Category Archives: Puppy Training

First-Time Boarders

Pre-boarding your dog before their first visit helps ease concerns about boarding your dog, particularly if the dog is “elderly.” These concerns are valid and at Misty Pines we take them seriously.

It is worth noting, before moving on, that bringing a puppy to the kennel at an early age will help to familiarize the pup with the sights, sounds, smells and staff of the facility and will help to ease anxiety about boarding later in life. Socialization is the most important aspect of raising a puppy. This means more than taking your dog to the park to socialize with other dogs and humans. The meaning of socialization stretches to encompass as many experiences as possible that the dog may have to deal with during its adulthood.

First-Time Boarders

Pre-Boarding for dogs

A 5 year old dog who has never boarded and typically spends all day at home could become very stressed when boarding while your family goes on vacation. First time boarders are exposed to a variety of new experiences such as a pressure washer, using a dog door, automatic waterers, staff walking past his create throughout the day and so on. These are all  things the he will need to get used to in order to have a good boarding experience.

Taking the time to do a few Pre-Board sessions before a long boarding for your dog will be monumental in helping him deal with the stress of boarding. Bring your dog in for at least 4 hours ($20/dog) and he’ll be put in one of our indoor/outdoor runs to acclimate to the facility as well as the new sights and sounds. Your dog could be given short activities that will give us insight into your dog’s reaction to kennel life as well as to other dogs. It is best to let us know what your typical routine is at home so that we can help you choose appropriate activities. When you pick your dog up from a Pre-Board, we will let you know how your dog did and if he needs to attend a couple of these sessions.

Your dog may need extra help acclimating to Misty Pines, especially if you plan to board your dog with us for an extended period of time. If that is the case, we recommend scheduling your dog for an over-night boarding stay .

The 10+ Crowd

Pre-Boarding for elderly dogs

Unless very well socialized, elderly dogs are more prone to stress in a new environment than younger dogs. Furthermore, stress can be more physically damaging to an older dog and may lead to serious health problems.

Any dog over 10 years of age that has not boarded at Misty Pines before, or maybe not since they were very young, is required to do a Pre-Board of at least 4 hours. If there are health issues already present, we may require an over-night to ensure that the problem does not worsen when separated from the owner/family.

As stated above for the younger dogs, Pre-Boarding sessions are a great help to those dogs who are already a little tentative and generally help the dog have a pleasant boarding experience with us.


Socialization Tips for Puppy Owners

Socialization tips for puppy owners

Even though dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years, each new puppy that comes into our world must learn about humans. Socialization is the process during which puppies 3 weeks to 4 months of age develop positive relationships with other living beings. The experiences a puppy has during this time will have a major influence on its developing personality and how well it gets along with people and other animals when it grows into adulthood. It is very important for puppies to have frequent, positive social experiences during these early months in order to prevent asocial behavior, fear, and biting. Puppies that are inadequately socialized may develop irreversible fears, leading to timidity or aggression. This is not to say that socialization is complete by 4 months of age; only that it should begin before that time. Continued well-planned exposures to a variety of people and other animals, as the pet grows and develops, are also an essential part of maintaining good social skills. It is also extremely important that your new puppy be systematically exposed to new environments with positive rewards and stimuli at this time (e.g., sounds, odors, locations, sights, surfaces) to imprint in their minds that all these exposures are good and not scary.

Puppy socialization – what to do

It is essential that every puppy meets the sights and sounds with as many new people as possible (including babies, children, adults, and seniors), in a wide variety of situations, but be careful not to overwhelm it. Begin with calm introductions to one or two people at a time. If the pet handles this well, then more people, increased noise, and more activity can slowly be added. It is beneficial to ask each person who meets the puppy to give it a small piece of kibble or a tiny treat. This will teach the puppy to look forward to meeting people. It will also discourage hand shyness, since the puppy will learn to associate new people and an outstretched hand with something positive.

