“Dedicated to providing gentle, compassionate care for companion animals”

 
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Make September a time of learning for your four-legged “kids” too
For students, the start of school signals the start of routines including earlier bed times, completing homework, and developing good study habits. Remember that our four-legged “kids” can always benefit from training too, whether it is refresher course or a class on a new skill, the Animal Wellness Center in Maple Grove, MN offers a variety of training classes for your pet of all ages. Continue reading

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And they call it puppy love….

Proper socialization for your puppy is critical

Puppies in puppy socialization class

The goal is simple: Make everything in your puppy’s life for the first year simply wonderful. Sounds simple enough, but it can be hard to achieve with all you want your puppy to learn.

Animal Wellness Clinic is here to help. The Animal Wellness Center of Maple Grove, MN offers socialization classes for puppies between 7 and 16 weeks of age to help you achieve this goal.

“Proper socialization is perhaps the single most important training piece owner can give to their puppies during this critical time between 7 and 16 weeks of life,” explains Amy Sandmann of Positively Dog Training, who is one of 52 trainers hand selected by the well known dog trainer Victoria Stilwell. Amy is a trainer with Animal Wellness Center in Maple Grove.

How important is proper socialization?
Critical. Behavior problems are the number one reason dogs under three are given to shelters where many are destroyed. And, behavior experts agree that the majority of problem behaviors can be traced back to lack of socialization during the puppy’s sensitive period.

What is the sensitive period?

The sensitive period is the first three months of your puppy’s life. During this time, puppies are the most open to accepting other animals, new people, new experiences, objects, sounds, and handling. Repeated, positive exposures will provide puppies with skills to understand and positively interact with the world. “This is a brief, yet precious period of time for puppies, “explains Sandmann.

“We all want our relationship with our puppy to be based on love, trust and respect,” she explains during a puppy socialization class at Animal Wellness Center. “These three qualities—love, trust, respect—are the basis for the best relationships.”

The training method Amy uses is based on the latest research in behavioral science and it is all about positive reinforcement. The most effective way to train your dog is about cues and connections, not about the commands and control of traditional dog training.
The result: more effective training, and a relationship with your dog based on love, trust and respect. Everyone wins.

During a recent puppy socialization class, the puppies roll into class with owners at their side. As the puppies gather, the all important play time with their classmates start. There’s rolling, chasing, barking and of course biting.  Amy carefully instructs owners how to keep the play in check by using distractions.

Clicker basics

During the puppy class, Amy introduces the “clicker.” Clicker training is a way to “mark” a positive behavior of your dog. “The click is like a camera taking a picture of the exact behavior that you like or that you want repeated,” explains Amy.

And, for the click, the puppy receives a food reward. It is obvious watching the puppies in class that they know that a “click” means a reward. “This is the whole concept of positive training,” Amy said. “Reward the behaviors you want repeated,” she adds.

Animal Wellness Center offers puppy socialization classes, along with other training classes at their office in Maple Grove. For more information, call 763-420-7958.

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