Advice for new dog owners?

Otto at Vroman's Nose

Otto, like most dogs probably, enjoys taking walks in new places. Here he is at Vroman's Nose.

Greg emails:

We have just finished the process of adoption our first dog - who we pick up this weekend. Its been quite a while since either of us have had one and we are wondering about some things;
Good places to walk the dog (on a leash) - rural, urban, paved, out there, doesn't matter. Weve seen people with their dogs at LIsha Kill and Peebles Island and plan on taking her there with us
Good veterinarians?
Good trainers/schools?
Good pet stores?
Good dog parks?
Any 'lesser known' etiquette or general things we should be aware of - or things people find annoying about dog owners? Were hoping for something a little more than 'pick up after your dog'
Social things - like yappy hours
Or anything else, really?
Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated

That's a lot! But there's a lot that goes into being a good dog owner. If you have thoughts on any of this stuff for Greg, please share.

As you know, AOA's goodwill ambassador is AOA Greg's household dog/neighborhood celebrity Otto. Here are a few responses based on our experience with Otto...

This is based just on our experience. It will no doubt be different for others. We encourage you to share your experiences and thoughts.

Good places to walk the dog (on a leash) - rural, urban, paved, out there, doesn't matter. Weve seen people with their dogs at LIsha Kill and Peebles Island and plan on taking her there with us

Otto loves Peebles Island. Like, he probably harbors some sort of resentment towards us for not taking him there more often. Trails are fun, the water is fun, spotting the occasional deer is VERY EXCITING. Any place along those lines -- for example, the Huyck Preserve in Rensselaerville -- is an Otto favorite. (Conversely, Otto also really likes walking in a place like downtown Troy. Really, it's just about going someplace different now and then. Dogs get bored, too.)

For everyday sort of walks, we tend to stick either to just around the Buckingham Pond neighborhood (taking different routes because he's more enthusiastic about walks when they change). In winter we'll head over to Capital Hills (in the period when it's closed to golf), which is Otto's favorite place in the world because he can run off leash and there are a bunch of other dogs. In summer, sometimes we'll go to the Harriman State Office Campus in the evenings, which is really quiet and nice.

Good veterinarians?

We take Otto to Bethlehem Veterinary Hospital in Glenmont. The doctors and staff there are super nice and very detail oriented. We're pretty sure that Otto gets better medical care than we do.

Here's an Ask AOA question about vets for dogs from 2011.

And a good thing to know: The Capital District Animal Emergency Clinic is in Latham on Troy-Schenectady Road (Route 2).

Good trainers/schools?

We don't have one to recommend based on our experience with Otto, but will only say, yes, training, definitely. Even just one class can make a big difference for a dog.

Good dog parks?

Gotta admit we're not a fan of dog parks. For Otto, at least, they've not been a positive experience in part because other dogs have just been a little too rough. And there's something about having a bunch of dogs in enclosed space that seems to make some of them act kind of like jerks. But your experience may be different -- and dog socializing time is important.

Any 'lesser known' etiquette or general things we should be aware of - or things people find annoying about dog owners? Were hoping for something a little more than 'pick up after your dog'

The big thing in our experience is that people just be aware of what their dog is doing -- and how the dog is relating to other dogs and people. If a dog is not (yet) good with other dogs, letting them loose in a dog park is probably not a good idea. Or if a dog is getting a little too riled up and/or continuing to harass another dog or person, it's time to intervene.

Or anything else, really?

One of the great things about having a dog -- and walking that dog regularly -- is that you'll end up meeting all sorts of people. We've ended up getting to know so many people because of Otto -- both other dog owners or just people who see us all the time in the neighborhood ("Oh, look, it's Otto's people"). It really is a great way to get to know new people.

Comments

If a location you're going to have a leash law, leash your dog. There are no exceptions, your dog and you are not special, and nobody cares if your dog is "friendly." Everybody thinks their dog is friendly until it rips somebody's face off. I absolutely hate all dogs and don't care if it is friendly or not. Keep it away from me. I am entitled to my personal space anywhere I am and it should not be violated by a disgusting 4-legged beast.

