Training Tips for a Very Public Puppy
Allan Reznik |
APRIL 15, 2009, 6:15 P.M. EDT
After many months of waiting, the Obamas are finally welcoming their new puppy to the White House. And dog-loving Americans seem only slightly less excited than the Obamas themselves.
The Portuguese Water Dog is a typically energetic and fun-loving canine. With Bo having come from an established, well-respected breeder, we know that much effort has already gone into making him a confident puppy. But now, the socializing and training must continue. Since the Obamas are new to dog ownership, we are happy to offer the following tips to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Crate training is essential. This is the puppy’s den, where he can curl up with toys and a blanket, take a nap and not be underfoot.
Visitors and White House staff must also be "taught” to respect Bo’s time in his crate. That means letting him take a nap undisturbed, without calling his name or getting him worked up while in his crate.
The media will be flocking around the first dog any chance they get. The Obamas should get Bo accustomed to camera flashes. If they do this at home slowly, a few cameras at a time, he will soon take all the photographers in stride.
Although they mean no harm, crowds will want to swoop down on Bo and greet him. That can be intimidating. President and Mrs. Obama will have to assert themselves on Bo’s behalf, requesting that people ask before sticking their hands out and touching the dog. Respectful dog lovers who ask for permission to pat Bo, and then greet him without overwhelming him will instill confidence in him.
Finally, the Obamas must teach Bo good manners and basic commands. With visitors constantly touring the White House and the media covering the first family’s every move, it’s important that Bo respond to Sit, Down, and Come, as well as walk calmly on leash beside any one of the Obamas.
A recent television tribute to dogs in the White House reminded us how the Reagans’ powerful Bouvier dragged them both across the White House lawn while British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher watched in amazement. Bo will always be expected to make a good impression in public and the earlier such training begins, the better.
Want to read more about the Obamas’ new puppy? Click here.
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