Puppy Training Schedule: What to Teach Puppies, and When

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

We always anticipate the joys of all that’s good about owning a puppy.

But often it doesn’t work out as well as we’d hoped. Puppies are delightful bundles of energy and curiosity…. but they can also be exasperating and frustrating.

If you respond properly to the challenges of bringing a new puppy into your home, the adjustment period will be shorter and less stressful for both of you.

If you do not respond properly….. well, unfortunately that’s why so many teenage dogs are turned over to rescue groups and animal shelters.

Starting at 7 weeks old….

Training a puppy by teaching feeding routines

Routines are reassuring to puppies. For example, his food and water bowls should stay in one place.

Teach your puppy the daily routines that will govern his life.

  • Where his food and water dishes are located.
  • What times of day he will eat.
  • Where his bed is.
  • What time he goes to bed.
  • What time he will be taken out in the morning.
  • Where he should go to the bathroom.
  • Where his grooming spot is (for brushing, trimming, nail clipping, teeth cleaning).

Be consistent, consistent, consistent.

Dogs thrive on sameness, routines that are familiar, predictable, repeated. As much as possible, do the same things with your puppy every day – the same things in the same order, using the same words.

For example… here’s a good mealtime routine:

  1. Cue your pup when you’re ready to prepare his meal. “Are you hungry? Want your food?” Exaggerate the key words.
  2. Have him come with you to the kitchen. Get his bowl from the same cupboard and set it on the same counter every time. He should be right there watching you. You want him to see that YOU are the source of his food.
  3. If he’s acting excitable, don’t put his food down, else he’ll learn that excitable behavior makes the food appear! If he’s racing around, barking, or jumping, he should be on leash so you can stop those behaviors. Puppy sitting before meal“Sit” before meals encourages calmness and patience – two valuable traits that will make other training much easier.
  4. When he is calm, the bowl is ready to go down. If he already knows how to sit, have him sit first – it’s a subtle and gentle leadership thing. Then say “Okay!” and place the bowl on the floor, in the same spot every time. “Here’s your food.”
  5. If you have multiple dogs, each should have his own eating spot away from the others. Place the bowls down in the same order each time, saying the dog’s name as his bowl goes down. “Buffy… here’s your food. Kelly… food.”
  6. During mealtime, don’t let kids or other pets approach any dog who is eating. If one of your dogs is not well-behaved enough to obey this rule, he should be dragging his leash so you can get hold of him. If necessary, feed the dogs in separate crates or separate rooms. Bullying or stealing food is completely unacceptable in a multi-dog household.
  7. If a pup walks away from his bowl, pick it up. If there is still food left, make a mental or written note, as it could suggest illness.
  8. After 10 minutes, all the bowls should be picked up to avoid picky eating habits or food guarding habits to develop.
  9. The final part of the routine is a potty break immediately after every meal. If you’re still housebreaking, take the pup out on leash. If he’s already 100% housebroken and eliminates reliably when you send him out himself, that’s fine. In either case, announce the potty break: “Do you need to go OUT? Time to go OUT.”

As you can see, you’re not only showing your puppy what YOU will do as part of the routine, you’re also showing him what you expect HIM to do as his part of the routine.

Once your pup learns the routine for, say, meal time, if you do your part every time, he will do his part every time. Automatically. Day in and day out.

The trick is to make sure the routines your puppy is learning are good  ones that lead to good  behavior.

Because if he learns bad  routines, he will repeat them just as readily.

Most behavior problems in dogs are caused by the owner (inadvertently) teaching the pup bad routines.

Good routines should cover as many of the 24 hours in your pup’s day as possible. You want a good routine for meal time, potty breaks, grooming, play time, bed time, getting up in the morning, and so on. I recommend the best routines in my Respect Training For Puppies.

The easiest way to raise and train your puppy is to establish choreographed routines – same things, same order, same words – with yourself as the director, the one in charge. Create good routines, stick to them, and your pup’s behavior will be predictable and good.

More  to teach your puppy starting at 7 weeks old

Along with establishing good routines….

Training a puppy by teaching household rules

Teach Puppy which behaviors are allowed in your house and which behaviors aren’t. This particular behavior would be a “No.”

  • Teach your puppy that “No” or “AH-AH” means “Stop doing that behavior.”
  • Teach your puppy that “Yes” or “Good” means “I like that behavior.”
  • Begin a proven housebreaking program where your puppy can only go to the bathroom in the right place.At 2-3 months old, puppies are infants and won’t have reliable control of their bladder for several months. (Tiny breeds are notoriously difficult to housebreak and take even longer.)