Train your dog not to jump on people and to not nip at them - if your dog has these issues, keep it on a leash when out in public places even if there isn't a leash law. If your dog does these things to another member of the public and that person tells you to train/leash your dog, keep your mouth shut, you are the one in the wrong. I'm sorry that you have to live in a society where other people exist, but that's just how it is. Maybe you should get a better job and make more money so you can purchase a house in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

If you don't have time to train your dog, take it to somebody who can, or don't bring it out in public.

Owning a dog is a privilege, not a right. You don't get to let it impose on the enjoyment of other people. Don't get a dog to use it to seek attention, either. Nobody cares about your "baby."

If any of these things in my comment raise your blood pressure level, too bad. It's a sign that you need an attitude adjustment, not me.

If you let your dog harass wildlife, you should have your dog taken away from you. Unfortunately, this country has the mentality that wildlife is meaningless and that domestic animals are pure gold.

Ick!

When you pass another dog/dog owner, always tell the other owner right off the bat if your dog is or isn't dog friendly. And if your dog is "sometimes" or "most of the time" friendly, that does NOT count. It certainly doesn't mean your pup is mean, but if your dog is not 100% cool with other dogs, it's a safety issue and should be noted to other dog owners. It's both polite and important to let fellow dog owners know if it's OK for your dogs to say hello or not.

Be mindful of temperatures. It irks me to see dogs out for hours at festivals and farmers markets in direct sun and crowded areas. Pavement is hot. A sip of water isn't enough. Dogs need to rest in shade to cool off.

Dogs, especially young dogs, need several walks daily. Even when it's pouring or blizzarding. It's just not optional. Sending a dog out back to go to the bathroom quickly is OK here and there. But it doesn't suppliment the 2-3 good walks a day that a dog really needs. So buy a really warm coat and really cozy boots because you will be outside a lot this winter!

On that note...salt that folks toss on the sidewalk burns dog paws. It can be so bad that dogs will lie down and cry in pain instead of walking. So be sure to bring paper towels with you on winter walks. And if it happens, don't scold your pup for being in physical pain. Help your dog by wiping paws right away.

And always always bring extra poop bags. Unless it's your own yard, never ever leave it on the ground. Ever. That's gross!

Don't underestimate the power and importance of solid, structured exercise. It's crucial for the growth and development of healthy dogs! Regardless of breed all dogs need physical, mental, and oral exercise. However, like most importance of solid, structured exercise. It's crucial for the growth and development of healthy dogs! Regardless of breed all dogs need physical, mental, and oral exercise. However, like most people, life gets busy and it's sometimes hard to schedule in daily walks or training sessions with your dog. Invest in a professional, people, life gets busy and it's sometimes hard to schedule in daily walks or training sessions with your dog. Invest in a professional, insured, trained pet professional! They can help with potty training and draining excess energy, in addition to providing socialization, especially if you have long work hours or other life commitments! I cover Saratoga County, but there are other great professional businesses throughout the Capital District that cater to fostering healthy exercise and social skills in dogs - puppies to seniors!

Editors should have posted a trigger warning, eh Maria?

@Maria - "I absolutely hate all dogs"

If AOA Greg will allow me to be blunt and feed an apparent troll, why not stay out of this conversation if that's how you feel? Bravo, 10/10 for technique, baiting and antagonizing readers, then passively-aggressively telling them they need an attitude adjustment if they feel differently.

People like you suck the fun out of living. I'd be curious to know what, if anything, you enjoy in life, so that I could take a huge figurative dump on it.

BACK to the original questions... where you live will be the biggest factor. There are several fenced-in, off-leash dog parks in Albany. That might be about it for the lawful off-leash time. The Healthy Pet Center stores seem to have quality staff members and offer training classes.

Other than that, be sure to pick up after your pooch, be considerate to passersby, with or without dogs. Not all dogs are friendly/were socialized, and same goes for people. It has been eye-opening how many people are utterly terrified of dogs.

