Puppy Potty Training Methods

Puppy Potty Training Methods

Happy Dog

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.

When Should I Start Training My Dog?

When Should I Start Training My Dog?

Years ago we used to wait till the dog was 6 months to a year old but not today.  Ten years ago training methods were different, not as motivational as they are today.  If you choose a trainer who uses motivational methods 4 months is the time.

So now that we’ve established the age what type of training should we do?  It gets confusing here because there are several choices, including group classes, private in-home lessons and even the board and train programs that many trainers offer. Let’s talk about each type of training.

1. Group Classes
A group class is an inexpensive way to get your dog trained and also has the advantage of socializing your dog around other dogs and people.  However if your dog is easily distracted the group class may not be the best option.  I have literally conducted group classes for thousands of people over the years and I can tell that it works for some dogs and not others.

2. Private In-Home Lessons
In-Home lessons are my favorite for training the new puppy for several reasons.  First we are training in the home, and usually that’s where we want the dog to behave the mostIn-Home lessons allow us to see the dog with the family in its environment so that we can not only help train but also help solve behavior issues. Also in this type of training there are no distractions so the dog and the owner get the full benefit of the lesson without distractions.

3. Board and Train Programs
Board and Train programs are also sometimes called Doggy Boot Camp.  This is where you leave your dog with a trainer from 2-4 weeks depending on the programs provided.  The trainer trains your dog on a daily basis and SHOULD give you back a trained dog GUARANTEED.  If they don’t guarantee it don’t leave your dog.  The key to the success to this program is the follow-up lessons for you.  The trainer has to teach you how to handle the trained dog and you need to train on a daily basis to establish your relationship with the dog.

So if I needed to make a decision on which type of training to do, the in-home private lessons are a no brainer as long as I will commit to training on a daily basis. If I have NO desire to train then the board and train program is the answer.  Group classes come in last.


Train Your Dog To Go To Bed (Place Command)

Train Your Dog To Go To Bed (Place Command)

It can be very helpful to teach your dog to “go to bed” or to learn the “placecommand.  Many times a dog may hang around the door when you have visitors going in and out, or he may be under foot in the kitchen or when you’re doing something else.  Being able to send your dog to “his place” is a good way to handle these situations.  Here are a couple of ways to train this command.

There are at least two ways to approach training the “go to bed” command.  For either method you’ll need a good bed or mat for your dog.  With the first method, your dog needs to know the down-stay before you start teaching “go to bed.”

Working near the mat, put your dog in a down-stay on the mat.  If your dog already knows this command, this should be easy.  You simply need to work at keeping him in the down-stay for a few seconds and gradually ask him to stay for longer periods of time with you in the room with him.  Once your dog can stay in this position for a couple of minutes (without whining or fidgeting) then you are ready to try leaving the room for a short time.  Once you can do this successfully, start adding the command “go to bed” when you put your dog in the down-stay on the mat.  Then start sending your dog to bed from a short distance away.  Gradually increase the distance away — try sending your dog to bed from the next room, and so on.  Your dog should be “going to bed” on command in just a few days.

Of course, you should use lots of positive reinforcement to teach your dog using this method.  Treats or encouragement will go a long way with most dogs.

The other method for teaching “go to bed” uses a clicker and treats.  You can start with a dog that already knows the down-stay or you can teach a dog that doesn’t know it.  If your dog doesn’t know the down-stay, you should toss a treat on the dog bed to get your dog to touch the bed.  Click and treat when he touches the bed.  Repeat this at least 20 times until your dog knows that he’s supposed to touch the bed.  You will gradually be shaping his behavior until he actually lies down on the bed.  You can do this in increments:  click and treat (with repeats) as your dog puts a paw on the bed; click and treat (with repeats) as your dog puts all four paws on the bed; click and treat (with repeats) as your dog lies down on the bed.  Then you will need to add the phrase “go to bed.”

You can gradually move the bed farther away from you to make sure that your dog understands that you don’t have to be near the bed for him to comply.  Eventually you will need to give the command “go to bed” from another room.

Naturally you will need to do this training over sessions in different days.  Don’t be afraid to back up to something your dog already understands if he’s having trouble with something new.

As you can see, it’s not hard to teach your dog to “go to bed.”  But it does take some practice with your dog.  If you work on one of these methods with your dog he should be able to do this exercise in just a few days.

My Labrador is very good at “go to bed” or “on your mat” while you were around up stairs with her but when you put her to bed at night she would find a cooler or warmer spot once you were back upstairs.  She doesn’t misbehave at night at all and she has slept  through a very loud thunder-storm on her mat and was getting wet, so I pulled her and the mat out of the door way to close it.  She just looked up and went back to sleep.

