Author - Junior Watson

Q&A: How long should we use the pee pads?

We are picking up our new Yorkie puppy in 2 days! She is 8 weeks. She’s been using a pee pad in her current home and has done very well, meaning going on the pad exclusively. But this week has pooped a couple of times off the pad and out of the pen area. That’s her history. We want to train her to go outside. My question is do we train her first to use pee pads in our house and then later to switch to outside? And if so how long do you use the pee pads before switching to outside? I’m hoping you say skip the pee pads and just start training her outside right away. This has been an on-going debate in our family of four.~Heather

It is always preferable to train the puppy outside initially so he does not begin a habit of eliminating in the house. To do this you must be willing and able to take the puppy outside frequently throughout the day, ideally after eating meals, for about 20 minutes or until he goes, first thing in the morning and before bedtime. Until the pup gets the idea you will also have to take him out every hour or two. It is helpful to train him to ‘go’ on a newspaper so that he understands more easily what to do. So the first time he goes outside, slip a paper under him when he urinates so it catches some of his odor. Then next time, take the same paper and let him sniff it to get the idea, place it on the ground and keep taking him back to it until he goes on it. This will take patience and you can expect to take up to two weeks for him to really start being reliable about it. Present ‘used’ paper to him at first until he gets the idea. Then gradually reduce the size of the paper until it is no longer needed, Observe your puppy through the day so you get to know his internal schedule of elimination, to avoid mistakes.

Because your puppy has been going on puppy pads, start by placing a paper over the pad and let him use it. Then begin the outdoor training.

Puppies cannot hold their urine as long as grown dogs, so keep this in mind. He may have accidents overnight. Many people keep pups in a comfortable crate overnight as they do not like to soil close quarters. Do not let him wait too long in the morning to go out – it’s worthwhile setting the alarm at the beginning and avoiding mistakes in the house!

 

Teach Your Dog to Heel in Three Easy Steps

Q&A: How to keep my dog from chasing cars when walking him?We’ve all seen the human and dog walking through the neighborhood that begs the question: who is walking whom? Either the dog is several feet ahead, excitedly straining at the leash as its owner frantically yells, “slow down!”, or the dog is lagging behind as the owner walks on, oblivious until the leash runs out of length and forces a stop.

A dog that strains at its leash or lags behind has not yet learned the all important “heel” command. While this behavior may seem cute in a curious puppy, it poses a great risk as dogs get older. Large breeds will be hard to physically control, while smaller breeds could become tangled under feet or in the extended leash length.

Ideally, a dog should walk next to its owner. A dog’s paws should be about even with the owner’s legs and feet, giving the dog room to explore visually while keeping him clearly within arm’s reach of the owner.

The good news is that whether you have a new puppy or a stubborn adult dog, you can teach your pet to heel! Teaching a dog to heel takes patience and confidence, but the reward of a relaxing and fun walk is well worth the investment!

Supplies Needed:
Basic Training Leash (not a retractable leash)
Your dog’s favorite treats
Safe, enclosed training space, such as a living room, garage, or back yard

Step One: Begin by placing the leash on the dog and commanding the dog to sit. Firmly hold the other end of the leash in your hand, and wrap the excess so the dog has enough length to comfortably move about 8 inches in front of you.

Command the dog to stand up. If he lunges forward or wanders around, have him sit again, and practice sitting / standing until he stands still and waits for the next command. Reward your dog once he’s mastered this step.

Step Two: Walk the dog in a large circle. If he steps forward, calmly call out, “Heel!” and stop walking. Plant your feet firmly on the ground and hold the leash. Gently tug on the leash to remind your dog to stay within reach and to call him back to you. Once the dog has mastered this, let the leash out a few more inches and practice again.

Step Three: Once your dog is comfortable walking beside you in a small space, move to a larger area and add some “distractions” – lawn chairs, stuffed animals, potted plants. Practice walking around these items while keeping the dog next to you. Remember, if your dog moves out of ideal position, call out, “Heel!”, go back a few steps, and try again.