Once the puppy has learned to sit on command, have each new friend ask it to sit before giving the treat. This teaches a proper greeting and will make the puppy less likely to jump up on people. You should make certain that the puppy has the opportunity to meet and receive treats from a wide variety of people, especially those who differ from those in the family home. In the case of puppy socialization, variety is definitely the spice of life. The fear that might arise from the way a person looks, acts, sounds, moves, or perhaps even smells might be prevented by exposure during the socialization period. In particular, every effort must be made to see that the young pup has plenty of opportunities to learn about children. They can seem like a completely different species to dogs since they walk, act, and talk much differently than adults. Running, screaming, bicycles, roller blades and skateboards are also some of the varied stimuli that might be more common when children are around. Puppies that grow up without meeting children when they are young may never feel comfortable around them when they become adults. In addition, if you consider that perhaps you might want your pet one day to be a service or therapy dog, the range of possible sights, sounds, smells, actions, and interactions to which your dog might be exposed could also include riding on elevators, the sounds of hospital equipment, wheelchairs or the patient in a nursing home with a cane, walker, oxygen tank, or IV pole. Lack of experience with a variety of people during puppyhood is a common cause of social fear, avoidance, and biting.

Take the pup to visit friends’ homes to interact with them and with their pets. The ideal home is one with calm children and calm pets that don’t go out to parks or other areas where they might pick up disease organisms and bring them back home, and where the pets have received appropriate immunizations and parasite control. As soon as your puppy is adequately vaccinated, take it on as many walks and outings as possible. Just be careful to avoid areas where stray dogs roam that might carry diseases.

Puppy Play Date

Puppy classes

Puppy Sitting In Puppy PreschoolAttending puppy classes during the primary socialization period (which begins to wane by 12 – 14 weeks of age) is another excellent way of ensuring multiple contacts with a variety of people and other dogs. This relatively new concept in training involves enrolling puppies early, before they pick up bad habits, and at an age when they learn very quickly. Puppy training and socialization classes are now available in many communities where, with the proper health-care precautions, puppies can be admitted as early as 7 – 10 weeks of age. These classes can help puppies get off to a great start with training, and offer an excellent opportunity for important social experiences with other puppies and a wide variety of people. For further guidelines on puppy socialization and puppy classes, visit www.mistypinespetcompany.com.

Avoid unpleasant experiences

A young puppy’s interactions should always be supervised to ensure nothing happens that might make it afraid of people. Go slow with socialization exposure, and if the pet ever seems anxious, take some time out and then re-expose it to people in slightly calmer situations.

In addition, avoid all physical punishment. Harsh scolding or punishing a young pet will damage its bond with you and weaken its trust in people. Techniques such as swatting the pup, shaking it by the scruff, rubbing its face in a mess, and roughly forcing it onto its back should never be used. Pets that are raised using these methods may grow up to fear the human hand, and are more likely to display avoidance or become fear biters. In general, any interactions with people that might make a puppy anxious should be avoided, particularly during the early months of its life.

Socializing takes time and patience, but the benefits are worthwhile, so be sure not to miss the opportunity to guide your pup through this important process. Proper socialization will help ensure that your pet grows up to be social, friendly, and well adjusted.

At Misty Pines we have a unique center offering many socialization opportunities all within our 25 acre complex. Our Puppy Preschool program introduces puppies from 7 – 12 weeks of age to various stimuli and situations that most puppies may not experience until later in life. Puppies are also introduced to other puppies, men, women, children, and obstacles. All of this creates positive associations in a controlled environment ensuring that your puppy develops happily and is less likely to develop fears, anxiety or behavior problems as they get older. Distractions are enrichment. Enrichment is training.

The unique sky lighted pavilion exercise yards within our complex gives puppies the opportunity to run and play with other puppies of a similar age while being supervised to ensure the play remains appropriate, fun and safe for everyone. While at Daycare all dogs are given periodic breaks to relax and mentally process what they have learned socially. Periodic breaks also gives them an opportunity to positively experience being kenneled with the new sights and sounds that go along with it for future boarding if your dog would require a home away from home while you are on vacation.

For over 40 years Misty Pines has striven to be the “Complete Pet Company” and when it comes to early socialization of puppies, you’ll find nowhere better. We encourage you to come for a visit and make use of our entire facility; with Dog TrainingPet BoardingDog DaycareDog Park Grounds, and Pet Grooming services all in one place, Misty Pines Pet Company is designed to serve many of your pet’s needs. Our goal is to help you and your pet build a happy and healthy relationship.

