In Search of the “Perfect” Dog

< This article was originally published in three parts in the February, March & May 2020 issues of Downeast Dog News >

< Updated 11MAY20 >

< A short link for this page – http://bit.ly/SearchingForThePerfectDog >

What Can Affect Our Dogs Behavior?

I am often asked, “How do I get the perfect dog.” I always start by asking for clarification of how the person that asked the question defines “perfect.” Typical responses are;

I want a dog that will:

  • have good manners,
  • NEVER bite,
  • NEVER growl,
  • like ALL people,
  • like ALL dogs,
  • like ALL of our current pets,
  • will NEVER chase cars,
  • will ALWAYS stay in an unfenced yard,
  • will NEVER jump on people,
  • will ALWAYS alert me when someone “sketchy” is in the yard but will NEVER bark at people I like,
  • will NEVER kill a squirrel,
  • will ALWAYS be safe around ALL kids,
  • will ALWAYS come when called and
  • will stay close to me but will not hang around me when I don’t want them to,
  • and so on.

At its most extreme, that sounds like “I want a dog that will do anything I want, whenever I want, and will do nothing and be content if I don’t want them to do anything.” That is not a realistic expectation and is failing to meet some of our dog’s most basic welfare requirements. [ FMIhttp://bit.ly/Brambells-1-5 ]

I often wonder where people get their expectations of what constitutes a “perfect” dog. Unfortunately, not all but some of the people selling dogs, breeders, shelters/rescues, pet shops, set us up to think the dog they want us to go home with is “perfect” because they know if we think otherwise, they may lose a sale. Selling a dog is not unlike most other things for sale. We typically want the best we can get. In some cases, those selling the dog even go so far as to use puppy temperament tests and shelter behavior assessments to convince us this is the right dog for us. Unfortunately, these tests may be misrepresented and presented to us as a predictor of future behavior. If we interpret that as a guarantee, they may or may not try to dissuade us from that impression. Temperament and shelter assessment tests are nothing more than a snapshot of a dog’s behavior in a specific scenario at a single moment in time. They are not predictive of nor are they a guarantee of future “perfect” behavior.

In some cases, our expectations of a “perfect” are the result of memories of dogs popularized through the mass media like Lassie or Air Bud. As endearing as those stories are, they are fictional accounts of dogs. Assumptions about certain breeds, usually based on an opinion that may not be supported by data, such as “Schnockelfensters are ALWAYS great with children!” can also bias our opinion inappropriately. I cannot tell you how many different individual dogs and breeds I have met over the past 25 years, but I do know I have seen extremes in behavior in all breeds.

If we look at the list of the characteristics many want in a “perfect” dog, most of those characteristics focus on a dog’s behavior, what it will or will not do.  I also want to point out that people often also use lots of absolutes with words like; ‘NEVER,’ ‘ALWAYS,’ and ‘ALL.’ The problem with using absolutes when discussing the behavior of a dog, or any animal, even human behavior, is that behavior can change and often does change and, like most of life, is seldom absolute. [ FMIhttp://bit.ly/AnimalWelfare-Behavior ]

Many things can affect behavior. Genetics play a major role in future behavior. If either parent had certain genetic traits such as shyness, the puppies will probably also be shy.

We have many different breeds of dogs because they were selectively bred for certain traits. Dogs come preprogrammed with certain species-specific behavior motor patterns based on what they were bred to do. The dog is a predator, and as such has a motor pattern sequence to ORIENT > EYE > STALK > CHASE > GRAB-BITE > KILL-BITE > DISSECT > CONSUME prey.  That does not mean every dog will be an efficient predator, but they may still have a strong instinct to go through all or part of this sequence. This pattern of behaviors is what makes retrievers retrieve and what allows herding breeds to move livestock successfully. Unfortunately, a working herding dog with strong instincts to stalk, chase, and grab-bite is probably not a desirable trait for a dog that will be living with children. Something we need to consider when searching for the “perfect” dog for our family today and what it will look like throughout the dog’s expected life. A herding breed may be a perfect companion for a young couple that likes to hike, but may not be the best choice if two years later they have twin infants. [ FMI –  http://bit.ly/DoesDogBreedMatter ]

What happens during a puppy’s critical developmental period from birth to 16 weeks of age also has a great influence on behavior. If a puppy is a singleton, that puppy not have an opportunity to experience social interactions with littermates unless it is placed in another litter where it can gain the social skills it will need to interact with other dogs successfully. [ FMIhttp://bit.ly/SocializationPuppy ]

