5 things I'd never do: 1) I'd never utilize unfamiliar dogs and unknowledgeable humans in a dog park to "fix" social behavior.
Dog parks are often filled with filthy water puddles, contaminated feces, and adrenalized dogs. There are just too many unknown factors for my liking. If I utilize a dog park, I remain outside the fence and train from a specific distance around the distractions.
2) I'd never pick a puppy solely from a picture.
If you are interested in picking a puppy, this link offers some insight for choosing the perfect one... who's personality and energy level is compatible with your goals: www.volhard.com/pages/pat.php
Another option would be allowing the breeder to pick the perfect puppy for you... responsible breeders know puppy personalities well!
3) I'd never purposely buy or adopt littermates.
One puppy is a lot of work. Two puppies is three times the work. Littermates easily become highly dependent on one another, rather than on you, so training can become significantly more difficult.
4) I'd never tease my dog with a laser pointer.
Laser pointers can create neurotic and obsessive compulsive behavior. Dogs can begin to chase car headlights, flashlights, and light reflections from mirrors, watches, and jewelry.
5) I'd never free feed.
"Free feeding" means that food is always available, in a bowl, all day long. Medically speaking, refusing to eat is an early sign of a dog not feeling well. I want to know immediately if my dog isn't feeling well. I also use food for training, and I need the food that I offer to be valuable.
5 things I'll always do: 1) I'll always feed biologically appropriate food.
Avoid corn, wheat, and soy (GMOs!). Why do cancer rates continue to rise...?!? Feed the best food that you can afford to feed... Yes, eating fresh is more expensive. But, even if 1 meal per day is raw, or if 3 meals per week is raw, that is better than feeding 100% processed food.
2) I'll always use food for training.
Primary reinforcers include biological necessities. Food is a primary reinforcer, which means that dogs desire food without needing to be taught to desire food. Dogs deserve "payment" (reinforcement) for their hard work and good choices, too :)
3) I'll always research for holistic alternatives to western medicine.
My approach highlights the importance of nutrition and utilizing holistic avenues in combination with traditional treatment. I'd much rather use a holistic approach if results are comparable, appropriate, and healthy.
4) I'll wait to spay and neuter.
Dogs need their hormones to grow and develop properly. I'll wait to spay or neuter until at least 18-24 months of age for large breed dogs. I won't rely on spaying and neutering to solve behavioral problems. Training will do that!
5) I'll always crate train.
A crate can be the only familiar environment available for a dog when life momentarily changes. Whether a dog is at home, at a boarding facility, at the veterinarian's office, or at the groomers... and no matter what goes on there... a dog will have at least one reliable and familiar dynamic... to rest while contained in a crate.
All for now,