clear the shelters

Clear the Shelters: How to Train Your New Pet

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This summer, Baxter, a golden retriever, will be attending doggie boot camp.

"Boot camp is a place where a puppy or a dog can get a jumpstart on leadership and a high level of socialization so a dog can find itself."

Nathaniel Silver is a canine behaviorist. At just five months old, Baxter is in the most impressionable stage of his life.

"In the first 18 months of a puppy's life, they go through eight developmental stages that we go through as humans in 21 years. Each week that goes by is like another window of development, so it's gonna be important to catch it early and give the dog the right direction," Silver said.

Silver, Baxter and Baxter's owner, Bill Roth, have been working together every day for the last couple of months.  

"Well Nathaniel, within the first 15 minutes of coming here taught both of us the foundations of how to train a puppy, the foundation of leadership, the foundation of structure, the foundation of a routine," Roth said.

Silver added that among the most important things to remember is not to sleep with your new puppy. Crate training is important for a dog to have an activated den instinct so the dog feels security. If you sleep with your dog at the beginning of puppyhood, you're gonna create a codependent relationship which causes separation anxiety.

Training a golden retriever puppy is probably not the hardest thing in the world, but what about a dog that kills other animals?

Not too long ago, Jax was a menace to humans and other animals.

"With the pandemic, everybody was stuck in their house. It was very stressful. You want to take your dog out for a walk, but you can't because you don't know what she's gonna do or what she's capable of," said Jax's owner, Amanda Gorney "Unfortunately, when someone else's dog approaches my dog, my dog will attack them."

Frustrated and looking for help, Gorney connected with Silver.

"I noticed that the family was defined to her as a resource, so her owners became a resource to her and because dogs are predatorial, they have predator's instincts, it's in their nature to guard their resources," Silver said. "I helped them develop leadership, develop a routine and build structure in the home, and that helped the dog feel safer and made the dog feel like it didn't have to be on the defensive all the time."

Now Jax can interact with other animals and Gorney can walk her without worrying about how she will react to other animals and to people.

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