Reference

– Landsberg G, Hunthausen W, Ackerman L. 2013 Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat.


Fixing The Winter Doldrums

This time of year we look out the window and into the winter’s ravages: it’s cold, dark, snowy and icy, and we have a hard time environmentally exercising the dog in the outdoors. We want to cozy up in front of the fireplace instead working the dog. This often means that Fido may lose or have shorter daily walks and become bored, and unruly.

Misty Pines can help! We have training programs designed to keep your dog fit and in top condition all winter long. Exercise is essential for the general well-being and mental health of our canine companions, not to mention for healthy weight management. Bring your dog in for a visit to Daycare to run and socialize with other friendly dogs. We have indoor options as well during the winter for dogs that can’t handle the cold. Your dog can have a run on the treadmill, take on the agility course, play ball or have a training session all while staying inside.

If you are not able to take advantage of our facility’s services then we have some recommendations for you. Engage your dog and provide the mental and physical stimulation he or she needs at home. Dogs that have jobs are more content than those that don’t.

Treadmill

Why a treadmill you ask? You can infinitely exercise your dog indoors, which means that you are no longer governed by the weather. At Misty Pines we say that a well-trained and well-exercised dog is a good dog and by working your dog on a treadmill you are accomplishing both at the same time; working your dog mentally and physically.

What kinds of dogs do well with treadmill training? All dogs! Honestly. From large dogs to small, dogs can benefit for a variety of reasons. The training program can vary depending on breed, ability and age.

Retrieve

Retrieving is one of the handiest behaviors you can teach your dog. When your dog will reliably retrieve an object there is no end to what you can do. This goes beyond simple playing fetch with a ball, this is locating, picking up and bringing objects to you.

Sitting on the couch and the remote is across the room…Fetch it up!

It’s double over-time, next point wins the cup, you’re borderline dehydrated and your bottle of water is in the kitchen…Fetch it up!

There’s a lot more you can do than just have your dog bring you things but this opens up a whole world of possibilities that were previously unexplored. One fun idea would be to teach your dog to put away its toys. It’s a good practice to put all your dog’s toys and bones away every few days and let them work their mind as they get them out to play, and it would be even more stimulating to have them put them all back as well!

Scent Work

Every dog is equipped with an amazing tool: their nose! Olfaction, the act or process of smelling, is a dog’s primary special sense. Dogs have more than 220 million olfactory receptors in their nose, while humans have only 5 million! Teaching dogs to use their nose to identify a target odor offers many benefits.

Why scent work? This fun, stimulating activity can be enjoyed by dogs of any age, breed, or temperament and owners of any experience level or physical ability may participate. This is one of the few activities that can be practiced inside in small areas; it’s great for winter or foul-weather training plus your dog will learn a skill that has practical value in real-life.

Examples of targets include: Birch, clove, and aniseed oil (used in scent work trials), deer antlers, plants or mushrooms, a missing sock, a favorite toy or your kids.

If you’re interested in Scent Work, consider taking our Scent Work classes on November 11th, 18th and 25th. These classes will teach you the art of scent detection 

Tight Quarters Heeling

When working a dog in a tight space the heel can become sloppy because the handler is focused on the obstacles and path rather than working on keeping the dog where he needs to be. Take this winter to work on a heel when walking around the house, perhaps even setup a course to navigate through consisting of tables, chairs, couches and other furniture. Though this may sound like a novice exercise, with the proper creativity, this can be a very challenging task. When Spring rolls around you can show off your improved heel when taking back to the streets and trails and be proud of your accomplishment.

Parlor Tricks

Everyone loves to show off their dog’s best skill or trick, that’s why every dog friendly event has a Best Dog Trick competition. What is your dog’s best trick?

Army crawl under the table? Put down the toilet seat? All of these behaviors/tricks and more are possible. Whether it’s a useful trick or just for fun the goal is to keep your dog mentally stimulated and physically worked when the great outdoors aren’t so great.

