September 2009 Archives

Sit & Stay Dog Training

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After Rocco joined me in my home, one of the goals I had was to make sure that I was trained properly in obedience training.

If you scour the internet or watch TV, there's a thousand people who will give you a thousand different ways to train a dog. Everyone has got an opinion on the "right" way to train a dog, and each owner needs to figure out what is best for them and their dog.

What *I* wanted was to learn about positive reinforcement with Rocco. I asked my dog walker, Lauren (who, by the way, is excellent and if you are interested in her services, feel free to email me and I will pass along her contact info) for a reference.

She didn't hesitate and told me to use the trainer that she used on her Siberian Huskies: Joana Watsky, owner of Sit and Stay.

I called Joana, and we talked a lot on the phone. She asked me about my dog, what I was looking to achieve, and how she could help.

I already knew a lot, with thanks to my sisters for their advice, but I wanted to make sure that I was laying the proper foundation to raising a good dog now, and not trying to correct bad behavior later.

Joana explained how she worked with positive reinforcement to train puppies, and that it was never too early to teach owners these methods. Also she would cover grooming, housebreaking (with command words once outside), basic commands (sit, stand, down, "leave it"), command praise and dog psychology - plus any other questions I had.

We made an appointment, and she arrived at my home last night.

Suffice to say, I already knew a lot of what she taught me and it's a great class for a first time owner or someone, like me, who does have dog experience but is looking to fill in the gaps.

I learned a lot, especially about redirecting Rocco's love to chew everything. Often I would catch him chewing on my couch or going to a lamps electrical wire - and of course i'd say "NO". But she taught me that it's not enough to just do that, we have to say "Leave It" and then direct him to something that is positive, like a dog toy he can chew on.

She was also teaching me that while i'm teaching Rocco that i'm the "pack leader" I have to temper my love towards him. It can't just be "affection, affection, affection...then discipline". He has to earn attention through being a good puppy, not just be an owner who showers him with playtime or petting. Not letting him up on furniture or sleeping in my bed (I haven't allowed this since day 1).

There was a lot of other things she covered, including teaching Rocco "sit", "stand", "down". "Down" was a bit tricky, Rocco has a stubborn streak and didn't like "down", but her persistence and training methods did get him into a down position. Commands like "stay" and "come" would be taught at a later date when the puppy is a bit older.

By taking this class I also got 15% off her group obedience class in the future, which I will be attending when Rocco is about 6 months old. If you are like me, and live in or around Hoboken, have a dog and want to learn a few things - I highly recommend taking this class.

Rocco Week 10

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It's been now almost two weeks with my new dog, and I figure it is time for an update to those who haven't seen my updates on Facebook.

My new puppy's name is Rocco. He's a French bulldog and this week he will be 10 weeks old. I have a dog walker who sees him twice daily, and send me text messages on how he's holding up. I am doing crate training, and not using wee-pads. He's usually not alone longer than 4 hours.rocco1.jpg

The first week, he was waking up around 2-3am, and needing to be walked. The last couple of days he has slept through the night, and even this morning was fast asleep when my alarm went off at 6:45am.

He's a very smart doggie. Took only a few days to teach him to respond to "Rocco" and to learn the command "sit". I have scheduled some puppy training from Joana Watsky in a few weeks, to go over what I need to know about raising a puppy. I have been getting a ton of advice from my two sisters, also. My one sister has raised 6 seeing eye dogs, and my other sister has had about 5 different dogs over her lifetime, some rescues and some from breeders.

Rocco's a puppy, and he gets a lot of attention on walks. But, as a puppy, I can't really take him on super-far walks. Our greatest walk was walking from my condo at Newark and Willow over to Church Square Park on 4th and Willow. He had fun chasing pigeons at 7am on Sunday morning. I don't bring him into the dog run yet, because he's not done with his shots yet. He and I have been running into a few problems on walks. He's a bit stubborn, and I expected this before he arrived. We have been working through this by using some tough love (translation: I walk slow, shuffle my feet and keep my leash fixed to my side. He resists a bit, but eventually follows) and a few pieces of kibble when he walks well along side of me. Our normal early evening walk is about a good 30 minute foray, about 10 square blocks or so (maybe walk to 4th street up from Clinton to Park and then along Park back home).

I used Garden State Animal Hospital on 90th and Kennedy in North Bergen for Rocco's care. I won't use the Hoboken Animal Hospital on 6th and Washington after the whole debacle I had with my cat Honey a few years ago (long story short is my cat was misdiagnosed and it cost me $1,500 in unnecessary surgery - also I hear many stories about that particular hospital overcharging pet owners for frivolous things). Others have recommended the Animal Hospital on 6th and Grand. I have a car, and going to Garden State Animal Hospital isn't too far, and the vet there is a specialist in French Bulldogs, so I like that a lot.rocco2.jpg

He's so far been a very good boy, a few #1 accidents in the condo but I blame myself for not seeing the warning signs fast enough. I'm sure he will get the get the hang of only going outside when his puppy bladder gets bigger and his control is better. I'm taking him out every hour, and 15 minutes after meals & naps.

Every single walk I hear the "Ohhhhh myyyy Godddddd" squeal from a girl who sees Rocco. At first it was funny and I still laugh now, but there are times when i'm just hoping he can go to the bathroom, and have to wave people off. I have been up to Washington Street twice, trying to get Rocco used to people, dogs, sights and sounds. He's been doing very good.

I'm also hoping to find a grass field that is fenced in somewhere in the vicinity where I can take Rocco off leash. If you know of someplace to go (someone suggested Liberty State Park, but I read the rules and it says dogs must be kept on-leash). Have a suggestion? Email me.

Been running into another minor problem with EATING well. Since I have gotten him, my "diet" (not much of a diet, but more about eating right) has been in total flux. Far too often I forget to eat, and I weighed myself the other day and was down 4 pounds between the poor eating and numerous walks. I'm trying this week to get back on track with my diet and exercise, with the last two weeks things have been a bit out of order.

I'll see about getting some new clearer SLR pictures on here in the next week or so.

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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