What Can Affect Our Dogs Behavior? (part 2)

Once a dog leaves mom and its littermates, and it arrives in our home, we are responsible for that puppy and need to appropriately socialize and habituate it to everything we expect it to encounter (people, animals, surfaces, objects, sounds, smells, etc.) before they are 16 weeks old. Socialization can be a very daunting and time-consuming task if you do it right, but it is essential for your dog’s future behavioral health. A puppy that is not gently exposed to a wide variety of people of different ages, sizes, races, and behaviors may very likely be fearful of certain types of people. Never being brushed or having their nails trimmed until after 16 weeks of age may result in a dog that is extremely fearful and reactive during this process, which can be a stressful experience for all involved. A puppy that is raised in a rural area the first 16 weeks of its life and then moved to a home in an urban environment with the never before experienced sounds, smells, and intense activity of urban America, may become very anxious and fearful. A dog that is displaced from its home and family could be extremely traumatized just as you might be in shock if you ended up living in a homeless shelter. Trauma can cause fear and anxiety for life and does not go away on its own.

Whether you decide to train your dog and how you train them will also affect future behavior. Dogs with little or no training are less likely to be well-mannered and, for that reason, are more likely to be surrendered. If you use any aversives to train your dog, the most common ones being shock, choke, or prong collars, your dog is more likely to develop behavioral problems. If you inadvertently reward your dog for jumping up on people, chasing people, or barking at strangers, you may create the very behavior problems you are trying to prevent. Training matters and you will be best served by investing in working with a reward-based dog trainer accredited by a reputable, independent certification body.

During the course of your dog’s life, they will have many behavioral interactions with people and animals. Any time such an interaction occurs, the behavior of one individual in the interaction can influence the behavior of the other individual. The simple act of an infant grabbing at a dog’s wagging tail, due to no malicious intent, may cause the dog to feel physical or emotional pain or discomfort causing the dog to react with anything from a bark to a bite in an attempt to get the child to stop their behavior. The infant’s behavior may have established a fear of children, and the dog and the dog’s reaction may have created a fear of dogs in the child. Fears of this nature can be locked into memory by a single event, and the brain is designed, in the interest of our survival, to remember these lessons forever.

Many behaviors in all animals are driven by emotion and thus are not always predictable or rational. Either party in a behavioral transaction can misinterpret the behavior of the other, which can cause a situation to spiral out of control quickly. It’s dark, and you cannot see your dog lying by the bed, you get up and step on the dog, and the dog lashes out in fear biting your ankle but not breaking the skin, you scream in pain and yell at the dog as you kick him, causing your dog to bite harder in an attempt to get you to stop before he scrambles under the bed to hide from the vicious person. You have both reacted instinctually and emotionally and may be wary of one another for minutes, hours, days, or maybe forever. Emotional responses have a great impact on our reactions to another’s behavior and on our remembering those incidents.

How Can We Optimize Our Odds of Getting The “Perfect” Dog

A variety of medical issues that can affect behavior. Behavior problems can begin before birth if mom is unhealthy or stressed. The endocrine system which produces hormones can negatively affect behavior when it is not working properly, such as with thyroid and adrenal issues. Neurological, orthopedic, and even gastrointestinal disorders, or any medical issue that causes pain or discomfort can also cause our dog to behave differently. Even an adverse reaction to a vaccination may cause an undesirable behavior change. The simple act of aging can change behavior as hearing and sight diminish or cognitive disorders manifest themselves. At the first sign of a behavior problem with your dog, talk about it with your veterinarian. Do not wait a week, a month, or years. Your dog’s life and your safety, and that of others may depend on it. Also, understand that the longer an undesirable behavior occurs, the less likely we can change it.

What can we do to optimize our odds of getting a “perfect” dog?

Do your research – Before you even start looking for a dog, thoughtfully consider what you want and expect in a dog. Not all dogs behave the same way due to selective breeding for certain behavioral traits. Some may express behaviors that are normal but that we may not want to deal with, such as herding dogs around children. When I counsel someone looking for a dog, I focus on behavior and health. What a dog looks like is a low priority for me. When doing your research, talk to pet care professionals with experience with the behavior of many breeds; trainers, behavior consultants, and veterinarians will be your best option. Professionals are more likely to give you an objective opinion than a breeder or rescue that wants you to take their dog home. Be aware that if you are considering a rescue dog, they are likely to be a mixed-breed, and the odds of knowing the precise mix of breeds are incredibly small without a DNA test. Even if we know a mixed breeds genetic profile, predicting behavior can be difficult, if not impossible.

