Dog Obedience Training Omaha,NB. - Dog Obedience Training Omaha,NB.
How to deal with a whining dog
Whining in puppies As puppies, it comes naturally: a very young puppy will whine without even realizing it when she’s hungry, tired, or cold. The mother dog will respond to this whining with milk, warmth, and a safe place to sleep – and as time goes on, the puppy begins to realize the association between the two. This is when she begins to whine deliberately, to notify her mom that something’s amiss or that she needs something. When you adopt your pup, she should be between eight and ten weeks old. This is the time that a puppy will either learn that whining doesn’t work with her new, human family; or, she’ll learn to use whining as a manipulative tool (of sorts) to motivate her new “mommy” (that’s you!) to give her what she wants. This is why it’s generally advocated for you to leave your new puppy alone on her first night – if you respond to whining with positive attention (cooing, patting, sympathy, taking her out of the crate and cuddling her) how can she help but learn to whine until she gets what she wants? You’ll need to use your common sense and good judgment, of course. For a really panic-stricken pup, she probably does actually need some attention and affection, if only to distract her from the scariness of her unfamiliar new surroundings. The trick is to respond in a timely manner so that she doesn’t feel like it’s her whining that’s got the result (or else you’re conditioning her to whine whenever she wants something, which is paving the road to hell). For a puppy that’s working herself up into a real frenzy of crying and whining, don’t feel like you have to cold-bloodedly ignore her. By all means, pay her a bit of attention and calm her down – just initiate the contact when she’s no longer whining. It’s not always realistic to wait until she’s stopped whining altogether – contrary to popular (albeit misguided) opinion, some puppies simply do not stop whining and really will continue for hours on end. If you suspect that this may be the case, you don’t have to prolong your pup’s misery: just wait til she’s stopped for even a few seconds, then seize your moment and open the crate door. It’s not ideal, but under the circumstances, it’s likely the best you’ll be able to manage. Whining in adult dogs Whining is not a natural form of communication between humans and dogs. Most dogs grow out of whining around the six-month age; if your dog is whining after this period, it means she’s either doing it unconsciously, or she’s learned that it’s a useful motivatory tool to get her something that she wants or needs. As an adult dog, there are a variety of reasons as to why she might be whining: * In pain * Bored/lonely * Needs to go outside * Afraid/anxious Your response to her whining really depends on the cause of it. Sometimes whining is justified, and does require a response – and sometimes, it’s just plain manipulative. Other times it may be justified, but the response that comes most naturally won’t necessarily help your dog. To clarify things, the more common reasons for whining – and suggested ways for you to react – are listed below. When she’s whining out of pain A dog that starts whining all of a sudden, and then keeps it up steadily afterwards, may be whining out of pain. This isn’t just limited to older dogs: puppies and young dogs can be subjected to some pretty severe growing pains, so don’t rule out this possibility on the basis of age. If you think your dog may be in pain, check her over to see whether there’s any merit to this belief. First, check for the obvious signs: is she holding any paws off the ground, or favoring a limb/side of her body? Check her face and body for scratches and splinters. Next, you can palpate her limbs and joints for inflammation (like arthritis) and possible injuries. Remember to be very gentle: if she’s in pain, you don’t want to make it worse. Simply rub your hands along each leg, pausing at the joints to give each one a gentle squeeze. Run your hand down her tail to check for lumps and bumps, too. Even if you can’t find anything seriously amiss, if you think she’s whining out of pain, a trip to the vet is in short order. When she’s whining out of boredom and/or loneliness You’ll be able to tell if this is the cause because she’ll be wandering around the house (probably following you around, or pacing about the room you’re in), whining aimlessly and without direction (i.e. she’s whining to herself). The best cure for a dog that’s whining out of boredom is a quick shot of exercise: take her out for a brisk walk as soon as you can, and on a more general level, try to ramp up her daily exercise quotient. A tired dog is almost never a bored dog. For a dog that’s whining from loneliness, you’ll have to try your best to spend more quality, interactive time with her. If you don’t have a lot of spare time to spend with your dog, then make the time that you