just confuse your dog as to what is or isn’t acceptable behavior in the long run.

The First Forty-Eight Hours
Like anyone in a new social situation, dogs tend to be pretty nervous when they first become a member of your family. You are all new to your dog, new people that it has never interacted with before, and just like the new kid at school, it’ll take a little time for your dog to get comfortable with your family. Of course it doesn’t take dogs nearly as long to acclimate to new people, but even so you should give it at least two days, and in that time you don’t need to parade your new pet around your neighborhood or the dog park or anything. Let it get used to the nuances of you and your family before doing anything else.

Introduce Your Pets
If you already own a pet before bringing home your new one, you may need to perform some scent mingling. This is a process in which you make your new pet believe it is already familiar with another animal, such as your already resident pet. To do this, you’ll simply want to take a towel, rub it on both your family’s hands and your existing pet, and then rub it on your new pet. You’ll then want to go in reverse and rub it on your current pet and your hands again. After that you’ll want to perform a similar exercise with a brush, brushing your current pet first, then your new one with the same brush and back again. This will help mingle the scents of your pets and your family and make your new pet more comfortable in your house from day one.

Select a Vet and a Trainer

The sooner you start with these the better. You should schedule a visit to the veterinarian within two days of acquiring your new pet, and if you so choose, a trainer within a week. You should make these visits consistent and routine as well, so your pet can know when to expect them. You can see all of our locations throughout the United States here: http://www.offleashk9training.com/

Select a Dog Food
Dog food is designed to cater to all of the health needs of its consumers, but most dog food is designed for certain types of dogs, either by weight or breed or something similar. You can use www.dogfoodanalysis.com to find the ideal dog food for your new pet, but you should also find out what your dog was eating before it joined your family: picking a similar food type will make its transition even easier.

You’ll also want the transition to be gradual, so you’ll want to mix old and new food over the course of a few days until you settle completely on the new one. Over the course of a week, you should spend two days apiece serving ¾ old food and ¼ new, to ½ and ½ respectively, then to ¼ old and ¾ new, before simply changing over to the full new diet.

Dog Supplies
There is no truly right way to procure dog supplies, but you know you’ll need them. Now some of those supplies are mandatory in almost any situation, such as a leash for outdoor walks. But other supplies that may be needed depend on how your dog lives within your household. Will they sleep in a crate or simply a dog bed in the room somewhere? Will they ever ride with you in the car, and therefore need a special seatbelt? Those are variable supplies, but you’ll definitely need dog food, treats, bowls, and in most cases, dog bags.

Love, Trust, and Respect

If you know absolutely anything about dogs, you know they need love, trust, and respect over all else. You need to provide those things as soon as your dog arrives in the home, and this includes housetraining them yourself. There are different ways to go about housetraining of course, but no matter what you do, you’ll want to keep the dog within your line of sight and in the room with you when you are home, and you’ll want to have a sectioned off area for the dog to occupy in your absences. You can watch our blog on housebreaking your dog:https://youtu.be/8cjM-bGcu1Q?list=PLuVmbfjlkcMLfFf5fN-G1hd4dsI-BYRyz

Establishing these things will help teach your dog the aforementioned values that are important to its life. These first couple of days are also the best time to get to know all of your dog’s quirks. By the time this training period is over you should know a thing or two about what your dog does and doesn’t like, and take note of how well it has acclimated to your family and your rules. After this though, you’ll want to stick to the guns of your rules, and not cut too much slack: dogs are smart, and they’ll figure out what they can get away with if you let them. But with a firm and loving hand, your new pet will become a valued member of your happy family.

If you have more questions about your dog or training, please contact Off Leash K9 Training at:

info@offleashk9training.com

http://www.offleashk9training.com

Everything you need to Know about your Dog and Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Dogs

At our board and train facility in Northern Virginia, we always get a lot of questions around Thanksgiving. You may not naturally consider your family pet to be a major part of Thanksgiving as a holiday, but your dog can be a source of stress or setbacks if you don’t know how to take care of them during a busy holiday time. After all, there are a lot of things going on around this time, whether you are traveling away for the holidays or planning to host the dinner. Taking care of your dog in these situations is important.

Traveling Away
First off is the most obvious aspect of this situation: is your dog coming with you or staying at home? Regardless of the answer to that question, it’s important to make sure that their vaccinations and ID tags are up to date. You should also pack their food in clearly labeled and measured bags, have the vet records on your person, and ensure that your dog has access to a few of its favorite toys whether they are staying home or coming with you.

If your dog is coming with you, these are the specific things you should concern yourself with: make sure the arrangements you’ve made for your destination allows dogs, have a backup plan if they don’t, and make sure you pack bowls and a simple mat for your dog. Just in case, you should also learn the location of a few local vets in the place you’ll be flying to.

If your dog will be staying home during the holidays, especially if you’ll be boarding them, you’ll want to keep these things in mind. You need to make your reservations early, and drop your dog off at the boarding house several hours before closing time so they can acclimate to the environment. There could also be a pretty long check-in time, so you’ll want to get it handled with plenty of time available. A launder mat for your dog to use will probably be a good idea too.
If you’ll be using a pet sitter instead, check your references first, and try to go for an insured or bonded sitter. Make sure you book them early, and make sure they have contingency plans even as you do.

Hosting
If you’ll be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner instead, there are some things you should keep in mind for that situation as well. You’ll need to prepare your dog for guests, including other dogs that may be brought to the party. Clearly, you’ll need to brush up one your dog’s manners, including obeying commands. You may also want to keep your dog on a leash if you know they are rowdy, and ask some safety questions. Is your dog comfortable with everyone who is coming, including their dogs if they come too? Always be on the lookout for stress signs during the gathering, and have a plan in case that happens. Of course, you should let your guests know that your dog will be there in the first place.

If you have guests that will be bringing a dog, let them know what rules you expect that dog to follow beforehand. Introduce the dogs outside of the home first, and keep in mind the potential for hostilities between two dogs, which are often triggered by infringement on food, toys, personal space and especially uneven affection.

The Holiday Feast
We all know that a big part of Thanksgiving is the food. But keep in mind that your dog wants it just as much as you do, if not more. You may need to consider your dog’s behavior during mealtime, and whether or not food should be shared with them.

As far as behavior is concerned, it’s all about the commands your dog knows how to obey. Whether you have them sit at your side during dinner or to some other out of the way spot within the house, both are good options. At Off Leash K9 Training, this is what we use the “place” command for. You may also want to consider teaching your dog to refrain from immediately eating anything dropped from the table, though that’s a whole different lesson in willpower. As you will see on our YouTube channel, we do food refusal training.

As for sharing food, remember that what is good for you is not necessarily good for your dog, even if your dog acts like it would be. Fatty foods, grapes, onions, sage, and many other Thanksgiving foods are very dangerous for your dog to consume, and of course, bones are an entirely bad idea. Even if you have a small dog and the bones seem big enough for them, don’t do it. Bones like that aren’t the same as the ones you might buy from Petco, and the dinner table bones are extremely vulnerable to cracking and splintering, which could lead to choking or other health hazards. If you are going to feed your dog, don’t let them see you procure the food itself: if they notice that it came from the table, they are likely to stick around or worse. If you want to feed them something healthy, stick to ice cubes and carrots at most, and when all is said and done, secure your trash cans so your dog doesn’t have a field day with your garbage. As long as you keep these things in mind, your family, including your dog, can have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

If you want your dog to be well trained for all of your holiday guests, contact us at Off Leash K9 Training!

http://www.offleashk9training.com

info@offleashk9training.com