Prolonged Release Interactive Food Dispensing Devices

Other cures for the winter doldrums that we recommend are prolonged release interactive food dispensing devices. These help give your dog a work-out while doing something when eating their breakfast or dinner. Our domestic canine’s ancestor, the Canis Lupus, works hard both mentally and physically for each meal. How hard do our canine companions work for their meals? Problem solving work outs can be more tiring than physical exercise so switching between a few different prolonged release interactive food dispensing devices could be a good way to keep your dog mentally sharp while giving them some much needed stimulation. We recommend Bob-a-Lots, Kongs and a few other specialty items that can be found in our retail store.

A private lesson with one of our trainers will help you learn to work your dog and minimize the winter doldrums. Enjoy this winter and remember to continually integrate training into your daily lives.


Back to Schedule

It’s that time again: time to go back to school. Parents everywhere are rejoicing while kids everywhere are groaning. But really: why the difference in emotions? Why do parents long for this time of year? Are parents really that anxious to get rid of their offspring for a few hours a day? Let’s delve into this topic for a moment.

All joking aside the real reason is because we are now back on a schedule and though a lot of us adults don’t want to admit it, we love our schedules and routines. Wake up at 5:30. Take a shower. Get dressed. Make coffee. Wake the kids. Eat breakfast. Feed the dogs. Pack lunches. Adios! See you at 3:00. Work. Home at 5:30. Eat dinner. Homework and entertainment. Kids in bed at 9:00. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. What’s not to love about that? You can plan your life!

When you first have kids, there are only pseudo schedules. Bedtime is flexible because there is really no reason to need to be up early. Lunch time varies on your morning activities and dinner can happen whenever because…why not? School forces a child’s schedule to be upheld much the same way that work does for adults.

Why are we talking about adults and kids when this is about dogs?

Now that the rest of the family is on a schedule our pets should be on one too. Dogs are pack animals that thrive on routines, schedules and work. If they lack structure they are more likely to act out and have bad manners. Our schedules are pretty cut and dry and are largely put in place for us without the need to do much thinking about it. Our places of employment determine our hours of work during a day and our commute determines when we get home at night and when we need to leave in the morning. The school’s hours dictate when our children must arrive at school and when they leave and their bus schedule says when to be ready to leave and when they’ll arrive at home. Perhaps it would help to give our dog’s lives some of the same structure by providing a daily schedule for them. While they do not have the demands on their time that we do they still crave structure but lack the means or ability to give it to themselves, so it is up to us to lend them a hand, or paw.

Begin by making their meals a part of your morning routine: pour your bowl of Cap N’ Crunch…I mean…Total, and then give them their meals for the morning. Before leaving for the day give them a raw bone in their crate or if they have free run of the house, perhaps a stuffed Kong, Bob-A-Lot or some other Prolonged Release Interactive Food Dispensing Device. If you think to yourself that you would like to get your dogs to daycare try to make it a habit of coming on the same day. Many of our clients have specific days that they come for daycare and have made that part of their dog’s lifestyle and routine. Believe it or not after a while they’ll start to know which day it is and wait by their door to come to play with their friends.

Daycare is a great option for providing structure, exercise and social interaction for our dogs. While visiting daycare at Misty Pines dogs are able to participate in a variety of activities that include obedience training, agility work, nature walks, afternoon snacks and more. Though the benefits of daycare can largely speak for themselves there cannot be enough said about the importance of giving your dog extra activities to break up their day and help keep them mentally sharp. Even a 15 minute training session can go a long way towards shoring up their manners and giving them some much needed mental stimulation. After all, it can’t all be playtime.

Much like our children we love to see our dogs playing and having a good time but there comes a time when they need to take a break from the play and refocus. At Misty Pines we give each dog a break from playtime while they are here for daycare but that break is really not a substitute for a good, well suited activity. If your dog loves to fetch and play ball, then a session of play ball time would be the best option for your dog. Or maybe your dog enjoys running on a treadmill or agility or sniffing through the woods; no matter what your dog enjoys we have a program that they’ll love.

Beyond just daycare, think of incorporating your dog’s needs into your families evening routine as well. Get the family together for a few minutes of fun obedience work, such as fetching objects and returning them or a game of hide and seek to work on recall. Evening walks can be used for more than just letting Scruffy check his “pee-mail,” you can incorporate behaviors that you have learned in your obedience classes such as; easy, heel, this way, pull or even sniff. Challenge your dog’s minds by making them heel through portions of the walk and make random stops to make them sit. Frequent direction changes with a “this way” cue will keep them alert and keep their minds sharp. If you would like to give them a work-out, have them “pull” you up a long or steep hill. There are ways to include training into everything you do with your dog, just be creative.