do spend together really count: play, groom, train, cuddle. When she’s whining out of fear/anxiety Normally, it’ll be fairly easy to tell whether she’s whining out of fear or anxiety. When she’s afraid, it means there’s a direct cause to her fear – like a thunderstorm or a windy afternoon that’s rattling the windowpanes and spooking her a bit. If she’s anxious, it means there’s no direct, tangible cause for her edginess – she might be a bit on edge because you’re a bit stressed and she’s feeding off your energy, or perhaps there’s been a change to her daily routine (she didn’t get her normal morning walk, for instance). Without spending any more time quibbling pedantically over semantics, your response to this sort of whining should always be one of discouragement. Don’t attempt to punish or correct her for whining out of fear or anxiety – that will simply increase her stress, making her feel worse and making the whining worse, too. Instead, simply ignore her. It’s a bit hard to do at first – in fact, it can feel like the least natural reaction in the world! But it really is the best thing for you to do. If you lend unwonted credence to your dog’s mood with an excessive reaction – patting, sympathy, cooing – she won’t be comforted; she’ll actually be more worried, because you’ve just validated her fear. If it seems to her like you think she’s got a good reason to be worried/afraid – and if you react with comforting words and soothing pats, that’s how it’ll come across – then she’ll be more afraid. Not less. So in this case, you need to ignore the whining outright. Don’t molly-coddle her; instead, distract her with play, or run through a quick obedience routine. Get her thinking about something else. If she needs to go outside If your dog’s whining because she needs to go outside, first of all you should give yourself – and her – a big pat on the back: it’s the sign of a genuinely well-trained dog. She needs to go badly enough to be whining about it, but she knows not to do it inside – and she’s smart enough to try and let you know that she needs to go out, too. This one’s easy: if she’s standing near the door, or just has That Expression (if you’ve had her for a while, you’ll grow to know That Expression – it’s different for every dog, but most owners are able to easily and correctly interpret it as meaning, “Let me out – now!”), you should let her out. It’s as easy as that. Further Reading For more information on dog ownership, including a huge variety of detailed information on canine problem behaviors, dog psychology, and the most effective ways to train your dog, take a look at Secrets to Dog Training. It’s the ultimate resource for the intelligent dog owner, and it covers just about every subject pertaining to the care of your beloved dog that you’ll ever need to know about. You can visit the Secrets to Dog Training site by
Introducing the Family Dog to the New Baby
After welcoming a baby in to the world you are probably concerned about how your dog is going to react to him or her. Many people surrender their pets to shelters because of exhibited jealousy from their dog after a new baby’s arrival and fear of the infant being harmed by the animal. Yet many families have been successful in introducing their dogs to the new baby. Introducing your dog to you baby is a process that needs time and the utmost of care to ensure a happy and safe welcoming process! The steps to ensuring your dog acts appropriately around the baby when he or she is finally taken back to your home are twofold usually – preparing your dog for the infants arrival and introducing your dog to your infant. Preparing your dog: Preparing your dog for the baby’s arrival in advance is one of the best ways to help avoid friction and jealousy between your baby and your dog. Your dog is used to your attention and pampering, some jealousy will naturally surface when your new baby becomes the center of attention. Taking some precautions, a few minutes of quality time and some extra treats can go a long way! Be sure to: • Take your dog to your local Veterinarian for a complete checkup a few months before the baby arrives. • Worms and parasites can be harmful to your baby so be sure to worm your dog before the baby arrives and at the normal intervals to keep on top of this problem. If your dog is not spayed or neutered, this is also the time to get it done. • Encourage friends with infants to visit your home to accustom your pet to babies. Supervise all pet and infant interactions. • Allow your dog to explore the baby’s sleeping, diaper changing areas, and related items such as baby powder, lotions, and diapers to become familiar with the new smells and objects. Apply baby lotion or powder to your hands, for example, and allow your dog to sniff the new smell. Dogs rely on their sense of smell, so familiarity with the new baby smells will help him or her recognize the baby as a part of the family. If possible, allow your dog to