Monday, December 29, 2008

Marley & Me Top Dog at the Box Office

Marley & Me, which opened Christmas Day, is top dog at the box office. I admit, I have yet to see the movie, but like millions of readers, I loved the book by best selling author John Grogan.

As the story goes, newly married John and his wife Jenny are both animal lovers, and they decide to add a dog to their home before they have children. The adorable Labrador Retriever puppy rapidly grows into a strong adult, and despite their efforts at dog training, Marley is a naughty (but lovable) dog and the high jinxes ensue.

While Marley & Me is an enduring tale, as with a lot of hit movies featuring dogs (i.e., 101 Dalmatians, Beverly Hills Chihuahua), people tend to fall in love with the breed as depicted on screen and want one of their own.

If you are tempted to add a Labrador Retriever to your family, consider adopting one of the 19,880 pure bred and Lab mixes on Petfinder also emailed us some helpful tips to avoid your own “Marley” challenges:

• Play with your dog! Exercising your dog is important but making time to play with your dog is vital to developing and maintaining a good relationship with him. Actively playing with your dog will keep him fit both physically and mentally.

• Make time to train. Every moment that you spend with your dog is an opportunity to teach him something – good or bad. If you still think you don’t have the time to work with your dog just make meal time training time. Have him earn his kibble a handful at a time.

• Keep your training sessions short. Training shouldn’t take hours a day – 2 five minute sessions or 5 two minute sessions a day is ideal for most behaviors.

• Use variety. When you are working with your dog make sure that you use a variety of people, situations and locations. By doing this your dog will learn faster and you will give him a better understanding of what you are asking him to do.

• Manage your dog. Dogs are dogs – not little furry people. Preventing them from getting into trouble is the best way to manage unwanted behaviors. Dogs do lots of things that people tend not to like, such as getting into the garbage, chewing up items we think are valuable and jumping up to say hello.

Brandie Ahlgren, founder

If you've seen Marley & Me, tell us what you think about the movie!

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