Most of our evenings end with personal grooming before bed: brushing hair, brushing teeth, showers, cutting nails and so on. Don’t forget that your dog needs groomed as well. Take 10 minutes to brush out your dog’s coat each evening as a calming down time before bed. Use this time to examine ears, nails, feet and all your dog’s parts to make sure they’re healthy and staying clean. Dogs often need help keeping up with their ears, so this is a great time to clean their ears as well. A simple cotton ball with some wintergreen alcohol will remove the waxy build-up and leave their ears smelling nice and fresh. If you’re comfortable and have had some practice you could even cut their nails. If you’re not up to that particular task feel free to bring your pup to Misty Pines and we’ll get those nails trimmed in no time. As a matter of fact, Misty Pines can handle all your grooming needs but even our professional groomers can’t make up for the daily brushing and care of your dog’s skin and coat.

    Let’s recap how to include your dogs into our daily lives and give them a schedule to provide a stable routine:

  1. Include your dog’s feeding into your morning routine.
  2. Provide mentally and physically stimulating activities such as Interactive toys or bringing the dog to daycare.
  3. Feed the dog during or around your dinner time.
  4. Incorporate your dogs into your evening family time with fun obedience games.
  5. Include training into your walks to provide mental stimulation and keep your leash handling skills sharp.
  6. Provide for your dog’s grooming needs with evening brush outs and examinations.

If you have any questions regarding how to help your dog have a schedule or how to incorporate your dog into your lifestyle please e-mail or call Misty Pines and our professional staff will be happy to give you suggestions. While speaking with our staff you may also schedule daycare or grooming visits.


How To Appropriately Play With Your Dog

During each of our two monthly Orientations we have a section that reads “How To Appropriately Play With Your Dog.” We show two videos, the first is a boy out of control with a little chihuahua and the second is a video of our Kids Camp demonstrating integrating training and play. The first video is typically the part that makes dogs bark and owners cringe; as a matter of fact, Jeff cringes each time he sees the first video. After showing the fist Jeff always asks, “Who has this going on in their homes?” and it’s startling how many people raise their hands.

DON’T STOP READING!

This is a short refresher course. Please watch the following two videos and do a self-evaluation of our home and see if you need to make any changes.

How to INappropriately play with your dog

How to appropriately play with your dog

When playing with your dog it is not a good idea to promote wildness. As seen in the first video when you continue to ramp up the dog’s intensity and allow things to get out of hand the situation can quickly become disastrous. If you pay attention at the end of the first video the boy ends up getting bit by his own dog. The bite is likely not hard enough to break skin but with continued practice of out of control play this type of situation could result in a more serious bite in time.

Contrasting the first video with the second we see the results of integrating training into playtime yield happy, energetic dogs that can play and have fun but have learned to settle quickly and sit. These dogs are much less of a risk to bite for any reason than the dog that has been taught to be wild. In the second video, if you listen closely, you’ll hear Jeff say, “Ok, turn ’em off…” These dogs are beginning to have an “off switch” that can take them from arousal to calm very quickly. This will not only help to control wild play, but any situation where the dog needs to calm down in a hurry.

Dogs are happiest when they have a job, and one of the jobs they can perform for all of us is to be enjoyable, well-behaved members of the family. As Spring and Summer arrive and we are venturing outside for activity, remember to integrate training into playtime. Your dogs will thank you for it.

**Side note: Notice the difference in the children in the two videos. When you involve your children in wild play they will become wild also but if you teach your children to help train the family dog by incorporating a few sits and downs into their playtime you’ll see that they will respond eagerly and will learn self-control themselves in the process.

And speaking of children, don’t miss your opportunity to register your kids for Kids Camp this summer. We have two sets of dates available: July 11th, 12th and 13th and July 25th, 26th and 27th. Spaces are limited and will fill up fast. Click the banner below to register now!


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Sat 31

Therapy Dog and Service Dog Training

Saturday, October 31, 2020 @ 8:00 am - 8:45 am