So you have a new puppy in the house!

Chances are you are dealing with potty training issues, chewing, nipping and lots of barking and jumping. If this sounds familiar, then you and Fluffy might benefit from joining an obedience class. Often held in six-week sessions, obedience classes are offered for both puppies and adult dogs.

Obedience classes with your dog will teach you, as the handler, to be consistent with your pets, as they learn faster through repetition techniques. These classes are an economical way for you to learn how to communicate with your dog and develop positive behavior patterns.

While a training class or two would benefit any dog, if you are experiencing a specific issue, sometimes, simple changes at home can correct the problem.

For example, if you have a barker, it can be a sign of boredom or fear and is usually seen in dogs that are left outside alone in a yard or in a home for long periods of time.

Leaving the television or radio on with a dog sometimes helps to provide the background noise they are used to when you are home.

If you are dealing with a bigger issue, such as food aggression or aggression toward another dog or person, hiring a trainer or behaviorist to come to your home may be needed. This can cost $200 to $300 and usually includes up to three visits.

Because socialization is a critical aspect of a new puppy’s development, Petco locations are offering a free Puppy Socialization Seminar at 2 p.m. Jan. 19 and 20.

This 30-minute interactive seminar offers an opportunity for your puppy to experience free play in a monitored session with a dog trainer on hand to give observations on your puppy’s interaction skills. For more information, visit

Whether you have a new puppy or adult dog in the family, learning to communicate with your pet and setting boundaries early will help set the stage for future, positive behavioral patterns.

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a 501c3 nonprofit. ARNO operates a volunteer-based, no-kill shelter in the Elmwood Industrial section of Jefferson Parish and depends upon the generosity of people from all over the country who have followed them since Katrina. Email ARNO at, visit or leave a message at (504) 571-1900.