Pat Baker - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West



Posted by Pat Baker on 6/9/2017

Dogs, like humans, are territorial by nature. If a stranger came into your home unannounced you would likely react in either a fearful or aggressive manner. Dogs who are aggressive and protective are no different. Fortunately, there are training techniques that can be employed to help your pet grow more comfortable when you have company at your home. Whether you have an older dog who behaves aggressively toward visitors†or you are raising a puppy that you want to train to be comfortable around strangers, here are some tips that can†help.

Know your dog

Before you start training you need to understand exactly what makes your dog uncomfortable. With some dogs it may be a certain type of person (like a mail carrier or the oil delivery driver). With other dogs any stranger who comes in or near the home is a trigger. Determine the fine line between your dog's comfort zone and where your dog becomes scared.

Employing†a training partner

Start small by having a friend (someone your dog doesn't know)†walk past your home where the dog can see. The moment they show signs of fear, assure your dog that you have the situation under control. Scolding the dog, grabbing them, or otherwise exhibiting aggressive behavior toward your dog will only exacerbate their fears. You want them to know that you have the situation in control. Saying firmly and calmly, "I got it; I'm OK" will tell†your dog that you see the stranger and you're in†control. Oftentimes, dogs bark at strangers because they want us to be aware of the potential danger. Acknowledging your dog is vital in these situations. If your dog is the type who†barks or growls at strangers, reward them with treats when they don't bark as the "stranger" passes by your home. From there, you can try other triggers with strangers outside the house such as ringing the doorbell or walking through the yard.

Let the stranger inside

After a few sessions working with the stranger outside your home, it's time to introduce your dog to strangers inside their territory. If you think your dog will be aggressive toward the stranger, make sure you keep your dog leashed or basket-muzzled during the first visit. It will protect your training buddy and will help let your dog know you are in control. Start by having a family member let the stranger in the home while you hold your dog leashed at length. If your dog barks at the stranger, attempt to get your dog's attention and verbally reassure them you are okay; you are in control. Have your training partner avoid eye contact with your dog. Once your dog calms down enough to stop barking, try having them follow commands for treats (sit, stay, etc.). If this is successful, have the stranger†try tossing treats to the dog as well. If your dog is too nervous to eat, reward them with pets and other positive reinforcement ("Good girl!").

Tips for productive training sessions

  • Try to keep your dog's focus on you as often as you can. Use treats†and positive reinforcement constantly
  • Exercise your dog before training if they are high-energy
  • Train in small increments; if your dog is afraid of strangers don't start by introducing him/her to a party at your home
  • You need to be calm at all times while training. Your dog takes his/her†cues from your behavior. If you get frustrated or anxious take a break and start again when you're fully calm

   





Posted by Pat Baker on 12/2/2016

Every child grows up either with a dog or dreaming of the day they will have a dog. And if itís not a dog, itís a cat, a hamster, or even a goldfish. But sometimes having a pet is just not an option. Here are a few things to consider before getting a pet. Allergies: Itís important to know whether or not you or anyone living in your home has any allergies to animals. And itís best to know before you adopt or buyó there are tests that your doctors can run. Itís never a good situation for the pet owner(s) and animal if the animal has to either be given back or given to someone else due to an allergy. This will put a lot of stress on the animal being moved around too much and it can also cause harm to the people involved, as it is always difficult letting go of a pet. If someone in the home has an allergy you may have to stick with goldfish and hermit crabs. However, there are certain types of dogs that are considered hypoallergenic. Travel: Do you work long hours? Do you travel often for work? Will there be anyone home when you arenít? These are all important questions to consider before adopting a pet. These questions donít apply as much to pets such as goldfish and hamsters (even though they still require care), but are extremely important if you want a cat or dog. Time: Do you have the time for a pet? Consider the questions above such as work hours and traveling, but also if you have the time between having a social life, taking care of your children, bringing them to soccer practice or dance class, etc. If you think you have the time then you must also consider that there are different breeds of dogs that require more attention and work than others. The same goes for different types of cats. Be sure you are completely aware of the work that goes into the type of dog or cat you want. Cost: The cost of a pet goes well beyond the initial adoption or breeder fee. Itís important that you consider the lifetime cost of owning a pet and whether or not you can afford an animal. Again this more pertains to dogs and cats rather than hamster and fish. Thereís the cost of food, grooming, veterinary care, toys and walkers. And the costs will vary depending on the breeds of cats and dogs. Itís also important that you save for emergency vet visits, as they can be completely unpredictable and very trying at the time. Having money saved up will take a small bit of the stress away. A pet is a large responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly. You are caring for another life and the adoption or purchase of any animal should be well thought out and something you are prepared for. If that sounds like you then go out and find the pet thatís perfect for you and your family.




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Posted by Pat Baker on 12/11/2015

Staging your home for potential buyers can be quite the hassle. You may start moving your furniture around spontaneously, or become tense when your children or spouse make messes in a room that you just prepped for show. With all of the planning that one can put into making their home shine, one crucial step in home staging is often overlooked: your family pet. For the sake of simplicity, I will outline a few things that you must keep in mind when cleaning up after your pet in a home for sale. Pet presence - For obvious reasons, some pets can't leave the house. Giant enclosures, aquariums, and disabled pets are hard to relocate sometimes, and a lot of people will be understanding of this. But if your dog or cat is healthy, then you'll want to strongly consider relocating your pets temporarily. Many people aren't pet owners, and don't like being around an excitable golden retriever or a yippy chihuahua when they are trying to imagine their family occupying your home. Remember....You are trying to make the potential buyer as relaxed as possible. Ask a friend if they wouldn't mind looking after your loved one for a bit, and if all else fails, look into a reputable boarding service for your pet. Fur - Fur can get everywhere. Even in places that you, as a resident of your home, don't necessarily notice all of the time. Be sure to give your couches, chairs, and love seats proper attention. That means taking the pillows and cushions off, and using a hand vacuum or brush to remove all of the fur you see. After you are sure that they are thoroughly cleaned, use a fabric freshener to finish it off. Try to do this well in advance of the potential buyer, as some people have sensitivities to fabric fresheners. Litter - No matter what kind of animal you have, odds are you have do deal with some form of waste. It may sound pretty obvious, but make sure your litter beds are clean and well hidden. Even if you own an exotic pet like a reptile of amphibian, this includes you too. Many people don't like snakes, but they'll like a messy snake cage even less. Another important thing to remember as an exotic pet owner is this: even though you may not be able to smell anything offensive coming from your reptile's cage, that doesn't mean that there isn't an odor. Many people who live with reptiles get used to the subtle odors that emit from the cages, and will tend to spot-clean their animal's cage without giving it the proper scrub-down that it needs. Odors - Don't use air fresheners to mask pet odor. It is meant to freshen the air...Not cover pet odors up. Instead, use powdered cleaners on carpets and rugs that your pets frequent. These can be purchased at your local pet store in the cleaning isle. Odds are, if someone has a severe allergy to animals, then they are going to be at risk of having a reaction. The cleaner the house, the less dander will be in the home.







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