New-puppy Homework

So much information. So few brain cells.

Be careful what you ask for. Around these parts, the things you need will be sitting on your porch before you even tell your neighbors you need them.

Anticipating our determination to get a new pup soon, and knowing the mixed bag of success and failure with Tsuga, behavior-wise, a Floyd County dog-and-horse rescuer dropped off a heaping sack full of dog behavior and training books and tapes at the local vet’s office, and I picked them up yesterday.

So, if we were in need of reading material on a short time-frame, we are well supplied and will not want for instruction and education. I am hoping that, somewhere in all this reading and viewing material, somewhere it gives infallible instructions for how to make BOTH pet-parents remain consistent and firm with commands, and rule, and treats, and…

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Kinda reminds me of one of Barbara’s friends: some years ago she got a new Kerry Blue Terrier, which needed training. Eventually the owner and dog were both booted from obedience school–because of the owner’s lapses, not the dog’s. Hope you and Ann will do better with your new pup!

  2. I think the best advice on choosing and raising dogs is embedded in the TV series The Dog Whisperer. Caesar Milan is very insightful of dog psychology and tackles a variety of testy situations on the show. It’s not the situations that are important; rather it’s his approach to solving them. In most cases it’s the owner that needs the work, not so much the dog in need of training. In the process of watching these I gained a lot of practical insight that I apply to my relationship with my dogs and with other dogs.

    See a few or see them all. You can get the series from Netflix. New episodes are on the National Geographic Chanel for those on one of the TV grids. I strongly recommend this to you, Fred, and anyone else in a relationship with a dog.

  3. Good luck Fred. Sorry to hear about your recent loss.

    You still cling to the idea that your relationship with the dog is dependent on your spouse’s choices.

    I disagree, dogs are smarter than children. You are submitting to both of them if you believe or allow them to do what they want to in your presence. What happens when you aren’t around isn’t your problem and both of them should absorb their own consequences.

    Dog up.

  4. May I recommend another book to you? “The Philosopher’s Dog – Friendship with Animals” by Raimond Gaita. It probably won’t help you train a dog, but put a different lens on your view of a dog, and other animals.

  5. I say, forget about getting both owners on the same page; not possible. Instead, choose a dog that is small enough and mellow enough to not create huge issues when his training is far from perfect. Us old dog owners are just too set in our ways to learn new tricks, and will behave around dogs as we always have.