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House Breaking A Puppy – The 3 Things You Don’t Know

One reason people find it difficult to train and 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 – but in reality, they’re generally overlooking some very simple “tricks of the trade” to house break a puppy. 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

Again, always set your dog up to be successful. Give your dog what he needs and he will give you back years of wonderful companionship and love.

Need help now???  Check out our 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!”

Dealing With Dog Aggression When Walking on a Leash

Over the years many clients have initially come to me because of dog aggression when walking on a leash. Interestingly, many of these dogs were not, in fact, aggressive – their behavior was simply a result of the dog perceiving the owner’s anxiety. The first step in curbing any negative behavior in dogs is dog training, and lots of it. I cannot overemphasize the critical nature of training in order to establish yourself as the pack leader, and subsequently teach your dog to respond to basic obedience commands. Only after you have mastered these two phases, can you expect your dog to respond to you (and trust you) in potentially fearful or unknown situations. After basic training, aggression when walking on a leash can be evaluated properly by the owner and effectively addressed.

Assuming your dog has successfully completed basic obedience training, the first step is to have confidence in your handling skills, leave your anxiety at the door and understand that as long as your dog is on a leash the situation is controllable. IF your dog is well-trained, some ideas to curb dog aggression when walking on a leash include:

  • Ask the other dog owner if their dog is friendly and if so, let them interact. A good way to do this is to allow your dog to approach the other dog from behind for a little backside, get-to-know-you sniff. This is the best non-aggressive hello in dog-language.
  • Alternatively, keep on walking and pass the dog by, or put your dog in an obedience command of sit and stay (at a safe distance) while the other dog passes. Both of these communicate to your dog that you are in control of the situation, and they need not worry. This also helps with familiarity, so that passing another dog on a leash becomes a regular occurrence.
  • Take the opportunity to train your dog with other dogs around (when the environment is safe), and begin to reward your dog for neutral or positive behavior around other dogs. Anything short of good behavior requires a stern OFF, then call your dog to you, get a sit, and then send your dog to interact once more.

With the above suggestions, repetition is key, especially around other dogs/distractions. If you are not having success in consistency, and/or if your pet continues to struggle with aggression while walking on a leash, I recommend that you see a positive reinforcement trainer in your area, being sure to work on distraction training.
Again, always set your dog up to be successful. Give your dog what he needs and he will give you back years of wonderful companionship and love.

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

 

Easy Ways to Train Your Dog Not to Jump on People

Have you ever been all dressed for work, church, or special occasion only to have your dog jump on you and get your clothes all dirty, or worse, knock you down. Are you tired of having to apologize to guests as they come in when their first introduction is to your dog looking like a pogo stick as he jumps up and down on them?

There are several ways to go about fixing the dog behavior of jumping on people. You can choose one or use a combination of approaches. Whichever you choose, always remember that consistency and repetition are what make dog behavior modification work. Everyone in the family has to be on the same page with what approach you are going to use and stick with it. There is no yelling or forcefulness involved in any of this.

Dogs react as a direct result of the way we react to them.

Our dogs are very social and they get excited very easily, so when we come home, they jump up on us to greet us. So, even though we don’t like this, we, as dog owners, STILL give them some type of reinforcement. We either pet them and let them continue to jump and lick because we love our dogs! OR, we yell at them, push them off, tell them they’re bad—pick one.

Next time this happens make sure you are aware of the way you interact with your jumping dog. Learn what reinforces the behavior of jumping. Whether you are petting or yelling at your dog when they jump on you, you ARE giving that behavior attention, which reinforces the behavior. If you continue to pet or yell or whatever at your dog, the behavior will continue because you are reinforcing it. Think about it like a child having a temper tantrum.

  • Do NOT give the behavior any attention. When you come home, simply come in the door, walk past your dog, put your things down and the dog gets absolutely no attention till the jumping stops. Then and only then can you pet the dog, BUT you still must not make a big production of it as your excitement will then have the dog jumping again. If that happens, again no attention. Practice, Practice, Practice.
  • When your dog jumps up, immediately turn your back on the dog and pay no attention to the dog. Practice, Practice, Practice
  • Attach a leash to your dog and have your dog in front of you with YOUR foot on the leash high enough on the leash so that when he attempts to jump he can barely get his front paws off the ground. Talk excitedly to your dog (do NOT call his name), get him excited so he will jump. When he tries to jump, your foot on the leash prevents him from jumping and the dog self corrects.
  • Train your dog to sit, request a sit when guests come over. If you can get a good reliable sit stay, your dog can not jump when in a sit stay.

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

 

The #1 Killer of Puppies And Young Dogs

 

Amazing! You would have thought cancer, certainly not behavior problems in puppies and dogs as the #1 killer. However, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior has validated that behavior issues, not infectious diseases are the number one cause of death for dogs under 3 years of age. That is a crime. Why? Because behavior issues arise due to lack of primary socialization and training when puppies are in their first three months.

Behavior issues arise because of lack of training. Behavior issues arise because of lack of leadership. So the crime in all of this is behavior issues are preventable with owner involvement, and owner responsibility to give their puppy what the puppy needs – training. If owners provide early education for their puppies and start off on the right foot with their puppy, many if not all behavioral issues can be thwarted. Puppies need to learn to be around all kinds of people, all kinds of kids, all kinds of places, all kind of noises, car, strollers etc. All of this is possible even before they are fully vaccinated. By second round of vaccinations, your puppy has a lot of protection.

Just use common sense. Don’t take your puppy to a dog park, don’t take your puppy to a public pet store. Take your puppy around other dogs you know, to other people’s homes, have people over to your home. Let your puppy get used to kids and other dogs. If your dog should develop behavior issues, don’t ignore them. The longer you let it go, the more the dog gets to rehearse the bad behavior and the more difficult it is to fix. Have a positive reinforcement trainer come to your home to work with you and the dog immediately. You wouldn’t ignore your child’s problem would you?

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

Be a responsible pet owner. Socialize your puppy, get training for your puppy and if issues develop – fix them. Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, Opportunity Barks!

Dog Training – To Treat Or Not To Treat – That is the Question

There are really only two paths to take in dog training:  compulsion training (hands on shaping the dog’s body to sit or down) or inducement training.  I train using both methods.  It all depends on the dog and if some dogs will not work for food.  I say, if the end result is the same, who cares?

Feeding Your Dog

Feeding Your Dog

Without getting into extended sits, downs, stays or “proofing” your dog around distractions, here’s my take on treat training:

Many trainers say that using food treats (inducement) is not good because you always have to carry around food treats to get your dog to perform.  What they don’t tell you is what they don’t know!  That is simply, treat training is a process of teaching with food at first, then weaning the dog off food treats so that he is performing for you without the treats!

The trick which most people are not taught is the “weaning off” part of treat training.  They get stuck with a dog that will only work for food.  Once your dog is successfully performing a sit, start treating every other time, then every third time and begin to get 4 and 5 sits in a row and only treat after the second, third, fourth of fifth time – then off food treats.  This is called variable treating.

The other key is to not have food treats in your hand.  Dogs burn an image or picture in their mind that the activity of “sits or downs” is something they do with you when you have a food treat in your hand.  Dogs can also learn the same concept with you without a food treat in your hand. 

Help them with this concept by leaving the treats in your treat bag, zip lock bag or on the counter.

In summary:  1.  REWARD with treats each time you shape a new behavior.  2.  ONCE you can anticipate the behavior, introduce a verbal command and hand signal and 3.  THIS IS THE KEY:  start variable treating with no food treats in your hand.

Simple really.   Nikki going to place  Here’s a video of me training alternating treats