Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 4/17/2017

IMG_7400Congratulations. You have welcomed a new puppy into your home. You are excited and likely rushed out to purchase a dog bed, feeding dishes, treats, and toys. Did you remember to pick up a book or video on dog training? Why not? Many new pet owners are so concerned with finding the right comfort amenities; they focus little time on thinking about how they will teach their pup. No matter how old the puppy is when he or she becomes part of your extended family, the time to start training is now. Start teaching your dog to be an obedient and loving companion right from the start. Be A Leader Puppies, born part of a litter, need a strong pack leader. That is you! Be consistent and firm in all your commands. Take the lead. Always have your puppy follow you, not walk ahead when taking him/her for a walk. When you lead, you show your dog that you are the leader of the pack. If you let your dog lead, the puppy will feel that they are in charge. Be the first of “the pack” to go in and out of the door or when entering a room. Remember, you are the leader, not the other way around. By firmly taking charge, you provided you dog with a feeling of security and establish the “ground rules” for being part of your household. Dogs sense confidence and will take control of any situation where they feel the leader is timid or weak. Excessive barking, leash pulling, chewing, resistance to toilet training or other destructive behaviors are evidence of a dog that lacks a leader. For your puppy to become a sociable, obedient and loyal dog, he/she needs to bond with you as a strong leader, not a complacent caregiver. All commands and rewards should remain consistent throughout your puppy’s early training and adulthood. Choose simple commands beginning with “No” for unwanted behavior, “Come” when you want him to follow you, “Down” when he tries to jump up on you or other people, and “Stay” when you want the puppy to remain in place. Discover your dog’s favorite treat and reserve that treat for training purposes only. Establishing Boundaries When you are ready to introduce your dog to your yard, put on his/her collar. When you let him out the door, connect him to the lead. If he starts heading out of the yard, you need to verbally correct him with a “NO” command. If continues to stray correct him with the lead. When he stops on your “NO” command praise and lovingly reward him with a treat. Keep Training Sessions Short The world is an intriguing place full of new sights and smells. A young, energetic and excited puppy has a short attention span, so keep training session short. Rather than have one long session, break up training efforts into several short session each day. Barking If you are concerned about correctly training your puppy to be an efficient and effective guard dog, begin his/her training early by allowing your dog to bark a couple of times when a stranger arrives at your door. Praise him/her for sounding an alarm. Then give the command “stop barking” while you hold out a training treat in front of him. Your dog cannot smell and sniff the treat and bark at the same time so will stop barking immediately. After your dog has quieted down for a few minutes, reward him with the treat.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 12/20/2013

Staging your home for potential buyers can be quite the hassle. You may start moving your furniture around spontaneously, or become tense when your children or spouse make messes in a room that you just prepped for show. With all of the planning that one can put into making their home shine, one crucial step in home staging is often overlooked: your family pet. For the sake of simplicity, I will outline a few things that you must keep in mind when cleaning up after your pet in a home for sale. Pet presence - For obvious reasons, some pets can't leave the house. Giant enclosures, aquariums, and disabled pets are hard to relocate sometimes, and a lot of people will be understanding of this. But if your dog or cat is healthy, then you'll want to strongly consider relocating your pets temporarily. Many people aren't pet owners, and don't like being around an excitable golden retriever or a yippy chihuahua when they are trying to imagine their family occupying your home. Remember....You are trying to make the potential buyer as relaxed as possible. Ask a friend if they wouldn't mind looking after your loved one for a bit, and if all else fails, look into a reputable boarding service for your pet. Fur - Fur can get everywhere. Even in places that you, as a resident of your home, don't necessarily notice all of the time. Be sure to give your couches, chairs, and love seats proper attention. That means taking the pillows and cushions off, and using a hand vacuum or brush to remove all of the fur you see. After you are sure that they are thoroughly cleaned, use a fabric freshener to finish it off. Try to do this well in advance of the potential buyer, as some people have sensitivities to fabric fresheners. Litter - No matter what kind of animal you have, odds are you have do deal with some form of waste. It may sound pretty obvious, but make sure your litter beds are clean and well hidden. Even if you own an exotic pet like a reptile of amphibian, this includes you too. Many people don't like snakes, but they'll like a messy snake cage even less. Another important thing to remember as an exotic pet owner is this: even though you may not be able to smell anything offensive coming from your reptile's cage, that doesn't mean that there isn't an odor. Many people who live with reptiles get used to the subtle odors that emit from the cages, and will tend to spot-clean their animal's cage without giving it the proper scrub-down that it needs. Odors - Don't use air fresheners to mask pet odor. It is meant to freshen the air...Not cover pet odors up. Instead, use powdered cleaners on carpets and rugs that your pets frequent. These can be purchased at your local pet store in the cleaning isle. Odds are, if someone has a severe allergy to animals, then they are going to be at risk of having a reaction. The cleaner the house, the less dander will be in the home.