Dogs Need to be Trained
Dogs, like people, are not born knowing how to behave. For example, puppies are not born speaking English, knowing that they are only supposed to go potty outside, or that they should not chew your shoes. They need to be taught, and it takes time, consistency and patience. For a fascinating and funny overview of dog training, click here to hear world renowned expert Dr. Ian Dunbar explain how dogs need to learn English as a second language.
Nothing in Life Is Free
One of the most important things to teach northern breed dogs is that they must earn the good things, like food, treats, walks, toys, playtime, etc. The NILIF, or Nothing in Life is Free method, is an excellent way to instill your leadership into the dogs in your household. One of our volunteers wrote a short article explaining how to implement this method - please read it and feel free to pass it on to others.
Weekly Audio Training Tips
HelpingFido.com offers great weekly audio training tips. Sign up to get them, and also listen to their archive of training tips. They offer excellent advice and are good at pointing out common mistakes.
Physical Punishment - to use, or not to use?
As an organization, Harnessed to Hope Northern Breed Rescue uses positive reinforcement training methods, and avoids physical punishment as much as possible. We believe that it's best for both the dog and owner to build a relationship of mutual trust and respect. Also, northern breeds need strong, stable leaders who can keep cool heads and maintain order. Here are a few articles that discuss how using punishment can contribute to problems:
One of the most important things you can do for your new dog, regardless of how old it is, is to crate train it. Crate training helps with house training, prevents destructive behavior, and keeps your dog from chewing or swallowing anything dangerous. Please see this article from the Denver Dumb Friends League.
Kongs are great durable dog toys, and great crate training aids. Most dogs love peanut butter, and it's easy to spread inside a Kong. A peanut butter filled Kong is a great incentive to keep a dog happy int its crate. You can also put biscuits, banana chips and other treats to the Kong to keep it interesting. This page provides tips and advice for using Kongs as training aids.
Dogs like to glom and play chew on each other, but human skin is a lot more fragile then a dog's hide and fur. Pups and dogs need to be taught to be gentle with their mouths when playing with people. This short article explains how puppies usually learn to be gentle with their mouths, and explains how you can help teach your pup or dog. This short video clip provides a great example of how to handle this issue.
Articles by Dr. Ian Dunbar: Veterinarian, Animal Behaviorist, and Author.
Below are some more resources that provide excellent training information.
Workshops and Classes
Montgomery County, Maryland - Your Dog's Friend is a 501c3 non-profit organization in Montgomery County that offers free services, such as advice before you choose your dog, after you bring home your new pet, and when you have questions about your dog's behavior. They also provide referrals to trainers and pet sitters.
Spay and Neuter Information
Many common health and behavior problems can be avoided or improved by spaying or neutering your dog. Check out the ASPCA's top ten reasons to spay or neuter your pet dog:
Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life.
Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.
Neutering provides major health benefits for your male.
Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months of age.
Your spayed female won't go into heat.
While cycles can vary, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they'll yowl and urinate more frequently-sometimes all over the house!
Your male dog won't want to roam away from home.
An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate! That includes digging his way under the fence and making like Houdini to escape from the house. And once he's free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males.
Your neutered male will be much better behaved.
Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs and cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.
Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat.
Don't use that old excuse! Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds-not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.
It is highly cost-effective.
The cost of your pet's spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray!
Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community.
Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, damage the local fauna and frighten children. Spaying and neutering packs a powerful punch in reducing the number of animals on the streets.
Your pet doesn't need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth.Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children-especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters. There are tons of books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a more responsible way.
Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation.
Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.
Here are resources to help you find low cost options for spaying or neutering your pets:
The ASPCA's low cost spay/neuter program (in partnership with PetSmart Charities)
No Nonsense Neutering has clinics in Allentown, Reading, Quakertown, and Mahanoy City, PA.
Animal Birth Control, LLC of Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Spay Neuter Assistance Program in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Spay USA - nationwide directory
Friends of Animals - nationwide referral service, order certificates online