Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Family Paws

I had the pleasure of meeting with Jennifer Shryock, a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant and owner of Family Paws.  Family Paws is an internationally recognized business that educates and supports new and expectant families with dogs.  Jennifer, a mother of four, developed the programs at Family Paws after they adopted their first German Shepherd rescue dog years ago.  She saw dogs that were being abandoned in desperation by new parents because they did not understand how to prepare themselves and their dogs for a new baby.  Family Paws has two programs- Dogs and Storks for expectant families and the Dog and Baby Connection for new families with babies over 3 months old.  Family Paws has trained, certified educators throughout the U.S., Canada, and even China.  Family Paws has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, television, radio, and most recently the July issue of Martha Stewart's LIVING magazine!  The best part is this fabulous service and passionate educator is located right here in Cary!

What inspired you to start Family Paws?

   Dog rescue!  I saw so many dogs surrendered due to the arrival of a baby.  Many families had fears or became overwhelmed once a baby arrived.  I felt there needed to be more resources out there. 

What is the goal/mission of your programs? 

   To promote safety in families with dogs.  Offering education and support to increase safety and success while decreasing parent’s stress!

What local programs and services do you offer?   

  We offer local new parent classes and private consultations.  The baby bundle is perfect for expecting families!

What is your philosophy or approach to dog training?

    I believe that dogs need to enjoy their relationship with their people.  Learning should be fun for both dog and the people. We use science based methods that offer rewards and positive outcomes for both dog and people.  We only use dog and baby friendly techniques…meaning anything we teach is safe to implement in front of children. No harsh methods or tools used.

What resources do you have available to expectant families or families with young children? 

   We educate families about the many tools that are helpful such as indoor tethers, KONG toys, and proper equipment.  We also help our families to know of baby related resources in the area. 

Can you provide a couple of key pointers you give to families when they are preparing their dog for a new baby?   

1.      Decrease attention seeking behaviors NOW!  Behaviors that will not be safe or appreciated once a new baby arrives.  Ex:  barking, whining or dropping soggy tennis ball in your lap.  The more you can decrease these behaviors now the less likely you will be frustrated by them once baby arrives.
2.     Firm up basic manners.  Using manners as fun and games is helpful once a baby arrives.  The more commands your dog is successful with the more you can safely and comfortably include them once baby arrives.
3.   Become familiar with dog body language.  Visit to learn more.


Fun Favorites
Favorite Food-  Banana’s fosters from Winston’s grille!    Or good philly cheesesteak
Favorite Place to Vacation- Beach or mountains
Favorite Way to Relax- audio books or walk in woods
Favorite Song/Artist- Bon Jovi, U2
Favorite Color- lavendar

Thank you so much for sharing your business with us!  You can learn more about Family Paws at

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