Tips For Having a Puppy With Children

There are many things to consider when choosing to bring a puppy into a home with children. One thing to think about is what type of dog will be gentle and tolerate the child’s behavior. Your new puppy is not just a pet, he or she is a member of the family and as such, needs to be treated well by everyone – especially the children.

Whatever type of puppy or dog you choose, some type of training will be in order:

  • Make sure your children are mature enough to have self control and understand directions. Very very young children just naturally pull hair, poke eyes, fall on the dog or puppy. All of these behavior are extremely hard on a dog.
  • One way to tell how your child will act around a dog or puppy is to take the child around a friend’s dog and see what your child does. Is your child hard on the dog? Does your child listen to you when you tell him “no” around the dog?
  • Small puppies, generally, are NOT the best choice if you have young children. In their own right, puppies are very much like small children themselves, and they will take a lot of time and attention. If you have small children also, your time is limited and your probably won’t have time to devote to the puppy to help it navigate it’s way to being a well trained dog.
  • Make sure your puppy or dog has the ability to get away from the kids in a safe place, like a crate or kennel in a quiet area of the house. You need to get away from your kids occasionally—so does your dog.
  • Understand that just by nature of being kids, the high energy, the screaming, the legs and arms going 90 mph, will always bring out the prey drive in your puppy or dog. Know what to do to address this.
  • Kids and dogs is a 2 way street. Don’t automatically assume your puppy or dog will “know” how to act around children. They must be taught, JUST as your children must be taught the appropriate way to act with a puppy or dog.

Consistency and repetition are the key. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”

 

Crate Training Your Dog – Make Sure You Crate Train Your Dog Correctly

You may have heard of crate training your dog, buy maybe you don’t really understand what it is or how to do it correctly.

Crate training is not the same thing as confining your dog in a crate. When you are trying to housetrain a puppy or dog, the crate enables you to set your dog our puppy up to be successful in housetraining, instead of setting them up to fail.

Dogs and puppies don’t like to soil the areas where they sleep or eat, so crating them for a time helps inhibit their tendency to urinate or defecate in their crate, thereby helping them learn to hold their business. It helps teach them to wait until they have an opportunity to do the business outside.

When you are at home, take your dog or puppy out of the crate and take them outside to potty. Generally speaking for every month a puppy is old, that is the number of hours they can hold their business. So if you have an 8 week old puppy, that puppy can hold it for approximately 2 hours (especially when awake). When you take your puppy out and they don’t potty, take the puppy back in, put it back in the crate and try again in about 15 minutes. When the potty potties, they get a standing ovation which helps them understand that what they did was a good thing.

Crate training is also useful when you are trying to teach behavior to your puppy such as quiet or no bite. Be sure to understand the crate is not to be viewed as punishment. If you puppy is really bitey and using the methods of saying ouch in a high pitched voice and leaving the room are not working, when the puppy bites simply and non-emotionally say NO, OFF and gently place the puppy in the crate for 2 minutes. That 2 minute time out breaks the cycle of the biting and then you can let the puppy out.

Placing the puppy in the crate for 2 minutes during a time the puppy is being very rowdy and chasing and exhibiting extremely high energy also breaks the cycle. However, if you puppy exhibits this uncontrollable high energy constantly, you need to re-address how you are managing his energy – WALKS, and as importantly what you are feeding your puppy. Low quality foods that contain a lot of cheap carbohydrates such as corn, turn to sugar in your puppy, increase serotonin and you have an out of control puppy.

Do not leave your puppy in a crate for hours on end. That is confinement, not crate training. A puppy should never be confined in a crate all day long while you are at work. If that is your circumstance, then hire a pet sitter to come over at least twice a day to take the puppy out and play with it a little. A puppy in a crate for 8-10 hours a day in not conducive to a well balanced, happy puppy.

To recap, crate training is not the same thing as confinement. The crate is used to aid in potty training, giving the puppy somewhere to go to be quiet and to sleep in at night so the puppy does not wander the house. Crate training is used to illicit good behavior from your puppy and to aid your puppy in being successful instead of setting your puppy up to fail.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, Opportunity Barks!

Potty Training Your Puppy: 4 Steps that can help

If you have a new puppy in your home one of the first things you want to accomplish is potty train or housebreak your puppy.  No one wants their home to smell like a kennel and constantly cleaning up potty accidents after a puppy gets annoying and stressful.

Most dog owners know that puppies don’t understand that they have done anything wrong.  It is their natural instinct to potty when they need to.  The connection between the brain of a puppy and the bladder and bowel doesn’t really start to mature until closer to 4 months of age.  So puppies have to be taught potty training.  Here are some tips that will make this easier for you:

  • Do not free feed your puppy.  What does this mean?  Simply this:  feed your puppy on a schedule 3 times per day.  Give a measured amount of food at each feeding.  Pick up the food after 10 minutes whether the puppy is done eating or not.  What does this accomplish?  You can  determine the exact amount of food the puppy has eaten, you know when the puppy has eaten, which in turn,  will help you determine when it’s potty time for your puppy.
  • Remember that young puppies will always have to go potty at these times:  immediately upon waking in the morning or waking up from a nap.  After playing and about 5 minutes or less after eating.
  • Do not scold your puppy for accidents.  It does absolutely no good to come upon an accident, go get your puppy, rub his nose in it then scold him.  Puppies/dogs only understand correction or praise within 1.0 to 1.5 seconds of doing the behavior.  Rubbing their noise in it is a confrontational move on your part and not the way you want to train your puppy.
  • When you absolutely cannot watch your puppy, confine him to a small gated space in your home or crate him.

What about overnight accidents?  A puppy is best kept in a small indoor crate or pen at night until they are old enough to hold off the need to potty for several hours at a time.  Also, avoid feeding or having your puppy drink lots of water right before bedtime and do not put food or water in their crate with them at night.  Take the puppy out immediately before crating them for the night.  And remember the rule of thumb:  for every month old a puppy is, generally speaking, that’s the number of hours they can hold it.  Plan on getting up during the night with your puppy.  Yes, it’s inconvenient but it’s your responsibility to train this puppy right.

Again, whatever you do, never resort to physical punishment when your puppy has an accident.  Puppies haven’t learned a good potty routine yet and they wouldn’t know why they are being punished.  What they will know, is you’re not safe.

These tips will help reduce the number of accidents in your home over a short period of time.  The most important thing to remember is to start training your puppy as soon as you bring him home.  Behaviors are much easier to change when a puppy is still young.

Need help now? Check out our online puppy training course. You’ll think I’ve moved in with you!

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children, and remember “Opportunity Barks!”

 

Puppy Obedience Training

Is having your new puppy grow up to be a well-behaved adult dog high on your wish list?

Training a puppy to grow up to be well-behaved takes work but it can be fun for both you and your puppy as you go through this process. It all starts with puppy obedience training.

Puppies and dogs are hard-wired to run, chase, jump, pee, poop, dig and bark – just to name a few.  These natural behaviors do not fit well with our social expectations.

If your new puppy is not taught your expected behaviors (sit instead of jump for greetings) it will continue to behave like a dog. The success of your puppy obedience training will depend upon your approach to training.

Here are a few easy but important tips to help you get started with your puppy obedience training so that you will have that well-behaved adult dog you always wanted:

  1. Be Consistent. Train everyday. Keep your sessions short. Working with your new puppy three times a day for only 3 minutes will be plenty. Do not over work your puppy as both you and your puppy may become frustrated.
  2. Use positive training techniques. When you begin to train your puppy on commands like sits and downs, use a pleasant voice as you say, “Good puppy!” Follow your praise immediately with a yummy food treat. This way your puppy will know he did something to please you. Using positive training techniques with praise and treats works best for your puppy. It keeps the stress level down during training and it strengthens the bond between you and your puppy. Remember how I’ve taught you to wean OFF food treats!
  3. Teach your puppy to work for leadership. Teaching your puppy sits and downs gives your puppy a feeling of working for leadership and gives your puppy a job to do at the same time. This creates structure and
  4. expectations which will minimize your new puppy’s stress and anxiety.
  5. Exercise your puppy. Constructively manage your new puppy’s energy through frequent walks and obedience training rather than having your new puppy manage their energy in a destructive way.
  6. Have patience.  Always be patient with your new puppy. Never yell or scream at your new puppy. End all training sessions on a positive note. If you find yourself getting frustrated, get a simple sit, praise your puppy and start the session again later.

As your puppy grows up into an adult dog he will respect you as you will respect him for the great puppy he is and everyone will enjoy having your well-behaved dog around.

Need help now? Try our Nose to Tail Puppy Training DVD. You’ll think I’ve moved in with you!

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog, as you are the teacher of your children.  And remember:  “Opportunity Barks”

Jim Burwell

Puppy Training: Puppy biting what you need to know

A typical puppy biting scenario: A young child decides to share some of her food with the family’s new puppy and, with the yummy smell of food in the air, the puppy takes the food biting the child in the process.

Now my guess is that this senario plays out all too frequently in homes with new puppies. Some trainers would have you “pop the puppy on the nose!”

Compared to positive training methods used today by many mainstream trainers, this is a crude, ancient technique from days gone by. Fortunately, current behavioral science allows us to leave these antiquated methods behind forever while giving us positive methods to train, correct and redirect our
new puppies.

You should also be aware that if physical pain like popping on the nose happens during a puppy’s critical fear imprint period, such trauma can cause problems that could have long term negative effects on the puppy.

As the above example illustrates, children also need “behavioral counseling” as well. Kids should be taught for example, “no table scraps are to be hand fed to the dog.”

So using the example above, what could have worked in this example instead of setting the puppy up to bite?

The puppy could have been crated during mealtime avoiding the incident altogether. You could also ask yourself, “what would you prefer your puppy to do during mealtime?”

Would you prefer perhaps for the puppy to go to his dog bed and lie down while you eat dinner? While this may be a lofty goal for a young puppy, it is a reasonable goal and one that should be worked on early.

Remember, while puppies can learn fast, reliability only comes with maturity and experience. So you will have to do your homework and practice. Always set your puppy up to succeed.

Another school of thought on puppy biting is that if puppies are never allowed to bite at all, they never have any idea of their bite strength.

It is normal for puppies to bite as they interact with their littermates thus giving them the opportutnity to work on bite inhibition and begin to read body language and communicate with their littermates.

As new puppy owners, you can, during their very very early age (7-12 weeks), work on and fine tune your puppy’s bite inhibition by allowing them to bite us ADULTS in supervised exercises to work specifically on no biting.

This critical information based on how you react during the exercise,  gives them a point of reference from which to work to soften their bite to where they only lick human skin.

There is a process for this that allows you to keep the exercise positive for both two and four legged pack members. Most trainers with positive reinforcement training experience can take you through this process.

But one thing is certain: You will have a more harmonious outcome supervising your puppy in the house around children if you teach “no bite”. And, it’s not a bad idea even if you don’t have kids.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your puppy as you are with the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”

Jim Burwell

 



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Is your puppy or dog fearful?

Unfortunately, sometimes you have a puppy or dog that seems to be fearful of either one thing – or many things. Everyone wants a happy, outgoing puppy or dog that just loves life and everything in it, but that isn’t the case with every puppy. If your puppy seems to be afraid of certain things, like men, kids, the vacuum, you can change that.

Lots of dog owners believe that puppies will outgrow their fears, but that isn’t always how it happens. The best thing you can do is help your puppy get familiar and comfortable with things that seem to make them uncomfortable. You have to instill confidence in your puppy and this can usually be done by building structure into the puppy’s life and teaching obedience training. Both of these things give your puppy confidence.

Here are some good guidelines to follow:

  • Most importantly, the puppy should be able to lessen his fearfulness at his own pace. Never try to force a person or situation that scares your puppy. If you do this, it just confirms to the puppy that the person or situation is dangerous. Let the puppy do it on his own time.
  • There are some things you can try to help your puppy along without forcing him. If he trusts you because he views you as his strong leader he will trust that you can handle the scary situation.
  • If you have been training him to sit or stay, start redirecting his focus by training the puppy in the area of the person or situation he is fearful of. Do this at a comfortable distance. Then, over a period of time, you can slowly begin to get your puppy closer to the “feared object”.
  • If your puppy is afraid of a person, have the person stand a distance away from the puppy, not look at the puppy, not make a big deal of anything and toss food treats periodically to the puppy. Done repeatedly when the person is around the puppy, the puppy will begin to associate good things with the once “scary stranger”.
  • It needs to be your puppy’s choice if he wants to approach his fear and if he backs off, that is okay. It takes time and patience to show your puppy that there is nothing to fear. Just as with a small child, things don’t happen immediately. You have to work with patience and understanding and do things in a gradual manner.

Sometimes it helps to think of yourself, your fears and things that make you uncomfortable. Would you want someone to force you into a situation you are afraid of? Your puppy shouldn’t be forced either. Give him time and with a little training he will come around on his own, gain confidence and lose some of that fear.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children, and remember, “Opportunity Barks!”

Jim Burwell’s Petiquette


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House Breaking a Puppy – What You DON’T Know

One reason people find it difficult to house break a puppy is that the puppy has absolutely no idea what the owner is trying to teach. And, many times, the owner’s expectation of the puppy is beyond what the puppy is capable of at that certain age.

This communication gap is never more painfully obvious than in house breaking a puppy. It can be a very frustrating process. It doesn’t have to be, but sometimes there are those puppies that are difficult to house break. Many people will say, “I’m doing all the right things” or, “I’ve read a whole stack of books” and the bottom line we keep getting back to with some puppies is, “House breaking this puppy” is difficult – or at least so it seems.

There are many factors that impact house breaking a puppy. None of them can be viewed separately as they all work together. One component most puppy owners do not consider is the impact that nutrition  has on house breaking a puppy. What kind of food, how much and how it’s prepared can heavily impact how quickly you can house break a puppy.

1. Step one is to feed a high premium, nutritionally balanced diet to your new puppy.

Tip: Inexpensive dog food is chocked full of artificial preservatives, dyes, bad fat and low grade carbohydrates used as fillers. You can not purchase high quality dog or puppy food in a grocery store or a big box store. They don’t carry high quality foods.

Tip: Keep your new puppy on the breeder’s food for at least 4 days once home. Any change in diet should be done gradually to prevent digestive problems and any related house training issues.

Tip: When you are ready to begin switching to your high quality food, begin using this formula: day one – 3/4 old food, 1/4 new food; day 2 – 1/2 old food, 1/2 new food; day three – 1/4 old food, 3/4 new food and finally on day four – all new high quality food. If at any point your puppy develops a soft stool, simply go back to the previous day’s formula until you get a firm stool.

2. How much you feed is important. Many people over feed their puppies and in fact, leave the food bowl down all the time so that the puppy can free feed.

Tip: The quantity they tell you to feed on the bag of food is not set in stone. Be flexible and adjust to your puppy’s appetite and weight. Too much food and you will have a puppy with loose stools.

Tip: Puppies have a very difficult time or simply can not control loose stools resulting in accidents for which they should not be blamed.

3. Developing a regular and consistent feeding schedule is important.

Tip: Keeping your puppy’s feeding schedule consistent on weekends as you do on week days is critical.

Once you have the diet correct, there are other components you will need to put into your house breaking routine. These include:

• How to be proactive in teaching your puppy to be house broken instead of being reactive.
• Understanding the importance of the crate in house breaking your puppy
• Teaching your new puppy where not to go is the final part that completes the process.

Remember that throughout this process avoid any and all punishment of your new puppy.  A great resource for learning and understanding not only how to house break your puppy but to set your puppy up to be successful in becoming a great member of your family can be found at our:  Nose To Tail Puppy Training DVD

Jim Burwell

Puppy Biting Too Hard?

Puppies are generally taken from the litter at 7 to 8 weeks of age. This time with its litter mates is critical as it is used to help puppies learn to read body language and signals with it’s littermates through play and interaction. Signals like, let’s play or too rough or back off please!

Good breeders do not take their puppies from the litter too soon because they are aware of the importance of this time needed for socialization and puppy training so that prospective owners don’t wind up having puppy behavioral problems.

Responsible owners wait until the optimum age to get a puppy and then immediately begin their puppy training in the home. Smaller dog breeds like terriers or toy pups should stay in the litter until 8 to 12 weeks. A little research along with the following note worthy facts and you may have a better understanding of why your puppy is exhibiting aggressive behavior.

* Fact: It is common to frequently see aggression develop in dogs that were removed from their mother and litter mates between the ages of 2 to 6 weeks.

* Fact: A lack of experience in the socialization process with littermates and other puppies can lead to fearful behavior and possibly defensive aggression. Puppy training and socialization with other puppies is critical.

* Fact: This same aggressive behavior is also seen in dogs that are brought home at 8 weeks of age but are never taken out for environmentally rich experiences like meeting and playing with other puppies and dogs, walks in parks and the neighborhood and proper training when it comes to meeting people and children.

* Fact: These dogs automatically opt to use defensive aggressive behavior as their only tool when first communicating with other dogs.

If adequate puppy training, desensitization and socialization is started as early as possible after the puppy is brought home, many puppies can learn to develop the critical social skills they need to lead productive and positive social lives interacting very well with other puppies and adult dogs. Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog, as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, Opportunity Barks!

Jim Burwell’s Petiquette

Puppy Biting/Nipping. Are You At Your Wit’s End???

Puppies are generally taken from the litter at 7 to 8 weeks of age. This time with its litter mates is critical as it is used to help puppies learn to read body language and signals with it’s littermates through play and interaction. Signals like, “lets play,”  “too rough!”, or “back off
please!” 

Good breeders do not take their puppies from the litter too soon because they are aware of the importance of this time needed for socialization and puppy training so that prospective owners don’t wind up having puppy behavioral problems (like puppy biting).

Responsible owners wait until the optimum age to get a puppy and then immediately begin their puppy training in the home. Smaller dog breeds like terriers or toy pups should stay in the litter until 8 to 12 weeks. A little research along with the following note worthy facts and you may have a better understanding of why your puppy is exhibiting aggressive behavior.
Fact: It is common to frequently see aggression develop in dogs that were removed from their mother and litter mates between the ages of 2 to 6 weeks.

Fact: A lack of experience in the socialization process with littermates and other puppies can lead to fearful behavior and possibly defensive aggression. Puppy training and socialization with other puppies is critical.

Fact: This same aggressive behavior is also seen in dogs that are brought home at 8 weeks of age but are never taken out for environmentally rich experiences like meeting and playing with other puppies and dogs, walks in parks and the neighborhood and proper training when it comes to meeting people and children.

Fact: These dogs automatically opt to use defensive aggressive behavior as their only tool when first communicating with other dogs.

If adequate puppy training, desensitization and socialization is started as early as possible after puppy is brought home, many puppies can learn to develop the critical social skills they need to lead productive and positive social lives interacting very well with other puppies and adult dogs.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children.  And remember Opportunity Barks!    

 

Jim Burwell’s Petiquette

Puppy Aggression or Just Play – Careful How You Raise Your Puppy

One of the benefits that a puppy receives by staying in the litter until 8 weeks (assuming the breeder is doing their job), in addition to bite inhibition, is learning how to communicate with their littermates.

Certain puppy signals say “let’s play,” “out of my space,” “easy,” or “no harm intended.”

It is these signals for communications that dogs learn as puppies and as adolescents which they carry into their adulthood. These signals, when used while playing, allow dogs to communicate with each other and to keep play at a reasonable and tolerable level and most of all fun for all.

Some dogs never learned these signals because they were not given the opportunity to interact and learn how to communicate.  As they develop into adolescent pups and begin to interact with other dogs and puppies in the real world, they are unable to play normally. This is where normal play stops and threatening behavior begins to intensify.

These dogs begin to ignore all clear signals from their playmates that would normally keep the play at a fun level. The intensity of behavior is triggered at what is considered lower thresholds of play with the other dogs.

This type of aggression may also inadvertently be directed at humans who begin to play with the dog. Humans can accidently increase the intensity of the play to a boiling point and the aggression begins.

It is sometimes very difficult to tell the difference between play aggression and what is thought to be rough
play.

I think that the lesson here is don’t rough house with your puppy and make sure that your puppy gets an adequate amount of socialization with people, kids and other dogs.

It is a “use it or loose it” kind of thing.

Rough play can escalate into aggression for some puppies. When we see rough play in very young puppies, there is a greater chance that some puppies will develop escalated behavior (aggression) as they mature.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children.  And remember, ‘OPPORTUNITY BARKS!”

Jim Burwell, Jim Burwell’s Petiquette