Puppy Potty Training Methods

Puppy Potty Training Methods

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Puppy potty training is probably one of the most difficult aspects of dog ownership.  If not properly trained, the dog is more capable of being disobedient or even aggressive to an extent.  There are various methods that you can use to potty train a puppy.  The following methods are the most common.

Crate training

Crate training is one of the most effective potty training methods described by trainers and owners alike.  The methods simply involves the confinement of the puppy within a small crate with the aim of teaching him to hold urine till he is released from the crate.  Many animals want nothing to do with their excrement, therefore the puppy would rather wait than have to deal with his own waste.  When buying the crate ensure that it is small enough that the dog can lie in it comfortably, but not big enough that he can create a mess in the corner then separate himself from the mess.

However, you need to remember not to leave the puppy in the crate for too long.  Recommended time for a 1 month old puppy is 1 hour, a 2 month old puppy is 2 hours and so on.  For the best results, reward the puppy after an outdoor potty.

Potty pads

Potty pads are less of a common potty training method.  However, they can be used intelligently to train puppies without necessarily using crates.  Train the puppy to do his business on the potty pad and the potty pad only.  You should place a dog bed and several toys in a confined area of the house then lay the potty pad a few meters away.  If you catch the puppy before the act, place him on the Pad.  Every time he does the right thing reward him through praise or using a treat.

Puppy Potty Training Using A Dog Door

If you train the puppy to use the dog door will save you the trouble of having to take him out every time he wants to relieve himself.  For this method, lay out the play area close to the door.  Show the puppy repeatedly the door’s location by taking him in and out several times over several days.  Once he has known that the door is available and uses it without prompting, show the puppy where he should potty.  Reward the puppy every time he does the right thing by using praise or treats.

Potty Training Do nots

Even though your first instinct is to negatively punish the puppy when he makes a mistake, you must never do this.  Young puppies are more likely going to be scared by you since they don’t understand the meaning of disapproval.

Potty Training Dos

Positive reinforcement has better results when doing potty training.  Reward the puppy using praise, clicks, or treats for every task completed successfully.  You always have to keep in mind that puppies are unique and training methods will vary for each one.   The best way to get help with the potty training is getting the right training aids such as DVDs, books, magazines or Blog Posts like this one.

Can Your Puppy Learn To Use A Litter Box?

Can Your Puppy Learn To Use A Litter Box?

House training your puppy is one of the most important things you will teach him.  There are several different ways you can go about teaching your puppy his house training.  Some owners are interested in teaching their puppy to use a litter box.  Is this possible?  Absolutely!

Most puppies can be taught to use a litter box.  It’s very similar to teaching a cat to use a litter box, although puppies don’t use them quite as instinctively as cats do.  If you have a Toy dog, especially, it can be helpful to teach your puppy to use the litter box since your puppy will remain small throughout his life.  This means that the litter box will remain a convenient size for him to use even when he’s an adult dog.

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If you have a puppy who will grow to be a medium or large-sized dog then you can still teach your puppy to use a litter box but it may not be very comfortable for him to use the box when he gets older.  However, by the time he gets old he should be able to wait longer to relieve himself.  That should allow you plenty of time to come home from work, for example, so you can take him for a walk or let him outside.

To teach your puppy to use a litter box you will first need to get a large litter box.  It’s usually best to get a large, plain, rectangular box.  Plastic is fine.  For obvious reasons you will not want to get one of the fancier cat litter boxes with a hood or other gadgets since your puppy may have trouble fitting inside or he may try to chew it.

You can use regular cat litter in the litter box for your puppy.  Many dog breeders teach their puppies to use a litter box.  They like to use a mixture of cat litter, such as Fresh Step, and alfalfa pellets or pine shavings.  Alfalfa pellets are used as both rabbit food and as bedding so your puppy may try to eat some of them but they won’t hurt him.  He will probably leave them alone after he tries them a few times.  Alfalfa pellets are good because they are very absorbent and they keep down odor.  Pine shavings are good because they are fluffy and they also keep down odor.

You should avoid using cedar shavings as a litter box filler since they have an oil which can hurt your puppy’s eyes.

At first you should place the litter box in a place where your puppy is sure to find it.  You can put it in a spot where your puppy has already had an accident, for instance.  Be sure to place a bathroom rub or mat under the box to cut down on the amount of litter that your puppy kicks up or digs out of the box.  It’s likely that your puppy will try to dig in the box at first.  He’s a dog and dogs do like to dig, so you should expect this at first.

