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January 12, 2013

Experts offer tips for new dog owners

Man and dog have been living together happily for ages and ages. 

But maybe that sentiment needs to be modified a bit. 

Man and dog have usually, though not always, lived happily together. 

There are sometimes unpleasant events that take a bite out of their household harmony, like when the dog relieves itself on the rubber tree plant, or leaps onto the dinner table and devours every unguarded morsel in its path, or when it lavishes its sloppy affections on defenseless visitors. 

Effective dog training is essential in these and other situations. For those wondering where they can find someone to do the training or teach them to do the training themselves, there are a number of good, professional trainers within the range of The Daily Star readership. Three of them revealed some professional insights and principals behind their successful practices. 

One was Dr. Joan Puritz,  a veterinarian who has worked with dogs for more than 20 years. She is the owner and director of the Crescent Pet Lodge and Animal Hospital in Oneonta. She was grooming neighborhood dogs at the age of 9. “I’ve just always loved animals,” Puritz said.  

Asked to identify the most important “do’s” and “don’ts” in dog training, she cited socialization at an early age as the most vital “do.” 

 “Animals must learn to have healthy interactions with other animals and with people,” Puritz said. “It’s like with raising children. You can’t just let them run amok. If you did that, they wouldn’t grow up to be very good people, socially.”   

top her “do not” list, Puritz named the practice of relying strictly on discipline to shape a dog’s behavior. 

“Discipline is important, but it isn’t everything,” she asserted. “When they are good, you need to reward them.” 

When you take your dog for a walk, she suggested, it is important that the dog learn to stay on leash and not jump up on people. But, it is also wise for you to show your pet that you appreciate its cooperation by giving it some little treat. 

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