GENESEO – Ramsey is a cute, energetic little Yorgie. But owner Brittany Spath acknowledges that stopping the 12-week-old puppy’s frequent jumping and nipping has been a challenge.
She and Ramsey got advice and encouragement from trainer Tori Ganino of Calling All Dogs during the Good Stuff Pet Truck’s recent visit to Highland Park. Ganino is also a certified dog behavior consultant.
“I have had experience with Yorgies before, but when it’s your own dog there are insecurities,” Spath said.
Ganino, said Spath, “reaffirmed that we are doing the right things” to eventually stop Ramsey’s unwanted behaviors.
Among the suggestions from Ganino were to redirect the puppy’s attention to a toy of bone or give the puppy time to calm down such as in a “calming zone” that the owner can leave, but the puppy cannot follow. Ganino advised against yelling at the puppy or using dominant methods over the puppy, which can lead to aggression.
Ganino said it is important to use positive reinforcement when training dogs as that will teach the dog desirable behavior. Rewarding dogs with small treats and praise for things their owners want them to do motivates them to repeat those behaviors.
“The positive reinforcement helps them feel better when what they’re experiencing may make them scared,” Ganino said.
The Good Stuff Pet Truck truck rolled in for several hours May 15, setting up adjacent to the dog park within Highland Park. Dog enthusiasts were able to get free tips from Ganino and dog treats.
Nipping, jumping and dog’s pulling on their leash are common concerns that Ganino has encountered from those visiting the Good Stuff tour.
“It can be a really frustrating stage for an owner who may not be sure what to do,” Ganino said. “We look at how they work with their dog and what they’re doing to have fun. It’s a lot of treats and praise for the dogs.”
Chris Schmidt of Chili was visiting the park with Max, a 7 month old German Shepherd that was a solid 70 pounds. Schmidt said the sociable shepherd is training to be a service dog that will help Schmidt with balance and seizure concerns related to a brain tumor.
Schmidt sought advice on helping his dog get comfortable around other dogs.
The custom-designed Good Stuff Pet Truck is stopping in cities across America this spring and summer to help educate pet owners about using positive reinforcement dog training to ensure their animals enjoy a balanced life.
“We gather at places where people bring dogs and have fun,” said tour manager Courtney O’Connor, as she set up displays of treats and food. “We represent the brands, have fun, and get to hang out with puppies all day.”
The tour is sponsored by American Pet Nutrition, makers of Vita Bone Artisan Inspired Treats and Supreme Source grain-free dog food. Samples and coupons were included in “swag bags” given to the dog owners.
There are two trucks traveling around the country, having started several months ago in California. From Geneseo, the truck was headed to Connecticut, Poughkeepsie and New Jersey.