Sally sleeping through a storm

Tips on Hiring a Great Professional Dog Trainer

Tips on Hiring a Great Professional Dog Trainer

Hiring a professional dog trainer can be a tricky process because all dogs are not the same and use different training methods. This article will help show you how to select a trainer that can help you get the most out of your pet.

1. Knowing what to look for in a dog trainer.  Most dog owners simply want a well-behaved pet and they are not looking to compete with their dog or at least not in the beginning.  However if you’re looking to do obedience competition you need to find a trainer that has that type of experience, most dog trainers don’t.

Just a couple of extra pointers that may save you some misery down the line.  Does your dog trainer have a business license?  Does your dog trainer have liability insurance?  Is your dog trainer listed in the phone book?  I believe all legitimate businesses have these things, don’t you?   “Note below, no treat or clicker”.

2. Dog trainer qualifications.  While talking about qualifications experience is very important when hiring a dog trainer.  Just like anything else the longer you do it and the more dogs that you’re involved with the better you get at dog training.  If you’re simply looking for obedience training the pool for trainers is much larger than for example if you’re looking for a trainer who can help you with something like aggression problems.  Make sure you find a trainer that has experience with the issues that you’re concerned with.

3. What methods does this trainer use?  This is a big one.  For example do you want a trainer who uses treats or does clicker training?  Probably not, most of my clients want somebody who can teach them how to train their dog out of mutual trust and respect rather than using a bribing type method.  I mean let’s get real who wants to carry around treats or a clicker in your pocket for the rest of your life?

4. Which type of training is best, group classes or private lessons?  That’s a simple answer.  Private in home lessons are definitely the best way to train your dog and I’ll tell you why.  In a group class there may be 10 to 15 people and their dogs in the class.  Your dog is so interested in all the other dogs and people who it’s really hard for you to get its attention.  You’re so busy taking care of your dog and keeping it away from the other dogs that you’re not even having time to listen to the instructor.  Plus in a group class the instructor is teaching very generic exercises some of which you may be interested in and others that you’re not.

In private lessons the instructor is working with you and your dog in your home and that’s where you want your dog to behave the best.  He’s also working on exercises that are important to you and your family’s lifestyle.  Hands down private in-home training is the best way to go.

5. What expectations you should have?  With any basic obedience class whether a group or private lessons at a minimum your dog should be able to walk on a loose leash, sit and down on command, sit stay and down stay as well as come when called.

If you know what to look for in a dog trainer it should help you decide who to choose.  Apply the helpful advice from this article and soon you’ll be on your way to having a dog trainer that is the right match for your pet.

What Does It Mean When Your Dog Sits On Your Feet?

What Does It Mean When Your Dog Sits On Your Feet?

Have you ever wondered why your dog sometimes sits on your feet?  There can be several different reasons for this behavior and I bet if you ask 10 people you’re probably get 10 different answers.  In this article will discuss some of the reasons.

One of the things that quite often is a reason why dogs sit on their owner’s feet is to protect the owner.  Yes a dog that sits on your feet can be protecting you from other people and even other dogs.  So if you have been seeing aggression in your dog and you also see it exhibiting this behavior hopefully this will give you some idea of what’s going on.

Protecting you isn’t the only reasons that a dog might sit on your feet.  There are a bunch of other reason as well.  Sometimes it can be a sign of dominance so if you have been seeing other signs of dominance as well then this may be the reason for this behavior.

Well now that we have gotten aggression and dominance out-of-the-way let’s talk about some of the other possible reasons why your dog may sit on your feet.  Is your dog the type of dog that always wants to be with you or touching you?  Does your dog’s suffer from separation anxiety?  These types of dogs quite often do this behavior in order to be close to you.

So here’s a question for you.  Do you enjoy this behavior?  Or would you prefer that your dog did not do it?

If it doesn’t bother you I guess there is no reason to make your dog stop.  However on the other hand if it annoys you or if your dog is doing it for protective reasons then this is something that you will probably want to eliminate.

Eliminating the behavior is actually pretty easy.  When your dog comes to sit on your feet simply push it away or you can move away as well while giving a verbal correction.  If you will be consistent with the corrections you’ll find the behavior will go away quickly.

Of course some good obedience training will go a long way in helping to eliminate not only this bad habit but many other bad habits as well.  Simply put, obedience training teaches your dog that you are the master and you don’t need to be protected.

Getting involved in a group obedience class or private lessons can make a tremendous difference in your dog’s attitude and your relationship with the dog.  Remember my old saying that “a trained dog is a happy dog.”