I had a great experience with Jody Diehl (she has a TU blog but I get the feeling she's too busy to write too much in it regularly). She helped identify a behavior issue in our little guy within two visits and had helpful and useful info. She is very friendly but no nonsense and the dog really responded to her.
Feed your dog the best quality food. Makes for small poop which are easier to pick up (since we know of course you will ALWAYS be picking up your dog's poop).
Best tip I learned ever: when your dog is quiet in a chair or at your feet or wherever started tagging that behavior with "good quiet" so when the dog barks and you say "quiet" it knows what you mean. You cannot do this enough or benefit from this enough. In general, ignore the bad behavior and overly praise (in that annoying crazy dog person voice) the good/desired behavior.

Whoa Maria relax, your rant could have ended after the first paragraph and we would have gotten the point. Good point.

Crate your dog at home until you are sure its housebroken and you have fully dog proofed your home. It IS NOT cruel its safer and prevents problems. Dogs like to have a "den" they can chill in if they want.

Clip its nails and brush its teeth. Prevents some ortho issues and tooth decay and plaque are really bad for dogs. Use a Dremmel tool (for the nails NOT the teeth, or go to a pro)

Dont feed it people food. Overweight dogs are unhappy and unhealthy. Its also really annoying to guests when Fido assumes he gets a taste of whatever we're having.

TRAINING: Mary Maltbie is excellent. Also the classes at www.albanyobedience.com/ are great and they are a lead into a great set of activities you and your dog can get into together.

I am also not a fan of dog parks. There seems to be a misconception that this is the place to exercise the dog. So, people bring Fido over after being in the house all day and he's all revved up and ready for action often too much and it can cause problems. Dogs need to be walked a bit to relax and burn off some energy before you unleash them into the dog park. We also notice that our dog doesnt "play" so much. He needs to be out walking, doing, sniffing, hiking. So, him standing around in a dog park looking wondering why we arent going anywhere doesnt help anyone.

MAKE SURE YOU USE BUG/TICK PROTECTION and CHECK YOUR BUDDY REGULARLY

OUTINGS:
Normanskill Farm in Albany is a nice spot to walk and has a dog park. There is also a Bethlehem side thats great and often less populated. (beware landslides..jokes just jokes)

www.mohawkhudson.org/ Great options for light hikes and a great organisation to support.

VETERINARIAN: Sand Creek on Wold Rd is great. I have also heard good things about Delmar Vet and Parkside in Albany.

ETIQUETTE:
1 Be aware of MARIA and her ilk. She is correct in the idea that not everyone is a dog person and shouldnt be subjected to yours.
2 Just because your dog is friendly DOES NOT mean mine is. If you are out walking be aware of others and their dogs. If you see one on leash there very well could be a reason and you should be respectful and do the same until there is clear communication. I will not be responsible for what happens to your unleashed dog if it runs up on my leashed dog. Who tends to not react well.
3 RECALL RECALL RECALL RECALL...there is nothing worse than an owner chasing after their dog whilst asking him to return, then begging, then yelling. All while Fido, totally ignoring them, goes barreling after an upset Maria or hurtling into traffic. IF YOU CANT GET YOUR DOG TO COME MAYBE IT SHOULDN'T BE RUNNING FREE IN AN UNFENCED AREA.
4 Running/jogging with your dogs does not tire your dog. YOU can not run fast enough or far enough for that. Also, the pavement isnt great for their bodies. That does not mean that you cant run with your dog just know that they still need some intellectual stimulation, like obedience practice. Play with them, take them places and let them sniff and investigate and see things. AN ENTERTAINED DOG IS A WELL BEHAVED DOG. There are some cool toys/games that you can get to help with that on rainy days or days when you are just too tired for a good walk.

