Things dog owners should know |


Caitlin Williams, owner-operator of Red Dog Ranch, is a Karen Pryor Clicker Training and Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer. She uses positive reinforcement methods to communicate with dogs in a rewarding manner.

The ranch offers private training sessions with owner and dog, dog boarding, and doggy daycare services.

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Caitlin Williams, owner of Red Dog Ranch in Florence, has years of experience caring for an training dogs — and their people. Like bringing home a baby, she said most folks are surprised by all they did not know when they bring home a new dog.

She has some advice for those considering getting a dog

Selecting a dog

Williams said you first must determine how a dog will fit into your life. That means considering things such as your work schedule, vacations and living arrangements.

“What you need to know is really dependent on your lifestyle and on the type of dog you are getting,” she said.

People should evaluate whether or not they work long shifts, or travel frequently. A long workshift or frequent travel could mean an added cost for a dog walking service, or for kennel care while you are away.

She said her dogs traveled with her and she went to pet-friendly hotels.

“Now, I have a camper and we go to campgrounds,” Williams said. “It better suits my life and how I want to live with my dogs.”

She added that before folks choose to bring a dog into their lives, it is important to understand the commitment you are making.

“If you are lucky, it is a 15- to 20-year commitment with another living being,” she said. “Your life should change when you add a dog to your family — it should change and include that dog rather than treating it as a part-time accessory.”

There is a time and a money commitment to having a dog, Williams said. You will need to spend time with it for socializing, exercising, training and playing with the dog, as well as giving it potty breaks, vet and grooming visits.

And, she said, you must consider the cost for a high quality dog ​​food, annual vet examinations and preventative medicine, in addition to unexpected injuries and illness, as well as boarding and grooming.

Williams also cautioned folks to be careful when choosing a dog and not rely heavily on Hollywood portrayals of certain breeds. Those theatrical depictions often skew dog owners’ expectations.

“Certain dogs have certain limitations and abilities,” Williams said. “Just because we saw that breed do something on a screen does not mean every dog ​​like it will do it in real life.”

And be wary of comparing a former pet to a new one. While certain breeds might have certain capabilities, each animal has its own personality.

“All dogs are a little bit different,” she said. “All trainers will tell you that not all dogs meet breed standards. Just like people, they have their individual personalities and quirks.”

Also, you must consider your physical capabilities. For instance, if you are more of a couch potato, you probably don’t want a dog that is going to require vigorous exercise.

If you have a boat or like to spend a lot of time on the water, you probably would do better with a dog that likes water, such as Labrador retrievers.

When you get a dog

When it comes to owning your own pup, Williams said there are a few things that all dog owners should know.

First, the family must decide the rules they want the dog to live by — and stick to them.

For example, Williams said families should decide whether the dog will be allowed on furniture, and whether you will allow it to sleep with you.

“If Dad lets the dog on the couch, and Mom doesn’t, it’s confusing to the dog,” Williams said.

She said dogs thrive with structure, so giving them clear guidelines is key.

And don’t say, “just this one time,” Williams said.

“Consistency is the easiest thing to be lax on,” she said. But it is important that you maintain the rules you set up so your dog knows what is expected.

“You want to teach your dog what you want them to do instead of always harping on the things you don’t want them to do,” Williams said.

Williams also believes that crate training is important for your pet.

“It might be an unpopular opinion, but it’s a great tool to keep your dog safe and comfortable,” she said. “What if your dog has to spend some time at the vet’s office for treatment? Or what if they get injured and are put on ‘kennel rest’ to heal? These are scenarios that proper crate training would assist with your dog staying calm and comfortable.” .”

Finally, Williams said you must be prepared to be the advocate for your pet.

“You should know your dog better than anyone else,” Williams said. “So, when something doesn’t seem right, when they’re not quite acting themselves, when you’ve got a gut feeling that something needs attention, you can be the one to speak up for your pup since they can’t use words to tell us.”

She has personal experience with this through her dog, Tony.

“Something wasn’t right,” she said. “He wasn’t just getting older. He was getting enough exercise. His diet was monitored. But something was just off with him. Multiple vet visits and different tests were running until we figured it out. Tony wasn’t just old, lazy , or overweight — he has hypothyroidism. As soon as we got on a medicinal regimen, he trimmed up and got back to his happy, more energetic self.”

“If I had just written it off as “he’s getting older, slower, more tired, chunkier, etc., then we wouldn’t have known to look for the problem.

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