NOTE: I have nothing against rescue dogs or mixed breeds. Seven of my nine dogs were rescues. My objective is to suggest what you can do that gives you the highest probability of getting the dog that meets your definition of “perfect.” Sadly, we seldom get all of the information we need about a rescue to make a reliable prediction of future behavior.  I believe that you will have the best chance of getting the dog you want by getting a puppy of a known DNA lineage, from a reputable breeder.

See your dog’s parents – Genetics cannot be changed so the best way to prevent your dog’s DNA from negatively affecting your concept of “perfect” is for you to make sure that you get to see your dog’s parents so you can observe their behavior. If you notice any behavior of concern, look elsewhere.

Immediately work with a force-free professional trainer – Before you bring your puppy or dog home, select a trainer. They can help you meet your puppy’s socialization needs between 8 and 16 weeks of age. This is a critical period for learning and habituation, and it ends quickly. Most of the dogs brought to me for fear and aggression were not adequately or appropriately socialized. A professional can also help you with the most common puppy problem behaviors such as play-biting, housetraining, jumping up on people, and chewing. Most people unintentionally train the puppy to do what they don’t want. A professional will teach you what and how to reward behavior so the dog does what you want.

Continue working with a trainer who will teach you how to most effectively and humanely train your dog until you and your dog have mastered the behaviors that are important to the success of your relationship.

Be patient and accepting with yourself and your dog – You are only human, and like all other humans, you’re not “perfect,” and neither is your dog. While I understand the desire to have a “perfect” dog, and I believe it is a noble goal, at its best, it is nothing more than a hypothetical construct.

We will only know if we have had a “perfect” dog when they pass, and we can look back on their life and say, “My dog was perfect.” I have enjoyed and benefited from every dog in my life. Almost everyone had some characteristics that might be classified as “perfect,” but each also had some quirks. Those flaws or quirks made them the amazing individual I will never forget.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

Brambell’s Five Freedoms – Helping Your Dog Thrivehttp://bit.ly/Brambells-1-5

Understanding Behavior; Why It Matters – http://bit.ly/AnimalWelfare-Behavior

Does My Dogs Breed Matter? – Parts 1, 2 & 3http://bit.ly/DoesDogBreedMatter

Puppy Socialization and Habituationhttp://bit.ly/SocializationPuppy

Adopting A Pet – Finding the Right Dog for You and Your Familyhttp://bit.ly/FindingTheRightDogForYou

Adopting A Pet – We’re Getting A New Puppy (or Dog)!http://bit.ly/GettingNewPuppyDog

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, ME where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/, the Apple Podcast app, and at Don’s blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©11MAY20, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Especially for New Dog Parents

< Updated 13AUG18 >

< http://bit.ly/EspNewDogParents >

If you have a new dog that is 12 weeks of age and older, this is the article you want. If you have a puppy between 8 and 16 weeks of age, check out this article – http://bit.ly/EspcNewPuppyParents

 

Muppy’s First Day with Us

A new dog can be a great addition to your family, but they will also require some work on your part. Older dogs may come to your home already trained and ready to be that perfect companion, but more often than not, a dog ends up in a rescue or shelter because they have some behavioral issues. They were probably not well socialized and had little or no training. It is also entirely possible that their previous family inadvertently created some problem behaviors by unintentionally rewarding those behaviors. This article offers some recommendations to help you and your new friend get off to the best start possible.

My first word of advice; “patience.” It is very easy to want the ideal dog immediately, but just as “Rome was not built in a day,” Your will not dog be the perfect companion in a week, nor in all likelihood in a month. Training is a process, and as such it takes time. Yes, there will times you may become frustrated, but when you look back in a year you will realize it was a precious time for you and your dog, one filled with learning and fun!