Tips For Stopping Submissive Peeing

Tips For Stopping Submissive Peeing

Quite often I will have a client with a young dog that is suffering from submissive peeing.  This can usually be a huge concern for a new dog owner that has not had any experience with this in the past.  I hope this article will give you a few tips if you have a dog that is suffering from submissive peeing.

First of all submissive peeing is usually more prevalent in females than in male dogs.  Now here is the good news and at the same time for some people is the bad news.  Most dogs will usually out grow this problem by the time they are 2 years old.  But what can you do to try to fix this problem before 2 years.

My first bit of advice to a dog owner with a very submissive dog is, NO BABY TALK.  It seems like the more submissive a dog is the more baby talk the owner uses and I have found that by quitting the baby talk the submissiveness actually seems to go away.

Now don’t get me wrong this method is not 100% however it has been effective for several dogs that I have adopted from owners who actually gave up their dogs because of their submissive peeing.

I actually adopted an 18 month old Doberman that was owned by a young marine that was attending the local university.  He really loved the dog however he lived in an apartment and each afternoon when he came home the dog would meet him at the door and before he could do anything she would empty her bladder all over the carpet.

I adopted this dog and brought it to our facility and within 30 days the submissive attitude was gone and so was the peeing.  This was a fantastic high drive dog that I was able to train and place with a police department in Texas as a drug/ tracking dog.

I have had people say well maybe she was being mistreated by her owner.  That is far from the truth.  This was a very happy, well socialized dog that was quite visibly attached to her owner but simply could not control that submissive, excited peeing.

As I mentioned earlier this is just one of the dogs that I have been able to bring into my home and within a very short period of time have been able to eliminate the submissive peeing by simply talking to the dog with a voice of authority rather than as if it was a baby.  If you have a dog with this problem give my techniques a try to see if it works for your dog.

Are There Really Indestructible Dog Toys?

Are There Really Indestructible Dog Toys?

If you’re a dog owner then you have probably had the pleasure of buying toys for your dog.  It’s fun to pick out a great new toy and bring it home.  What’s not fun is watching your dog destroy it in 30 seconds!  There are lots of toys that claim to be “indestructible” but are there really indestructible dog toys?  It depends.

First of all, it’s just a fact that some dogs are tougher on toys than others.  Some dogs will love and cherish their toys, carry them around and even sleep with them.  They would never dream of ripping the head off their favorite toy.  On the other hand, there are some dogs who love nothing more than seeing how fast they can remove the face from any stuffed animal you offer them.  It’s just a different style of play.  Some dogs like to nurture and some dogs enjoy playing by exercising their prey drive.  It’s all fun and nobody gets hurt — except the toy.

If you have one of the dogs who likes to exercise his jaws and eviscerate toys then you may go through a lot of toys.  Most toys are not designed to hold up to these toy-killers.  Soft rubber toys, squeaky toys and stuffed animals will all come apart fairly quickly when a dog really wants to destroy them.

However, some toys do claim to be “indestructible.”  That’s a matter of opinion.  The venerable Kong toys, which come in lots of different sizes and styles, are virtually indestructible, but even these hard rubber toys can be beaten by some dogs.  If you give a small Kong to a large dog with strong jaws who is intent on chewing it to pieces, the Kong can, in fact, be torn.  It may take a long time, but it can happen.  However, your dog will probably more than get your money’s worth out of the toy.  If you buy a large, appropriately sized Kong for a large dog then your dog will probably not be able to destroy it.

Jolly balls or large toy balls for horses can make good toy balls for dogs.  These balls are big and they are tough enough for horses to play with so it seems impossible for dogs to destroy them.

Hard plastic Nylabones  are durable and virtually impossible for a dog to destroy.  They can survive nearly anything.  These are the non-edible Nylabones as opposed to the edibles.

In general, if you are looking for indestructible dog toys, look for hard rubber and hard plastic toys.  These toys hold up much better to destructive dogs than toys designed for gentler play.  Always make sure that you buy bigger toys rather than smaller ones.  Toys will last longer if your dog can’t get the entire toy in his mouth.

Just because your dog destroys stuffies/stuffed toys and toys with squeakers/squeaky toys doesn’t mean he doesn’t like them.  On the contrary!  He probably really loves them a lot.  Unfortunately, you probably don’t enjoy buying them so your dog can rip them apart in a few seconds.  Do consider sewing them back up for your dog.  He won’t mind.  You can also buy second-hand stuffed animals at your local Goodwill for less than a dollar.  This is an economical way to satisfy your dog’s love for stuffies.  Just be sure to remove the eyes or anything that might be attached with wire.

