12 December / 2012

Preparing For Puppy: D-Day

So, the day has finally come.  Today is the day you FINALLY get your puppy.  After the last few posts, you should be prepared for this day, but if you are currently running around, hands in the air, and screaming that you have no idea what to do, here is a reminder of all the things that you need to have ready.  Don’t worry.  I’ve got your back.

1.  Are your floors clean and clear?  If your answer is yes, skip step one.  If no, then pick up all the stuff that a puppy could get to.  Plants, books, and all knick knacks that are on or near the floor need to be picked up and put into a new temporary home.  Make sure you have sprayed all the legs of your furniture with the Sour Apple Spray.  Having this done before the pup gets to your house is key in stopping bad behavior before it starts.  Once your floors are cleared, make sure you vacuum.  Any little lint balls that are left on the carpet are puppy magnets.  Vacuuming those up helps insure that your pup does not eat something he or she is not meant to.

2.  Do you have a collar and leash for your new pup?  If your answer is no, then you should go out and get one as soon as possible.  You need a collar and leash to bring home your new puppy.

3.  Is the kennel set up at in the correct place?  Make sure that your pups new “bedroom” is set up and placed in a good location.  This kennel will become your dogs room within your home.  Make sure that you have it in a place that your pup will feel safe.  Keep in mind that the spot you currently have the kennel is not permanent.  You can move it at any time.

4.  Have you chosen your new dogs food?  Hopefully your answer is yes.  If not, it is time to make that decision.  If you are having problems choosing a food, take a trip to your local pet supply store and have a talk with someone who works there.  I am sure someone will be willing to assist you.  (**NOTE: I will be posting an entry about dog food at some point.  I just need to do all the research for it.**)

5.  Have you chosen a name?  This is something I cannot help you with.  If you haven’t chosen a name yet, I suggest you come up with a list of five names to choose from.  Keep in mind that your are going to have this dog for a long time, so make sure to pick a name that you like and can see yourself saying all the time.  Also, it is HIGHLY suggested that you pick a name that is two or three syllables long.

Once all these things are taken care of, you are ready to pick up the new member of your family.  Remember to bring your new dogs collar and leash with you.  Also, make sure to make that first car ride an exciting and happy one for you and your pup.  Remember to shower love and affection on your new friend as much as possible.  The last thing to remember is to HAVE FUN!  Over the next few days and weeks, this pup will become your new best friend.  Having fun is the most important part of this new chapter in your life.  ENJOY!

29 July / 2012

Preparing For Puppy: Supplies

So, you have decided to get a puppy.  CONGRATULATIONS!  Welcome to a life full of love and devotion.  Also, welcome to saying the word ‘NO’ one million times a day.  Before you have to worry about training and more training, lets get you (and your house) ready for your new pup.  When people think of getting a puppy, they don’t seem to think of all the things that need to be taken care of before you bring said puppy home.  I am here to help.

First, I suggest going to your nearest PetSmart (or pet supply store of your choice) and just looking at everything and getting prices.  I am adamant about getting the best price, so keep an eye out for sales.  Make sure you bring something you can take notes with, and start writing down all the things that you want/need.  I suggest looking into getting a kennel, a brush, Sour Apple Spray, at least three dog toys, dog bowls, a leash, and two collars (one smaller one for a puppy and one for an adult dog).  

Kennel: When it comes to a kennel, I suggest getting one with two doors.  That way, no matter where you put the kennel, you have a way to get your pup in and out.  I am a firm believer in kennel training.  Later on, there will be a post about how to kennel train your pup, but until then, know this: if you kennel train your pup, then he or she will always have a safe place that belongs to him or her alone.  

Shampoo and Brush: When it comes to brushes and shampoo, choose something that will work for your future pups coat.  If he/she has a long coat, get a shampoo and brush that are geared toward long haired dogs.  Same goes for shorthaired dogs.  Now, some puppy and dog shampoos can get a bit pricy, so if you would like to wait and see what shampoo gives you the best bang for you buck, you can get a bottle of Johnson and Johnson No Tears Baby Shampoo.  This shampoo will work wonders on your puppies soft fur and will not sting their eyes if/when they get splashed while in the bath tub.  Also, your pup will end up smelling wonderful.

Bowls, Leashes, and Collars: As for dog bowls and leashes, it is best to get something that your dog can grow into.  Don’t spend unnecessarily on puppy sized bowls and leashes when you can just get the size bowl and leash that your pup will one day grow into.  That advice does not apply to collars.  Small collars are well suited for puppies that will one day become big dogs.  As puppies, they can not wear a regular sized collar, so purchasing one small and one regular collar is the best option.  You do not have to purchase the small and large collar at the same time.  This is just something to keep in mind for a later time.  Also keep in mind that when purchasing a puppy collar, do not spend to much money on it.  Your pup is going to be doing all kinds of stuff in those early months.  Having a collar that wasn’t that expensive and that you can throw into the wash is always a good idea.  Also, your pup might try to chew the collar off.  Believe it or not, I have see it happen.  It’s always good to have a backup as well, but that is more of a want than an actual need.

