Canine Inc - Trainer Urges Dog Owners To Be Attentive

Thursday, November 19, 2009

SPRING HILL — The city became a little more dog-friendly with Saturday's grand opening of the Bark Park.

But do people know the right way to be friendly around other people's pets? Local dog trainer Jon Stolzer urges people to be careful, even when strange pets seem excited to see you. "Always ask their owner," he said. "Never assume. It's not OK to pet someone's dog without their permission."

That might be the single-most important thing to know at the Bark Park, but there are many other clues and cues about dog behavior people might notice, said Stolzer, who was a special guest at the park's opening last weekend at the back end of Evans Park.

"Most dogs will give six signs before they bite," he said. "This all happens in a second or two, so it's important that you can recognize them."

Those signs include the dog's body stiffening, face tightening, ears lying back and tail stiffening, Stolzer said. He started his business, Canine Inc., about a year ago out of his Spring Hill home. He hopes to eventually open a location where he can train and kennel pets.

A former real estate agent, Stolzer began training dogs three years ago and earned certification as a behavior and training specialist at Triple Crown Academy in Hutto, Texas. He's also had police dog training through North State Canine Academy in Sanford, N.C. Stolzer plans to train dogs for police use and said a lot of his business comes from people who just want to better understand their pets and modify bad behavior.

"All dogs can and should start training at 8 weeks (old)," he said. "If you get going, you will have a fantastic dog on your hands. You need to establish the right behavior and the right rules."

Use care when teaching

People often aren't aware that dogs have an entirely different emotional vocabulary than they do, Stolzer said. Sometimes a dog's bad habits are the byproduct of unintended coaching, he said. For example, when a dog gets overly excited when their master leaves or comes home, it's because the owner has conditioned the dog to respond when they do. The better thing for people to do is ignore the dog when they come and go, he said.

"It's stressful for the dog," Stolzer said. "It creates separation anxiety."

Since dogs are pack animals, it's important for the pet owners to establish their leadership in the pack, or family. One mistake people often make is allowing the dog to have the run of the house. It's important for new dog owners to walk the dog through their home, establishing areas the dog will be allowed to romp. It's also important for dogs to have at least 45 minutes a day of stimulating exercise.

"Think of a child with no stimulation," Stolzer said. "That's often the situation that most domesticated dogs are in."

Category: Press Source: The Tennessean

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