I encourage you to read the following shared blog post, all about patience, by dog trainer Nancy Tanner. Read it, print it, and then post it on your refrigerator, or somewhere in your home where it is close at hand anytime you are feeling frustrated with your dog. –

Shared Blog Post – the misunderstanding of time by Nancy Tannerhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/11/16/shared-blog-post-the-misunderstanding-of-time-by-nancy-tanner/

Enrolling yourself and your dog in a reward-based dog training class designed by a Certified Professional Dog Trainer is the best thing you can do for you and your dog. Not all trainers and dog training classes are equal. Because dog training is currently a non-regulated and non-licensed profession, the quality of instruction and practices used can vary widely, sometimes into the inhumane. The following article will provide you with information on what to look for in a dog trainer and dog training facility.

FMI – How to Choose a Dog Trainer http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/01/08/how-to-choose-a-dog-trainer/

Do not try to teach your dog everything at once. We will teach you certain behaviors, in a specific order, for a reason; to make training easier.

During the critical socialization period, between 8 and 16 weeks of age, it is far more important to work on planning and appropriately socializing and habituating your dog than it is to teach them to shake or any other behavior. This is a limited period, and you want to make the most of it. Inadequate or inappropriate socialization is a common reason dogs develop behavioral problems such as aggression and anxiety.

If your dog is older than 16 weeks of age, it is still important for you to read the following article. If you see any signs of shyness, timidity or fearful behavior, contact us and make an appointment for a Help Now! session so that we can offer you some guidance on a remedial socialization program for your puppy. Socialization is not as simple and straightforward as meeting the neighbors and their dog or taking your dog to the dog park. In fact, a visit to the dog park may be the worst thing that you can do.

FMI – Puppy Socialization and Habituationhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/06/27/dog-behavior-puppy-socialization-and-habituation/

If you are having problems with your dog guarding food and other items, stealing things, or growling, make an appointment with us for a Help Now! session as soon as possible. Punishment in any form will likely make these behaviors worse and could result in someone being bitten.

FMI – What Should My Do When My Dog Does Not Let Me Take Something They Have Stolen and Snaps or Tries to Bite Me?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/08/20/what-should-i-do-when-my-dog-does-not-let-me-take-something-they-have-stolen-and-snaps-or-tries-to-bite-me/

FMI – What Should I Do When My Dog Growls?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/07/18/canine-behavior-what-should-i-do-when-my-dog-growls/

Dogs and children both need training and supervision to learn how to appropriately and safely interact with one another. Dogs and children will not automatically get along. If you do not have children, your dog will still need to be socialized with children and learn how to interact with them. If you have children and a dog, you will need to spend time working with both. I highly recommend the book A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! by Niki Tudge. You will discover some things that you probably did not know about dogs while learning how to teach your children about interacting with your dog and any other dog they may meet.

FMI – Book Review – A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! by Niki Tudgehttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2018/01/10/book-review-a-kids-comprehensive-guide-to-speaking-dog-by-niki-tudge/

Think carefully about what you teach your dog; intentionally or unintentionally. Un-training a behavior takes a whole lot more time and energy than training a behavior. A trick like “shake” is cute, but think long and hard if you want a dog that will always be trying to get every person they see to shake, even when they have muddy paws.

If there are multiple people that will be interacting with your dog, discuss what cues, visual and verbal, that you will use for specific behaviors so that you are all being consistent. Do not be in a hurry to add a visual (hand signal) or a verbal cue to a behavior. We do not start using a cue until we are confident that the dog understands the behavior in multiple contexts and environments. If you start using the cue too soon, you may need to change it. We will talk about that more in class.

If you have questions that just will not wait until class starts, contact us and make an appointment for a Help Now! session.

Blog Posts

The blog posts listed below will all be beneficial for anyone thinking about getting a new dog or for those of you that just added a dog to your family.

 

 

 

 

Common New Dog Training Issues

Especially for New Puppy Parents – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/10/especially-for-new-puppy-parents/

the misunderstanding of time by Nancy Tannerhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/11/16/shared-blog-post-the-misunderstanding-of-time-by-nancy-tanner/

How to Choose a Dog Trainer – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/01/08/how-to-choose-a-dog-trainer/

Puppy Socialization and Habituationhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/06/27/dog-behavior-puppy-socialization-and-habituation/

What Should My Do When My Dog Does Not Let Me Take Something They Have Stolen and Snaps or Tries to Bite Me?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/08/20/what-should-i-do-when-my-dog-does-not-let-me-take-something-they-have-stolen-and-snaps-or-tries-to-bite-me/

What Should I Do When My Dog Growls?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/07/18/canine-behavior-what-should-i-do-when-my-dog-growls/

Housetraining http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/02/16/housetraining/