I AM NOT AN EXPERT
I have a dog that doesnt love other dogs, he's nervous. He is suspicious of strangers, and barks loud at them, thats part of why we got him. He doesnt always listen and sometimes jumps on people he likes. We learned a lot from him and our former dogs. I post these "hints" based on experience and my own corrected misconceptions. Overall you need to love them, not spoil, protect them, dont smother, provide them intellectual and physical activity, safely.

You will have a friend for life, good luck!!!!

My pug Rocco and I just finished up a training class with Dylan Boyce. He is patient, and uses positive training methods to work with dogs. He is especially good with sensitive or shy dogs. His website is https://www.karenpryoracademy.com/Boyce_Dylan

Taking a training class can be a great way to bond with a new dog. You're doing something fun together and you get to know what works for your dog. Plus it burns off some energy, just like exercise.

Mary Maltbie is an amazing trainer who teaches out of different venues. She does everything from Obedience 101 to very advanced classes. The most important thing I learned is that it is training for YOU not for your dog. You need to know how to handle him, read his body, language, and be consistent so that he is not confused. All dogs are good at learning, not all humans are good at training them! Here is her website: http://www.heeldogtrainingacademy.com/Upcoming-Classes.html

Good luck with your new addition!

OTTO!! Love that guy.

Please Maria, don't hold back from telling us how you really feel.

[Dogs can obviously evoke strong reactions from people, both positive and negative. Thank you to everyone who has focused on offering constructive advice. More like that, please.]

We have been taking our dogs to Parkside Veterinary Hospital in Albany for 20 years now and have been extremely happy with their friendly, caring staff. They do grooming now, too!

As with people food and toys, we like to shop locally-owned for our dog's needs. We go to Healthy Pet Center in Delmar (I think they have locations in Troy and Latham as well?)

We are on our third German shepherd in 20 years (all rescues) and while #2 and #3 most likely needed/need obedience school we have not taken them. I have enough trouble getting my two human kids to listen to me and behave and keep their grades up; I just try to do my best with the pooch. Jack is a little aggressive (territorial? protective of his family?) around other dogs so we just stay away from the dog parks and keep him a strong leash at all times on walks.

If you can have a trusted relative or friend watch your dog when you go out of town that's great, but if you need a kennel I would highly recommend Weston Kennels in Westerlo. The grounds and kennels are immaculate and Chris is friendly and firm.

Oh, and BTW Maria, lighten TF up.

(Full disclosure: I don't have a dog now but grew up with dogs for half my life to date!)

From the current non-dog owner perspective, it's important to keep your dog on a leash where it's required. I have had many 'run ins' with loose dogs while mountain biking where the owner claims friendliness but the dog's behavior says otherwise (growling, chasing me down while the owner yells in vain for the dog to return...)

In the same sense but a bit more maddening, I to deal with a situation a few years back with an unleashed & 'friendly' dog (according to the owner) that decided to take a chomp out of my then 84 year old mother's hand. We had to pop off to urgent care to get her stitched up... at least the profuse bleeding put us ahead of the dozen people there with the flu!

Dogs don't belong in stores. Even if it's in a Fendi [dog]bag.

Dogs don't have to accompany their humans to every outdoor activity either, such as outdoor performances, festivals and farmers markets. Not everyone in attendance at such events is going to be as cautious around your dog as you are. Since dogs are below our eyelines, if it is close to our feet it could easily get stepped on or tripped onto.

Dogs don't belong in cars alone. Ever. Not even if you're just grabbing a quick lunch.

If your dogs loves company but jumps up onto guests, it may be a turnoff for your guests. It is too much to ask that your guests wear clothing they don't mind having scratched up by your dog in order to visit you. Even if they are polite about it, chances are they're bothered and just not telling you.

Pick up its poo. Every.single.time. Even in winter.

Dogs do obviously bring out strong feelings from those who fear or dislike dogs, but also from other dog owners who feel the need to comment about your dog and compare it to theirs. Like other people here my advice is that not everyone loves your pooch as much as you do. Be respectful of boundaries and personal space, share the sidewalk, Always clean up after your dog (even in the snow!!!! so many people in Albany leave it in the snow then its all over the place when the snow melts).

