Frequently asked pet questions

Q: Why should I train my dog?

There are many compelling reasons to train your pet! It is our belief that the single most compelling reason to train your pet is to enhance its life. Trained pets live happier, healthier and ultimately freer lives than their unlucky, untrained peers. Training not only saves lives, but greatly improves the quality of that life. Trained pets can go more places, do more things, and generally share the companionship of their owners on a much more consistent basis. Other reasons are to increase the quality time shared by you and your pet, exercise, and pride of accomplishment.

Q: What is the best type of dog?

There are over 400 varieties of purebred dogs in the world. Each one of these breeds has been selected for specific physical and behavioral traits. The key to finding which breed is best for you is to evaluate what you want in a dog, and then study the different breeds to find a match. Breeders, trainers, and vets can help speed up this process by telling you what physical and behavioral traits are important for your particular research.

Q: Should I get a male or female?

Personal preference should definitely guide this choice to some degree, but there are differences between the sexes that should be recognized. Males sometimes have a tendency to challenge the authority of their owners. Females can sometimes be over-sensitive to corrections and become more submissive. The key with both sexes is early character development using positive reinforcement to build willingness to please and confidence. A well-structured puppy class is vital in this effort.

Q: What age should training start?

The age you start training will be determined by your goals and the method of training you choose to use. Modern methods of training utilizing shaping techniques can benefit puppies as early as seven weeks old, while more traditional modeling methods of training should be reserved for dogs older than six months of age.

Q: How old is too old to train?

A healthy, active dog is never too old to learn new behaviors, but as a dog gets older, it becomes increasingly difficult for you to get rid of old behaviors and traits, and replace them with good behaviors. I have personally trained many dogs over the age of eight years. These dogs were successfully trained according to their personalities, usually with a combination of several different training methods.

Q: What type of problems can be solved with training?

All behavioral problems that are not related to medical problems or genetic flaws can be solved with proper obedience training. Medical problems should be referred to your vet and behavioral problems related to genetic flaws should be handled by a qualified dog psychiatrist. Genetic problems cannot be made to go away, but you can be taught to manage them and reduce the impact they have on you and your pets' lives.

Q: Is my puppy normal?

What is normal for one breed may be abnormal for another breed. Study the individual characteristics of your breed to understand what is normal for that particular breed. Additionally, just because a behavior is normal does not mean the behavior is always acceptable. You may not appreciate your Labrador Retriever parading your undergarments out for your company to view.

Q: Where should my puppy sleep?

Control is an important first stage in the development of a puppy's behavioral traits. Choose a safe, quiet place to confine your puppy when you cannot be there to supervise their behavior. We recommend your puppy stay in an airline-approved shipping crate to confine your pup and keep them safe while they are learning how to behave in the new environment you have brought them into.

Q: What should I feed my dog?

Nutritional requirements will be based on age, breed, and activity level. Consult a reputable breeder that understands the unique requirements of your breed.

Q: Can I trust my dog?

One of the main purposes of obedience training is to provide you with the opportunity to put your dog in a variety of pressure situations to "see" how they will behave under different situations. Just like people, dogs need to be taught to control their emotions under pressure. Obedience training will provide pressure in a controlled format that will help you teach your dog to behave properly, even though their initial reaction may have differed.

Q: What are the right versus wrong reasons to spay/neuter your pet?

The right reasons to alter your pet include: reduce population of unwanted dogs, avoid accidental breeding of a dog with genetic flaws, avoid the temptation to let the kids see the miracle of birth, without consideration of the consequences, and to reduce chances of certain illnesses later in the years of your pet. The wrong reasons to alter your pet are: to avoid the need of training, to reduce the desire to roam, and to stop the dog from dominance-related behaviors. While we highly recommend spaying/neutering, doing so to remove learned behavior problems leads to false hopes on your pet. With any behavior problem, the real motivation has to be addressed. Otherwise, failure and frustration easily follows.