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Watch your puppy carefully and when you see signs that your puppy needs to potty you should lead him (or pick him up) to the litter box.  Place him back in the box if he tries to leave.  With good timing your puppy should relieve himself in the box.  Make sure you praise him and give him a treat.  Tell him what a good puppy he is.  Keep doing this each time you see that your puppy needs to potty.

If you are consistent about leading your puppy to the litter box each time he needs to potty then you will have him trained to use the box very quickly.

Some puppies accept litter box training very quickly but some puppies will always prefer to go outside.

Keep the litter box clean.  Pick up deposits quickly and change the litter often, especially the top layer.  You can scrub out the whole litter box with bleach and water as necessary.

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The Long Stay Command

The Long Stay Command

The “Long Stay command” is very helpful in many different situations but we are going to go over only a couple here in this post.  Dog safety is one of the main seasons that we use the “long stay command” because nobody wants their dog to run through a door and get run over by a car.  Another reason is it isn’t great for your dog to run up to and jump on every body that comes in through the door.

If your dog is used to running through any door that is open it might take a lot of lessons to stop them from doing it but it is worth the time and effort to make you dog safe around doors.  When I’m filling my car with fuel “Sally” my golden lab will stay in the car with the door open, as I don’t want the poor girl to get too hot.  She can see me and I know that Sally will not jump out and get run over.

Long Stay Command Training:  Ten to 15 minutes each time is all it takes.

You can start training inside your house with a lead/leash on and use inside doors as a safety measure. When the dog tries to go through the door, simply close it.  If he/she is exited whenever you get the lead/leash out just say “stay” and ignore them until they calm down.

The next thing to do is lead the dog to a door and use the “stay” command or sit stay command. The lead/leash will stop them from going through the door.  You can do this with out the lead/leash when your dog gets the idea but still do it inside until you are sure that he/she knows that they need your command.  When you start training outside use your back yard first because there will be fewer distractions, but still use the lead/leash until you know that they will not go through a door with out your permission.

Sally always goes to the dog and waits for permission before going through a door and as a service dog she stays at my feet as long as I want her to.  You can also train your dog to “sit stay” with you out of sight while you are in another room, this is very handy if you are going to do obedience training.

Now go and enjoy your training time with the world best trained dog.

Why Does My Dog Ignore My Commands?

Why Does My Dog Ignore My Commands?

There are actually multiple reasons why your dog may be ignoring your commands.  In this article we will discuss some of the reasons and what you can do to reverse that annoying behavior with the family pet.

One of the most common reasons that a dog ignores its owners commands is the fact that it probably has not been trained and it has no clue what the commands mean.  You must remember that a dog does not speak English and even though a dog can learn many words it has to go through a learning process.

Teaching a dog commands actually goes through multiple steps and the first step is the teaching phase where we teach the dog the command by placing it into the position we want like with a sit or down command.

However there are other reason your dog may be ignoring your commands.  One of those reasons is that your dog is actually deaf.   In that case your dog is not trying to cause trouble by ignoring you it simply cannot hear you.  If you suspect your dog is deaf you can also do some simple tests with calling and hand clapping.  If that seems to not get your dogs attention a visit to your vet should be the next matter of business.

So if your dog is trained well and is not deaf what could the problem be?  It could be one of those dogs that simply hears when it wants to.  There are humans just like that.

Possibly when you are giving your dog a command it is being  distracted by somebody or something else.  Yes even what you think is a well-trained dog can suffer from this problem if it has not been trained with distractions.  A dog that does all of its commands beautifully in the living room may actually not do anything when you take it outside and there are distractions.

The final phase of dog training requires your dog be trained with distractions.  I always recommend for dog owners to train their dog in several different places with distractions as the training goes on.  If you don’t do the proofing phase of dog training your dog will definitely ignore you when you are out in public because it has never been taught that it has to.

So by training your dog well and with distractions you will be amazed how it quits ignoring you and starts responding to your commands well.

Tips For Curing Separation Anxiety In Dogs

Tips For Curing Separation Anxiety In Dogs

You arrive home from work to a crazy, spinning, whirlwind of energy.  Your dog follows you to your bedroom, where you find that she has chewed up your very expensive pair of shoes.  Your next door neighbor comes to complain to you that your dog has once again been driving the neighborhood crazy by howling all day long.  If this scenario is familiar, then your dog is probably suffering from separation anxiety.