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Training Dogs – Gus, the Dominance Myth, An Alpha Roll, and a Damaged Relationship – http://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance

Dog Behavior – Dominance: Reality or Myth –  http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/06/20/dog-behavior-dominance-reality-or-myth/

Dog Training – How science and reward-based training have pulled dog training out of the dark ages – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/21/dog-training-how-science-and-reward-based-training-have-pulled-dog-training-out-of-the-dark-ages/

The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collarshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/08/05/dogs-the-unintended-consequences-of-shock-collar/

Introduction to Canine Communicationhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/01/16/dog-behavior-introduction-to-canine-communication/

Canine Behavior – Myths and Facts – Part 1, Where do we get our knowledge about dogs?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/05/04/canine-behavior-myths-and-facts-part-1-where-do-we-get-our-knowledge-about-dogs/

Dog Training – The Four Essentials For A Great Dog – Part 1http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/02/02/dog-training-the-four-essentials-for-a-great-dog-part-1-knowledge-relationship-management-training/

Dog Training – The Four Essentials For A Great Dog – Part 2http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/02/28/dog-training-the-four-essentials-for-a-great-dog-part-2/

Play Biting – Biting and Bite Thresholds –   http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2012/01/16/dog-training-biting-and-bite-thresholds/

Chewinghttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/03/15/dog-training-chewing/

Teaching the ATTENTION or LOOK Behaviorhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/04/dog-training-teaching-the-attention-or-look-behavior/

Alone Training – Preventing separation anxiety – Teaching your dog to cope with being alonehttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/03/14/dog-training-preventing-separation-anxiety-teaching-your-dog-to-cope-with-being-alone/

Teaching the SIT Behavior – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/04/dog-training-teaching-the-sit-behavior/

Teaching Your Puppy to Come When Called – Starting Points – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/07/10/dog-training-teaching-your-puppy-to-come-when-called-starting-points/

How Do I Get My Dog to Walk Politely Instead of Pulling on the Leash? – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/04/27/dog-training-how-do-i-get-my-dog-to-walk-politely-instead-of-pulling-on-the-leash/

Dogs and Children

Book Review – A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! by Niki Tudgehttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2018/01/10/book-review-a-kids-comprehensive-guide-to-speaking-dog-by-niki-tudge/

Book Review – Living with Kids and Dogs…Without Losing Your Mind: A Parent’s Guide to Controlling the Chaos by Colleen Pelarhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2018/01/10/book-review-living-with-kids-and-dogswithout-losing-your-mind-a-parents-guide-to-controlling-the-chaos-by-colleen-pelar/

Health and Safety

Pet Health and Wellness – Your Pet’s Behavioral Health Is As Important As Their Physical Well-Beinghttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/08/01/pet-health-and-wellness-your-pets-behavioral-health-is-as-important-as-their-physical-well-being/

Internal Parasites – Worms http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/04/24/pet-health-and-wellness-internal-parasites-worms/

External Parasites – Ticks and Fleashttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/05/03/pet-health-and-wellness-external-parasites-ticks-and-fleas/

Vaccinations–Interviews with Dr. Ron Schultzhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/07/15/vaccinations-interviews-with-dr-ron-schultz/

Shared Blog Post – AAHA Vaccination Guidelines 2017 for Dogs – A Review by Dr. Jean Dodds – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/11/06/shared-blog-post-aaha-vaccination-guidelines-2017-for-dogs-a-review-by-dr-jean-dodds/

Shared Blog Post – Updated Canine Vaccination Guidelines by Nancy Kay, DVMhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/11/06/shared-blog-post-updated-canine-vaccination-guidelines-by-nancy-kay-dvm/

Summer Pet Care Tipshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/06/07/summer-pet-care-tips/

Dogs, Summer, and Behavioral Issueshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/06/01/canine-behavior-dogs-summer-and-behavioral-issues/

Cold Weather and Holiday Tips for Petshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/11/23/seasonal-issues-cold-weather-and-holiday-tips-for-pets/

Nutrition

Pet Nutrition – What Should I Feed My Pet? – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/06/04/pet-nutrition-what-should-i-feed-my-pet/

Podcasts

The shows listed below are from The Woof Meow Show (www.woofmeowshow.com) and cover a wide variety of topics that will be of interest to anyone with a new puppy. Click on the title to listen to the show.