smell clothing that your baby has used before you bring the baby home. • Accustom your pet to baby-related noises months before the baby is expected. For example, play recordings of a baby crying (there are CDs out now for this exact training purpose – (see www.soundtherapy4pets.com/ for CDs with baby noises), turn on the mechanical infant swing, and use the rocking chair. Make these positive experiences for your pet by offering a treat or playtime. • Do not allow your dog to sleep on the baby’s furniture or play with the baby’s toys. Your dog should know that the furniture is not for him or her and should treat it as such. Provide toys for the dog that do not resemble baby toys. A dog may take the toy from the baby’s hand and unintentionally injure the infant. • If the baby's room will be off-limits to your pet, install a sturdy barrier such as a removable gate (available at pet or baby supply stores) or, for jumpers, even a screen door. Because these barriers still allow your dog to see and hear what's happening in the room, your dog will feel less isolated from the family and more comfortable with the new baby noises. • Use a baby doll to help your pet get used to the real thing. Carry around a swaddled baby doll, take the doll in the stroller when you walk your dog, and use the doll to get your pet used to routine baby activities, such as bathing and diaper changing. • Finally and very importantly, be sure that your dog knows that you and your family are alpha over him or her – this is crucial to ensure you can reprimand your dog should any jealous signs show when the baby is brought home. Introducing your dog to your infant: The actual introduction of your dog to your newborn baby is of utmost importance and the first few meetings can often dictate how your dog responds to your baby in an ongoing basis. For this reason, it is crucial to undertake the introduction process slowly and properly. Tips for the first meeting include: • When the baby comes home, another person should hold the baby while you greet your dog. Your dog has missed you and it is important to pay attention to him or her when you first get home. • Greet your dog happily and bring him or her a new toy as a gift to associate the baby with something positive. After your dog’s excitement about your homecoming has dissipated you should start introducing your baby to the dog. • If you are unsure of you dog’s behavior, leash or restrain him or her during the introduction. Talk to your dog, pet and encourage him or her to get a good look and sniff the baby’s hands and feet. Do not force a reluctant dog by pushing the infant in front of the pet. Allow the pet to explore the new smells at their own pace. Never leave your baby unsupervised with your pet. An infant is incapable of pushing the animal away and your dog may inadvertently smother the child. The actions of a baby may scare your dog and cause it to bite in self-defense. If your dog reacts aggressively, put him or her in another room until it is calm and try the introduction again. • After the initial greeting, you can bring your pet with you to sit next to the baby; reward your pet with treats for appropriate behavior. Remember, you want your pet to view associating with the baby as a positive experience. Again, to prevent anxiety or injury, never force your pet to get near the baby, and always supervise any interaction. • Life will no doubt be hectic caring for your new baby, but try to maintain regular routines as much as possible to help your pet adjust. And be sure to spend one-on-one quality time with your pet each day—it may help relax you, too. With proper training, supervision, and adjustments, you, your new baby, and your pet should be able to live together safely and happily as one (now larger) family. For more information on dog training techniques and how to deal with problem dog behavior (like accustoming your dog to children), check out Secrets to Dog Training. It’s the complete manual for dog ownership and is designed to fast-track your dog’s learning. You can visit the Secrets to Dog Training site by clicking on the link below
Barking dogs, Understanding it and dealing with it
Some owners seem to want their dogs to stop barking, period: a good dog is a quiet dog, and the only time that barking’s permitted is when there’s a man in a black balaclava and stripy prison outfit, clutching a haversack marked ‘Swag’, clambering in through your bedroom window. Dogs don’t see barking in quite the same light. Your dog has a voice, just like you do, and she uses it just how you do too: to communicate something to the people she cares about. I don’t think that barking is necessarily a bad thing – in fact, I think it’s encouraging that my dog wants to “talk” to me, enough so that I can overlook the stentorian qualities of his voice (which, in enclosed spaces, is positively overpowering) in favor of his desire to communicate with me. It’s the thought that counts (even