Tags Posts tagged with "Puppy"

Puppy

Max Jamdar

By Reyva Jamdar

Next to me on the couch, my dog lies. His foot twitches and whiskers tremble as he silently sleeps. A small “humph” escapes his mouth and he wakes up, suspiciously glancing around for the source of the noise. “You woke yourself up, dummy,” I mutter. I spend most of my days observing my dog. His fur, his small tongue, and of course, his previously mentioned puppy noises.

During this time, this is all I’ve been able to accomplish. Observing each and every toe and paw have helped me get through such a transition. As I sit here, writing this piece, I chuckle at the thought of how I even got this dog. I think I owe it all to my sister.

My dear sister of eighteen years, a proud member of the graduating class of 2020, is now heading off to college. Soon she’ll become a unique member of society, writing her own story filled with her own journeys. But before she even decided to spread her wings, she wanted a dog. A dog to play with, to cry with, and most importantly, to love.

Even as a toddler, I understood the importance of such a relationship. I grew up thinking that having a dog was a given, so it was a stab in the gut when I realized that this wasn’t true … at all. My mother. My mother was the face of this terrible feeling. She was, in her own words, “brutally attacked by a large dog” at the age of 12. This untimely event affected my family for years. This alone caused many “doggy disputes” in our household. It got to the point where my sister and I lost hope. It was already 2020. It was already the start of a fresh, lucky year, right? Or so we thought.

The coronavirus slowly took over New York. And my life. Getting a dog wasn’t even up for discussion once school closed. Days turned into months. Months felt like years. Endless, pointless days were all I could recall as I finally considered myself a sophomore. It was a sticky June day when I was startled by a shriek and a faint thump. My sister’s familiar clunks down the stairs halted as she approached me. It was an immediate surprise when she revealed that we were, in fact, getting a puppy during a global pandemic.

There was absolutely no way that my mother would accept yet another baby into her house during such a time. But I was wrong. She actually agreed. Maybe it was the fact that my sister was leaving for college (the new dog was an even better replacement) or because of how unexpectedly horrible 2020 was. To be quite honest, I still don’t know why she suddenly changed her mind. But I’m glad she did.

The first night with my mini golden-doodle puppy, Max, was dream-like. If a fluffy ball of fur was cuddled up next to you, wouldn’t you be ecstatic too? But the next morning was anything but this. Pee was everywhere. Chewed up pieces of furniture (and the couch) were destroyed. Our sleep schedules were completely skewed.

But it was worth it.

All those nights spent worrying about what other curveball 2020 would throw at us next wasn’t a problem anymore. All those nights spent worrying about what tomorrow would bring wasn’t a problem anymore. All those long, suspenseful nights spent worrying about something that I couldn’t control wasn’t a problem anymore. Having a dog, whether he peed on the couch or not, was completely worth it. Getting a dog in my house was always frowned upon, so that really just proves that everything and anything is possible even during a global pandemic.

Remember, when life gives you lemons, always make lemonade. 2020 was horrible. But we decided to make something out of it and as a result received puppy love!

A resident of E. Setauket, author Reyva Jamdar recently graduated from P.J. Gelinas Middle School and will be attending Ward Melville High School as a sophomore in the fall.

Michael St. Jeanos is all smiles with his new Canine Companions for Independence assistance dog Jiminy II and his mother Laurie. Photo from Canine Companions for Independence

Puppy raisers in Centereach are sad to see Jiminy II go, but glad to see he’ll be going to a good home upstate.

Heidi and Andrew Cavagnaro are four-time Canine Companions for Independence volunteers, currently raising puppies Hardisty and Paolo II. Canine Companions for Independence — a national nonprofit organization providing trained assistance dogs for children, adults and veterans with disabilities — matched Jiminy with Niskayuna resident Michael St. Jeanos, who is receiving his second assistance dog from Canine Companions.

Michael was matched with Jiminy, a two-year-old black labrador retriever who has been trained to respond to over 40 advanced commands.  Jiminy can turn light switches on and off, open and close doors and retrieve dropped objects. However, one of his most important jobs will be to provide constant companionship for Michael, after his first assistance dog, Anton, passed away last year after 10 years of loving service.

“Jiminy is a very special dog and we hope to have many wonderful years with him.”

—Laurie St. Jeanos

The Cavagnaro family raised Jiminy from an eight-week-old puppy, and said goodbye to him after a year and a half of training.  Heidi and Andrew worked to teach the dog basic commands, and all-important socialization skills. When he was old enough to begin advanced training, Jiminy was returned to the Canine Companions Northeast Training Center in Medford, where he worked for six months with the organization’s nationally renowned instructors, learning the over 40 commands.                  