Sour Apple Spray: Sour Apple Spray is this amazing invention.  Who ever invented it deserves some kind of noble prize for best pet invention.  Basically it is a spray that you can spray on the legs of your furniture, cabinets, and anything else that could look potentially tasty to a young pup.  When your puppy decides that the table leg looks like a lot more fun than his boring old toy, and he raps his mouth around that nice looking wooded leg, he soon discovers that, what should taste like yummy wood actually tastes like something horrible. This stuff will save you furniture, and a little bit of your sanity as well.  It does not harm your furniture or your new best friend and can also be sprayed directly into a dogs mouth when they have chewed on something bad.  Best invention ever!  

Toys: Last but not least, you should choose toys.  I personally love toys by Nylabone and Kong.  Any toys by one of these two companies will last forever.  They are slightly more expensive (we are talking $2-$5 more per toy), but it is money well spent.  Later, I will be writing a post specifically about dog toys and which ones are best and why.  For now, let me just let you in on a little secret that will help you pick out toys for your pup now.  If you get toys that mimic the feel of fabric or wood, I can guaranty you that your puppy will chew right through something in your house that looks and feels the same as that puppy toy.  Try to get toys that are rubbery to the touch and don’t squeak (The squeaking thing is just a pet peeve of mine.  I am not a huge fan of toys that are louder than my t.v.).

Once all these things are bought, you can sit back and relax because you have a huge chunk of your preparations done.  YAY!  You did it.  Pat yourself on the back.

This is our newest edition, Valosa (as in velociraptor) @ 8 weeks old.

29 July / 2012

Choosing A Puppy

For all of you out there who are having a difficult time choosing a breed of dog, here is a helpful quiz that will give you several different dog breeds that will fit with your lifestyle. Just click the link below and find out which breed is best for you!

Dog Breed Selector Quiz

29 July / 2012

Let Us Begin

Puppies.  Those cute little baby dogs that make just about everyone’s heart melt.  Almost everyone has said at some point in their life, “Man, I really want a puppy.”  If you are like me, the idea of a puppy is a magical idea full of happiness and cute puppy kisses.  Because of this idea, you (and maybe your significant other) decide to get a puppy.  You soon come to realize that that magical idea is not so magical.  You quickly realize that owning a puppy is less about the puppy kisses and more about the potty training, teething, and whining.  Don’t get me wrong, owning a puppy is a great experience, and once the puppy stage is over, you can enjoy your life with your well behaved dog, but it is getting to that point that is the challenge.  No matter what anyone tells you, there is no magic book or class that will teach you everything, and, unless your friends and/or family are training a puppy at the same time you are, no one will truly understand the problems you are facing quite as well as someone with a puppy.  That’s where I come in.

I’m sure you are wondering why I think I am qualified to write a puppy training blog.  The truth is, I don’t think I am qualified.  I just know that there are not a whole lot of people out there that are willing to write about what training is really like.  That is what I am here for.  This blog will be about how to prepare for, train, and care for your pup.  I will not be sitting behind this computer and telling you what you need to do with your pup, and then just go on with my merry life, puppy free.  I will be doing all the same things you are.  I will be researching vets, finding good toys and foods, puppy-proofing the house, and training my puppy right alongside all of you.

Taking care of a puppy takes hard work and patience.  The way to train a new pup is to start from day one.  I’m not just talking about the first day you come home with your pup.  I am talking about the first day you decide that you are going to get a dog.  Your not just training a dog.  You are also training yourself on how to take care of a dog.  Doing it alone can be scary, but having someone to guide you makes all the difference in the world.  I hope that is what I can do for all of you.

Now, let me introduce myself.  My name is Rebecca.  I am 24 years old and I live with my wonderful boyfriend, Justin, of five years.  I am a California native, but we currently reside in the state of Georgia.  I have had dogs in my life since I was a little kid.  The first dog that stole my heart was my Papa’s dog Bear.  She was wonderful, sweet, and smart as a whip.  Since childhood, I have had 4 dogs, all at different times in my life, but it wasn’t until April of 2010 that I actually did any real dog training. It was on mine and Justin’s anniversary that we decided to get involved with the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind. It was a few short weeks later that we picked up our new puppy Avery.  She was wonderful, and when I look back now, all I can see are the loving and happy moments, but if I look close enough, all the challenges present themselves.  She was smart, sometimes too smart for her own good, and when she had energy to burn, she would find some way to annoy the crap out of you until you did something to burn that energy off.  The first night that we had her, I woke up in a cold sweat because I realized what training was going to entail.  After that night, the time just seemed to fly by, and in April of 2011, Avery was sent to New York to continue her training with the Guide Dog Foundation.  Even though it was hard to see her go, I will never regret working with the GDF or with Avery.  After a few months of grief, Justin and I started talking about getting a dog that we would not have to give up in a year.  We came to the decision to get a German Shorthaired Pointer puppy, and implement all the things we learned from the GDF into our training of our new pup.  Around that time is when I decided that I should also share our training and such with anyone who wants/needs help.

Our puppy, Valosa, was born on May 18th.  Since then, this house has been puppy central.  The next few weeks will be about finding a vet, getting all the supplies, picking a dog food, and puppy-proofing the house.  Once she gets home, training shall begin.  I will be sharing with you all in hopes that it may help you.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to make them known.  I am here to help. Good luck, puppy trainers!

Me and Avery (4 months old) at the park.