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Independent Voice

Please Get Your Dog Trained

Dec 23, 2022 12:00AM ● By By Debra Dingman

Patti Sousa-Liu with her pet Pugs, a Dachshund, and a Pug-Weenie. Photo Courtesy of Clip'N and Groom

DIXON, CA (MPG) - If you like to watch America's Funniest Videos, you will know there is a regular feature called 'Dog Park.'

You see videos of dogs that are hilarious because they seem to show human emotions of shame or embarrassment when they've been caught shredding a couch, sneaking into a refrigerator, or stealing something off a kitchen counter. But having an untrained pup isn’t fun for anyone and often people give them as Christmas gifts.

“As a former certified dog trainer, I don't recommend getting a pet to surprise another party, children, or otherwise. That is something to be picked out by a family after the holidays,” said Dixonite Patti Sousa-Liu of Clip-N & Groom-N. “It's how the owner connects with the dog and it’s all about a connection.” Sousa-Liu is still a pet groomer.

“We’d see a pickup in springtime of a lot of people wanting to rehome their pets,” said another local dog lover, Victoria Pringle, who worked at the Solano County Animal Shelter for 13 years, owns VIP Pet Dog Training, and is an AKC Certified Trainer. “People don’t realize how much work it will be,” she added about pets for Christmas gifts. She’s always been about dogs, she said, and owns a Great Dane and a StaffordShire Bull Terrier but also does shows and competition obedience.

Potty training should start immediately when they first come into the home at about seven to eight weeks. The training process should start as soon as they have all their shots, which is usually four to five months. Pet owners seek dog training when they want “peace in the house,” Sousa-Liu said with a laugh. “Or, when they decide they can't stand the dog jumping on them and all over everybody who comes to the door all the time.”

Pringle tries to catch families before they get to that point. She teaches an introductory class to “expose pet owners how to start communicating with their pet” and is certified to teach the A.K.C STAR Puppy and Canine Good Citizen obedience training.

“I want them to see what it’s about and how to engage with a pet and how to make it a fun, family affair,” Pringle said. "The focus is a lot about food or toy-driven response. For the pet, it’s all about fun.”

Thanks to training, there can be an immediate difference in the pet’s behavior. After the course, people say things like, “Oh my baby is a 400% turn around,” or “I'm so glad I did this training.” Costs usually range between $150 and $300 depending on if you are private or a group.

Typical family pet commands taught are sit, stay, off, down, (there is a difference) no bite, no bark, and ‘loose leash training;’ that’s where they learn to walk on a leash without being pulled or tugged or pulling and tugging on the owners while they walk.

Dog trainers often offer additional training after that course especially for cattle dogs, Labs, German Shepherd, for example, because they are high energy and need a lot of exercise and can be trained to fetch or do different tricks.

But the holidays for any pet can also be dangerous.

“A new dog or kitten can get in so much trouble with the decorations and everything,” Sousa-Liu warned. “Tinsel on trees can get into their digestive system and literally kill them. Some nuts and chocolate, too. Poinsettias are poison to dogs.”

Sousa-Liu also gave sage advice: “Don't go buy a purebred [for the sake of a paper] ...There's so many rescues, please go to the rescues. Almost every breed has a rescue. Go to the SPCAs as they are buried in their dogs and cats desperately.”

To reach Pringle for dog training, call (707) 590-0735 or email at [email protected]. For grooming, call Sousa-Liu, at (707) 635-3303.

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