Dog Parks: Why I’m NOT a Fan

Taking my dog somewhere to run around and enjoy the outside is a favorite way for us to spend time together. Having an off-leash reliable dog gives me the freedom to do this. When I’m in Staunton, Virginia I love to take the dogs to visit Gypsy Hill Park. Recently I visited there with a friend to take our dogs to Gypsy Hill’s dog park to let the dogs run and play on the fun agility equipment. But when we arrived and found the dog park packed with lots of other dogs, my friend didn’t understand why I opted to not bring my dog inside. (My friend and I had previously visited the park on a weekday later in the evening when the dog park was empty and we’d had a great time watching our dogs play and we’d used the agility equipment for some fun training practice). In fact, most of the dog owning population and many of my dog training clients are of the opinion that dog parks are the best thing since sliced bread. In recent years, dog parks have started popping up in more and more communities and while most dog owners welcome the addition, personally, I do not like them. In theory, a dog park a.k.a. a safe, fenced in area to let your friendly dog run off-leash and play with other friendly dogs sounds like a fantastic idea. The problem is that in reality, dog parks end up being very dangerous places for our dogs.  Let me explain why I, and many other smart dog people, feel so strongly against using dog parks. (more…)

Raising the Perfect Puppy, Part 2: Socialization

Raising a puppy is a lot of work! It takes time, effort, a little bit of skill, and lots of patience. If we can lay the foundations at an early age for good behavior to build on as our puppy matures, we will be infinitely more successful at having a wonderfully happy, well-rounded, balanced adult dog. This blog aims to give you a step-by-step guide to help you in your puppy-raising adventures with the hopes of helping you avoid some of the common mistakes and pitfalls dog owners usually end up paying for later on in their dog’s life.

What is Socialization? Socialization is exposing your puppy to new things in a way that teaches them to handle living in our modern, human world with confidence. It is introducing your puppy to a variety of people, animals, sights, smells, sounds, textures, environments and experiences. The experience should be enjoyable and fun for your puppy not scary or overly stressful.

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