Michael and Jiminy were matched after completing Canine Companion’s recent Team Training Class, an intense, two-week course held at the organization’s training center — one of six such centers nationwide. The Northeast Training Center serves a 13-state area from Maine to Virginia.

Each student who attends Team Training – held at each center four times a year – is paired with a fully-trained, working assistance dog, like Jiminy, and is taught to work with his/her canine companion. The training course consists of daily lectures, exams, practice and public outings.

Michael and Jiminy are now settling into a routine back home.

“Jiminy is a very special dog and we hope to have many wonderful years with him,” Michael’s mother Laurie said. “We can’t thank Heidi and Andrew Cavagnaro enough.”

Canine Companions for Independence is the largest nonprofit provider of trained assistance dogs, with training centers in New York, Florida, Ohio, Texas and California. The group has placed over 5,000 assistance dogs.  There is no charge for the dog, its training and on-going follow-up services.  For more information, visit www.cci.org or call 1-800-572-BARK (2275).

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By Matthew Kearns, DVM

Not sure how many families received a puppy as a gift this holiday season but I love to see appointments that say “New Puppy” on them. One of the most common topics discussed is how to potty train the newest member of the family.  Crate training is a wonderful way to give the puppy the guidance it needs.

The idea of using a crate to train a puppy comes from a “den theory” in dogs.  Although wild dogs are nomadic by nature, they do settle down for part of the season to mate and raise pups. The males will hunt and the females will search out a den. This den is a safe haven away from other predators and the elements, and  residents instinctively go to the bathroom outside the den. 

If the crate is treated the same way, it can be a nice, safe area for the puppy. They will usually sleep and allow you to sleep. You can go out to run errands knowing that the puppy will not go to the bathroom, destroy things, or get into anything dangerous. The primary goal of the crate is to always, ALWAYS, make it a “safe area” for the puppy. Do not isolate the crate away from the rest of the family and never use the crate as a form of punishment.

When you (or other family members) are home, the door to the crate should be left open to allow your puppy to go in and out as they please. Give your puppy a favorite toy or a treat when you put her in the crate before you leave the house.  Although a crate is most effective, a crate does not always have to be a crate. You can baby gate off a portion of the kitchen, give a room, etc.

Be careful how long you leave your puppy in the crate so that they do not become used to soiling in the crate (they will if left no choice).  Most pet owners purchase or adopt a puppy between 8 and 12 weeks of age. This is good because it is a very impressionable age and allows you (as the puppy’s “parents”) to help them make good choices.

Remember that puppies can only physically “hold it” for so long at that age. A good rule of thumb is count the number of months old the puppy is and add one to come up with the number of hours the puppy can hold it. So an 8- week (2-month) old puppy can hold it for 2 + 1 = 3 hours. Some puppies can hold it longer at night. However, when you first get a puppy, it would be a good idea to get out of bed to let them out (or even set an alarm clock) to take them outside, SUPERVISED, to go to the bathroom and praise them when they do.

Also remember that eating and drinking will stimulate the puppy to go to the bathroom. Therefore, allow extra time to bring them back outside after they eat and drink to give them the opportunity to go again. If for some reason you get there too late or an unexpected accident occurred, just clean it up. Remember, the crate must be a safe area away from punishment if it is to be effective. 

Some puppies that have been in a pet store or shelter situation for too long can be negatively conditioned as well. If a puppy is left in a crate from five or six at night (when the shop or shelter closes) to eight or nine the next morning, they will get used to eliminating in the crate (cage) and come to believe that is normal. Those are exceptional cases and will require the guidance of a veterinarian that specializes in behavior or a Certified Animal Behaviorist to re-train.

Do not try to automatically force older dogs into a crate. I can’t tell you how many broken teeth and nails I’ve seen in my career because a dog owner decides they are going to put a young adult dog in a crate at 8 months to a year old because the dog has become destructive when the owner is not home. That is going to be like jail, and if it were me I would freak out also. That is not to say that you cannot crate train an adult dog, but it takes time, patience and the guidance of a behaviorist (that means extra moolah as well). It is much easier (and less expensive) to start at a younger age, remain patient and consistent.

Congratulations on your new puppy and good luck!!!!!

Dr. Kearns has been in practice for 17 years and is pictured with his son Matthew and their dog Jasmine.