Lab puppy doesn't have to be headache
- Article by: MARC MORRONE
- May 11, 2012 - 4:22 PM
Q As a child, I had a Labrador, and he was the love of my life -- after he hit 2 years old, that is. Up until then, he destroyed our home and drove us nuts. My neighbor has a Lab that just had a litter of puppies, and my kids are begging for one. With the summer almost here, I find it hard to say no, because I'm a teacher and will have the time to train a puppy. However, I just can't go through what my mother had to with my childhood Lab. Could you offer any suggestions that would make my life easier before I tell everyone "yes" to the puppy?
A Whole books have been written on this subject, so it is very hard to give you a single answer. Here are my two best bits of advice: Treat the puppy with the same patience and acceptance you would a human child. I am not saying that the dog is like a human, though. Realize that when a puppy makes a mess or destroys something, it's not trying to be bad. You would not yell or scream at a toddler who spilled something or made a mess when your eyes were averted, and a puppy is just the same in this respect. The point here is to show the dog the same patience and acceptance you would a child. This goes a long way in your opinion of the puppy's behavior.
If the puppy doesn't have the opportunity to do something wrong, it will never think of it as an option. If the dog takes food off the counter or chews up the couch, then it has gotten rewarded for it and doesn't understand why you are yelling at it. If the dog doesn't have the opportunity to eliminate in the house, then it will decide for itself that the only option is the area outdoors that you keep bringing it to. Putting away all items forbidden to the puppy or limiting the dog's access to them prevents all sorts of drama. All these problems can be prevented with the use of training crates and gates and just common sense. If you anticipate "bad" behavior and eliminate the dog's chance to engage in it, you have solved the problem before it has even begun.Ferrets: Sometimes outlaws
Q Everybody seems to agree that ferrets are domesticated. So why are they not legal in New York City and California?
A You are correct about ferrets being domesticated. They have been domesticated as long as cats have been and don't occur in the wild at all.
Actually, they are more domesticated than cats. A feral cat can live just fine without any help from humans, but no domesticated ferret can survive long without food and shelter provided by humans. Plus, all pet ferrets that are sold commercially have been neutered or spayed, so even if they could survive independently from humans, they could not breed or reproduce.
When the lawmakers who decided to prohibit ferrets in New York City and California made the laws for whatever reason, they chose to not follow the scientific definition of what a domesticated animal is. The New York City ban is extremely odd, because a ferret is a perfect pet for a small apartment -- being clean, taking up little space and making no sounds. They are extremely popular in Tokyo for these reasons.
When a law is on the books, it usually stays a law, even if it doesn't make any sense. To try to change or challenge it requires more resources and time than most people have.Renew that license
Now that the nice weather is here, with long daylight hours, pets are going to be out and about. Most jurisdictions have some sort of dog licensing program or registration. Now is the time to check your dog's registration to see if it is current.
It may seem like a small issue in the scheme of things, but the money from pet registrations allows communities to provide animal control services and spaying and neutering programs and to collect important data.
One year I confess I didn't renew my dogs' licenses when they were due and, while my wife was in the park with the two of them one evening, an enforcement agent asked her if the dogs' licenses were current. When he found out that they weren't, my wife got a summons and had to go to court.
A whole lot of family drama could have been avoided had I remembered to fill out a form and send it to town hall with a small fee.
Send questions to pet expert Marc Morrone at email@example.com.
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