Puppies are adorable in the store, until you bring one home and it begins tearing furniture apart.
An untrained dog or puppy can quickly make life difficult for an inexperienced owner.
There are many resources for a new dog owner to explore, including online information and weekly obedience lessons from local organizations and businesses like the Manhattan Kansas Kennel Club and the Howl-A-Dayz Inn.
Kelly Neel, director of Howl-A-Dayz Inn and dog care specialist, said new puppies often respond well to individual or group obedience classes, which usually run once a week for several weeks.
She said when a puppy is 8- to 16-weeks old, it is particularly sensitive to new experiences. This is when it is important to expose a puppy to a variety of positive experiences involving cats, children and other dogs.
Neel said the thought and behavioral patterns imprinted on a dog’s brain during this period will stick with it for life.
She also said the most common problems puppy owners run into are destructive behavior such as chewing on household items and urinating and defecation on carpet.
The simplest solution is to have the puppy sleep in a kennel, Neel said. Dogs will instinctually avoid relieving themselves in their kennel, which is why this method makes house-training particularly easy. Having a puppy contained safely in a kennel during the night will prevent them from chewing up valuable or dangerous household items.
Neel said the young dog will whine and cry, but after a few nights it will bond strongly to the kennel and it quickly becomes a safety zone.
Curtis Williams, owner of a five-month-old English bulldog named Coopa and an 18-month-old doberman pinscher named Gunner, has found the kennel method to be successful.
“If you want to house-train a dog you should definitely kennel train them,” he said. “My dogs both immediately learned to be house-trained, with very little discipline or intervention on my part.”
“I kept Gunner locked up at night until he was six or seven months old, after that point we let him out for the night to see if he would chew stuff up or pee on the floor,” Williams said. “He didn’t do anything bad, and he’s been allowed to stay out at night ever since.”
He said Coopa will probably be allowed to stay out when he gets to seven months, unless they play too loud and wake Williams up.
Of course, not all dog owners have a chance to mold their pets from such an early age.
Lisa Beck, graduate student in civil engineering, adopted her dog from a family in Riley, Kan. She said in the beginning he was afraid of everything and everyone, but as time went on he became better adjusted.
“It has been a long process over the last ten months for him to get used to and comfortable with things,” Beck said.
In addition to the improvements that come from the love and care of a dedicated owner, a dog that has been negatively affected by past experiences can benefit tremendously from the socialization training provided in places like the Howl-A-Dayz Inn, located at 925 Enoch Lane.
Similar to the training strategy of the Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan, the Howl-A-Dayz Inn embraces a dog’s natural social tendencies and employs a group of well-trained dogs to create a stabilizing and calming effect on a newly introduced un-socialized pet.