Category - General

Q&A: Why will my dog only potty inside?

Buffy was doing great at our previous home in terms of going potty outside. She had a fenced in backyard and went without any issues. She had accidents inside the house, but they were always close to the door to the backyard. We had to relocate to a downtown apartment last week. She walks on her leash 3 times a day and refuses to go potty outside. There is a dog park near our apartment we take her to on these walks where she can run free, and she still refuses to go there! She will only go to the bathroom inside our apartment. She goes on walks with her older dog sister Bella. We have reinforced pottying outside by giving Bella treats each time she goes outside, and we make sure to do this so Buffy can see Bella getting the treats as reward for pottying. We are at our wits’ end! Spanking, yelling, saying no, walks, and sitting at the dog park for 30 to 45 minutes are all NOT working!~Caroline

Potty training can be a difficult task, especially with smaller dog breeds – somehow it takes more time for smaller dogs. For the owner of Buffy I would recommend to take a step back and basically forget how good Buffy was in her previous home. Use a potty pad, but do the regular 3 times a day walks, just like the potty pad wasn’t there. Put the pad relatively close to the door, easily reachable for Buffy, and make sure she feels safe. At first, if an accident happens anywhere else than the pad, put it on the pad and leave it there for half an hour before changing the pad – but clean the place where the accident was immediately.

NEVER shout and get angry with the pup when accidents happen.

Pottying is a time when the dog is very vulnerable. She is there, doing her thing, and couldn’t immediately run away if there were danger. That’s why many dogs look in their owners eyes when pooping. To make sure they are safe. It may be ridiculous to us, but it is serious to them. Give her time to get used to the new place, the new smells, the new objects, the sounds of traffic, meeting other dogs and stuff like that. Do everything you can to make sure that only good things happen on walks. If she is good with the potty pad, you can take one with you on walks, because it is familiar to her, and she may do her thing on that outside (some people won’t understand, but it’s about you and the pup, not them).

The other thing is timing. Always go on walks around 20-30 minutes after eating. On this walk, Buffy shouldn’t run and jump, because it can mess up her digestion, but this is the time it is most likely that she needs to pee or poop.

Don’t let food out for the day, there should be 2 (if she is more than a year old, one, if she is less than half, 3) times when she gets food, and if she doesn’t eat it, you should put it away. Don’t worry, in some days she will learn that this is the time to eat, she won’t starve herself.

With only this much information, these are the best advice I can give.

(Btw reinforcing the other dog when she potty outside is a very good thing 🙂 )

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!

 

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!

What Dogs Experience When Their Owners Go on Vacation

Dog owners dread leaving their furry buddies at home alone. Bidding them goodbye and hearing them whimper in response can be heartbreaking! The only thing owners can do is to put their mind at ease, knowing they’ll eventually return home.

But this is actually more than just missing each other. IFLScience elaborates on how much stress your dog goes through when it realizes it is left alone. It was revealed that the first 30 minutes of isolation is the most stressful for your pooch. For some dogs, however, the stress remains until the owner comes home.

You can detect the increase of stress levels by observing the dog even before you step out the door. Pet scientist Alice Potter explained, “The most common behavioral signs of separation-related behavior are destructive behavior often targeted at the door the owner leaves through, various types of vocalizations (howling, barking and whining), defecating and urinating.” Other signs are more subtle, like pacing and excessive salivation. Dogs may urinate as well to relieve the stress.

No matter how frequently you leave the house, your canine friends might still find it difficult to get used to being left alone. But they will pick up the cues that tell them you’re about to leave such as getting the keys, walking towards the front door, putting shoes on, and more. Once they are familiar with these signs, the stress then settles in earlier. Just like humans, some dogs handle it better than others.

There are several ways to make the situation less stressful for dogs. We’ve shared some advice here on DTB on how to keep clingy dogs comfortable when left alone. The gist is to train your dog in such a way that he or she will get used to not being around you. You can achieve this by rewarding them when they stay put. It’s also recommended to leave a lot of dog toys to keep them occupied. This way, there will be less destruction on house furniture.

Another great way to lower a dog’s stress levels is to take him or her out for a walk before you leave. Exercise can help calm the dog by tiring him or her out, meaning he or she may take a nap while you’re away. This can also keep the dog’s brain healthy, in the same way a person feels exhilarated after a good workout. In case you’ll be too busy to do this on your own, BetaKit suggests an alternative would be to get in touch with a dog walker. They mentioned Go Fetch as an example, which allows owners to browse through profiles of “walkers”. This is to give an owner the chance to assess the person, which is a potentially good match for their beloved pet. As for your part on the other hand, you must first consider if your pup is well-socialized.

Realistically speaking, you can’t always take your dog with you in every vacation. Thankfully for times like these, solutions such as the ones highlighted above can help alleviate your fur baby’s separation anxiety.

Stop – read this before you feed your dog

Thanks to that Oreo’s advert, we all know that chocolate isn’t good for dogs, but did you know that onions are bad for dogs, too?

So bad, in fact, that they can lead to anemia in dogs. But onions aren’t the only thing to look out for – Garlic and corn on the cob can be just as dangerous.

You can find out what else your dog should not eat in this handy guide we’ve put together before you take that delicious dinner out to your pup.

Is there anything your dog cannot eat? Anything s/he loves to eat? Let us know about your pooches dietary delights in the comments below.

Consistency | Dog Training

 

There are a few things that you need to know before you start training your dog, but this may just be one of the most important –

What was the most important part of your dog training?

The Best Dog Training Advice

Last week we asked our readers to share the best dog training advice they’d ever received.

Image via here

First to share with us was Helen Nicks:

“The best dog training advice I ever received was to use a ‘Halti’ type collar to stop pulling on the lead. Worked wonders!”

Have you been given any great advice? Share it with us below!

It’s Your Turn

Every week between the Q&A’s and doggy insights we post a handy tip on our website to help you and your dog get along a little better.

Now we’re turning the tables and asking you – our loyal, dog-loving readers – to share your tips with us.

What is the best dog advice you’ve ever received?

Comment below or email us and we’ll make sure your tips are posted for the rest of our readers to learn from (with your name, of course).

And hey, if you want to throw in a photo of you and your best furry friend, you know we won’t object.

Dogs and Fireworks

How to keep your dogs ears safe from big bangs

Halloween is upon us, and, while it is not usually a time for big bangs and displays of light, you might encounter the odd firework or two.

Now, we all know that dogs and fireworks don’t go together, and that dogs hear things a lot louder than humans do, so we thought we’d put together a list of tips to help you and your dog through any unexpectedly bright Halloween celebrations.

The first, and perhaps the easiest thing to – but something that only works if you know the fireworks are coming – is to make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise during the day.

Make sure your dog has a safe and comfortable place to take refuge inside your house.

Try to keep your dog in a calm state – this means keeping stimulation to a minimum. Cover the crate or draw the blinds and keep him/her subdued with lots of tummy scratches. A Kong or favorite chew toy will be a good distraction, and a healthy activity for your dog.

If you must use a sedative, make sure it is something prescribed by or recommended by your vet.

Finally, make sure you prepare yourself for fireworks. Humans can easily transfer their feelings, shock or anxiety so try keep your cool.

Good luck!

 

Is there something that helps your dog get through festive fireworks? Let us know

 

Dogs & Water | How much do dogs drink?

Left to their own devices, and with a free supply of water, a dog will drink as much water as they need to without needing to be prompted.

However, leaving a dog with access to an unlimited supply of water is not always an option… so how much water should you leave for your dog?

The type of dog you have, the size of your dog, age of your dog and general health of your dog all come into play when figuring out how much dogs drink. The basic rule is that your dog should drink an ounce for every pound s/he weighs, but this is just that, a basic rule.

There are dog breeds, like Mastiffs, that produce a lot of saliva and drink a large amount of water.

Naturally, play time and warm weather will make your dog drink a little more than normal, but it could also be a sign of illness or infection – your dog may be trying to flush out toxins.

If you’re not sure, your vet will be able to give you some advice so your pooch stays well hydrated.

Drinking a lot of water is fine, but keep an eye out for drinking far more than normal, or a lot less than normal – both signs that you need to visit your vet.

How much water does your dog drink? Do you give him/her free access to water or do you fill up a bowl as needed?

Let us know in the comments below.