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Consider this: All the interactions and engagements you have with your dog you are training them. So keep in mind what you reward and in turn reinforce with behavior offered. Start as you mean to continue as some unwanted behavior is learnt through our unwitting reinforcement of it. Just something to keep in mind.

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Recently I have been asked this question multiple times, “what kind of dog (breed) should I get?” That is indeed a very good question! My answer is do your homework. Think about your lifestyle and the space you live in. Do you have a yard or is it a smaller space? Are there young children or teenagers? Or elderly people who may not cope with a highly energetic breed. Research breeds, this will offer you information about their traits and approx size, if looking at pure bred particularly. If you are inclined for what I like to call a “designer dog” which are all the fancy mixed breeds that people are selling eg labradoodles, spoodles etc…. check out the “parents” not all designer dogs are created equal. (For example, is the mix standard or miniature poodle?)  If you are going down the adoption route then knowing exactly what you are going to get is not an option. So assume that they will more likely be on the bigger breed side of things. Or better yet, adopt an older dog, ex working lines or greyhounds, there are plenty of options there also.  Another good thing to keep in mind, temperament is genetic, so if ever you have the opportunity to get a better look at the “parents” then take it. It will give you more insight into the dog you could be getting.

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Advocate for your dog! Our dogs are not human, and the world (our world) that we throw them into is chaotic at the best of times. Some will be more resilient than others, loud noises (cars, trucks, skateboards, bikes, and anything else you can think of) are all new and scary things. Other dogs can also be daunting for some. Start desensitizing (introducing them to new things) as much as you can as early as you can and make it a positive experience! A well balanced dog is a much happier and easier dog to handle.

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Start thinking about training your pup or dog as soon as you get them home. Puppies in their first 16 weeks are forming 80% of their learning so its never too early. However this doesn’t mean you cant teach an older dog new tricks.
They don’t know what they don’t know so keep your expectations realistic.. they are not mind readers.. It is our job to teach them what’s appropriate behaviour. Teach the dog in front of you!

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Don’t be in a rush to get your new house mate. Research breeds and choose one that best suits your lifestyle. Be prepared! Before your pup/dog arrives make sure you have everything you will need eg crate, bowls, adjustable collar, lead, bedding. Where is he/she going to sleep etc….Set yourself and your dog up to succeed