Here are 5 tips to help you deal with the separation anxiety:

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Taking your dog for a walk before leaving the house

You should try starting your day by taking the dog for brisk walk.  Use a dog pack with additional weight in it to make the walk even more rigorous.  Afterwards, reward the dog with food and water for its calm-submissive energy.  Even though some dogs need their rest before eating, all dogs can use some hydration.  The idea here is leaving the dog in a calm and relaxing mode while you are not around.

No talk, no touch, no eye contact

Do not make a great deal when leaving the house and when coming back.  In so doing, you are communication to the dog that being apart isn’t a great deal.  Depending on the level of anxiety in your dog, you may have to practice the rule for 5 minutes up one hour before leaving and once you get back.

Saying goodbye to the dog before you leave

If you are having trouble practicing the no talk, no touch, no eye contact, remember that the dog won’t get its feelings hurt if you don’t say goodbye.  Keep in mind that you are doing this for the dog so be strong and don’t make a big deal of leaving.

Staying calm and assertive

Once you are ready to go to work, leave your concerned, nervous and guilty feelings back at home.  Instead, make it known to the dog that all will be all right by projecting the confidence and energy of a pack leader.  Calm and assertive leadership helps ease separation anxiety in dogs.

Starting out small by leaving the dog alone for just five minutes

Leave the dog alone for 5 minutes, then extend this to 20 minutes, then to an hour.  Over a week-end continually increase the amount of time spent away till you achieve a full 8 hours without having any more problems with your dog.

2 Reasons So Many Dogs Are Put To Sleep Each Year

2 Reasons So Many Dogs Are Put To Sleep Each Year

In this article I would like to discuss 2 reasons that so many dogs end up in shelters and are put to sleep each year.

The first reason is a lack of proper house training.  Training your dog to do its business in the correct place ( outside on the grass ) is very important.  It seems like dog owners seem to be very patient and be willing to make all types of excuses when their dog is a puppy and having accidents.  However there comes a point, usually around 12 months old when the owners say we have to get this dog house trained or it will have to go to the shelter.

Unfortunately as you are aware there always seems to be an abundance of dogs without homes and because of that over a million dogs a year are put to sleep in shelters all over the U.S. Australia and the UK.  According to the ASPCA/RSPCA about 1.2 million dogs are put to sleep each year.

So if you want to help cut down that number, make sure you house train your dog early.  If you need help you can always get the help of a local trainer that can guide you through the steps to make it happen.

The other reason so many dogs are put to sleep each year has to do with lazy dog owners.  Unfortunately some new dog owners do not realize how important proper training including obedience training is for their dogs welfare.  Yes, a dog that is trained is much more likely to stay in a home and not end up in a shelter.  Sometimes dog owners are just simply too lazy to take the time to do that training.  They just do not realize that with as little as 15 minutes of training a day they can have a well-behaved obedient dog.

Dogs that don’t get trained do all sorts of bad things including destroying furniture, chewing up the carpet, knocking the kids down and more.  These are the dogs that finally get booted out the door and end up in shelters.

Let me tell you a little secret.  Every dog is trainable.  Some may be a little more difficult than others but they can all be trained to be good family members.  So save a dog’s life today by going home and training your dog, it will love you for it.

Can Dogs Have A Heart Attack?

Can Dogs Have A Heart Attack?

It is possible for dogs to faint or collapse due to an abnormality in relation to their heart function.  This is called “syncope” and it is related to poor heart function as a result of heart disease or abnormal heart rhythms.  This is probably what many people mean when they say that their dog had a “heart attack.”  However, it is very rare for a dog to have the kind of heart attack that humans have.

A human heart attack is, technically, a “myocardial infarction” and it’s usually related to coronary artery disease.  When the coronary arteries become clogged or blocked, usually because of fats, it can interrupt the blood flow to the heart.  This can cause the heart muscle to stop functioning, leading to the heart attack.

Dogs don’t usually have the same problems with collecting fats in their arteries that people do because of the different way that they process their food.  Even a dog on a very fatty diet probably won’t develop coronary artery disease, so a human-style heart attack is highly unlikely.

However, dogs can have heart problems.  Dogs with hypothyroidism and diabetes can have coronary artery blockage which could, in theory, lead to a heart attack.

A dog with seizures, such as epileptic fits, could mimic a syncope spell.  Dogs can also have heart murmurs, arrhythmia’s and congestive heart failure.

If your dog has a collapsing or fainting spell you should definitely take him to the vet for diagnosis.  Your vet will perform a physical exam and do some lab work, including a complete blood panel and urinalysis.  X-rays of your dog’s heart will probably be necessary.  An echo-cardiogram (ultrasound of your dog’s heart) and electrocardiogram will also probably be necessary to gather more information about your dog’s heart.

Treatment for your dog’s condition will depend on the underlying cause.  Treatments can range from simple medications to the insertion of a pacemaker.

The Most Fearful Dog I Have Ever Seen

The Most Fearful Dog I Have Ever Seen

I have been a professional dog trainer for going on three decades and I must say this had to be the most fearful dog I had ever seen.  I had a client call asking for help with her 3-year-old German Shepherd that was so fearful if a stranger came in the same room it would urinate or defecate or both out of fear.  In this article I want to tell you how we were able to get this dog to change its attitude.

On my first visit to the home, the evaluation that I was about to perform needed to be conducted outside with me at a distance.  I found this dog to be very fearful.  I had never seen a dog with this severe of an anxiety problem before.  If I tried to approach but not get to close the dog would start to growl but as I came closer he would retreat behind the owner.

This dog was so fearful of everything that the owners were never able to go on walks.  I found out that the dog had absolutely no training.  The owner’s goal for the dog at this point was really simple, she just wanted to have a dog that does not go crazy when someone comes into their home.  I wondered if this dog would ever trust a stranger enough to approach it.

As the training progressed for the next four weeks this dog made tremendous, unbelievable progress.  If you remember this dog would urinate or defecate when a stranger entered a room.  Not anymore!  In fact recently the dog and the couple that own it spent the week-end in a 2 bedroom cabin with 2 other couples.  The dog isn’t perfect but was able to move around and allow the other people to move about freely as well.

The dog is now going for long walks and can walk past strangers, cars and other dogs without going crazy.  This was not possible before.

The problem with this dog was that since it showed fear the owner simply kept it away from everybody and anything that could cause it anxiety.  I find this same problem quite often when pet owners allow a dog to do what it wants rather than train and teach the dog to do what is best for it.

This dog had no training, but now it can sit, down, sit stay, down stay and it even heels nicely.  To make it simple this dog is now a trained dog and the owner has become the pack leader.  The dog now trusts the pack leader and understands what the owner expects from it.

To avoid a problem like this be sure to start your dogs training earlySocialize your dog with people, children, other dogs and of course take it to strange new places.

Please remember that “a trained dog is a happy dog… and a confident dog is even happier!”

Is Using a Muzzle Necessary When Training Your Dog?

Is Using a Muzzle Necessary When Training Your Dog?

There is a difference between using a muzzle while training your dog and muzzle training.  Is your dog overly aggressive or unpredictable?  Do you feel unsafe while training him?  If so, use a muzzle, by all means.  However, a muzzle is generally a frightening object to a dog unless introduced gradually.  It makes him feel trapped and unprotected.  If it can be avoided, it is best to train without limiting his ability to be a dog.

Most dogs view a training sessions as a game.  It’s  playtime!  He obeys a command; he gets a treat or praise, or an atta-boy.  It’s attention and dogs crave attention.  They want to please you.  It’s their nature.

To incorporate a muzzle into such a dog’s training would change everything.  Your dog’s eagerness will plunge and he’ll become wary of training sessions.  Do you want that?  No?  Then why take a perfectly cooperative, exuberant dog and muzzle him?

That being said, a muzzle does serve a purpose.  If your dog is one who nips, snarls or bites when he is nervous, he needs to be muzzled for your own safety (and his, because should he bite you, that could open up a whole new set of problems!)  But again, if you are training him through positive behavior techniques and praising and rewarding him, it seems unlikely that he would become overly anxious to the point of biting or nipping.

If you do not feel comfortable training your dog yourself, perhaps a professional trainer is the answer.  Just check their credentials first because pretty much anyone can bill themselves as a dog trainer; and even among well-qualified trainers there are varying methods and ideologies.  You want to be sure your trainer uses methods of which you approve.

Muzzles

Let’s talk about muzzles. There are occasions when you want your dog to accept a muzzle, such as when being groomed (some groomers are quick to muzzle up when they have a nervous dog) or when they are experiencing vet anxiety.  Thus, his training should include muzzle training.

This is just a matter of introducing the muzzle to your dog and getting him used to it so it does not frighten him.  There are two types of muzzles – the basket type and the nylon wrap around.  While the basket type looks intimidating, it allows the dog to pant and panting helps regulate a dog’s temperature.

Let your dog sniff at and examine the muzzle, then give him a treat.  Repeat this several times. After he is comfortable with seeing it, repeat the process, only this time touching the muzzle to his nose.  Touch.  Treat.  Praise.  Finally, start getting him used to feeling the muzzle over his nose.  Again, be generous with the treats and praise.  Don’t rush this.  It will take days; perhaps even weeks for him to accept the muzzle willingly.  You want him to see the muzzle in a positive light, and not a threat.

In summary, use the muzzle only if the dog’s behavior calls for it.  However, as part of his training he should be introduced to a muzzle and learn to be accepting of it.  If your dog trusts you, generally he will trust whatever you ask him to do for you, including accepting a muzzle.

Easy Ways To Teach Your Dog Tricks

Easy Ways To Teach Your Dog Tricks

Owning a dog will require a lot of care to make sure that it is happy, healthy, exercised and well-behaved.  Teaching your dog some tricks can be simple as long as you know some of the best methods, as well as how your dog seems to react to various training.  After your dog has learned some of the basics such as down, stay and sit, you will be able to move onto some of the next level tricks.

Shaking Your Dog’s Paw: 

After having your dog sit, simply take their paw in your hand and give it a little shake.  At the same time, say “Shake” or “Shake Paw” and then praise him or her for doing a good job.  Pat them on the head, give a treat, etc.  Anything to let your dog know that this command and their reaction is a good thing when they do it.  Each time you practice “Shake”, you will want to repeat it about 5 times in a row so that you are able to reinforce the lesson as good reinforcement and consistency is the best way to teach new tricks.  Once your dog learns this trick with one paw, you can switch to the other paw and work on that side and command.

Playing Dead:

This is a fun trick that may be a bit advanced when compared to some of the other tricks that dogs will often do.  Once you are able to get your dog to lie down on command, you can sit next to him or her and try rolling them on their side.  When you do this, you simply say “Play Dead” after the action is complete.  Once they roll over completely, praise them, pat them on the head and give a reward or a treat.  Just as with any other trick, you will need to reinforce it by repeating several times and practicing daily.

The best thing to remember as you are working through teaching your dog tricks is that the positive reinforcement at the end is a good way to get the response you are looking for.  Once they see that you are happy with a good reaction and treat for them, they will be more apt to repeat it the next time and even move onto other tricks.  Dogs can be a wonderful and interactive pet as long as you give them the love and positive reinforcement when they are doing a good job.

Teaching Your Dog To Be Friendly With Visitors

Teaching Your Dog To Be Friendly With Visitors

While you want your dog to be mindful of intruders and potentially harmful strangers, you still want them to be able to distinguish the difference between them and an unexpected, friendly visitor.  Depending on your dog, there can be certain people who can trigger a reaction or anxiety so it is always best to understand the triggers and learn how to work with them so that they can be more comfortable around guests to your home.

If you happen to know that visitors are going to be stopping by, you can prepare in advance by making sure that the house is a calm environment for your dog once they arrive.  Trying to run around and doing things at the last-minute can end up bringing up the anxiety level in your dog.  If necessary, you can think about having your dog in another room for the visit or even during the time the guest comes through the door.  From there, you can choose to introduce your dog slowly so that they are much more comfortable with the guest.

It is always a good idea to be as calm and positive as you possibly can with your dog so that he or she does not get the sense that there might be something wrong.  Shouting at your dog or getting angry with them can actually make the anxiety or acting out even worse.  When bringing from another room, wait until your dog is calm and then introduce them on a leash to make sure that you are able to stay in control of the entire situation from start to finish.

When possible, talk to your visitors and let them know that you are trying to work with your dog to make it so that they are better with guests.  Simply ask them not to look at your dog directly into the eyes and remind them that quick movements and loud noises could be distracting or cause anxiety.  In some cases, you may also have great results simply by handing treats to your guests before introducing the dog so that they will see the visitors as a positive instead of a negative.

Overall, you are going to need to learn from the hints that your dog gives as to how they are going to be with visitors.  Knowing your dog’s reactions and what makes it calm or excited will be a big help as you are working to socialize them with human guests.