Archive for the ‘New’ Category

Housetrainnig: 4 Common Housetraining Mistakes New Puppy Owners Can Avoid

Gemma | July 6th, 2004
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Housetrainnig: 4 Common Housetraining Mistakes New Puppy Owners Can Avoid

Let’s face it, as a new dog owner you probably have not taken a canine training class or have studied up on the latest puppy training techniques that are available.

That’s okay! New puppy owners should not have to go to such lengths just to teach their pups the basics. But like all territories unknown, it is quite easy for novice puppy owners to find lots of ways to mess up simple puppy training, especially when it comes to the process of housetraining.

But you do not have to be one of these novices. To help guide your way towards proper housetraining with your new puppy, below are a few common mistakes that many people make, those of which you should aim to prevent:

1. Irregular schedule: Dogs thrive on repetitiveness and a routine schedule. If you fail to follow a schedule when it comes to taking your puppy to go to the bathroom, feeding times, and even bedtime, this can cause a disruption in the learning process.

For example, let’s say it’s Sunday morning and even though your puppy is waiting for you at the door to go to the bathroom at 7:00 AM (his usual morning potty time), and you feel like sleeping in, do not be surprised if you wake up to a puddle of pee or a stinky pile of poop on the kitchen floor. Adhering to a schedule is absolutely critical to successfully housetrain your puppy.

2. Ignoring crate training: Crate training is a safe and effective way to housetrain any puppy. Not only does it work well, but it is not the cruel training protocol that many people think it is. Placing your puppy in a crate when you are not able to watch over him will help your dog to develop control over its bladder.

3. Disciplining your puppy after the dirty deed has been done: In other words, if you continually yell and discipline your puppy after he has made a mistake, while not actually in the moment of the act, he will not have the slightest clue as to why he is being punished. This type of harassment will only cause your puppy to be scared of you. Only correct him when you catch him doing something wrong, never after.

4. Not cleaning up accidents when the happen: I realize that it may get a little tiring when you constantly have to clean up your new puppy’s poop and pee, but it’s an unfortunate part of the deal you made when you decided to bring home a new dog, especially a brand-new puppy.

Do not make the mistake of getting lazy and leaving his wastes to sit on the floor for any length of time. This can signal to your dog that it is okay to use the bathroom on the floor and he will continue to do so, typically in the same spot.

Housetraining Your Puppy: Advice From The Experts

Gemma | July 2nd, 2004
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Housetraining is perhaps the most obvious example of why it’s a good idea to train puppies. Nobody wants stains on the carpet or the smell of pee and poop permeating the house. Yet housetraining is often overlooked or undertaken in a haphazard manner when it should instead be the cornerstone of the training process. Starting early is key, especially with toy breeds, which often have a reputation for being difficult to housetrain.

It’s essential to take puppies outside on a regular schedule so they learn to anticipate potty time and hold their urine or stool until then. If you’re not consistent about when you take a puppy out, it’s more likely to have accidents in the house and that’s not good.

After a puppy has the habit of peeing in the wrong place, it’s hard to change its mind, says Stanley Kissinger, a Yorkshire Terrier breeder in Virginia Beach, Virginia. But once the pup gets the idea, it’s extremely easy to train.

With that in mind, take your puppy out early and often. Physiologically, the puppy won’t be able to hold its urine for long periods until it’s older, but it can learn that outdoors is the place to go.

Establish good habits by taking your puppy out on a leash and giving it plenty of time to sniff around and find just the right spot. Keep its mind on business by repeating the words Go Potty in a friendly tone. Stanley says that, As soon as it potties, be happy and express that joy to the puppy. Take the pup back into the house immediately so it knows it was outside for that one purpose. It registers in its memory after several repeated events.

A Quick Word About Lifestyle Changes

Taking on the responsibility of raising and housetraining a puppy may necessitate certain lifestyle changes, particularly for single people. If you work outside the home and like to push that snooze button to the limit, brace yourself – you’ll need to get up at least a half hour earlier to allow time for your puppy to potty and play before you leave.

Should distance permit, your formerly errand-filled lunch hour now becomes time to go let your puppy out for a potty break. Moreover, forget that after-work drink with a coworker; you’ll need to rush home to tend to your puppy.

When proximity prevents you from going home at lunch or during periods when overtime crops up, you must make alternative arrangements for getting your puppy out. Hire a pet-sitting or walking service, or enlist the aid of neighbors willing to help. Whichever the case, it is imperative that your puppy gets out to potty and play during the day.

Housetraining Tools: How To Best Use A Dog Crate

Gemma | June 28th, 2004
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Crates are an essential housetraining item that most puppy owners find incredibly practical if used correctly.

A crate is not a prison or a cage. Rather, it is a comfy den, and no dog wants to poop in his comfy den. That’s what makes the crate such a good investment: You are using the dog’s own natural instincts to help him understand where you want him to do his important business.

Crates work well because a dog or puppy does not want to soil his bed or immediate area, so providing that you don’t leave your dog crated for unreasonable periods, you can use a crate to educate your puppy to wait until you take him outside.

To be effective, the bottom of the crate should be covered in bedding, otherwise the puppy will assume that anywhere other than the bed is OK to use as a potty, and that habit can be a hard one to break.

The size of the crate is critical to its effectiveness. You’d think that your pup would want a nice, big crate, but in actuality, the den should be small and cozy.

In the beginning stages of housetraining, the crate needs to be only large enough for your dog to lie down and turn around comfortably. Too large, and your pup may use a corner to relieve himself. Plastic-style crates are usually a better choice because they have more of a den-like feel for your dog.

The best option that as worked for my personal use with my puppies are of two varieties: the metal folding crate and the plastic airline type that bolts together in two halves with a metal door.

Some dogs don’t like the close-in plastic type because they can be dark and not as inviting as the more open, wire type. The advantages of the folding crates are that they work well for transporting your dog in a vehicle or for taking your dog on vacation, plus they fold flat for storage.

When Choosing The Right Crate:

1) Choose one just large enough for your dog to stand up and turn around.

2) If you have a large-breed pup, buy a crate with a divider to make the crate bigger as he grows, otherwise you’ll have to buy several crates as time goes on.

3) If your dcor is a concern, there are many attractive crates available, including rattan, wooden and doghouse-style crates.

4) Soft-sided crates aren’t ideal for housetraining because they are more difficult to clean and the smells of potty accidents can linger, causing your pup to want to eliminate there again.

5) Some folding crates come with handles or nylon bags, making travel a breeze.

6) If you’re going to move the crate around a lot, get one with wheels. Wheeled crates are also great for travel.

Housetraining Tools: Great Products That Make Housetraining A Breeze (2)

Gemma | June 27th, 2004
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Housetraining Tools: Great Products That Make Housetraining A Breeze (2)

Brand New Bag

If you live in a big city it’s likely that you have a pick up the poop ordinance. If so, you know that there’s a pretty steep fine involved if you don’t clean up after your dog. Or, perhaps you have kids and you want to keep your yard or neighborhood free of landmines. Whatever the case, you’re going to need to carry poop bags.

Sure, it’s easy to use a plastic grocer bag, but imagine the day that you put your hand inside of it, reach down, and find yourself with a handful of feces because there was a hole in the bag YUCK! Not a pleasant experience!

If you have a small dog you can use clear sandwich bags from the grocery store, but if you have a larger dog, you might want to invest in a leash dispenser for dog waste bags. There’s even a cute leash pouch available to store the poop bag (with the poop inside) until you can find a trash can.

The benefits of dog waste bags are:

1) Most are colored, opaque plastic; no one has to see what you’re carrying.
2) Some are scented.
3) Many come in tightly rolled, easy-to-use bundles.
4) Many bag dispensers have cute designs and attach conveniently to the leash.
5) Some are made of recycled plastic and are biodegradable. Even flushable poop bags are available.

The Scoop On Scoops

If you have more than one dog and you let them use the backyard to do their doo, you’re going to want a pooper scooper. You’ll not only save your back, but you’ll also find that the chore isn’t so loathsome if you have an easy tool to do it with.

Choose a scooper that’s easy to use with one hand. You can find a scooper that has a place for a bag attachment on the scooper end so that the scooper never gets dirty. Just remove the bag and toss the waste away.

In-Ground Digester

If you have a bunch of dogs (or a really big one) and a backyard, think about using an in-ground digester to dispose of dog waste. These products are kind of like compost bins, but you don’t use the contents for compost. For less than $100 or so, you can get a digester, bury it in your backyard and never worry about what to do with the waste again.

Be sure not to bury the digester near a vegetable garden because the waste eventually ends up in the soil, and only use this product if you intend on maintaining it, which is as easy as adding powder to it once a week.

Housetraining Tools: Great Products That Make Housetraining A Breeze (1)

Gemma | June 26th, 2004
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Housetraining Tools: Great Products That Make Housetraining A Breeze (1)

The X-Pen

An X-pen (or exercise pen) is a series of gates that snap together to become a sort of open-top cage that has a lot more room than a crate. Most trainers don’t advocate using X-pens as a housetraining device unless you’re going to put a crate inside of it and use a small area as a potty spot with a pee pad or newspaper.

However, that’s not a permanent solution to housetraining because presumably you’ll want your pup to only potty outside. X-pens are good for confinement in the same way that you’d use a baby gate to restrict your dog to an area that can be easily cleaned in case of an accident.

The Ever Trusting Pee Pad

Pee pads are a staple for small dogs, those that live in apartments, or incontinent dogs. Essentially, these are the same pads that hospitals and nursing homes use for their bed-ridden patients, just packaged differently. Some pads come infused with a scent that attracts the puppy to the pad.

Pee pads can be very helpful, particularly for people who are unable to take a puppy out frequently. The pads encourage a puppy to use one place for elimination and can be moved close to the door that will be used to go out for bathroom duties. Over a period of time, the pad can be moved outside if your ultimate goal is to have your pup use a yard.

Here are a few times when choosing pee pads:

1) Look for a brand with the best liquid-retaining properties.
2) Choose a size large enough for your dog.
3) Look for a brand that locks in moisture to prevent tracking.

Fan Of The Pan?

A few years ago, litter boxes came into vogue for potty training small dogs, especially those that live in apartments. Litter boxes can be effective but some dogs would rather play in the litter or eat it instead of doing their business there.

However, some dogs will use the litter box appropriately, making potty duties very easy on an owner just clean the box, add new litter, and you’re done. These boxes tend to work well with dogs that weigh less than 10 pounds.

Look for a dog-specific box because cat boxes aren’t tall enough for dogs, especially males that like to lift a leg. Using a litter box won’t untrain your dog from going outside; it will just give him an option if he has a tiny bladder.

Housetraining Schedule: How To Housetrain Your Puppy In 7 Days

Gemma | June 22nd, 2004
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Housetraining Schedule: How To Housetrain Your Puppy In 7 Days Or Less

It is quite alright if you are a new puppy owner and feel clueless about how to initiate housetraining for your dog. Many new dog owners make the mistake of scolding and punishing their dogs when they make a mess.

I made this same mistake with my first Chihuahua. Every time she would go potty inside the house I would take her over to the messy area and scold the dog with a loud voice with the occasional tap to her rear.

Soon enough, I noticed something strange happening. My puppy was still refusing to use the bathroom where she was supposed to go, but she started pooping and urinating underneath the bed and in closet areas. I caused my puppy to be afraid of going to the bathroom!

She did not understand why I was angry all of the times before and all her little brain knew was that every time she used the bathroom, I would yell at her. I realized that she started to be fearful of going potty and was basically trying to hide it by going in places that I could not see in plain view.

The Positive Approach Always Works Best

The moral of the story here is that you must take a positive approach to housetraining and totally eliminate any negative scoldings or punishments. The best thing to do is to supply your dog with a schedule each and every day. This schedule must be adhered to without fail in order to produce the quickest results possible. Here is a sample schedule:

6:30 AM: Immediately upon waking, remove your puppy from his crate, leash him up, and take him to his potty area, wherever that may be. Allow him to focus by staying quiet as he sniffs and circles the area.

When he starts to eliminate his wastes, offer praise and start repetitively giving a potty command such as Go Pee, Go Pee. As soon as he is done, offer more praise and a treat if you like. Now take your puppy back to his crate.

7:30 AM: Exactly one hour later, give your dog breakfast and then take him outside to the potty area approximately 20 to 30 minutes later. Immediately return him back to his crate until the next potty break.

10:30 AM: It’s time for another potty break.

12:30 AM (Noon): Take your puppy outside to his potty area and follow the same routine. Afterwards, come inside and feed the dog lunch and then some playtime.

3:30 PM: It’s time for another potty break.

5:30 PM: Take your puppy outside for another potty break and then back inside for some dinner. You do not have place him back in the crate until the next bathroom break.

During this time at night, try to play with your puppy as much as you can. This is a good time to tire him out a bit for his nighttime sleep. But keep a close eye on his behavior in case he starts to sniff and circle an area in the house before using the bathroom. If you cannot keep a close eye on him, simply put him back in his crate.

9:00 PM: If your puppy is sleeping at this time, wake him up for one last bathroom break. Follow the same potty routine and then put him back in his crate until the next morning potty break. Start the entire routine all over again.

Housetraining On The Go (4)

Gemma | June 18th, 2004
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Rest-Stop Etiquette

If you’re driving for any major length of distance, safety experts say you’ll stay more alert if you stop at least once an hour to get out of your vehicle and walk around. Not only is it good for driver safety, it’s a perfect time to take your dog out and walk him around as well.

If there are other dogs at the rest stop, try not to intrude on their space. They’re there to do business, too, and taking your dog up to them will distract them from their job. Also, you have no way of knowing how friendly the other dogs are so don’t tempt fate by getting too close!

Pet areas at many highway rest stops are littered with dog poop that irresponsible dog owners didn’t bother picking up. Don’t add to that disgusting problem always clean up after your dog when he defecates.

Special bags are made for this purpose, and some rest areas and parks provide them from free baggy dispensers. However, poop bags probably won’t be provided at most of the places you stop so always bring a few bags with you.

You don’t need special poop bags – any plastic bag big enough to slip over your hand will do. To clean up after your dog using a bag put your hand inside the empty bag, pick up the poop using the bag like a glove, turn the bag inside out to surround the poop and tie it off. Then dispose of the bag in a trash can. If a trash can isn’t available, take the bagged poop with you and dispose of it when you find one.

Motor Homes & Boats

If you’ll be taking your dog on trips in your motor home or boat, these are special potty-time considerations. Each RV park or harbor has its own pet-related rules. Often, they’re posted where visitors can easily read them. If you don’t see the local dog rules posted, ask the person who checks you in when you pay your camping or slip fee.

If your dog is small, you might consider litter box training him. When your dog needs to relieve himself, he’ll be able to use the litter box and you won’t need to interrupt your trip. This can make it much easier on the dog and on you.

Low-sided plastic storage boxes that are made for sliding under beds make good travel litter boxes. They’re a good size for most small dogs and you can put the lid on it between uses. This will keep the litter from spilling and will also prevent any stinky odor from drifting. Your dog can learn to tell you when he needs to use the litter box, just as he asks you to open the door at home when he needs to potty.

Housetraining On The Go (3)

Gemma | June 14th, 2004
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When a dog is unwilling to eliminate in new public places it can create huge traveling problems. Some dogs will try to hold it as long as they can, rather than pee or poop at a rest stop, motel or weekend dog show. This can cause the dog a lot of discomfort and even generate health problems.

Teaching your pup to potty when given a verbal cue, such as go potty, will help him get over his worries about eliminating in new places. Hearing the potty cue at home and being praised for doing his business will smooth the way to pottying on strange turf.

Here’s the trick that will make unfamiliar ground smell more like home: When your dog pees before leaving home, blot up some of the urine with a paper towel and put it in a plastic zip-sealed bag. Take that with you on your trip.

When you take your dog for a potty stop, first pour a few tablespoons of water into the bag. Let the urine-scented water drip out onto the ground in a couple of places about 5 feet apart. You can reseal the bag and use it again at other rest stops.

After you put the bag away, take your dog to the area you just scented with his urine. Stand there with him, keeping him in view from the corner of your eye. He’ll sniff those spots you scented, recognize his urine odor and perhaps wonder why he doesn’t recognize the place. Praise him calmly when he sniffs the urine spots and say his potty cue to him. If he relieves himself, praise quietly and wait a few more minutes in case he has more business to do.

Time To Hit The Road

Once your dog has mastered pottying on leash and pottying where other dogs have been, the next step is to take him on a lot of short trips, so he can practice appropriate potty behavior in different locations.

Start with car rides to places 15 minutes to an hour from home. When you get where you’re going, take your dog for a pleasant on-leash walk. Let him do a good bit of sniffing in areas where it would be OK for him to eliminate. If he sniffs intently at several spots in one area, chances are good that dogs have left their urine scent there. Calmly encourage your dog to do likewise and praise him quietly if he does.

Take rides to dog-friendly parks and other areas where your dog can sniff and explore on his leash. Praise him calmly when he sniffs so he’ll get the idea that it’s alright for dogs to potty there, and maybe he’ll try it, too. If he does potty, calmly praise him, then give him some more time to sniff around he might do it again.

Housetraining On The Go (2)

Gemma | June 11th, 2004
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When you are away from home with your dog and taking an outside potty break, keep him leashed any time he needs to potty near traffic or in unfenced areas. Some dogs like privacy, though, and are hesitant to eliminate if someone is standing near them.

Getting Your Dog Used To Pottying On-Leash

Home is the easiest place to start teaching your dog how to potty while being leashed. Home is usually where dogs feel most comfortable doing their business, so teach on-leash elimination there first.

Leash your dog when it’s potty time, and take him to the area you want him to use for elimination. A 6-footer or retractable leash is best, as it allows you to stand a short distance away from your dog. Give the leash enough slack so that your dog doesn’t feel pressure on his collar. This way, he won’t feel crowded or restricted, and will be able to relax and relieve himself.

In a calm, friendly voice, say your dog’s potty cue (a word that you command to remind him that it’s potty time, such as Go Potty). Then, just wait while he sniffs around and picks the perfect spot. When he goes, praise him quietly and warmly, saying the potty cue as part of the praise phrase.

After your dog is comfortable eliminating at home while you hold his leash, take the show on the road. Start with on-leash walks that begin from home. Walk around your neighborhood or go to a dog-friendly park. This will let your dog smell where other dogs have been and will be a good way to introduce him to pottying when and where you suggest.

Potty In Public

Most adult dogs or older pups will eliminate wherever they smell other dogs’ pee or poop. Some dogs, however, actually try to avoid relieving themselves where they smell the scent of dogs they don’t know. This happens mainly with pups younger than 4 months old and dogs that are fearful or submissive around other dogs. These dogs don’t feel safe or comfortable eliminating where strange dogs have marked.

Staking claims on territory by marking the perimeters and prominent landscape features with urine and feces is a natural, instinctive canine behavior. In canine society, dog’s don’t urinate over another dog’s mark unless they consider themselves of equal or greater rank.

In nature, it’s dangerous for a pup to wander far enough from the den to smell urine marks left by unknown dogs. A pup away from his home territory knowns he’s out of his element and isn’t inclined to leave his scent where strange dogs will find it. Instinct apparently tells pups it’s safe to dot hat, because a puppy’s urine scent will let other animals know that he’s young and vulnerable.

Housetraining On The Go (1)

Gemma | June 8th, 2004
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Perhaps your dog is already housetrained but have you taken this training one step further? In other words, is he smart enough to take that knowledge with him while traveling away from home?

The answer is mainly up to you and how you teach your dog to behave when you go places together. You might assume dogs would be able to generalize at-home potty manners to all indoor environments but they usually need some guidance to put it all together.

Potty On Cue

To direct your dog to eliminate at rest stops and other places when you’re traveling, you’ll need a way to let him know when it’s time, and the place to potty. This will be easy if you teach your dog to go potty on cue.

Pick a word or phrase to use whenever you take your dog to a potty area. Choose something you won’t be embarrassed to say out loud around strangers because you’ll be using it at rest areas, parks and other public places where other people (and children) may be accompanying.

Some suggestions for cues are go potty, get busy, hurry up, or eliminate. Pick one cue and stick with it so your dog will learn that it always means the same thing.

It’s easiest to teach the potty cue first at home where your dog is used to eliminating and there aren’t a lot of new sights, smells and sounds to distract him. Take your dog to his potty area, then say the potty cue in a casual and friendly voice.

Just say it once. You can repeat it after a minute if he hasn’t gone by then. When he relieves himself, praise him quietly and calmly so he stays relaxed in case he needs to potty a bit more.

Be careful not to sound impatient or commanding when you say the potty cue; that might make your dog nervous and tense, and he won’t be able to go. Also, don’t repeat the cue too frequently; that may distract your dog from the task at hand, causing him to take more time to get his business done.

Your dog won’t automatically know what you mean when you say the potty cue at first, so you’ll need to use it many times. If you go with your dog to his potty area each time he needs to eliminate, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice the potty cue. It will also get your dog use to doing his business with you standing nearby, which is another travel skill that will come in very useful.