 

 

 

Common Dog Training Issues

We’re Getting A New Puppy (or Dog)! – part 1 – Once you have found your new furry companion, whether they are a puppy or an older dog, there is much you need to be thinking about before you bring your new friend home. In this show, Don and Kate discuss the things you will need, might need, and don’t need. They finish the show with a discussion of the importance of a well thought out socialization and habituation plan for a puppy. If you have a puppy or dog selected, or are thinking about getting a canine companion, this show will help you prepare for your new dog.

We’re Getting A New Puppy (or Dog)! – part 2 – In this show Kate and Don address the most typical behavior concerns with a new puppy or dog; housetraining, jumping up on people, play biting, and chewing. While this show is no substitute for a well-designed puppy or basic manners class, it will get you pointed in the right direction.

Podcast – How to Choose A Dog Trainer – Kate, and Don discuss what to look for when choosing a dog trainer and dog training class, as well as what to avoid. Dog training and recommended approaches to training a dog have changed dramatically as we have learned more about canines. As a result, we now know that some long-standing methods used to train a dog in the past, are in fact detrimental and can cause serious, long-term harm to your dog. Learn what to look for so that you and your dog have the best experience possible. FIRST AIR DATE: 7JAN17

The benefits of training your dog and 2017 Training Classes at Green AcresKate and Don discuss why training a dog is so beneficial to all involved; the dog, the dog’s immediate family, and society in general. They discuss the advantages of working with a certified professional dog trainer so that you have someone that can coach both you and your dog when things are not going as expected. Additionally, they discuss why choosing a trainer that is committed to pain-free, force-free and fear-free training is so important. Lastly, they discuss the training classes that will be offered at Green Acres Kennel Shop in 2017.

Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 1 – Dr. Hanks interviews Don and Kate about their experiences as professional dog trainers. He asks Kate and Don about how training has changed in the past 26 years since Mark began his practice, why training a dog is important, the importance of training for mental enrichment, how breed effects training and compatibility with a family, how human intervention has adversely effected health and behavior, researching dogs before one decides what dog and breed to get, making temperament a key decision when picking a dog, what we typically teach a client and their dog, Green Acres holistic approach to training (husbandry, nutrition, body language, ethology, and training), inadvertent reinforcement of undesirable behaviors, the continuing necessity to refute antiquated and inaccurate myths about canine behavior, the optimal age for starting training,  the structure of Green Acres training classes, Green Acres program to help parents find the best pet for them, how family lifestyles have changed and how that affects time for a dog, knowing when to wait before starting a group training class, and how they deal with special needs rescue dogs.

Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 2 – Dr. Hanks asks Kate and Don about: Green Acres holistic approach to training (husbandry, nutrition, body language, ethology, and training) and how we work with families to understand their dog and the importance of having a good foundation of education so people can better understand their dogs, how some students may attend class without their dog either because their dog is sick, in heat or simply because the dog learns better at home, private training options at Green Acres, the critical period of puppy socialization and habituation, why socialization needs to be actively planned and implemented by owners – it doesn’t just happen, what do you do you when want your puppy to be a therapy dog, the difference between therapy dogs, service/assistance dogs, and emotional support dogs, the fake service dog epidemic, can you teach an old dog new tricks, how do you deal with constant barking, and how do you deal with clients that need the dogs behavior changed tomorrow.

Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 3 – Dr. Hanks asks Kate and Don about: dominance, pack hierarchy and alphas and the current science which indicates wolves are a cooperative social species, the benefits of kind leadership as opposed to coercive based leadership, the myth of dogs doing things just to please us, temperament and personality in dogs, the importance of knowing parents because of the genetic role in temperament, “stubborn” dogs versus under-motivated dogs, epigenetics and the possibility of mental health disorders in dogs like autism and PTSD, and temperament as a continuum and nature versus nurture.