though I feel better-equipped to stand by this sanctimonious belief when my ears are sheltered safely behind industrial-quality ear-plugs). Unfortunately, the language barrier between dogs and humans is pretty well impermeable, which means it’s up to us to use the context, the body language of our dogs, and the circumstances of the vocalization to parse meaning from a volley of barks. So why do dogs bark? It’s not easy to say (it’s like trying to answer the question, “Why do humans talk?” in so many words). Let’s start off by saying that dogs bark for many different reasons. A lot of it depends on the breed: some dogs were bred to bark only when a threat is perceived (this is true of guarding breeds in particular, like Rottweilers, Dobermans, and German Shepherds); some were bred to use their voices as a tool of sorts, to assist their owners in pursuit of a common goal (sporting breeds such as Beagles and Bloodhounds, trained to ‘bay’ when they scent the quarry), and some dogs just like to hear themselves talk (take just about any of the toy breeds as an example of a readily-articulate dog!). However, all breed specificities cast aside, there are some circumstances where just about any dog will give voice: * She’s bored * She’s lonely * She’s hungry, or knows it’s time for a meal * Something is wrong/someone is near the house * She’s inviting you to play * She sees another animal * She needs the toilet If your dog is barking for any of these reasons, it’s not really realistic for you to try to stop her: after all, she’s a dog, and it’s the nature of all dogs to bark at certain times and in certain situations. Presumably you were aware of this when you adopted your friend (and, if total silence was high on your list of priorities, you’d have bought a pet rock, right?). Of course, there are times when barking isn’t only unwarranted, it’s downright undesirable. Some dogs can use their voices as a means of manipulation. Take this situation as an example: You’re lying on the couch reading a book. Your dog awakes from a nap and decides it’s time for a game. She picks up her ball, comes over, and drops it in your lap. You ignore her and keep on reading. After a second of puzzled silence, she nudges your hand with her nose and barks once, loudly. You look over at her – she assumes the ‘play-bow’ position (elbows near the floor, bottom in the air, tail waving) and pants enticingly at you. You return to your book. She barks again, loudly – and, when no response is elicited, barks again. And this time, she keeps it up. After a minute or so of this, sighing, you put down your book (peace and quiet is evidently not going to be a component of your evening, after all), pick up the ball, and take her outside for a game of fetch. She stops barking immediately. I’m sure you know that respect is an essential part of your relationship with your dog. You respect her, which you demonstrate by taking good care of her regardless of the convenience of doing so, feeding her nutritious and tasty food, and showing your affection for her in ways that she understands and enjoys. In order for her to be worthy of your respect, she has to respect you, too. Something that many kind-hearted souls struggle to come to terms with is that dog ownership is not about equality: it’s about you being the boss, and her being the pet. Dogs are not children; they are most comfortable and best-behaved when they know that you are in charge. A dog has to respect your leadership to be a happy, well-adjusted, and well-behaved pet. In the situation above, there was no respect being shown by the dog. She wasn’t inviting her owner to play; she was harassing her owner to play. In fact, I’d even say bullying. And even worse, the behavior was being reinforced by the owner’s capitulation – effectively, giving in to this behavior taught her that to get what she wants, she has to make a noise – and she has to keep it up until her goal is achieved. Affection and play-times are obviously necessary aspects of life with a dog, but they have to be doled out on your own terms. If she learns that she can get what she wants by barking, then your house is going to become a Noise Pollution Zone (and this is not going to endear you to your neighbors, either). To prevent this bullying behavior in your dog from assuming a familiar role in her repertoire of communications, you have to prove to her that you’re not the kind of person that can be manipulated so easily. It’s simple to do this: all you have to do is ignore her. I’m not talking about passive ignorance, where you pay her no attention and simply continue with whatever it was you were doing – you need to take more of an active role. This means conveying to her through your body language that she is not worthy of your attention when she acts in such an undesirable manner. The absolute best and most effective thing for you to do in this case is to give her the cold shoulder. When she starts trying to ‘bark you’ into doing something for her, turn your back on her straight away. Get up, avert your eyes and face, and turn around so your back is towards her. Don’t look at her, and don’t talk to her – not even a “no”. She’ll probably be confused by this, and will likely bark harder. This is particularly true if you’ve given in to her bully-barking in the past – the more times you’ve reinforced the behavior, the more persistent she’s going to be. In fact, the barking will almost certainly get a lot worse before it gets better – after all, it’s worked for her the past, so it’s understandable that she’ll expect it to work again. As in all aspects of dog training, consistency is very important. You must ensure that you don’t change your mind halfway through and give in to what she wants – because by doing so, you’re teaching her to be really, really persistent (“OK, so I just need to bark for ten minutes instead of five to get a walk,” is the message she’ll get). But what can you do in other situations where bullying isn’t an issue and you just want her to stop the racket? If you want to get the message across that you’d like her to cease fire and be quiet, the most effective thing you can do is to use your hands. No, I’m not talking about hitting her: this is a perfectly humane, impact- and pain-free method of conveying that what you require right now is peace and quiet. Here’s what you do: when she’s barking, give her a second to ‘get it out of her system’ (it’s a lot kinder, and a lot more effective, to give her a chance - however brief – to express herself before asking her to be quiet). If she doesn’t calm down under her own steam, reach out and clasp her muzzle gently, but firmly, in your hand. She’ll try to shake you off, or back away, so you can place your other hand on her collar to give you greater control. This method is useful for two reasons: firstly, it effectively silences the barking (since no dog, no matter how loud, can bark with her mouth shut!). Secondly, it reinforces your authority: you’re showing her through direct physical action that you’re a benevolent but firm leader who will brook no nonsense, and who won’t balk when it comes to enforcing your guidance. Hold onto her muzzle and collar until she’s stopped trying to break free: only when she calms down and stops wriggling does it mean that she’s accepted your authority. When she’s still, hold on for one or two more seconds, then let her go and praise her. In addition to this short-term fix, there are also a few things you can to do to reduce your dog’s need to bark in the first place. The number-one cause for unwanted barking (as in, the kind of barking that’s repetitive and is directed at nothing) is nervous, agitated energy – the kind she gets from not getting enough exercise. Most dogs function best with one and a half hours’ exercise every day, which is a considerable time commitment for you. Of course, this varies from dog to dog, depending on factors like breed, age, and general level of health. You may think that your dog is getting as much exercise as she needs, or at least as much as you can possibly afford to give her – but if her barking is coupled with an agitated demeanor (fidgeting, perhaps acting more aggressively than you’d expect or want, restlessness, destructive behavior) then she almost definitely needs more. Fortunately, the fix for this problem is pretty simple: you’ll just have to exercise her more. Try getting up a half-hour earlier in the morning – it’ll make a big difference. If this is absolutely impossible, consider hiring someone to walk her in the mornings and/or evenings. And if this is impossible too, then you’ll just have to resign yourself to having a loud, frustrated, and agitated dog (although whether you can resign her to this state remains to be seen). The second most common cause of excessive vocalization in dogs is too much ‘alone time’. Dogs are social animals: they need lots of attention, lots of interaction, and lots of communication. Without these things, they become anxious and on edge. If you’re at home with your dog, you’re not paying attention to her, and she’s spending a lot of time barking at what appears to be nothing, she’s probably bored and lonely and would benefit from a healthy dose of affection and attention. Recommended reading If you’d like more information on unwanted behaviors that your dog’s exhibiting, you’ll probably be interested in taking a look at Secrets to Dog Training. It’s a complete, A-Z manual for the responsible dog owner, and deals with recognizing, preventing, and dealing with just about every problem dog behavior under the sun. You can check out Secrets to Dog Training by clicking on the link below:
How to Wash Your Dog
Even if you’ve got the most easy-care dog in the world, she’ll still need some attention to be paid to her appearance every once in a while – so it’s worth spending a bit of time learning the best techniques for easy, stress-free grooming.