Your dog will love whatever toys you give him.  Don’t forget the most important part of play time with your dog — spend a little time playing with him yourself.

What Is The Koehler Method of Dog Training?

What Is The Koehler Method of Dog Training?

It’s hard to imagine, but at one time there were no structured dog training methods.  Today, of course, we have lots of dog trainers and several different approaches to training dogs.  The Koehler method of dog training is the oldest formal method of dog training, based on the traditional dog training methods that were used to train dogs during World War I.

William Koehler, who wrote the book The Koehler Method of Dog Training, wasn’t actually the founder of this method, but he certainly popularized it with his bestselling book.  Koehler was also the Chief Animal Trainer for the Walt Disney Studios for many years.

The Koehler method, or traditional dog training, relies on correction and punishment to train dogs.  Training is typically done using a choke or slip collar.  If you took a dog training class at any time from the 1950s to the early 1990s it’s likely that you and your dog were taught using this method.

With the Koehler method you would teach your dog to sit by pushing on his hips to put him in a sitting position.  Your dog would sit to avoid the pressure.

You would teach your dog to heel by walking with him at your side and performing short corrective jerks on the choke chain each time your dog tried to move ahead of you.  You would stop and start, teaching your dog to sit at your side when you stopped walking.  It might be necessary to continue this practice for a long time to make sure your dog thoroughly followed your commands.

To teach your dog to lie down you would push on his shoulders (from the sitting position) until he lay down to avoid the pressure.

As you can see, this method focuses on forcing the dog to follow your command without question.  It’s a no-nonsense approach to dog training.  There is no room for fun or play.  There is only the right way to do things.

Punishment is part of this training method.  In this method you let the dog punish himself when he doesn’t do what you want — when you push on his hips he will feel pressure until he gives way and sits.

In most classes that teach this method it is all right to offer rewards for good behavior, such as treats for getting a lesson right, but treats are not a big part of the Koehler method.

The Koehler method has largely fallen out of favor in the last 15-20 years.  Dog training methods using positive reinforcement techniques are more popular right now.  However, proponents of the Koehler method and traditional dog training point out that this is still the method that gets the most reliably accurate results from dogs.

Many times in training dogs it’s most effective to use a combination of training methods.  Training by positive reinforcement methods are sometimes not effective enough and dogs can benefit from some traditional dog training methods.

When used appropriately there is nothing inherently cruel about the Koehler method of dog training.  This method can be used safely to train dogs and with a little creativity, can even be used to train dogs with a little fun.  If you are looking for a good dog training method for your dog it’s always a good idea to take your dog’s temperament into account.  Some dogs do better with different methods than others.  If your dog likes a lot of structure and following definite commands then he might do well with traditional dog training methods.

Tips For Socializing Your Dog

Tips For Socializing Your Dog

Socialization for a dog is very important and it’s something that must be done when the dog is young.  Quite often people think they’re doing the right things when it comes to socialization but they are actually not because they don’t know exactly what socialization means.

I will start off by telling you that the period of socialization for a young dog is from birth to 20 weeks of age.  If your dog doesn’t get socialize with other people, small children, dogs and strange environments during that period you may have a dog that never gets socialized.  This is the dog that then exhibits aggression or fear sometime between 12 and 24 months of age.

Let’s start off with what is socializationSocialization means that your dog is exposed to all types of people, kids and dogs in all kinds of environments.  This isn’t something to do only at home this should be done in as many areas as possible away from home.

As far as a dog is concerned kids are a different creature than an adult human being, so exposing your dog to little ones while it is a young puppy is a plus.  Now that doesn’t mean your children, it means other children that are not part of the pack.

During this period of socialization, your dog should be exposed to other dogs and again not just at your home or with your current dog but with other dogs as well.  Of course you want to make sure that the dogs that your puppy meets are dog friendly and are current on all their vaccinations.  A good source for this type of dog is through family, friends and neighbors.

Be sure to get your puppy out of the house.  Take your pup to as many places as possible.  In fact I recommend that a new puppy owner take their puppy to three new places each week so that it can experience lots of new sites, sounds and smells.

Taking the time now to socialize your dog will be very much worth the effort when your dog reaches maturity.  If you don’t socialize your dog properly you will begin to experience aggression issues or fear usually sometime between 12 and 24 months of age.  Once your dog reaches that age it may be too late for socialization and you will possibly end up with an aggressive dog.

So take the time now to take your dog to strange places meeting lots of new people and dogs so that you can have a well socialized dog that you can enjoy for the rest of its life.

