February

SPOTLIGHT

Sign Up for Group Class!

This month we’re starting a round of group classes! Intermediate classes just started, and beginner classes start this weekend. We’re teaching classes both on the West Side and in the Valley. Our classes in the Valley start in 4 weeks, and they’re booking up fast, so sign up quickly before space runs out! If you know anyone in the Valley whose pup might benefit from some obedience classes, throw them a bone and send this their way. The dog and their owners will love you for it. Sign up here!


FAQ – How old is my dog really?

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Remember when we were kids and we heard one human year is equivalent to seven dog years? Turns out, this is actually a myth! In the 1950s, the average human lifespan was around 70 years, while the average dog lifespan was around 10 years. I think you can see where we’re going with this… people made the assumption that 70 years to 10 years translated to 7 to 1. But, like humans, not all years of life are the same. We develop much faster as children than we do as adults, and dogs do the same. In fact, dogs develop much faster in the the first year of their life than humans do. 

In the wild, animals have to mature very quickly in order to survive. The faster they can be on their own, the faster they can contribute to hunting for, gathering for, and protecting their family. 

The first year of a dog’s life is by far the most important. Your dog has aged from being a toddler to a teen in one year. As we all know, in most species, girls mature faster than boys (especially in humans). It’s the same for dogs! Female dogs can go into their first heat around 7 months old, and male dogs reach puberty around 10 months old. And after the first few years of their life, dog’s development and aging slow down significantly.

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Knowing your dog’s life stage is incredibly important as an owner who wants to train their pup. We expect different types of behaviors at different ages. Teenage years for dogs, like humans, can be quite difficult for dog parents, so it’s important that we know this life stage comes earlier than we may have previously believed. Your training skills (and patience!) will be tested in this stage. However, with the right foundation of skills taught at the right stages, you’ll be able to survive your dog’s adolescence and early 20s. 

If the first year of your dog’s life flew by and training wasn’t on your radar, or if you adopted a dog older than 1 year old, there’s a chance that your dog could still be expressing unwanted behaviors that we call “unresolved puppy issues.” These unresolved puppy issues may present themselves in areas of focus, self-control, and decision making. In essence, your teenager might still think a bit like a baby. That said, don’t lose hope! Dogs are trainable at any age. If this is your situation, reach out to our specialists with more questions!

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Dog of the Month –

Rocky & Nala the Shepherds

Meet Rocky & Nala! These siblings are one and half year old German Shepherds. The pair belong to a wonderful family who came to us because the pups were destroying the house, barking at strangers, and being a bit *too* good of guard dogs. We completed off-leash training with Rocky & Nala, and are happy to say they are now able to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship with their family and friends. They are even helping their human little sister learn how to walk and train big doggos!


Relationship Builder Tips –

Dog Culture pt. 1

FullSizeRenderJust like humans, dogs are heavily influenced by the culture they experience everyday, but instead of being influenced by the Kardashians, they’re influenced by you! This dog culture tells us and our pups what our expectations should be. Without a clear and reliable set of standards, it can be more difficult to teach our dogs what to expect and aspire to. 

Dog culture in the home is very similar to parenting styles for your kids. Certain routines and consistency benefit different children in different ways, and your choice of parenting culture is based both on your child’s needs and your needs. This is the same for dogs, and we commonly neglect how important this can be for our pups. We often use happiness or anxiety as a gauge for what to do for our dog rather than setting clear and appropriate goals, which can confuse you both. For example, you wouldn’t say “my kid isn’t listening to anything we’re asking them to do, but they’re happy, so we really don’t need to change anything at home,” and the same should go for your dog. 

Next month we will break down some different common types of dog culture and give an idea of what healthy goals and expectations might be for each type. Understanding and maintaining your home culture will help your dog feel more confident in their choices, as they’ll know which behaviors will be consistently rewarded and disciplined. A confident dog is a happy dog!

What’s your dog culture? Are you fostering direct companionship with your dog? Are you beta-testing parenthood with a partner? Let us know! If you’re facing difficulties or have seen a lot of success in your culture at home, tell us about it. In the next newsletter, we will share success stories and answer common questions.


Training Certain Breeds –

Welsh Corgis

IMG_1737Who doesn’t love corgis? Corgis are beloved by so many including Antoni Porowski, Queen Elizabeth II, Betty White, and Stephen King. It’s no surprise, as these short-legged pups are known for having big personalities (and big butts!). Since the breed originated as herding dogs in the wet and messy Welsh weather, they are very environment-adaptive and have waterproof coats, making them great pets for both apartments, ranches, homes, and a variety of weather types. Because of their short stature, they also make great lap dogs and only need moderate exercise in order to remain a healthy chunk rather than an unhealthy one. 

Because Corgis were bred to be herding dogs, their instincts can lead to what a modern pet owner might dub as “behavioral issues,” but are really just instincts of a herding breed. Aside from being loyal and active, Corgi’s can be very vocal, might develop issues with aggression towards other animals, and are usually excellent at telling their humans what to do rather than letting their humans tell them what to do. These behaviors are normal, and with appropriate training, can be channeled into healthier behaviors for their lifestyle. Herding dogs are exceptionally smart, as well, so despite Corgi’s notorious stubbornness, they are still able to learn difficult commands and become intelligent and obedient pups with very floofy butts and very big ears!