Now that you’ve mastered this basic command, walks will be safer and much more enjoyable for the both of you. Head outdoors and enjoy the sights and sounds of your community with confidence!

Q&A: Help! My Dog is Afraid of Trash Bags!

We have adopted a rescue dog that has obviously been abused in the past. One of her greatest fears is large, black, plastic bags. It makes it difficult to walk her on trash collection days when a number of homes have a big, black bag sitting by the curb. She balks at walking past them. We need to zig zag back and forth across the street to avoid them. What is the best way to teach her that she no longer needs to fear these big, black trash bags? ~Alice

First of all, congratulations on your newest family member, and thank you for adopting a rescue dog! These dogs, regardless of breed, often have unique issues that may take time to overcome. Also, not knowing the dog’s full history can make it difficult to identify potential challenges until they arise, seemingly out of nowhere.

It’s important to remember that the reaction is based on association. Pavlov conditioned his dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell. Similarly, it sounds as if your rescue has a conditioned response to large, black, plastic bags. Fortunately, conditioned responses can often be successfully removed or redirected with patience and consistency.

For this situation, we suggest overcoming the fear in stages.

Begin by purchasing a box of the bags that affect your dog. Place the box on the ground in an area that your dog considers to be a safe location, and allow her to smell, examine, and interact with the box. Observe her reactions, and provide soothing encouragement and treats once she exhibits the behavior you desire. Repeat for several days until you are satisfied with her response.

Next, take out one plastic bag and lay it flat on the floor. Again, allow her to smell it, examine it, and interact with it (safely and under supervision, of course!). The goal is to show her that there is nothing to fear. At the same time, practice walking around the flat trash bag. Put her on the leash and practice walking past it, next to it, and even over it in the safety of your home or yard.

From there, you can progress to filling the bag, then setting up an obstacle course in your yard with several bags. Eventually, you’ll be able to progress to confidently walking the neighborhood on trash day.

Remember that your attitude and reaction are vitally important during walks. You are the alpha dog in her pack, and she will follow your lead. Exude confidence and control, and she will trust you and follow suit. Before you know it, running from trash bags will be a distant memory!

Q&A: How to stop my dog from yapping when she’s excited

dog-jumpingI inherited an eight year old Chihuahua/Poodle mix. She has energy. She likes everyone. She gets so excited when she sees other dogs that she yaps uncontrollably. How can I train her to eliminate this behavior? ~Sally

This is a common behavior issue that many dog owners face. While there  are many people who want a dog who will bark, there are also those who don’t want them to. Barking is like so many dog behaviors, in that there is a time and a place for it to be appropriate and times for dogs to not bark. When a dog starts to bark to the point of them losing control, it’s become an inappropriate action.

To answer this question, first we need to look at some of the reasons why the dogs may react this way. All dogs have what is called a threshold when it comes to stimuli. The threshold basically is the distance the dog needs to be from stimuli to not react. Some dogs can go over threshold when they see another dog at the other end of the block, while others are calm right up until a parade and marching band goes by. Every dog’s threshold is unique, as are the stimuli that push the dog over threshold.

When a dog is pushed over threshold, they typically have three basic reactions. First reaction is to run away or flight. The second one is to try to fight it off, and the third is to freeze in hopes of becoming invisible against the scary thing.  Each dog has different stimuli that will set them off. Some react to fireworks, while others go bonkers at the sight of a rabbit. It sounds like the little dog above is stimulated by other dogs.

Your first step with this problem is to figure out how close the dog can get to  another dog before starting to bark and yap. In the beginning, it may be fairly far away, like across the park or a  few blocks away.  This will not be a problem that goes away quickly and will take lots of dedication from all members of the family. What we are looking for from the dog is a counter emotional response. Right now, her emotional response to seeing another dog is to bark uncontrollably, but we would like for her to sit and wait for the other dog to approach.

Your second step is to set up a successful interaction. Find a friend or dog trainer with a calm and collected dog. Have them hang out in a certain spot, and maybe walk around. This is where being in a park is a good thing, as they can go back and forth. Keep your dog far enough away that she does not go over threshold. It is ok if she notices the other dog. In fact, we want her to, without her barking!

You will need your dog on a leash and collar. No reason to have her on a chain collar. A flat buckle or harness are all you need. When your dog notices the other dog but does not bark, start treating her. You can use whatever kind of treats are very high value for her. Some dogs can be distracted with kibble, but most will need something better, like soft dog treats, small bites of cheese or chicken. As long as she is quiet, keep treating. Right now, the only criteria you have is quiet.

As your dog starts to look at you and not at the other dog, move her forward a bit. If she starts to bark, move back to where she was not barking. Always move her closer to the other dog during training times. The goal here is to set her up for success and not to test her limits. You can keep moving her forward and treat her for calm, quiet, desirable behavior. As she gets to where she can be closer to another dog, you can have your friend bring their dog closer and allow the other dog to sniff yours, as you treat. She is learning that being calm means good things are happening and that she still gets to meet other dogs. The only criteria to ask of your dog is that she is quiet. She doesn’t need to make eye contact or sit. Later, you can add these behaviors in when quiet becomes a default behavior for her.

If she is calm as another dog approaches, she can even be allowed to go off leash and play with the other dog, assuming this is rewarding for her. If not, treats are plenty.  It sounds like she wants to meet other dogs, but many small dogs will bark at other dogs as a defensive tactic. They actually do know how small and vulnerable they are,  but they try to intimidate other dogs to stay away.

Before you get her to this point, it is up to the handler to set her up for success. Are there times of day lots of other people and dogs are walking? Walk at a different time or take a different route. Does she sit in the window and yap? Crate her and don’t allow her to look out the window until she can handle it. Some people even have had great success with putting filmy plastic over their windows so their dogs can’t see out as well.  Finally, she may have learned this behavior out of boredom. A tired dog is a better dog, so lots of walks, training sessions and puzzle toys to help her use her mind. Dogs really do want to please, most just need to be shown how to and that there is value in doing as they are asked.

These Five Artists’ Renderings of Dogs Will Make You Want to Hug Your Pup

Man’s best friend— a constant companion at your side and a constant source of inspiration as an artist’s muse. Dogs have been depicted in art for centuries; their loyalty, strength,work ethic and love endless fodder for artists to use as both subject and symbol. Today, artists include our four-legged friends in their painting, photography, sculpture, video and drawings, each with their own voice and understanding of the animal. We’ve complied a list of five of our favorite artists who have put fido front and center in their art.

Photographer Anna Sychowicz’s photos of dogs are super saturated, dreamy portraits that are packed full of emotion. It’s the adoration and sweetness we see every time we look at our own pets, only forever captured through a photographer’s lens. She’s elevated the simple pet portrait to something more dynamic and artistic with her use of color and setting; brown dogs pop off the image against vivid purple and become moody and stoic in a darkened barn.XG3D2067-575079ee3bf69__880

Yet another photographic series comes from Aaron Summerfield with Pet Peeves, albeit with a slightly sillier bent. In the series, you see Summerfield’s Boston Terrier/Frenchie mix Peeve, doing all manner of naughty things in the photographer’s house; all things the mischievous pup had gotten into at one point or another previously. Summerfield so cleverly and sweetly captures the bad behaviors any dog owner knows too well— peeing on the floor, drinking from the toilet, chewing shoes and licking everything in sight.

Summerfield_Pet-Peeves_1

In a slightly creepy but nonetheless fun turn, there are Tom Campbell’s 120 papier-mache dogs. The Irish artist created these doggie sculptures for the Kinsale Arts Festival in County Cork Ireland with the help of a team of volunteers. After creating the pack of dogs, the artist and his team scattered them around the town during the festival, to the delight of locals and tourists alike. The dogs were of all breeds and in all forms— poodles running, labs sleeping and terriers playing. Campbell encouraged the public to interact with the dogs which made for some seriously funny (and weird) formations throughout the entirety of the festival, like the dog pile on the beach or the single line formation down the street.

191c6425385922.5604c23939602Gloria Najecki couldn’t give herself a more fitting moniker with Gloria Paints Dogs— the woman paints a lot of dogs. Her work is straightforward and uncomplicated but with incredible depth and skill. She understands both the physical and emotional complexities of the dogs she paints, from  getting the texture of their fur just right to capturing their personalities with paint.

GloriaDogs5-CI-060915The only thing cuter than a tiny dachshund is a giant dachshund and author Mitch Boyer is capitalizing on this truth in his latest children’s book, Vivian the Dog Moves to Brooklyn. Currently a Kickstarter project, the book is meant to help children deal with change in their own lives, as Vivian navigates the Big Apple after moving there from New Mexico. Vivian and her owner are captures in a series of sweet, fun photos, from taking selfies at the Brooklyn Bridge to cuddling on the couch in a high rise with New York City buildings in the background. Not only is it a engaging, thoughtful way to show kids that change doesn’t have to be bad, it’s also cleverly and artistically shot with Vivian towering over her owner in each photo.

bridge-e1466459591508Don’t hesitate to capture your best friend in your artistic style – and share it, like the people did above, on sites that take art submissions!

How You Feed Your Dog Can Affect Training

dog-biscuitsDid you know that how you feed our dog can actually affect their training? A dog’s feeding routine is one of the first questions I’ve always asked my clients about, and so many hadn’t been aware of the impact that food, and how it’s served can have on behavior and the training process. Sometimes, implementing a small change during that first visit makes a big difference very quickly. Most dogs are fed one of two ways. “Free-feeding”, or leaving a bowl of food out at all times or for several hours at a time for the dog to eat whenever they want, is one. The other is serving food at regular mealtimes. Food is offered at somewhat regular times and either eaten right away, or taken up after a certain amount of time if not eaten. For example, you feed your dog in the morning while you get ready for work, but pick it up before you leave, eaten or not. I have always recommended to my clients to feed their dogs meals, if possible, rather than free-feeding. This has several benefits.

A HUGE HELP IN HOUSE-TRAINING

Feeding habits should always considered in  the house training strategy. Free feeding can sabotage your new pet. Feeding regular meals will help establish a generally regular poop schedule. For puppies, that means you will have a good idea of when a big potty time is coming, before an accident happens – and setting your puppy up to succeed is the most important part of house training.

MOTIVATE YOUR DOG TO LEARN

Training your dog requires motivation on your dog’s part, and it’s up to you to find out what your dog will work best for. Something your dog really, really wants, AND that you can use to your advantage. It can be anything from a bite of a treat to a tennis ball or tug toy. Whatever gets your dog excited that you can also control. Food, naturally, is a very popular motivator used for training because it’s readily available and goes over very, very well with many dogs.

But what if your dog is hard to train because she doesn’t seem to care about anything you can offer? She ignores treats and is not ball-obsessed. It seems that if you don’t leave food out, she’ll starve.  But actually, not having constant access to food should improve and encourage the development of a healthy appetite. This can really help with “only dogs”, who don’t have another dog around to “compete” with over food or toys.

When your dog looks forward to their dinner (and breakfast or lunch), mealtime becomes a fun and highly anticipated event, and you are the focus for what your dog needs and wants. Instead of the always-full “magic food bowl”, it’s YOU who brings the deliciousness. You have control of that resource and that gives you your dog’s attention. And that means more respect – and better learning!

OTHER BENEFITS

Controlling meals also lets you easily keep an eye on how much is being consumed. If you’re trying to manage weight, portions are easier to control. If there is any change in appetite, you’ll pick up on it right away, and that can give you an early warning that your dog may be sick. And administering medication may be easier because it’s more likely to be eaten with a relished meal.

Depending on your dog’s age and specific needs, you may serve your dog as often as several times a day (puppies need more frequent meals) or as little as just once a day. Almost all dogs can benefit from meals rather than free feeding; but there are exceptions. Some dogs with medical issues and certain breeds are much more likely to experience conditions like hypoglycemia. If there is any question, ask your vet! But if your dog is okay to do so, consider feeding meals instead of free-feeding for awhile, and see what a difference it can make for you and your dog. Let me know what changes you notice!

How You Feed Your Dog Can Affect Your Training

Q&A: How can I potty train my puppy when she can’t go outside yet?

How can I potty train my puppy when she can't go outside yet?I’ve adopted an 11wk old puppy from shelter, but she hasn’t had her shots and is unable to go outside for 2 months (in hindsight, I probably took in too much as u live in an apt on 3rd floor and it’s summertime) have had little Sally 12 days and she’s doing good using pee pads, How can I potty train her for outside or command if she’s unable to eliminate outside? I carry her out for fresh air and change of scenery twice a day but, in 2mts time she’ll be nearly 4 months and will she have to be retrained?

Thanks, I’m a bit confused and just want to start her off on right notes!!

Appreciate it,
Frances

Hi Frances,
Congratulations on your new family member! Housetraining a puppy can be tricky in an apartment, but with some time and effort, most puppies tend to pick up the basics fairly quickly, and it sounds like you’re off to a great start with Sally.

First of all, I would make sure that you get Sally up to date on her vaccinations as soon as possible – not only for the purpose of potty training her outdoors, but because exposure to new people and environments is very important for a puppy’s social development in the first few months.

In the meantime, there are a few ways that you can make the transition from puppy pads to outdoor potty time easier on both of you. Many dog owners don’t realize that puppies develop what we call a ‘substrate preference’ for elimination very early in life. That means that a puppy who initially learns to pee on grass will tend to prefer pottying on grass in the future, whereas a puppy who’s been taught to ‘go’ on pads learns that eliminating indoors on soft surfaces is acceptable. You can probably see how this could end up making Sally’s potty training confusing for her in the long run, right?

My suggestions are:

• If possible, take Sally out the same area outdoors every time you want her to eliminate, even if that means onto a balcony. This teaches her that elimination is an act that’s always done outside, no matter what.

• Remember to reward her each time she goes in the ‘right’ place

• Instead of teaching her to use puppy pads, bring her to a litter box filled with gravel, or a patch of artificial ‘potty training’ turf to do her business. These substrates are much more similar to what would naturally be found on the ground outside, making for a far less confused pup when you actually start taking her out of the apartment to eliminate.

• Teach Sally to go pee on command – it will help her with the transition to new and different potty areas as she gets older. You can use ‘go pee’ or a ‘hurry up’ cue to teach this behavior, but make sure to use the same phrase each time! When she starts to urinate, say your cue word or phrase, wait until she’s completely finished, and then reward her immediately with praise and a tasty treat. For the first few weeks, ONLY say the phrase if she’s actually in the process of going potty. Once she’s eliminating regularly with this routine, start saying the cue earlier (when she’s showing signs of having to go, like circling or sniffing the ground, for example), only rewarding her if she actually urinates. She’ll soon connect the command with the act of going potty, and you’ll be able to use the cue with her anywhere you go. Dogs aren’t typically able to poop on command, however, but it’s always good to assume that they’ll need to have a bowel movement after a meal or playtime.

Sally sounds like a delightful little puppy, and you must be excited to watch her grow and learn! With time, patience, and a consistent routine set by you, she’ll be learning an outdoor potty routine in no time.

Q&A: How to get my Dog to Stop Trying to Break Out of her Crate?

Hello, I was wondering how I could get my 1 1/2 year old pitbull to stop trying to break out of her crate? She chews the bars & the plastic piece in the bottom of it if she’s left in there all day while I’m at work. And then she chews the carpet after she’s got the plastic tore up. I’m thinking it’s some sort of separation issue maybe. Bc she sleeps with me and is never in her crate unless I’m not home (which is usually only when I’m at work from 9-5) she has destroyed every kennel I get and it’s driving me crazy! I put bones in the for her to chew on but that doesn’t make a difference. Any advice would help. Thank you!

-Casy

Hello, thanks for your message. I am sure this is a question many have. how to stop a puppy/dog nipping and biting

Crate training can be tricky sometimes. You have to make the crate appealing and fun looking to your dog. You can do this by putting in different toys, smells, tastes. For example a chamomile scented toy (chamomile is good for calming dogs) a tasty, yet healthy treat, and different textured blankets.

Once your dog goes inside by himself you have to reward him, this can be with affection and a very exaggerated “good boy!”. Each time he goes in the crate by himself you should wait a little longer to reward him. Please remember rewards don’t always have to be treats. But most important thing is to get him used to being in the crate whilst you are at home so he sees it less as a punishment.

If you are to leave your dog in the crate for a long period of time you should ensure you take him for a long walk beforehand to really tire him out and get some of that energy out. Pitbull types are known to be a little hyperactive.

Is there a reason why he has to be in the crate all day while you are at work? Maybe we can work through some other issues if this is the case 🙂 Thank you for your question, I hope this helps and if you have any queries, write back.

Q&A: Dogs with a traumatic past

Hi DTB

My family just took in a maltese that had been rescued from a neglectful home.

She is wonderful with our cats and our children. My eight year old actually seems to be her favorite person. She is quite sweet. However, she is very skittish, fearful of the leash and of putting anything onto her, making going outside difficult.

She is small and had most of her fur removed due to a flea infestation prior to our adoption. She needs to have some layers put on and to be comfortable with putting a leash on her, especially because she is house broken. However, she hides under the table whenever we try with either.

How do we get her to be less skittish, especially with layering up for the cold and using a leash?

 

Hi Lynn.

It sounds as if your poor little dog has had a traumatic past.

She is probably not used to being handled, and then when she has been handled, she may have been treated roughly.

You mentioned she really seems to like you child. It may be a good idea to have them make some attempts at ‘dressing’ her.

The dog needs time to build trust with you and gain more confidence. Often rescue dogs are skittish because of their past. The best thing you can do for her is be very calm and patient.

Never try to do anything quickly, or make any sudden or loud movements around her.

Use a confident tone to reassure it is ok, do not feed into her insecurity by using ‘baby talk’ with her.

Try and find a treat she really likes and lure her into the jacket/collar and leash with the food (you can try peanut butter, cheese, sandwich meat, etc) Maybe have your eight year old hold her while you try and do this. Again, remain calm and confident, and be very patient with her.

This will get easier in time, she just needs to understand that you are not going to hurt her.

Beth

Q&A: To leash, or not to leash

My family just took in a maltese that had been rescued from a neglectful home. She is wonderful with our cats and our children. My eight year old actually seems to be her favorite person.

She is quite sweet. However, she is very skittish, fearful of the leash and of putting anything onto her, making going outside difficult.

She is small and had most of her fur removed due to a flea infestation prior to our adoption. She needs to have some layers put on and to be comfortable with putting a leash on her, especially because she is house broken.

However, she hides under the table whenever we try with either. How do we get her to be less skittish, especially with layering up for the cold and using a leash? ~Lynn

Hi Lynn.

It sounds as if your poor little dog has had a traumatic past.

She is probably not used to being handled, and then when she has been handled, she may have been treated roughly.

You mentioned she really seems to like you child. It may be a good idea to have them make some attempts at ‘dressing’ her.

The dog needs time to build trust with you and gain more confidence. Often rescue dogs are skittish because of their past.

The best thing you can do for her is be very calm and patient. Never try to do anything quickly, or make any sudden or loud movements around her. Use a confident tone to reassure it is ok, do not feed into her insecurity by using ‘baby talk’ with her.

Try and find a treat she really likes and lure her into the jacket/collar and leash with the food (you can try peanut hotter, cheese, sandwich meat, etc).

Maybe have your eight year old hold her while you try and do this. Again, remain calm and confident, and be very patient with her. This will get easier in time, she just needs to understand that you are not going to hurt her.

Beth