Early Education Shapes the Picture Perfect Pup!
by Ray Graber, Founder of Graber Associates
Burlington, MA â€“ January 2015 - I wish I knew what I just learned about puppy training many years ago when my sons asked â€“ no begged â€“ for a puppy. There is so much more about properly training a puppy than meets the eye. You can Google all you want, but learning first-hand is still the best way. Put away the rolled-up newspaper and spray water bottleâ€¦..
In a relatively short conversation with Bette Yip, owner of Picture Perfect Pets in Burlington, I absorbed more information than the sum total of everything I knew about dogs. Did you know that experts, including those at the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, state that once a puppy is weaned â€“ around 8 weeks - the owner has approximately 4 weeks to socialize the puppy? Yip also says it seems that puppies learn more quickly during that phase of life than they ever will again.
Young puppies are like sponges for information. During adolescence and adulthood they can continue to learn but the "sweet spot" is during those early months of their life. This phenomenon is much like children learning half of what they will know in their lifetime by the tender age of 4 years old.
"The importance of early training," states Bette "should not be ignored. An ounce of prevention at that crucial time is worth several pounds of cure later on. We"ve seen many headaches and heartaches from improper training, the lack of training, and sometimesÃ¼nfortunately, abusive behavior."
The training methods Bette and her staff have developed are grounded in the teachings of noted positive reinforcement experts including Karen Pryor, Dr. Ian Dunbar, Patricia McConnell PhD, and Jean Donaldson. The huge benefit of beginning training as young as 8 weeks, or when a puppy first comes home, is that there is a better chance to set our pups up to be successful by limiting their opportunities to engage in and learn to enjoy behaviors we don't like. It is better to saturate their environment with opportunities to make choices we like, so we can reward them, thus making these behaviors the foundation of habitual behavior in any given situation. As the late Dr. Sophia Yin said in an interview with Victoria Stillwell, "letting them learn the rules before they have a chance to learn to break them".
A good example of a behavior modification success story is Gracie M, a small mixed breed dog. Gracie was terrified of other dogs when she joined Bette"s Day School program because of a frightening experience during puppy playtime elsewhere; she would cower at their sight. Bette"s team worked on systematically desensitizing Gracie to the other puppies by following protocols recommended by experts including Dr. Ian Dunbar and Jean Donaldson. Gracie is now a canine "social butterfly".
Modification of unwanted behaviors in dogs may be the work for which Bette"s company is best known. However, her true goal "is to reach as many young puppies as humanly possible and minimize the chance of their families having to deal with certain predictable dog behavior disasters."
I have come away from my adventure to behind the scenes of puppy training with a new outlook on our canine friends and appreciation for starting out with a solid foundation.
Looks like you can teach this "old dog" a new trickâ€¦.
Picture Perfect Pets is celebrating the first anniversary of its Puppy Day School in Burlington this month with a pot-luck party on January 24th from 1:00 â€“ 4:00 at 374A Cambridge Street. Please see BetteYip.com for more information regarding a photo collage contest, prize drawings, and more. Call Kathy at 617-966-4240 or Click Here - Send Them a Message!
IT"S BARK TO SCHOOL TIME AT ONLY PUPPY DAY SCHOOL IN METRO NORTH AREA!
PRESS RELEASE, by Michele Meagher:
August 17, 2014, BURLINGTON, MAâ€”As school vacation winds down, parents gear up to send their children back to school. For dual-career households who welcomed a puppy during the summer, their newest family member could be home alone. What"s a family to do? In the metro north area, parents can send their puppies "bark" to school, too, at the innovative Picture Perfect Pets" Puppy Day School, a drop-off dog training and socialization program for young puppies, located at 374A Cambridge Street in Burlington.
Launched by Burlington resident Bette Yip this past January, Puppy Day School is a place where puppies, aged 8 to 23 weeks, can join other puppies, safely exploring boundaries and learning important life lessons while under the watchful eyes of trained professionals. Yip, a certified pet dog trainer-knowledge assessed (CPDT-KA), has been a positive-reinforcement dog trainer and pet photographer for over 11 years. Picture Perfect Pet"s first-of-its-kind program is not meant to replace, but rather to supplement, the group and private dog training lessons the whole family still needs to attend with their puppy. Kathleen Hanson, D.V.M, of Burlington Animal Clinic, (http://www.burlingtonanimalclinic.com) agrees.
"In my practice, I encourage new puppy parents to start socializing their puppies as soon as they bring them home," says Dr. Hanson. "To a dog, new things are scary which is why I recommend introducing them to lots of different things while they are young and still pliant. It"s important for families to continue socialization at home, yet a program like the Puppy Day School helps puppies learn to be good family members, while keeping them from being bored and frustrated at home."
Amanda Densmore"s puppy Izzy started at Puppy Day School in May when she was 14-weeks old. "When we pull in to the parking lot, Izzy pulls me in Picture Perfect Pets, which isn't picture perfect behavior, but shows how much she loves the other dogs and the people there," says Densmore. "The services have taught us so much about how to help Izzy be happy and confident in her environment and become the happiest, kindest player with other dogs."
In addition to Puppy Day School, Yip offers both group and private lessons for dogs no matter what their age. Since the school"s launch, a number of students have moved up to Doggie Middle School, and some have even been invited to become Mentor Dogs. This summer, Yip also added Puppy Slumber Parties so that puppy students can be well taken care of in their home away from home while their families are away.
Cali Rodriguez and Jeff Vanasse"s rescue puppy Toby has found a second family at Puppy Day School. "As first time puppy owners we knew we wanted our dog to be socialized and well trained from the get go, despite the fact that we both work full time jobs," says Rodriguez. "The great thing about Picture Perfect Pets is that it combines training, day care, and boarding all in one, so that Toby"s training is consistent at home and at day school while we are at work."
According to Yip, puppies can begin attending Puppy Day School after receiving the first of the three sets of their puppy vaccines and negative fecal test results indicating that no Giardia or parasites of any kind exist. Busy families will be glad to know that Puppy Bus Service to and from school is available within Burlington and surrounding communities including Arlington, Belmont, Lexington , Medford, Reading, Somerville, Waltham, Watertown, Winchester, Woburn, as well as parts of Boston, Dedham, Newton, Needham and Wellesley. From Labor Day throughout the fall, Yip is offering a Bark to School promotion.
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Picture Perfect Pets: a Boston area favorite for dog training and pet photography!
2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Readers' Choice Awards Winner for Best Trainer from Beantown Tails
2009, 2010, 2011 Readers' Choice Awards "Favorite" for Best Pet Photographer from Beantown Tails
Boston.com's A-LIST 2011, 3rd Place in Best Dog Training
Boston Magazine's Best of Boston 2006 for Best Pet Training School
The Weekly Yip (Bette's Column featured on Arlington.Patch.com)
Preparing Fido for Baby - a Guide for Parents-to-Be
Lost Dog, What to Do - What to do when your dog goes missing.
Pretty Poison for Pets - Identifying garden favorites to be sure they're safe for your all your pets.
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To "Dog Whisper" -- Or Not ...
It seems like every time I've mentioned that I'm a dog trainer over the past few years, people's faces light up as they comment, "like "The Dog Whisperer." I'm always torn between just politely nodding and smiling, and giving the "why Cesar Milan isn't one of my favorites, but check out Ian Dunbar and Patricia McConnell" speech. Just recently, I received a link to this article, which couldn't have said it better. Click here to read the article, "Critcs Challenge 'Dog Whisperer' Methods by Lynne Peeples, posted on LiveScience.com.
Bette's Dog Blog
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Picture Perfect Pets - Dog Training & Pet Portraits
Serving Boston, MA and surrounding areas; group dog training classes in Arlington, MA and South Boston, MA.
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