The Dominance and Alpha Myth – Don and Kate discuss the concept of dominance, alpha dogs, pack hierarchy, and how this whole construct is a myth with both dogs and wolves that is not supported by science. They discuss how this has led to a punishment and compulsion based system of dog training which is not only unnecessary but is often counterproductive. They discuss the importance of leadership, boundaries, management and the use of reward-based training as a smart alternative to the dominance approach. You can learn more by reading these articles: http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/06/20/dog-behavior-dominance-reality-or-myth/ and http://www.greenacreskennel.com/dog-behavior-and-training/position-on-the-use-of-dominance-and-punishment-for-the-training-and-behavior-modification-of-dogs
First Air Date: 21MAR10

Dogs and Children

Dogs and Babies with Jennifer Shryock from Family Paws Parent Education – Kate and Don interview Jennifer Shryock the founder of Family Paws Pet Education about their innovative programs; Dogs & Storks™ and the Dog and Baby Connection. We’ll discuss why prior planning is so important for the successful integration of a new baby in a home with a dog and what you can do when you have questions.
First Air Date: 17AUG13

Dog Bite Prevention & Doggone Safe with Teresa Lewin of Doggone Safe- part 1 – In part one of this two-part series Kate and Don talk with Teresa Lewin, one of the founders of Doggone Safe, a non-profit dedicated to dog bite prevention through education. In this first show, we discuss the dog bite problem (50% of all children will be taken to the ER for a dog bite by the time they are 12), why these bites usually occur, and what Doggone Safe and their partners like Green Acres Kennel Shop are doing to help prevent them. If you have dogs and children or family with either, or if you work with children, you will want to listen to this show. Checkout the dog bite prevention page on our website for more information – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/dog-bite-prevention
First Air Date: 6APR13

Dog Bite Prevention & Doggone Safe with Teresa Lewin of Doggone Safe- part 2 – In part two of this two-part series Kate and Don talk with Teresa Lewin, one of the founders of Doggone Safe, a non-profit dedicated to dog bite prevention through education. In this second show, we discuss Doggone Safe’s innovative Be A Tree program for children and their Be Doggone Safe at Work program for adults that encounter dogs during work. We’ll discuss how these programs work and their availability through Green Acres Kennel Shop. If you have dogs and children or family with either, or if you work with children, you will want to listen to this show. Checkout the dog bite prevention page on our website for more information – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/dog-bite-prevention
First Air Date: 13APR13

Kids & Dogs with Colleen Pelar – part 1 and Kids & Dogs with Colleen Pelar – part 2 – In this two-part series, Don and Kate interview Certified Professional Dog Trainer and author Colleen Pelar about her book Living with Kids and Dogs… Without Losing Your Mind. We review Colleen’s book and discuss tips for parents trying to manage a household with a dog and one or more kids. This book is a MUST READ for anyone with kids and dogs or for anyone with kids that is contemplating getting a dog. If you need some immediate assistance dealing with kids and dogs, give us a call at 945-6841 or checkout our dog bite prevention section on our website – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/dog-bite-prevention. You can read our review of Colleen’s book here – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/book-reviews/living-with-kids-and-dogswithout-losing-your-mind-a-parents-guide-to-controlling-the-chaos
First Air Date: 11FEB07 and 18FEB07

Health & Safety

The Importance of Annual Exams with Dr. David Cloutier – Don and Kate talk with Dr. Cloutier about the importance of regular annual wellness exams for all pets. First Air Date: 6JUN12

The Importance of Annual Exams with Dr. Mark Hanks of Kindred Spirits Veterinary Clinic – Don and Kate talk with Dr. Mark Hanks about the importance of annual well exams for dogs and cats. First Air Date: 5FEB11

Nutrition

Pet Food Myths – part 1 – In part one of this two-part series, Don and Kate discuss several myths and conceptions pet guardians have about pet food. The fact is that not all pet foods are the same, and the quality varies greatly. Kate and Don reveal these myths and guide the listeners on how to evaluate their pet’s food so that they can provide their pet with optimal nutrition that fits their budget.
First Air Date: 6JUN11

Pet Food Myths – part 2 – In part two of this two-part series, Don and Kate discuss several myths and conceptions pet guardians have about pet food. The fact is that not all pet foods are the same, and the quality varies greatly. Kate and Don reveal these myths and guide the listeners on how to evaluate their pet’s food so that they can provide their pet with optimal nutrition that fits their budget.
First Air Date: 13JUN11

Legal Issues

Maine’s Puppy Lemon Law and Your Rights As A Consumer – Don interview attorney Christina Perkins about Maine’s puppy lemon law and your rights as a consumer when you purchase a pet. First Air Date: 14MAR15

While getting a new pet usually goes very well, occasionally people have a bad experience when purchasing a new pet. This can happen when getting a pet from a pet store, a breeder, and even when getting a pet from a shelter or rescue. In this show, we address consumer’s legal alternatives when things do not go as you wanted.

©13AUG18, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >