Watertown— It is always very exciting getting a new puppy, this adorable new member of your family can be bring a lot of fun and joy. ABC50 spoke with one local dog trainer who stressed that puppy years are crucial and that training your dog early is important.
Based out in Evans Mills, Patrick Danforth is co-owner of Click to Zen, a dog training facility that works with dog owners and the Jefferson County SPCA. Mr. Danforth and his partner Alison Rice are both certified dog trainers. According to Mr. Danforth, when getting a puppy, it is imperative to socialize the puppy early. Mr. Danforth and Ms. Rice have a simple goal for their company, to teach dog owners how to train their dogs in a non-aggressive manner. Danforth said, “You don’t need to train dogs with choke collars, shock, hitting, and punitive punishment.”
He went on to explain that, “People originally get puppies and never train them. Then when the dog becomes an adult, the dogs are misbehaved, this leads to owners giving up and you see a lot of shelter dogs.” Mr. Danforth and Click to Zen, find that taking at least one or two obedience classes is better than never going at all. “If you don’t want to pay for classes or pay a dog trainer, at least socialize the dog early”, said Mr. Danforth. Having over 15 years of experience training dogs, Danforth stated that, “You should socialize your puppy early. Taking them to a dog park might be the first step.”
Although, Danforth and his partner Rice see a downfall to dog parks. Often times, there are unpredictable dogs and owners that do not train their pets. However, there is a way that you can socialize your new puppy. Danforth said, “Take it slow, it’s okay to introduce your new puppy with other dogs at a dog park. Just do not place them in there with 20 other dogs.” Mr. Danforth told ABC50 that some breeds and some dogs just do not get along with other dogs. But, you can reduce the chances of having a misbehaved dog as long as you socialize your new family member slowly. One safe start is taking your new puppy at the dog park when there are only one or two dogs. It is important to speak with dog owners at the dog park. It never hurts to ask if a dog owner has up to date shots on their dog and if he or she plays well with puppies.
So, if you have a new puppy socializing them early will not only benefit the new pup, but the entire family. Trained dogs bring harmony into the home. It reduces the chance of having a dog that misbehaves, bite other animals or children and other negative behaviors. If you have adopted an adult dog at a shelter, it might be a good idea to take him or her to training classes. Adult dogs are harder to train because they might have learned poor behavior, however it is never too late to teach a dog some manners.
Puppies are cute, but when they grow up untrained and without learning proper social skills and good behavior, problems will likely occur in the future. Cute and untrained puppies become adult dogs with negative behaviors. Poorly behaved adult dogs, likely end up dropped off at the SPCA. So, take the time to train your new member of the family, you won’t be sorry later. The whole family is rewarded in the future by having a well behaved, four-legged friend.