WHY SHOULD I BOTHER GROOMING MY DOG?
Not so long ago, the average American’s approach to canine grooming was somewhat cavalier. Dogs were seen as something that lived in the yard (usually in a dusty, hard-floored kennel), ate whatever was put in their bowls, and existed as a sometime-playmate for the household’s children.
Today, we tend to care for our dogs a lot more, and view them more as members of the household than the Thing in the Yard.
Ever since this rise in the estimation of our beloved pooches became widespread, grooming has been increasingly recognized as an important facet of your dog’s regular health-care. It ensures that any skin-care problems are minimized (because grooming distributes the natural skin-oils evenly throughout the coat), and assists you in monitoring your dog’s overall condition – if you groom on a regular basis, you can’t help but notice the presence of any unusual lumps or bumps.
This preventative action has saved many a canine life. Our dogs can’t tell us where it hurts, but taking just a little bit of time every so often to check them over ourselves can save a lot of grief in the long run.
The trick is getting your dog to tolerate (and even enjoy!) the process …
THE FIRST STEP IN THE GROOMING PROCESS
Something that many owners lack experience in is how to wash their dogs. Dry-grooming (brushing and ‘buffing’ the coat) seems to present little problem for most people; the rot tends to set in when water is introduced to the mix.
Most dogs have a strong dislike of being bathed, and in many cases will become utterly panic-stricken when the tub comes out.
This article is going to deal with the basics of how to wash your dog in a way that’ll keep both of you relaxed and happy.
PREPARING YOUR DOG FOR GROOMING
First of all, the absolute most important thing you can do is to accustom your dog to the grooming process. Now, starting this in puppyhood is the ideal way to handle the situation, but of course not all of us have this luxury; if you’ve got an adult dog, you’ll probably need to move a little slower, but you should still start getting her used to being touched and handled all over as soon as you can.
As your puppy or dog gets used to the sensation of being rubbed and handled, she’ll slowly come to enjoy it. Dogs are social creatures by instinct, and physical affection and contact is a big part of their lives – it shouldn’t take long before she begins to trust you, and allows herself to get some pleasure out of your touch.
All you have to do is start rubbing her slowly all over. Fondle her ears, touch her cheeks and neck, rub her back and belly, pick up her paws and – if she’ll let you – give each one a gentle squeeze (treating and praising her whenever she lets you do this, since paw touching is generally a pretty big deal for most dogs). If she has a tail, rub it between your fingers; get her to roll over on her back so you can rub and stroke her belly and hocks.
This might not seem like such a big deal, but it’s actually a really important part of the grooming process: the more your dog enjoys it, the less stressful the whole event will be for both of you, and so the more often you’re likely to groom her – which increases the health benefits for her.
HOW TO WASH YOUR DOG
Bathing always comes before dry-grooming, since it makes brushing and trimming a lot easier as well as a lot more effective (there’s not much point in brushing a tangled, dirty coat!)
You will need some basic tools: a tub, a non-slip mat, a plastic jug, some warm water, a small sponge, and some canine shampoo (not human shampoo: the pH is all wrong for dogs, and will give her dry and flaky skin.)
Stand her in the tub, on the non-slip mat. If she’s a large or unruly dog, you may want to wash her outside to minimize mess – either that, or you can restrain her by tying one end of a light nylon leash to her collar, and the other end to the faucet.
Pour jugs of warm water all over her until she’s good and wet. This breaks down the grease in her fur, and ensures a thorough shampooing.
Mix a little shampoo with another jug of warm water, and rub it thoroughly into your dog’s fur. Start off with her back and rub it into a good lather (but don’t be too harsh!)
Now you can move on to her head and face. Be very careful here – dogs’ eyes are sensitive too, and if you get any water in her ears, she’ll probably get an ear infection. (You can plug her ears with a small twist of cotton wool to help stop this from happening, if you like.)
Remember to clean under her tail before you wash her off – dip the sponge into the shampoo mixture to do this properly.
Now it’s time to rinse: using the jug and some clean, warm, shampoo-free water, carefully tip it all over her and use your fingers to help disperse the lather from her coat. Rinse her off thoroughly at least twice, since any residue that remains will irritate her skin.
Now you’ll need to dry her off: if she’s got short fur, you can use a towel (an old one will do just fine, although big dogs generally need two); for dogs with longer fur, give her a gentle toweling-off first, and then use a hair dryer to get rid of the last dampness. Be certain that it’s set on low heat, and hold it far away from your dog’s fur to prevent burning either the skin or the fur.
KEEP YOURSELF CALM
Remember that most dogs have an inherent dislike of being bathed, which can cause anxiety and even outright panic.
Your dog takes a lot of her emotional cues from you, so make sure you act like a good role model for the occasion. Reassure your dog frequently, keeping your voice well-modulated, low, and even; keep your movements slow and deliberate; praise her lavishly for good behavior, and give her a couple of treats throughout the process to make it more enjoyable for her.
The more she enjoys the process, the easier it’ll be for you!
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Grooming your dog is just one tiny aspect of maintaining overall health and happiness. For a complete, encyclopedic survival guide to all aspects of dog health, from preventative care to choosing a vet to doggie First Aid (even the canine Heimlich maneuver!), you should take a look at The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health.
A survival guide for knowledgeable, effective, and life-saving dog care, this manual keeps your dog’s health and wellbeing firmly within your control – which is exactly where you want it to be.
To be the best and most responsible owner you can be, take a look at The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health.
House training your dog / House training tips for a new puppy
When a new puppy arrives in the house, it’s an exciting time for everyone. In order for the homecoming to proceed as smoothly as possible, it’s a good idea to spend a little bit of time in preparation.
One of the major challenges of dog ownership (particularly for first-time owners) is the issue of house training. If you equip yourself with some rudimentary knowledge and a positive attitude, though, it’s a lot easier than most people make it out to be.
The New Arrival
As soon as you bring the puppy home, take her outside. The excitement of the car journey coupled with the unfamiliar faces, sights, and sounds will have her needing to go anyway – and if you can orchestrate her first toilet break so that it occurs outside, instead of inside, then so much the better. And not just from the perspective of short-term hygiene, either – the more your puppy relieves herself inside, the more likely she is to do it again.
The homecoming is a great opportunity for you to set a precedent for toilet behavior!
- Take her to your designated toilet area, and put her down on the grass.
- Wait while she sniffs around – refrain from petting her or playing with her just yet, because you don’t want her to forge an association between this area and games. She has to learn that this part of the yard is for toilet breaks only.
- When she begins to relieve herself, say the phrase you want her to associate with toilet breaks: “Go pee” or “potty time” or whatever works for you. It’s best if that phrase is short and easily recognizable – and use the same voice inflection each time, too (so that your dog can easily memorize the meaning of the phrase.)
- When she’s done, make a big fuss over her: shower her in praise and affection, and give her a little treat.
When you take her inside the house, the house training regime you’ve decided upon should start immediately.
As far as house training goes, crate training is generally accepted to be the most effective and efficient means of house training a puppy in a short space of time.
What is crate training?
Crate-training is essentially the use of a small indoor kennel (the crate) to confine your young puppy when you’re not actively supervising her.
How does it work?
Crate training is based on all dogs’ inherent dislike of soiling the area where they sleep. Because you’re restricting your puppy’s movement to her sleeping space, she’ll instinctively “hold it in” until she’s let out of the crate (provided you don’t leave her in there too long, of course!)
This is why it’s important that the crate is sized properly: if it’s too big, she’ll be able to use one end as a bed and one end as a toilet, which defeats the whole purpose!
How do I choose a crate?