I found a meet up group for Boston Terriers in the Capital Region through Meet Up. It was really great when I first adopted my dog, she learned to better socialize with other dogs. Check meetup for doggy social groups!

I wanted to say there are many great vets in the area, I take my dog to Oakwood Veterinary Clinic in Troy. I live in downtown Albany but its worth the drive, the Dr's are so nice, very helpful if you have a question, and their clinic's hours are also great. I don't have to take time off from work to go to the vets unless its an emergency.

Hounds on the Hudson and Dylan are amazing. I definitely would recommend their training classes and the Dog Park Playgroup!

I also really like the Pet Supplies Plus on Western - they have coupons and sales pretty regularly.

Whoaaaa Maria..... I'm all for well-trained dogs and you've got some valid points but jeez... take a breath....

I recommend Hounds on the Hudson for training, walks, playgroup, and boarding.

My pup's trainer was Cassie Kennedy and she was great. Just remember it is a training for you as well as for your pooch. Start training early. Many people hire trainers to fix a problem but with a smaller upfront investment you can save in the long run.

I know the reservations people have about boarding, but with Hounds on the Hudson the dogs stay at the owner's farm. It is like they are staying with your dog-loving friends.

I also use Pet Lodges and take the pup to daycare about once a week. It keeps him active, socialized, and helps when I can't take him for a long hike to tire him out.

Peebles Island is anti-social dog island. I like going there but we spend a lot of time avoiding snarling dogs. I like to got to a lesser-traveled mountain in the Catskills on an off day. The dogs there are usually off-leash, friendly, and well behaved.

Finally, the last time I was in Saratoga I notice that one place (Gaffney's I think) had a dog brunch on the patio. Saratoga is super dog-friendly.

A veterinarian friend reassured me when I was concerned if I was spending enough time with my dog. She asked 'do you feed her? Give her a warm place to sleep?' Yes I said. You're doing fine.

Bon voyage! I'm so happy for you and yours.

Check out from the library a book or dvd by the Monks of New Skeet. Right away! Behaving properly with your dog from the outset is very important. Relationships can be recast later if and when problems crop up but getting right from day one is so much easier and fun.

Consider getting a job for your dog. Our dog enjoyed pet therapy. We got her certified and then she was welcome on the nursing home circuit. She's retired now but I think she really enjoyed it. The people she visited sure did.

Use tick preventative year round. We moved here from Nebraska where winters were harsh enough that ticks were gone December through March during which time we'd skip tick preventative. Carried that habit here and managed to expose our beloved pal to Lyme disease her first winter. Thanks to terrific care from our vet Heidi Gordon at Burnt Hills Veterinary, our dog not only survived but has thrived for another decade. She's 14 now and is still going strong.

Most importantly, give your new friend lots of love.

I'm so excited for you!

Vet: Parkside Vet

Pet Store: Pet Supplies Plus

Kennel: Altamont County Kennels (or Hounds on the Hudson can take care of them throughout the day if its just a long day trip)

Where the Paws Like to Tread: Normanskill, Washington Park, Corning Preserve, the Adirondacks, Grafton Park, and dogs are a perfect excuse to get out and just explore Albany (they are amazingly great at helping you out during the Albany I Spy competitions, btw)

Good Tips: #1- Always have a bag on hand. Until good habits are formed, I recommend each time you come home from a walk, tie a bag or two to the leash. Presto, no worries the next time you head out. #2- Definitely alert approaching dog walkers if your dog is well behaved with others or not. If not, there is no shame, there are a surprising number of pooches you'll come across who are just like yours and the owners understand.

"Check out from the library a book or dvd by the Monks of New Skeet."

How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend, I think it's called. Previous roommate owned it, reading it and living with her dog who benefited from the lessons in it were what turned me into a dog person. Every dog owner should read this book and apply it.

I second the motion ... for Jodi Diehl. We learned as much as our dog especially how to think like a dog and communicate effectively to get the behavior we want. It makes me crazy when I hear people chasing a dog and just yelling their name over and over. Think about what that gets you with a human being. "Bob...Bob...Bob...Bob...Bob..." Bob is eventually going to yell "What the heck do you want?!?!" or just ignore you. Though I sometimes wonder, dogs are not clairvoyant. Like someone else posted, you need to know how to reward to imprint key words around key behaviors and you'll be amazed what kind of vocabulary your dog is capable of understanding. Names are nouns not verbs.

Peebles Island is great and we go there regularly but it's also pretty dangerous depending on what trail you're on. Definitely leash-on territory even for well behaved dogs. 50 foot cliffs, loose gravel trails, swift moving water, and random dogs and joggers are a bad mix. Enjoy with caution.

I also second the clean-up comments. I avoid the 200' radius that surrounds the entrance to the Capital Hills Golf Course like the plague because of so many lazy owners out there. Sure...just let Fido out of your car, let him poop, run back, and go home. It's gross and lazy and you're giving the rest of us a bad name. Stop being so irresponsible and inconsiderate. Its because of you and those who refuse to train that I cannot bring my well-behaved and always picked-up-after dog on more trails and to more vacation rentals.

Find a good sitter. We used to board at some places mentioned here but our guy came home sick more than once and his emotional state was clearly down. We found a terrific and very affordable local dog sitter who comes to our home at morning and evening and spends quality time visiting our little dude. He is at home, in his comfort zone and while he doesn't get to hang and sniff buddies, he doesn't return home with fleas, diarrhea, or the glums.

I could go on and on about how much our dog is woven into our lives. The more you put into them the more you get out.

I agree with Randal's recommendation on the Monks of New Skeete book. "How to be your Dog's Best Friend," or "The Art of Raising a puppy" if your new dog is still pretty young.

Vet: We love Miller Animal Hospital in East Greenbush
Pet Store: Healthy Pet Center in East Greenbush (or Latham)
Daycare / Socialization: Happy Paws on Pawling in Troy (though they have quite the waiting list). I'm also not a fan of dog parks.

The one thing I get annoyed by is when other dog owners just allow their dogs to go right up to another dog without even asking if it's ok first. So please be sure to ask before you let your dog greet another. Best of luck! :)

First thing is to avoid people like Maria.

Secondly, and more importantly, exercise your dog! People always ask me how I get my dogs to be so well behaved and the answer I give is "lots of exercise"! A well behaved dog is a happy dog and a happy dog is a healthy dog, physically AND mentally! They're innate purpose is to serve a job so when less-than-exemplary dog owners keep their pets locked up all day, the poor souls go crazy and cause trouble, and understandably so!

*Keeping them fenced in your backyard is NOT a form of exercise*

Participate with your dog, you got him for a reason, and more than likely you'll discover new hobbies to enjoy because of your dog and you'll earn a friend for life!

Re: Picking up after your dog

Buy one of those little bag dispensers that clips on to the leash. Seriously. It's a little goofy looking, perhaps, but are you really concerned about how you look while picking up another creature's droppings? They're like, three or four dollars and I can't tell you enough how handy they are. I'm very forgetful and this little doodad makes sure I'm up sh*t creek without a paddle, er, baggie.

First off, congrats on not being like Maria. Enjoy life.

Second, feed your dog raw. Meat, bones. All raw. Dogs are descendants of wolves, and wolves do not grow wheat on farms and plough them with tractors and turn the resulting grains into bread. Wolves eat meat and so do dogs. And they don't get out the flint and steel to start a campfire to cook their meals either — unlike us, their digestive systems are perfectly capable of handling raw meat. Cooking food just robs them of nutrients.

Never, ever, ever, ever feed them a cooked bone as it will shatter into sharp pieces inside them. Raw bones, on the other hand, are great for keeping their teeth clean and relieving stress. (They can either chew on the bones or the sofa, your choice.)

Raw-fed dogs are happy, healthy, unsmelly dogs without foul breath who won't leave stinky mounds of poop in your backyard. Try a butcher for scrap of meat — dogs aren't picky, they don't need porterhouse — or fall back to chicken thighs and other cheap cuts of human food when necessary. Contrary to the myth, your dog won't "gain a taste for blood" and start attacking live animals.

We love seeing Otto and his family you're all so nice and Otto is very cool! That is a great pic!

Wow, Maria...you're a little over the top...

As for my advice, things boil down to four words: be considerate and responsible. Always vaccinate your dog, and don't forget flea and heartworm meds. Invest in a good tick remover, too. Always carry poop bags and PICK UP YOUR DOG'S POOP!

I used Petsmart for training, but I don't necessarily recommend that for everyone. Not every dog does well getting training in a roped-off space. Mine did best with private lessons.

As for dog parks, don't dismiss them all. Most people at them are responsible, but you do get some dogs - and their owners - misbehaving. If your dog acts out, take him or her home!

Finally, one of my biggest pet peeves (no pun intended) is when people let their children go up to your dog and start touching him or her. Not all dogs like children. While we're on that topic, keep your kids out of dog parks. They are called dog parks for a reason - take your kids to the people parks.

Vet: Parkside Vet, they were always on time and the front reception staff takes the time to play with my dog before and after appointments. We had a negative incident with Sand Creek when my dog was a puppy, they kept insisting on unneccessary tests and procedures at every visit, to the point that my standard annual check up was getting to be outrageous. I felt like they were trying to cash in on a puppy (who had zero health problems), since I was a newer dog owner.

Park: Colvin Avenue dog park. I'm biased because I met my now fiance there, but there is a really great group of regulars that go there. I like to see my "dog parent" friends at the dog parks and it became a good resource for vet/boarding/training/food questions.

I second (or third, or fourth...lost count!) the Dylan Boyce recommendation! I had a great experience with Dylan - he trained my dog and my parents' puppy, and I also used him./Hounds on the Hudson for boarding. He's the best, and my dog LOVES him.

Pretty much what everyone else has said. Just a few comments from our personal experience:

We LOVE Jody Diehl. She trained our rescue fur baby at home & in class and it was all POSITIVE reinforcement. Having had other dogs/other trainers in the long past including "the monks" when positive was not so positive I can report that there is NO need for anything other than positive reinforcement or ignoring inappropriate behaviors.
For vets we like Capital District Mobile Vets and Parkside Vets..
Friends of Animals for neutering/spaying certificates (honored at Parkside)
We have been privileged to have Cinder boarded at the Farm through Hounds on the Hudson and she loved it and we think Jen & Mike are the best.
We do use the wonderful city dog parks; as with any community resource, the experience depends upon the other users. Pick up after your dog and for a better experience for everyone, pick up someone else's as well (Sometimes good people get distracted :) The "LOOP" fits right on a round leash and lets you have poop bags with you at all times.
Healthy Pet in Delmar is a great pet store and the staff re all pet lovers.
Have fun & take your puppy everywhere and have him/her meet everyone - even the Maria's of this world - just don't force the experiences - puppies need to learn that not everyone loves them :)

My dogs really enjoy Indiankill preserve. There is an opportunity for a swim at the end of the hike.

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I went to one last month. My friend took his oath of citizenship. It is a great ceremony. A local school choir sang. There was a moving speech from one of the new citizens who grew up a refugee and at the age of 21 was finally a citizen of a country for the first time in her life. The League of Women Voters give warm welcomes, flags and voter registration cards to all the new citizens. It gave me such warm fuzzies. Everyone should try to go to one of these if they get the chance.

Another look at New York State's population change, this time along the urban/rural split

...has 3 comments, most recently from Ellen

Today in America

...has 7 comments, most recently from chrisck

A look at the plan for new bus and pedestrian amenities at Lark and Washington in Albany

...has 9 comments, most recently from George

WHAT? (airplane flies overhead)

...has 5 comments, most recently from Rebecca

The mystery of Hazel Drew's death

...has 1 comment, most recently from a