    Still, housebreaking begins the day you bring your puppy home.

    Establish the right pattern from the very beginning and Puppy will be housebroken as soon as his internal organs can cooperate.

    But if you do it wrong, housebreaking will become a nightmare. And sadly, many owners don’t realize they’re doing something wrong until Puppy’s “accidents” have become a bad habit…. and bad habits are hard to undo. So you want to establish the right pattern from the very beginning.

    There are several methods of housebreaking, including using a crate, an exercise pen (“ex-pen”), a doggy door leading into a small potty yard, or a litter box (for tiny breeds).

    You’ll find detailed housebreaking directions in my puppy training book (see bottom of page) – and yes, I cover each one of those housebreaking methods so you can choose which one works best for your pup and your lifestyle.

  • Teach your puppy to go into his crate or pen and to stay quietly when the door is closed. Crate training a puppyA crate protects your puppy from household dangers and is an invaluable aid in housebreaking.

    Your puppy’s crate is his safe and secure den.

    Some people mistakenly refer to a crate as “doggie jail” but that is not the way Puppy will view his crate.

    Oh, at first he might be unhappy to have his movements curtailed, but it won’t be long at all before he goes into the crate on his own, to take a nap or just to get away from household activity.

    For a new puppy, a crate helps with housebreaking and provides a safe den for sleeping.

    When your puppy is used to his crate, it will be easy to take him visiting, or for trips in the car, or to the vet.

    When we watch TV, we sit in our favorite chairs and our dogs typically choose to lie down in their crates (doors open), watching the same shows we watch (sort of).

    Pups who are not yet housebroken should NOT be loose in your house. Unless you are interacting closely with him, your pup should be in a crate or pen, or connected to you via a leash.

    The #1 mistake owners make with a puppy is giving him too much freedom in the house, too soon. Loose pups either get hurt or develop bad habits. For their own safety and to prevent future behavior problems, your puppy should not be loose in your house.

Starting at 8 weeks old….

Teach everything above (routines, housebreaking, crate training, Good, No), plus…

  • Teach your puppy to be calm indoors. Pups who are allowed to be excitable indoors are far more likely to have behavior problems. Don’t allow running around the house, rushing the doorbell, attacking the vacuum cleaner, or lots of rough play, barking, or jumping.
  • Teach your puppy to take food and toys gently from your hand. Don’t let him have anything if he grabs at it.
  • Teach your puppy NOT to mouth or nip at anyone’s hands or feet. Training a puppy by teaching him gentlenessTeach your puppy to be gentle when interacting with people. He must not nip or chew on people’s hands.

    Puppy’s mother (and siblings) began teaching gentleness by firmly correcting Puppy when he played too roughly.

    Your job is to take over from where they left off and teach Puppy how to restrain himself when he plays with humans.

    Remember, you must be the one who sets the limits of ALL good and bad behavior.

  • Teach your puppy NOT to jump on anyone, including yourself.
  • Teach your puppy to give or drop whatever is in his mouth when told.
  • Teach your puppy to stay still (more or less!) and not fuss when you’re brushing him, bathing him, clipping his nails, or brushing his teeth. Teach him to accept handling of any part of his body. Training a puppy by teaching him to accept handlingStart handling your puppy immediately so he learns to accept anything you need to do with him.

    Your puppy must accept YOU as the leader in your family. Being the leader simply means you are the one who decides what is okay for Puppy to do and what isn’t okay.

    For example…. brushing, bathing, clipping nails, cleaning teeth, giving a pill, putting on a collar or harness.

    These are all times when YOU – not Puppy – have to be the one to decide what is necessary. Puppy should stand quietly for anything you need to do with him.

  • Teach your puppy to respect the other pets in your family. He may not take anything away from another pet. He should “take turns” for treats and attention. No bickering, pestering, pushiness, or jealousy.

Starting at 10 weeks old….

Teach everything from the previous sections, plus…

Training an older puppy

Older puppies are ready to start learning more advanced words after they are obeying basics such as “No.” Don’t jump ahead!

  • Teach your puppy to walk on the leash without pulling. If your pup is currently pulling on the leash, don’t take him for any more walks until you’ve first taught him to stop pulling inside your own home and yard.
  • Teach your puppy to wait at open doors and gates until you give permission to go through.
  • Teach your puppy to come every time you call. For now, that might mean keeping him on a leash in the house and a long cord in the yard, so you can make sure he comes.
  • Teach your puppy to be quiet. Lots of barking makes dogs more excitable. Don’t allow barking at harmless things such as your neighbor or your neighbor’s dog. Certainly your pup can bark to alert you to something, but he should stop barking when told. He should be quiet when left home alone.

Starting at 12 weeks old….

Teach everything from the previous sections, plus…

  • Teach your puppy to Sit and then to stay sitting until you cue him to get up.
  • Teach your puppy to go to his dog bed when told, and to stay there until given permission to get up. This valuable exercise teaches calmness, impulse control, and physical and mental relaxation. Every pup should be able to do it.

Starting at 16 weeks old….

Teach everything from the previous sections, plus…

  • Teach your puppy to go for a structured walk where he stays close beside you and pays close attention to you, instead of being distracted by everything else.
  • Teach your puppy to greet people and other animals politely, or else ignore them. Don’t allow him to act excitably, aggressively, or fearfully toward people or other dogs.

Respectful dogs understand and do what you say

Before they’re 6 months old, my pups know how to do everything in the lists above. They pay close attention to me and do whatever I ask of them.

If you’re unsure about how to teach everything on my lists, it’s all covered in my puppy training book, Respect Training For Puppies (30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy).

Is your pup a little older?

You might be thinking, “But my pup’s already 6 months old… what do I do now?”

Simple. Start at the very beginning, as though your 6 month old pup was only 7 weeks old. Start by establishing the routines that will govern everything in your pup’s life. Start with housebreaking. Start with crate training. Start with “Good” and “No”.

And if your pup is 12 months old? 18 months old? Or even older than that?

Older puppy

When I foster an older puppy, I train him exactly as I would a younger pup – I start at the very beginning, with the basics.

You might think a training schedule would be different for a much older puppy…. but it isn’t.

Whether your puppy is 3 months old, 6 months old, or 18 months old, the order of training should start with the same words and respect training I’ve been talking about.

Namely…. daily routines, praise and correction words, crate training, housebreaking, acceptance of being handled, gentleness, and household rules.

So if your older puppy (or adult dog) is still mouthing on your hands, or barking back at you when you tell him to do something, or if he doesn’t stop whatever he’s doing when you say, “No”, you need to double down on those basics.

Then you can move on to more advanced stuff.

“But how?”  you want to know. “How  do I train my puppy?”

Shiba Inu pup learning to be calm and patient

It’s best to get this right the first time around, because Puppy won’t ever be the same age again.

You get only one chance to teach all the right habits to a “clean slate” puppy. If you try to train your puppy without help, you will probably have to re-do the lessons, only this time with an older puppy with bad habits.

But what kind of help?

You don’t need to sign up for an obedience class or “puppy socialization” class to get help training and socializing your puppy. Those classes can be overwhelming for a puppy. Gentle pups can get over-run by bullies, which can completely ruin your pup’s temperament. And excitable puppies just get more excitable in those classes.

I don’t recommend taking a puppy to any group class. I don’t even take my own pups to such classes. The risk is too great.

Instead, teach your puppy at home. I’ll help you. My puppy training book is called Respect Training for Puppies: 30 Seconds to a Calm, Polite, Well-Behaved Puppy.

I’ll show you my proven step-by-step training method for teaching your puppy all the words he needs to know, plus consistent household rules and routines, housebreaking, crate training, acceptance of being handled, calmness, gentleness, and general obedience training.

My training method is:

  1. BASED ON LEADERSHIP AND RESPECT, which means you and your family are the leaders in your household and your pup is the follower. Dogs LOVE to be followers when you show them that you’re a confident, consistent leader who makes all the decisions.
  2. BALANCED, which means positive reinforcement (praise and rewards) for good behaviors, and corrections for bad behaviors.I don’t teach or recommend so-called “purely positive” methods that allow misbehaving pups to continue misbehaving, instead of teaching them which behaviors are and are not allowed. “Purely positive” is fine for teaching tricks and high-level competition exercises, but NOT for teaching the solid good behaviors that all family dogs need to know, and NOT for stopping behavior problems such as barking, jumping, chewing, nipping, chasing, etc.

puppy training bookIf you want your puppy to be a good family dog, teach him with a balanced training method based on respect and leadership. It’s the perfect match for how your pup thinks and learns. Check out Respect Training For Puppies.

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Five Ways You Can Make Moving to a New Home Smoother for Your Dog

Our dogs are part of the family and, as such, need special consideration when we plan for a move. Just as we anticipate the number of bedrooms for each family member, we must think of our dog’s needs, too. Here are some ways you can make moving to a new home a breeze for everyone.

Read the Fine Print

When moving somewhere new with a dog, you have extra considerations. For example, there could be laws against certain breeds or strict city restrictions on the number of pets you can have. So, before you pack your bags, do a little digging to determine whether the city you’re considering is a good fit. Once you have this decided, you can start researching neighborhoods

HOAs may also have regulations, so talk to your real estate agent about the best locations, and scope out the neighborhood yourself. Are other people walking dogs? Are there dog parks? Do they have waste bags and plenty of trash cans? These are indications you’re in a pet-friendly space, making it easier for you and your pup to assimilate. 

Lastly, when looking for the right place, it may be difficult to tick off all the boxes on your checklist, and you may need to compromise to find the perfect home for your budget

Knowing the average cost of a home in the area where you’re looking can guide your financial choices. 

Local Moving Tips

Even if you’re just moving across town, your dog may have a hard time. In particular, their home will be all packed up, movers will have invaded their space, and they won’t know what’s going on. The best you can do is to make the car ride as pleasant as possible. To start, get them used to driving around with you by turning it into a routine rather than something to be scared of. For their safety and comfort, buy them a good harness (which you can find on Walmart starting at $9.99). Lastly, give them anything that you know can keep them calm. That might mean their favorite toy, a T-shirt with your smell, or some medicinal or herbal help in the form of pheromones and mild sedatives.

Long-Distance Moving Tips

A longer car ride means preparing for all of the above and more. Pack water and snacks for your pup to ensure they stay comfortable on the trip. Best of all, healthy foods like blueberries, kale, beef, turkey, and fish can all have a comforting effect, so consider having those items on hand. Additionally, by planning out your rest stops, you’ll be able to gauge where the best places for breaks are. Some are friendlier to dogs than others, so researching ahead of time is essential.

Be Ready for Moving Day

If you’re concerned about your dog escaping out the open front door, it’s likely you’ll spend more time worried about your pup than the actual move. It’s quite possible your pup may have a traumatic time on moving day if kept at home. After all, strangers will be coming and going and all the noise and movement will be unsettling. Ideally, it’s best if a friend can watch them, or you can try boarding your pet for the day. 

Help Your Dog Adjust

A new environment will be hard for your dog, so do everything you can to keep their routine on track. In fact, going on regular walks will help them become familiar with the neighborhood and reduce their anxiety. Try to also stick to regular feeding times and play times, just so your pup can count on continuity. 

It may not be easy, but the right preparation can make the moving experience smoother. Know what your dog needs, plan well for the packing and moving, and help your dog adjust to their new surroundings. Remember, while you may be excited, they’ll likely feel uncomfortable with these changes, so take extra care with their anxiety levels.

Image Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Top 3 Calming Exercises for Anxious Dogs

adorable-animal-breed-731022 (1)

Many dogs are sent to shelter home due to their anxiety problems that develop due to hyperactivity. On the other hand, dogs that are brought home from animal shelters have behavior issues like barking, digging, destructive chewing, etc. The problem, in both cases, is not with dogs but with the owners who fail to provide enough opportunities to their Fido to invest their pent-up energies positively.

Did you ever think of trying out some calming exercises for your pooch? Here are three ways to tone down the excessive energy of dogs:

  1. Doga:

Doga has calming effects on both the dog owner and the pooch. Although dogs are not able to imitate the stretches and poses of their yogi owners, still they feel calm at the end of a yoga session. The bonding between the owner and the dog gets stronger. The owners are able to better understand their Fido’s body language. They will be able to train the pooch in a more calm and controlled manner.

Doga helps dogs invest their energies in calming exercises. Your pooch will feel relaxed after doga class. Try it out for your anxious and hyperactive dog.

  1. Routine and Familiarity:

Unfamiliar situations and environments, as well as haphazard routines, are known to create confusions in the pooch’s mind. It may create anxiety that will lead to destructive chewing and excessive barking, etc.

Dogs enjoy following routines. They feel uncomfortable when their set schedule is not followed. Routines help a dog wait for the play, walk or exercise time patiently. Consistency in daily routine activities will keep the pooch relaxed. Are you following the routine of your dog?

Sometimes dog owners do not maintain routine of giving food to the pooch. Whether you serve raw dog food or dry kibble, maintain a fixed time. One day giving food via treat dispensing toys and the other day in food bowls can also upset the little pooch. Dogs need surety about everything. Or else, they stay anxious whether they will have it or not!

If you are an adventure lover, your dog can feel anxious in unfamiliar places. To maintain the familiarity, take the Fido’s favorite chewing cloth that has your scent and of home. Give him a chew toy, familiar bowl, familiar bed, and blanket to stay calm and comfortable at unknown places or new home.

  1. Music or Smart Toys:

Some dogs are not hyperactive but are rather intelligent dog breeds. They need something for their mental stimulation. Find out some puzzles, buster cubes, interactive toys, Kongs to keep the pooch busy during your absence. Stuff them with their favorite treat so they may stay motivated to solve the puzzle.

Whether it’s a thunderstorm or fireworks that makes your pooch anxious and restless, it will not worry your Fido anymore. Simply, turn on some soft music in the room. A study conducted by Physiology and Behavior says that dogs feel relaxed and calm when the sound of soft rock or reggae fills the room. During unfamiliar situations or stressful ones, playing the soothing soft rock music will definitely improve your dog’s behavior.

Before you decide to leave your cute cuddle ball in an animal shelter, consider trying these tricks to calm his nerves. Sometimes, medications work for toning down dog’s anxiety.

Would you like being left alone for your bad behaviors that developed due to certain circumstances other had created for you?

Do Dogs Cry Like Us?

When dogs get upset, do they cry real tears like we do? Do they even have tear ducts? Our dog’s language is extremely intriguing. And, although they don’t talk the same language as us, they still have ways to communicate their feelings.

We all know when our dog is happy… but do they cry when they’re upset? Do their feelings get hurt?

A Dog’s Tear Ducts

Yes, dogs do have tear ducts like us. And, anyone who has a Maltese, or a Poodle, can attest to that. They are particularly apparent if your dog is pure white. Dog lovers who have a Maltese or Poodle are continuously wiping off the corner of their dog’s eyes due to their tear staining.

maltesedogbehaviorblog

Other breeds may also have excessive drainage from their eyes. In technical terms, this phenomenon is known as epiphora.

Tear Types and the Emotions

There are two types of tears humans and dogs share. These tears are known as basal tears and reflexive tears. Basal tears are continuously produced to keep the eye moist. Reflexive tears protect the eyes from allergens or any type of irritant.

Then, there are emotional tears. Dogs don’t share these with us. Emotional tears begin when we (humans) are overwhelmed, frustrated, or generally emotional. A dog’s tear ducts do not allow them to produce emotional tears. But, even though dogs don’t cry ‘tears’ when they’re upset, they still have their own way of letting us know.

Why Does My Dog Look Like She’s Crying?

If your dog looks as if she is crying, this could be due to a medical condition. The causes of ‘dog tears’ include the following:

  • Allergies: Allergies can cause a dog’s eye(s) to water… just like us. If your dog has allergies, your veterinarian should be contacted so you’re able to determine what she or he is allergic to.
  • Blocked Tear Ducts: If your dog’s tear ducts are blocked, you may notice what appears to be tears leaving his eyes.
  • Scratched Cornea: If your dog is active, there’s a possibility she may be ‘crying’ due to a scratched cornea. If your dog has a scratched cornea, she might also be blinking excessively.
  • Irritants: There could be a speck of dirt in your dog’s eye, or some other type of irritant, causing tears.

Do Dogs Understand When We Cry?

Yes, research has found dogs respond to our tears. They know when we’re upset based on our facial expressions and the tone of our voice. Research has gone so far to say many dogs can understand how we’re feeling without even seeing us in person. They’re able to tell by a picture.

The Bottom Line

Even though it might look as if your dog is sad, and crying emotional tears, your dog isn’t truly ‘crying’ the way do. If you notice tears coming from your dog’s eyes, make an appointment with your veterinarian to find out the cause.

6 Steps to Potty Training Your Puppy

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Young puppies have an extremely hard time holding their bladder and will need to relieve themselves frequently. Potty training isn’t an easy process, but with time and dedication, you’ll have a much easier time as your pup gets older.

Potty training should begin the moment you pick up your puppy. This will help her get on the right track, sooner. Although she may have accidents, she will begin to understand what is expected of her. And, this will mean less clean-up for you. In this article, we’ll go through the steps of potty training… the ‘do’s,’ and the ‘do not’s.’

Step 1: Praise Your Puppy Excessively

Being required to go potty in a designated area is new to any dog. A dog’s instincts don’t tell them they’re not permitted to use the bathroom inside the house. Their instincts tell them to find an area where they don’t sleep or eat, and use the bathroom there, whether inside or outside.

That’s why it’s so important to praise your dog excessively when he uses the potty outside. Your dog needs your feedback to be successful in potty training (and all other types of training). Be sure to praise your puppy immediately after they potty outside… or else they won’t know what you’re praising them for.

The praise can be in the form of an excited “yay, good job,” a yummy low-calorie treat or kibble, or both. Many dog lovers carry around a handful of kibble in their pockets out of their puppy’s daily portions.

Step 2: Utilize a Crate

There’s controversy in the dog world about using crates… some dog lovers want a crate and others feel it’s not necessary. But, the crate essentially becomes your dog’s ‘den’ or ‘safe space.’ The crate is also helpful because puppies don’t like to use the bathroom where they sleep.

The crate should have a soft layer of padding to it. A dog bed generally works just fine. The crate should be large enough for your puppy to stand up and move around, but not large enough for your pup to relieve himself and move to another spot to sleep.

You can also place toys in the crate with your puppy so they’re able to play if they get bored. Mental puzzle toys, and some type of chew toy, are usually best. The Kong toys work extremely well, they’re mentally stimulating, and puppies generally can’t rip them to shreds. One of the biggest mistakes puppy parents make is grabbing a toy that looks neat, but their puppy shreds the toy into small pieces and end up swallowing parts of the toy. This could lead to a blockage… and we don’t want that to happen.

For this step, it’s critical to note that puppies should not stay in their crates for long periods of time. The crate should only be utilized when you’re not able to pay attention to your puppy. Then, once their potty trained, you can leave the door to their crate open so they’re able to freely enter and exit.

Step 3: No Punishments

Punishing your puppy for urinating or defecating on the floor can do more harm than good. By the time you find out your puppy has had an accident, your pup likely doesn’t remember what they did. And, even if you catch them in the act, punishing your puppy could permanently damage the bond and trust they have with you.

Staying calm when they have an accident is essential. You shouldn’t yell, chase, or smack your puppy. You also shouldn’t ‘rub his nose in it.’ Not only will you lose their trust, but they will associate going potty with punishment and may resort to using the bathroom in areas you won’t find.

Some dog lovers will argue, ‘but rubbing her nose in it works.’ And, yes… sometimes it does. But, you risk the bond you will have with her for the rest of her life by using punishment as a learning method.

Step 4: Show Her Where to Go

If you catch your puppy in the act, instead of punishing, try to re-direct her attention. You can re-direct her attention by saying “let’s go potty outside” or something similar. Then, immediately bring her outside to show her where it’s okay to use the bathroom. Then, once she uses the bathroom in your designed area, that’s when you can excessively praise her. She will connect the dots, and learn you are happy when she uses the bathroom in that particular area.

Step 5: Don’t Overuse Puppy Pads

You can, and should, have puppy pads in the house while you’re training your pup. But, you shouldn’t set them up in multiple areas around the house. This is confusing to a puppy, and they won’t understand why it’s not okay to use the bathroom in the house. They also may not be able to distinguish between a puppy pad and an area rug, or why she’s allowed to use the bathroom in some areas of the home but not others.

Step 6: Establish a Routine

Establishing a routine with any puppy or adult dog is critical. Dogs have a great sense of time, and if you have a set routine it will make potty training much easier. For example, if you always take her potty after she eats, she will understand after she eats she goes potty outside. This may take time- so don’t get upset if she doesn’t immediately understand the routine. Don’t worry- she will.

The Bottom Line on Potty Training

The most important step you should be aware of in this process is to always be positive with your puppy. Dogs and puppies are eager to please you. They want to make you happy as often as possible. Also, understand every dog is different, and some puppies may take longer than others to learn what’s expected of them.

7 Tips for Choosing the Best Dog Toys

Would you buy your 6 month old baby a nerf gun or an easy bake oven; of course not.

How do you decide what kind of toys to buy for your fur baby? Is it better to buy a bunch of cheaper toys so they will have more to choose from or a few that will last (hopefully) and be safe for them?

dogtoys

Tip #1: The Size of the Dog

More than the age of your dog, their size should be taken into consideration.  If you buy a toy for a small dog that fits their mouth, that same toy could get hung in a larger dog’s throat and choke them – to death.

Tip #2: Dog-Proofing the Home

Another thing to help keep your fur baby safe is the same as having a toddler in your home. You should make sure not to have strings, ribbons, pantyhose, or rubber bands within reach. These items WILL be eaten and they are not digestible. I am learning this even when buying the toys made of string which MY dog has ingested. She sometimes has to have help getting the strings to come out (not a pretty picture). Point in fact, don’t buy string balls, toys that have the string inside of them to make them stronger, etc.

Tip #3: Don’t Buy Rawhide for Your Dog

Some people believe that all the rawhide chewing toys are a good thing for any dog but there are things to watch for on this also. Asking your veterinarian would be a good idea to make sure which ones would be safe since some could come apart and cause your dog to choke. On top of that some rawhides have unsafe byproducts that come from the cruel international fur trade. It is better to be safe and a humane alternative to buy the hard rubber toys. These last longer and are safer. For my pittie, I buy Kong and they definitely last longer than normal toys. She also has a Nylabone that has lasted now for about six months (peanut flavor). There are different sizes in these also for different size dogs. For any toy that you buy be careful of when they are beginning to come apart so your dog doesn’t try to eat it and get choked.

Tip #4: Encourage Mental Stimulation

If you want to keep your puppy/grown dog busy for a while and distracted there are also distraction toys. These are toys that you can put treats in the middle of and they play to get these treats by moving the toy around.

Tip # 5: Comfort Toys

Soft stuffed toys are good for several purposes, but they aren’t appropriate for all dogs. Here are a few tips for choosing the right stuffed toy:

  • Some dogs like to carry around soft toys. If your dog sees their toy as a companion, pick one that’s small enough to carry.
  • Some dogs want to shake or “kill” their toys, so choose one that’s large enough to prevent accidental swallowing and sturdy enough to withstand the dog’s attacks.

Dirty laundry, such as an old t-shirt, pillowcase, towel or blanket, can be very comforting to a dog, especially if the item smells like you! Be forewarned that the item could be destroyed by industrious fluffing, carrying and nosing.

Tip #6: Making Toys Last

Rotate your dog’s toys weekly by making only a few toys available at a time. Keep a variety of types easily accessible. If your dog has a favorite, like a soft comfort toy,  you may want to leave it out all the time.

Provide toys that serve a variety of purposes — give your dog at least one toy to carry, one to shake, one to roll and one for comfort.

Tip #7: Let Your Pup Find It

“Found” toys are often much more attractive than toys that are obviously introduced. A game of finding toys or treats is a good rainy-day activity for your dog, using up energy without the need for a lot of space.

The Bottom Line on Toys

Many of your dog’s toys should be interactive. Interactive play is very important for your dog because they need active “people time,” which enhances the bond between you and your pet. Try balls, flying disks and other toys that help foster the bond between person and pet.

By focusing on a specific task —such as repeatedly returning a ball, Kong, or Frisbee® or playing “hide-and-seek” with treats or toys — your dog can expend pent-up mental and physical energy from boredom in a limited amount of time and space. For young, high-energy and untrained dogs, interactive play also offers an opportunity for socialization and helps them learn about appropriate and inappropriate behavior, such as jumping up or being mouthy.

 

 

Let’s Hear From You: What Do You Need?

Hello, everyone! I’m so happy you’re here. As you can see, the Dog Behavior Blog has been completely revamped. As I was sitting down to write an article for you, there are so many ideas popping through my head. But, before I write another article, I want to hear from you.

What do you need help with? What questions do you have? This is your opportunity to ask your questions, and allow me to address them in an article, or perhaps a series of articles, so you (and your fellow dog lovers) can learn more about their dogs.

As a professional in the industry, you sometimes skip over the most common questions. What’s familiar to you may not be familiar to someone ‘outside the box….’ if you know what I mean.

And, on top of your questions, is there anything you hope Canine Companions will offer in the future? Are you looking for a specific e-course, e-book, instruction sheet, recipes, etc?

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I can’t wait to hear from you.

Amber L Drake