Your Dog Needs To Trust You

Your Dog Needs To Trust You

Recently I received a call from a lady who told me about her dog showing aggression toward another dog in the family and being so fearful that it WOULD NOT leave the yard to go for a walk.  We scheduled an appointment for me to take a look and here is what I found.

I found a dog that never leaves the back yard.  It has been sleeping in the owner’s bed and at 3 years old had NEVER been trained.  The lady that owned the dog said she felt that her dog did not trust her even though she had owned it and pampered it for almost 3 years, since it was a puppy.

First thing as you already know is to get the dog OUT of the bed, which is a must for this to succeed.  Second we are going to do some basic obedience training which will give the dog confidence and develop a dog master relationship.  Third we have to get this dog out of the yard so it can go on walksWalking helps the dog relieve stress and gives it an opportunity to stimulate the brain and build serotonin by seeing new things.

So here we go.  We start the journey out of the back yard but the dog quickly sits to resist and the buckle collar starts to come over the head.  You know how dangerous that can be! So I grabbed a training collar and put it on the dog.  I told the owner to start walking even if the dog resisted, which it did, for about 2 seconds.  The next thing you know this dog is walking down the street at its owner’s side.  She hollered back at me “this is a miracle”.  We spent about 20 minutes walking the dog before returning to the house for some obedience training.  The dog appeared to love the walk.

The only problem here is that the lady was so in love with the dog that she didn’t want to hurt it’s feeling by making it do something it didn’t want to do.  I feel that your dog needs to learn to TRUST you so dragging this dog out of the yard helped the dog realize that the walk would be okay.  Five days later she called to tell me her dog was a different dog and they were both looking forward to the next lesson.  By the way the aggression toward the other dog went away immediately.

Why Are Some Dogs Submissive?

Why Are Some Dogs Submissive?

If you’ve ever wondered why some dogs are submissive, as opposed to dominant, the short answer is because somebody has to be.  Dogs, like wolves, have a pack social structure.  This means that there is a hierarchical social order, with a dominant leader at the top and other wolves/dogs filling other roles in the order below.

All wolves/dogs below the dominant leader will be submissive to the leader to some extent.  As you descend in rank in the social order, you find wolves/dogs who are more and more submissive to other members of the pack.  At the bottom of the pack will be the wolf/dog who eats last and gets the least amount of respect.  If he has something that another wolf/dog wants, he usually has to surrender it.  If he’s sleeping in a spot that another wolf/dog wants, he usually has to move.

Why does this happen?  There are a lot of reasons.  You can often tell the dominant from submissive pups early in a litter.  Even before the puppies can see or hear you can see some puppies pushing others out of their way to nurse first and get the best nipples.  As puppies get a little older, some of them are more assertive and outgoing.  They boss their litter-mates around.  Dominant and submissive personalities are present in dogs right from the start.

Studies have shown that first-born puppies are often larger than their siblings.  They are usually the first to nurse and, as a result, usually lay claim to the nipples containing the best milk supply.  In most cases puppies go back to the same nipple again and again throughout the time that they nurse which means that the first-born puppy may receive the best nutrition in the litter.  All of these factors can add up to favor the first-born puppy becoming the future dominant dog.

In some cases size has something to do with who will be dominant and submissive.  Large, robust puppies often grow up to be dominant but not always.  Some smaller pups can be dynamos.  Weakly pups, however, will rarely become dominant since they won’t have the strength to assert themselves.

If a mother dog has a favorite among the puppies that favorite can become a dominant dog.  He may get preferential treatment — extra nursing, extra grooming, extra time with mother.  All of these things can build his confidence.

Confidence has a lot to do with becoming a dominant dog as opposed to being submissive.  The more confident a dog is, the less likely he is to be submissive.

When it comes to interacting with humans most dogs are submissive to some degree.  If they weren’t we wouldn’t be able to have much of a relationship with them.  There can be problems, however, if a dog is too submissive to people.  In these cases a dog may develop problems with submissive urination — urinating when he is anxious or feeling stressed around a person.

For instance, if you catch your puppy chewing on your shoe and tell him, “No!” and take the shoe away from the puppy, your puppy may become very anxious and urinate on the spot.  Although submissive urination is sometimes associated with dogs who have been abused, it also occurs with very sensitive submissive dogs who have never been abused.  The dog is simply overly submissive and his fear gets the better of him.

Submission in dogs is a very complex subject.  A dog’s role within a pack can change, going up or down, becoming more or less submissive according to his relationship with other dogs.  Your dog’s level of submissiveness toward you can also vary at different times.  Dominance and submission are two of the keys to understanding how your dog behaves.