As a general guideline, it’s more cost-effective for you to choose a crate that’s big enough for her to grow into. It should be big enough for the adult dog to stand up comfortably without crouching, turn around in, and stretch out – but no bigger (so that she doesn’t choose one part as her bed, and one part as her toilet!)
Because the adult dog is likely to be considerably larger than the puppy, it’ll most likely be necessary for you to use a barrier to reduce the internal size of the crate. A wire grille or board will do just fine.
Alternatively, you can use a cheap crate (or even make one yourself) and replace it with a larger model as your puppy grows.
Using the crate for house training
Crate training works like this: your puppy is in that crate at all times unless she’s sleeping, eating, outside with you going to the toilet, or being played with (active supervision.)
You’ll need to be consistent, or else it won’t work: you can’t let your puppy wander off through the house unless you’re focusing your complete attention on her.
If you allow her access to the house before she’s thoroughly house trained, you’re basically encouraging her to relieve herself inside – and remember, each time she does this, it’ll be easier for her to do it again (and again … and again …)
Sample schedule of a morning's crate training
7am: Wake up. Puppy comes outside with you for a toilet break.
7.25: Breakfast time.
7.45: Back outside for another toilet break (accompanied by you, of course.)
7.50 – 8.45: Play-time! Puppy is out of the crate being actively played with, cuddled, etc.
8.45: Outside for another toilet break.
8.50 – 11: Puppy goes back in the crate for a nap
11 am: Puppy comes outside with you for a toilet break.
11.05 – 12.30: Playtime! Puppy is out of the crate being played with and petted.
12:30: Lunch time.
12.45: Puppy comes outside with you for a toilet break.
1 – 3.30: Puppy goes back in the crate for a nap.
… and so on throughout the day.
Crate training generally takes one to two months (depending on the breed of your dog and how much time you spend on the training process.) As the puppy grows older, you can begin to reduce the amount of time spent in the crate – but beware of doing this too soon!
Other crate training rules
- Your puppy probably won’t be too happy to go in the crate the first couple of times she uses it. She wants to be outside, being showered with affection and attention, and hanging out with you (of course!) But it really is for her own good – in a surprisingly short time, she’ll come to accept the crate as her own personal haven where she can go to relax and get a couple hours’ uninterrupted sleep. It’s important to persevere: do not respond to any whining or crying.
- The best place for the crate to be is the hub of the household: usually the den or the kitchen, anywhere where people tend to congregate. Just because she’s in the crate doesn’t mean she can’t still feel like part of the household; it’s important for her not to feel isolated or excluded.
- The crate should be a welcoming, inviting place for her to go. Lay a couple of thick blankets or towels on the floor, and place a few toys and a chew or two inside it as well. The door should be invitingly open at all times (unless she’s in there, of course, in which case it should be securely shut.)
Some toilet facts about puppies that will come in handy
- Puppies’ bladders and bowels are so small and weak that they have only a very small window of opportunity between knowing that they need to go, and having that need become an immediate reality. Because of this, it’s imperative that you take her outside as soon as she wakes up (she’ll let you know she needs to go out by pawing the door and whining), and within ten minutes of eating or playing.
- Behaviors that indicate she needs to go outside include sniffing the ground and circling. Again, because she’s only little, she won’t exhibit these warning signs for very long – so as soon as she starts, take her out straight away. Better an unnecessary trip to the yard than an unnecessary wet patch (or pile) on the carpet!
- The maximum amount of time that a puppy can be crated at one time is figured out using the following equation: her age in months, plus one. So, a three-month old puppy can be crated for a maximum of four hours. However, this is likely to be physically pretty uncomfortable for her (not to mention hard on her emotionally and psychologically: it’s tough being cramped up with nothing to do), so you should really take her out at least once every two hours during the day. If she’s sleeping, of course, just let her sleep until she wakes up naturally.
For a more indepth look at house training, as well as a great deal of useful information on canine behavioral problems and the most effective training techniques, check out The Ultimate House Training Guide. It’s the complete dog-house-training guide..You can visit the The Ultimate House Training Guide site by clicking on this link: