Tag - Dog

How To Introduce A Rabbit to your Dog

Rabbits can usually mingle around with other pets pretty well, like for example a cat. However, it can be tricky if you are pairing a rabbit to the dog, as they are primarily very different. You see, dogs are primal by nature since they often regarded as predators when they are in the wild. Rabbits, on the other hand, are regarded as the prey! So it may seem very unlikely or even possible to pair up the rabbit to the dog, hence if you ever intend to introduce a rabbit to your dog, you will need to take extra precaution so that the unique grouping can work out. Here are the essential XX steps that you can take so that the entire procedure can be a stress-free one for your rabbit.

Prep the dog

When you bring the rabbit home for the first time, you should ensure that your dog is proper prepped for the occasion. By this, we mean that your dog should have been trained to respond to your commands, whether by using a training collar or by using a clicker. This is essential as you do not want the dog to rush to the rabbit at the first instance without responding to your command.

Choosing a proper place

To introduce the rabbit to the dog for the first time, always ensure that you have selected a place that is neutral, and this means selecting a place that is not frequented by the dog. Some examples are the kitchen or even in your bedroom, assuming if the dog is not allowed into both areas. This will help to ensure that the dog does not bring up its territorial senses.

Place rabbit in enclosure

Once you have decided on the neutral ground, place the rabbit into its enclosure and bring it into the area. At this point of time, the dog should not be present yet. Allow the rabbit to sit in that position for about an hour or two to allow it to acclimatize to the new environment. If the rabbit is showing signs of stress, you should delay the introduction of the dog as you wouldn’t want the first session to be a bad encounter or experience for your rabbit. Signs of stress includes biting on the enclosure or fidgeting around the enclosure itself.

Put the dog on a leash

If the rabbit is showing no sense of anxiety issues, you can proceed to bring the dog into the neutral space, but with a leash on. Get a family member to help carry the dog and slowly inch into the room while you keep a watchful eye on your rabbit’s reaction.

Proper introduction

This is perhaps the most crucial step. For the first proper introduction, you must pay extra attention not to exhibit any sudden movements that might scare your rabbit. Allow the dog to slowly inch towards the enclosure and let it sniff around the place. I would suggest peppering in positive words so that the dog is encouraged to explore in a friendly and none-domineering manner. Once you notice that the dog is responding correctly, you can start to bring the pair closer together.

Removal of enclosure

Assuming that all of the above have been done properly, you can remove the enclosure, but take note not to allow the dog to have a free reign of movement. Keep it tightly leashed so that you are still in control of the dog. You can allow the rabbit to slowly inch towards the dog rather than the other way around. If the rabbit decides to run away anyway, it is a sign that it is still not comfortable in meeting the dog, and you should stop the session.

Keep a watchful eye

If both the dog and the rabbit are showing no signs of resistance or distress, you can allow a little bit more freedom to the dog. Gradually, the dog should be allowed to move around freely. However, that being said, you should not leave the rabbit and the dog together alone without your supervision at least for the first few meetings as you want to be sure that the dog will not be aggressive towards the rabbit.

Bite sized session

To ensure that the introductory sessions can be kept as positive as possible, keep each session short. !0 minutes will be a good duration for a positive session.

Separate feeding areas

Keep the feeding areas separate so that territorial boundaries are not breached.

Wrapping up

In time to come, both the rabbit and the dog will be comfortable with one another. While the training might take some time, the extra bit of patience is ce

Help! How to stop my from chewing?

It is natural for a dog to chew on things as it is literally ingrained into their DNA. You see, before they are domesticated as pets, dogs survive wholly on their instinct to survive, and this includes developing a need to protect itself. As such, dogs can be pretty destructive in nature, and they are not entirely to blame. Of course, inappropriate chewing of things can be destructive, especially if the dog starts to develop the habit on chew at everything in your house. Before we can go about training your dog not to chew on things, it will be good to understand why is the dog chewing in the first place so that you can use the correct remedy.

Why do dogs love to chew?

Other than their DNA, there are several reasons that contributes to this destructive behavior. Some of these problems are due to their character as well as the possibility of them having an underlying medical problem. Read on and find out if any of the following does resonate with you.

Playful

It is possible that the dogs are chewing on random things simply because they are playful. This is especially true for new puppies who are still very indifferent to objects in the house.

Scared

Not all owners will understand this though. When dogs are frightened or scared, especially by sudden loud noises that they are unfamiliar with, the dog will find ways to soothe their raging nerves, and they do so by chewing on things.

This is the same for dogs who are suffering from separation anxiety. When dogs are left alone at home, it can be pretty traumatizing for them, especially if they are too used to having humans around them hence relying on humans for attention. When left alone, they are unable to cope with the separation from their owners and will resort to chewing on items so as to alleviate their anxiety attack.

Seeking attention

Dogs can be an attention seeker too. When their owner leaves them alone without playing with them, dogs will have the tendency to destroy objects in the house as it knows that the owners will be triggered and will play with them! Cheeky little things!

Medical condition

It is possible that the dog is chewing on things due to an underlying medical condition that they might be suffering from.

How to stop dogs from chewing things

Now that we know the reasons that is contributing to this negative behavior, let us explore into the tricks that you can adopt so that you can train the dog not to chew!

Underlying medical problems

First of all, before you can start the training proper, you will need to rule out on the possibility that the dog is chewing because of an underlying medical issue. Most of the medical issue stem from a lack of a nutritional diet in dogs and hence creating a nutritional deficiency. If you suspect this might the case, always seek the advice from a vet so that you can be informed of the steps that you can take to help your dog.

Dog Proof the house

As a crucial step in training your dog not to chew things, you will need to dog proof the house so that dangerous items are kept away from the dog’s reach. This includes any food that you do not want the dog to rummage into, or even to your detergent or bleach that can be fatal if the dog consumes them. Items like shoes, socks, or even your clothing should be kept appropriately so that the dog will not chew on them.

Discourage negative chewing

When the dog starts to chew on something that it shouldn’t be chewing on, you can then use a firm tone to instruct the dog to stop. Note that you should not give your dog a treat at this point of time as the dog might associate chewing to being rewarded with a treat. Instead, you can provide your dog with an appropriate item that they should chew on, like a chew toy or something.

Having said that, there is an unorthodox method in discouraging chew in your dog. For example, if your dog has been shredding paper into pieces, one good way to discourage them from chewing is by giving them the firm scolding. After that, you can use the dog’s front paws and scoop up all the pieces of paper and throw it into the bin! We say this is unorthodox because this method might not work on all dogs.

Provide chew toys

Instead of them chewing on random stuffs due to the dog being playful, you can simply satiate their playfulness by giving them chew toys! There are many of these in the market, but the ones that we love the most is the tug-of-war toy.

Buy a dog crate

As mentioned, dogs can chew when they are suffering from anxiety issues. One good way to solve this is by providing a dog a safe haven for them to seek refuge in when the anxiety attack comes, and you can achieve this by buying a dog crate for them. The dog crate does provide an illusion that they are save and secure, and this does help to reduce the anxiety in dogs. However, note that you should not purchase a dog crate that is too large for the dog as it will not create that illusion of a safe haven. As a guideline, the dimensions of the crate should allow the dog to turn about in its place. The top of the crate should allow a maximum of two finger spacing when the dog is in a sitting position.

Playing with your dog

If your dog is seeking your attention by destroying items, you can change this behavior by playing with your dog and spending them with them. When your dog Is meaningfully engaged, they will not develop the habit of destroying things in your house. Also, when your dog is tired after a day’s activity with you, they wouldn’t have any excess energy to chew things in your house too.

Q&A: Why is my dog suddenly scared at the park?

Hello, I have a small dog who has somehow become scared when we run through the park. She is a small dog, and this never use to happen. I’m not sure of the cause. Is there something I can do? Thanks, Mary.

Hi Mary, thank you so much for dropping us this query. I understand the frustration and worry that you are feeling must be horrible, for you to drop us a message here does show how much your dog means to you.

While it is normal for some dogs to be scared or terrified when heading out, it will not be normal in your dog’s case since she used to love the runs till recently. You are somewhat right that is can be due to some scares around the vicinity, but there might be some underlying issues that might be causing the issue.

From your dog’s case, it could be a negative experience that she had when she ran in the forest. Also, did you check on your dog to see if she had suffered any injury? It is very possible that she is refusing to head out because she suffered an injury while out in the forest and that is causing her anxiety.

During this period of time, if your dog refuses to head out and tremble, you should not try to force them to head out, or try to carry the dog and place her in the forest as these will cause the furkid to develop a negative feeling about the place. Rather, you should find ways to desensitize her negative feelings towards the forest.

For starters, you could try to bring her out for regular walks right outside of your house. This does serve two purposes.

To observe for injury: you can check the way she is walking to see if she is limping or not.

To check for trauma: If the negative incident is causing the dog to tremble even during the normal walks, then it does require you to approach the problem differently. In the above two cases, if you notice that the dog is limping, or her gait is unusual, you should bring her to the vet immediately for attention as there is an underlying issue that is causing your dog to limp.

To address the trauma issue, the whole idea of bringing her out for walks around the vicinity of your house is to check if she is afraid of walking, or just afraid of walking in the forest. If your dog is ok with walking outside of the house, then we can more or less deduce that the root cause of the issue lies in the forest.

It is worthwhile to note, that if the anxiety or fear is cause by an external problem, then thankfully the issue can be solved. All you need to do is to show love and encouragement to the dog. While you should not be forcing them outdoors, you can slowly desensitize the situation for them. This means bringing her out for walks in the nearby parks and letting her run, albeit on a leash this time round so that she can enjoy the outdoors again. The whole idea of putting her on a leash is so that you can control her movements, since it can be a possibility that she could be injured or attacked by a wild animal during the runs in the forest.
Hope the above helps!

How to Teach Your Dog to be Calm

Does your dog have an anxiety problem? Does your pet seem unusually nervous, jumpy or agitated? If you’re at a complete loss, looking for answers wherever you can find them, don’t worry! The basic guidelines listed below will help you well on your way to a calmer pet!

Step One: Identify the Cause
Before you can even begin to properly treat any unwanted dog behavior, whether it be anxiety or something else, you’ll need to figure out the ‘why’. What exactly is causing your pet to feel the way he does? What changed in his environment? Once these questions are answered, you’ll have a much easier time treating the problem without fumbling around in the dark.

Step Two: Exercise
In most cases, hyperactivity is simply a result of too much energy. If a dog isn’t given an outlet for that energy, he can become destructive, run ‘zoomies’ around your house, or perform a number of other unwanted behaviors. For example, Siberian Huskies, a breed with a near unlimited energy level, have been known to dig holes, jump fences or even become a threat to other small animals if not exercised.

Examples:
Take walks
Work on agility training
Play fetch, hide & seek, or tracking games
Visit the dog park
Invite other dogs over for a play date
Consider obedience/dog/puppy classes
Provide plenty of interesting toys to play with.

Step Three: Behavioral Training
Ignore attention seeking behavior. For example, if your dog jumps on visiting company, he is seeking acknowledgement from them. One of the best ways to cope with that particular type of behavior isn’t to correct the dog, but to turn your back to him, completely ignoring the pup and pretending he isn’t there. If you don’t acknowledge him, eventually he’ll learn his attention seeking behavior isn’t working.

Counter Conditioning & Positive Reinforcement
Teaching skills like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ can be rewarded with something the dog enjoys, like treats. If your pup doesn’t like to sit still, try offering an incentive!

Keep Emotions in Check
Dogs judge a situation by the reactions of their human owners constantly, almost certainly more than you think. Yelling, frequent crying or other excess displays of emotion serve only to increase your pet’s anxiety.

Eliminate Distractions
A loud, busy environment with loads of noisy kids running around, crowds of people, or other animals playing, for example, will make it all the more difficult to calm your pet. It is much easier to keep your furry one calm in a calm situation. The same rule applies with dog training in general, and is valued by most professional trainers.
Step Four: Seek Medical Attention
Sometimes, a dog’s anxiety level becomes so extreme, he is at risk for harming himself or others. If nothing else seems to work, you’ll want to talk to your veterinarian, and discuss the need for an accredited animal behaviorist.

If it is a medical issue causing your pup’s strange behavior, your vet can help. The might even prescribe mood altering medications for your pet, in order to calm the animal and prevent injury.

Q&A: How do I stop my dog from peeing in the house?

I have a 9-month-old corgi (Yuki) and she was well-potty trained when she was staying with my boyfriend. She pees and poops in a designated area and pees on command every time. She rarely goes out as she’s still a puppy so she mostly pees indoors. Recently, she has come to stay with me and my parents love her so much that they bring her to potty outside at least twice a day. Initially she would pee on command on the pee tray but gradually she has stopped listening to me. She would still pee at home but she wouldn’t pee in the pee tray anymore. She will either pee in her playpen or in the kitchen when nobody is looking. How can I re-train her to pee on the pee tray again? I want to maintain the habit that she poops outside but I also want her to know that if she ever feels the need to pee/poop, she still can do so at home but only on the pee tray. I have tried not bringing her out so that she will pee at home but she just held her pee till we bring her out in the night. Help! What should I do?~Jane

Hello Jane and Yuki! I am pretty sure I can help you here.

You must have trained Yuki by offering some sort of incentive for eliminating in the designated areas. Yuki eventually learned ‘If I relieve myself here, it makes my owner happy, or I will get something. If I go somewhere else outside of the designated area, I won’t be rewarded or my owner will become upset/won’t be happy.’ Hence, your Corgi would go out of her way for what she perceived as a reward.

This regular routine changed when she moved. Her environment changed. Her human ‘pack’ family members even changed. Many dogs develop anxiety due to drastic changes like this; you’re actually lucky this is the only issue!

Peeing in the playpen or kitchen: Your main problem is your dog peeing inside. You’ll have to go through potty training again, teaching her she is supposed to eliminate outside or in your ‘pee tray’, not anywhere she feels like. Don’t scold or chastise her, but keep constant supervision. This normally requires leashing your pup by your (or your parents) side so you are able to catch accidents 100% of the time, and running her outside every single time she begins to go indoors.

Set a regular, consistent bathroom schedule, and don’t alter it. When you can’t offer direct supervision, crate Yuki. Dogs will prefer not to eliminate in close confines or where they sleep. Yuki should probably begin sleeping in her crate during this potty training process.

If you want her to pee on the pee tray, you’re going to need to offer her incentive again; reward her when she does. Whenever she is about to pee, carry her directly to the pee tray. You can’t miss mistakes here, which will require her to be leashed by your side at all times.

Dogs will also prefer to eliminate in designated areas because they smell familiar. Even thorough cleanings don’t always mask the scent; change the bedding if possible.

To sum:
Offer Constant supervision
Reward desired behavior
Don’t reward mistakes, and don’t scold excessively either
Catch mistakes 100% of the time, correct by moving to desired location
Crate when you can’t have Yuki leashed by your side (if possible).
Set regular bathroom schedule; don’t deviate
Follow this advice, and I can all but guarantee your problem will resolve itself in time. With today’s busy schedules, I understand how it might seem difficult to offer constant supervision though.

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!

Helping a Dog That is Afraid of Thunder or Fireworks

jack-russelDogs can be very afraid of loud sounds. For some owners, this is a MAJOR PROBLEM. For the dog, it can be extremely traumatic.

Most owners don’t know what to do. What usually happens is this:

1. The dog will be shaking from fear.

2. The owner will pet the dog in order to calm it down.

This rarely works. In fact, I have never seen this work! What usually happens is that the petting has the opposite effect.

While petting the dog, the owner is unwittingly nurturing insecurity in the dog. This can make him think that shaking and being scared is pleasurable to you.

There are many ways to desensitize a dog to loud sounds. In this article, I will discuss 2 simple methods. For the 1st method, you’ll need a recording of thunder and/or fireworks.

