New puppy for the holidays? Here are some tips to train a better dog

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The holidays are a popular time to add a new dog to the family.

But many new dog owners run into trouble soon after adding a puppy to their family, said Leslie Bootsch, owner of Hounds Town Space Coast, a doggy day care and overnight boarding house in Rockledge. Once the excitement wears off, families find that owning a responsible dog takes a lot of hard work.

“A lot of people have this image of that cute, amazing Christmas present and a puppy coming out of the box, and sometimes they’re not quite prepared for the steps to take in trying to make this the most relationship. successful possible. ” said Bootsch.

Bootsch said the biggest mistake people make with a new canine family member is not scheduling their pet. Like children, dogs do best when they eat, exercise, and sleep at regular times each day.

Hounds Town USA is a chain of dog day care, grooming, and boarding throughout the United States.

“Sometimes we try to fit a dog into our lives and feed them when we can and walk them when we can and do what we can by thinking dogs can respond in a consistent way,” said Bootsch. “But the dog can only respond consistently when it feels safe. And the way to do it is the same as a human. They feed routinely.

The holidays can be a difficult time, with many comings and goings and disrupted family schedules. Bootsch said it was important to present the dogs to visitors with care, to keep the dog on a leash if necessary, and to offer positive reinforcement. Dogs should be taken to a safe and quiet area if they are overwhelmed.

“Make sure it’s a priority on how you present the dog,” Bootsch said. “Have everyone come into the house, then get to their level and bond with the dog a bit. “

Fireworks are another hazard during the holidays, which can stress dogs. Bootsch said white noise machines can help muffle the sound of fireworks, and pet owners should take precautions in case dogs panic and escape.

“Absolutely check your dog’s microchip, as it can migrate to other parts of their body,” Bootsch said. “Make sure it’s working, make sure it’s registered. And we also recommend that you keep them indoors as much as possible with you during the fireworks display.

The transition from living with owners at home over the holidays to owners returning to work can be stressful for dogs as well, Bootsch said.

“If you’ve taken time off, that’s wonderful,” says Bootsch. “You get that bonding time with the puppy. But try to make mealtime, walk, and play time, as well as a bedtime routine, similar to the routine you’ll have when you go to work.

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Certain dog behaviors may surprise new owners. Bootsch said owners often expect new puppies to chew, but are unaware of the extent of damage they can cause. Puppies must be well supervised and the house must be protected against the risk of suffocation. Other new owners are surprised at the energy level of their dogs.

For high-energy dogs whose owners are struggling to meet their needs, Bootsch said dog daycare services, like those provided by his company, can help dogs socialize in a controlled environment and free l excess energy a few times a week.

“What the dogs do with the daycare is they self-regulate, so they rest, and then they get up and play for a few hours,” Bootsch said. “Then they rest and they play again. So they run and exercise more than any amount of walking per day. And so they usually go home and they’re very receptive to training because they’ve already practiced all of their natural behaviors.

But when new pet owners really struggle to adapt their new dog to their home, Bootsch said it’s best if they get professional help. They should look for a trainer who uses positive training methods rather than just punishing the dog, and they should expect to have to continue to implement the training techniques themselves throughout the dog’s life. .

“Good trainers really train the human, they don’t really train the dog,” said Bootsch. “So if you’re looking for a quick fix and (think you) send your dog to a trainer and bring your dog home and train him and behave well, that’s kind of a myth.”

Bailey Gallion is the educational journalist for FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Gallion at 321-242-3786 or [email protected].

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