Play the recording at the lowest level possible while the dog is eating or playing with you. Every few days or a week, raise the volume one notch.

The idea is to gradually associate thunder with eating, playing and good times. If the dog starts shaking at a certain volume, do not raise the volume any higher. If this happens, continue to work with the dog at that volume or lower.

Once the dog has success with a certain volume, then it is time to move up. This method will not work on all dogs. There is no “one size fits all” solution for all dogs. Every dog is different.

Looking for a simpler approach? What if electromagnetism was causing your dog to fear thunderstorms?

Every heard of the “Storm Defender” for dogs? It’s like a cape that can help them cope. In my experience, it’s more effective than the thunder shirt. Here is a link for the Storm Defender cape for dogs.

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.

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 to get my dog to sleep through the night?

I have a 9-week old jack Russell x foxy and I’m having issues getting him to sleep through the night. Currently he is in a small room downstairs (can’t be upstairs with us as its all carpet) and we leave him with a puppy Kong bone, loads of toys an old shirt of my husbands and his bed plus pee pads. He has no issue going to bed he doesn’t whine when we walk upstairs however he does get upset at 3am I go down and let him out for the toilet (99% of the time he does a poo) but then when I put him back to bed he cries. We live in a townhouse and after 25mins of him howling and barking I have to go down it’s not fair on the neighbors so I end up sleeping on the lounge with him (he will sleep through until 7).

I’m not sure what to do I know you’re not meant to give in after a toilet break but I feel so bad for our neighbors at that hour. He had a set bedtime 10pm and we play with him until his very tired (usually he falls asleep around 9:45 or at least lays down not interested in play) and we feed him his dinner at 6:30.  Kate

Hello Kate and thanks for reaching out,

Your puppy is doing quite well if he only wakes up once in the night at this age! I can hear you about the whining and barking especially if you live in a close-knit neighborhood! Here’s likely what is going on. Your puppy falls asleep well at night time because you tire him out and drain his energy. Then, he wakes up in the middle of the night because he needs to go outside. This is reasonable and perfect as you want that. Then, he goes from being in your company to being alone again, and this time he’s no longer tired as before. The house is dark again, the home is silent and he wants you to come back. So he starts whining/howling/barking behavior, and since his bladder and bowels are empty, he is doing it clearly because he wants companionship. Normally, as you know, this type of barking/whining should be totally ignored. Instead, by going downstairs, you reinforce it. Who can blame you though, you are just trying to not bother the neighbors! Sounds like you need some type of compromise here. Here are some options:

Get a crate and keep him in a crate upstairs with you. With the crate he should be unlikely to have an accident as puppies normally do not like to soil where they sleep so they’ll whine and whine to get your attention so they can be taken out. After his 3AM outing, since you are nearby, he’ll likely relax and fall asleep again as he does when you sleep downstairs.

At 3AM after going outside to eliminate, you can try to play with him again and see if you can get that energy drained again as you do prior to bedtime. This can be a pain, but better 25 minutes of play time than 25 minutes of whining/barking. If you go this route, expect to do this though every single night as it becomes a deeply ingrained habit and your pup may whine at 3am even once he has better bladder/bowel control just to get to play!

At 3AM after going outside, try to leave him with a stuffed Kong that will keep him busy enough for some time until he gets tired and hopefully falls asleep.

Personally, I think the best option is the crate. Introduce the crate, make it a rewarding place to be and start using it so that you can speed up the house training process while providing him your reassuring presence. At this age, most puppies want to be around their family and they get distressed if they’re left alone. Then, as your puppy grows, you can gradually move the crate farther and farther away from your bedroom.

Or even better, since it sounds like your bedroom is on the second floor, let him stay downstairs so access to the outside is faster. When you’re on a second floor, by the time you walk downstairs, your puppy may have an accident so staying downstairs is better for easy access to the yard. Then, once your puppy has an empty bladder/bowel, take him upstairs and let him stay in the crate until 7AM. A win-win situation for all!