A dog should be allowed to bark. After all, that is one reason we have dogs, to alert us. We would just like to control the “on and off switch.” It’s the rare human who hasn’t yelled at their dog, “Quiet" or "Shut Up!” when the dog is barking at the doorbell, a noise, or at you to get your attention. We think that if we raise the volume of our voice, this ...read more
Who can resist the adorable little balls of fluff, round tummies and breath that endears us to them?
Somewhat like a combination of a 2 year old and a newborn, they are a tremendous investment of time and money, but when raised right, the dividends are wonderful.
There is a lot more than you might think to these little wonders. I can’t encourage you enough to think of owning one as importantly as you would if a human baby were due at your house hold.
The first place to start is around your kitchen table with the whole family. This is where you ask every hard question and pay attention to every red flag. Topics to be covered are:
- Is everyone in agreement about bringing a new dog home?
- Is everyone, even the children, willing to pitch in and help care for this dog on a consistent basis?
- Are there finances in the family budget to cover the expenses and veterinary needs of the dog?
- How long will the dog be alone each day?
- Are you willing to spay or neuter if the dog is not going to be used for breeding?
And so on...
It is essential that if your dog will be alone during the day, you are willing to give him a 30 minute walk in the am and pm to drain the nervous energy that builds up from being cooped up for so long, even if he is not crated. Be prepared to do some obedience work and play with him. Your presence in the home only after 5pm and a total of 2 potty trips in the yard before 10pm is not part of the contract you engage in when you buy or adopt a new dog!
If you are going to be gone excessively on a regular basis, a puppy will not do well with this and it will lead to issues that you won’t like. I strongly recommend that you have a friend, relative or Dog Walker come in and check on the pup and play with him for at least 30 minutes. If the dog is older, have someone take him for a midday 30 minute walk at a robust pace.
If you have children, it is a good idea for them to put in at least 5% of their weekly allowance to go towards paying for your dogs needs. When children have a monetary investment involved in a pet, they are more likely to care about it for an extended period of time. It is also a great character building tool for the child. Your child should be involved in the care and feeding of your dog, as well. Mom, do NOT under any circumstances, take over the primary role of care giver to this animal!
I suggest that you avoid taking on a dog that is from the powerful breed category, such as a Doberman, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Pit Bull etc. if this is your first dog. While these are all wonderful breeds, they take a special type of management that the first time dog owner generally lacks.
It is essential that you do not purchase a dog that has a more dominant or upbeat energy level than your family as a whole. If you are the curl up in front of the fire place bunch, do not purchase a Husky who needs to run regularly. If you are the active type, do not go for a dog that you have to coax just to get him to move at a minor fast walk. The dog’s energy level should always be slightly lower than yours.
Just a tip on breeders. Choose one who has a clean living environment both for themselves and for the pups. Also, be certain that you can see both of the pup’s parents if they are accessible. For example, if the father is wild eyed and overbearing, look somewhere else. It is very possible that that tendency can be passed genetically to your pup.
If you can avoid having a new puppy shipped to you, do so. Being detached from his mother and liter mates is challenging enough, but having to be in transit for up to 12 - 48 hours makes that even harder on the little guy. Depending on the nature of the pup, it can traumatize them for life. If you live in the same vicinity of the breeder you are purchasing your pup from, go to visit your pup from time to time so he knows you when he is ready to come home.
On the day you go to get your pup, make sure you have the whole day booked out for it. This needs to be a calm experience for everybody, especially him. In transit, bring a towel with the mother and liter mate’s scent on it for the ride home so he has the smell of them in the car. Playing soothing instrumental music can also make pups transition home more comfortable.
If he cries when you put him down on the ground or floor, give him some time to work it out. If you are quick to pick him up and comfort him, you are transmitting weak energy to him (sympathy) and teaching him right off the bat that crying will get him picked up. Pups who walk around more than they are carried, turn out to be more intelligent, easier to raise dogs.
Lastly, when you get your new pup home, confine him to only a small portion of the yard and house. After approx 3 -5 days you can expand that out a bit until he is comfortable with the whole place. Introduce him to your home with you in front of him. If he is allowed to suss out the house, he will claim it for his own and you will have dominance issues with him from day one.
Be prepared to lose a little sleep for the first couple of nights. Keeping him in a crate near your bed is the best way to start. Let him cry it out. He will eventually get used to this, and settle in. Again, if you relent and take him out of the crate and snuggle with him in your bed, you have just lost that match and will be dealing with the consequences for potentially the rest of his life.
I could write volumes on this subject, but I will close with this. A puppy is expected to mind the rules in a pack of dogs from day one. The adult dog’s know how to handle the puppies according to their young age, however, they run a tight ship. In your domesticated “Pack”, you will experience the optimum result with your pup if you do the same.
Good Success to you!
Behavioral Terminology: What are they talking about?
You hear dog trainers tossing around training terms that don’t make sense to you? Here’s a look into decoding the lingo.
The definitions are generally accepted among behaviorists (which is where this terminology is standardized): Whether a given act is reinforcement or punishment is defined by what the dog does in the future. Doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of it, it's the dog ...read more
The title might sound political but it isn't. Rather, this is written from the dogs point of view for owners who don't seem to "get it" despite their best intentions, and the advice of a qualified professional.
Dear owner, your dog would like you to know:
- Despite you giving us human names, we are in fact dogs that react to you and our environment.
- What is most important to us is not who ...
Scientists have discovered that dogs can smell the presence of autism in children.
'Seizure Alert' dogs can alert their owners up to an hour before the onset of an epileptic seizure. There are dogs that can detect cancer before medical tests can. With these incredible capabilities, it is hard to deny the effect that our own energy can have on our dogs. The idea of sharing "good energy" is not just a “woo-woo” concept reserved ...read more
Rowdy little children and naughty little puppies have so much in common!
Let's learn from the human example, so we can quickly and gently redirect puppies away from naughtiness, toward great and fun behaviors.
I sat trapped on the airplane, hurtling toward Orlando, strapped into my seat, some 30,000 feet above ground. I say “trapped” because my seat, my entire row even, was constantly shaken, bumped and tossed by a pair of blond ...read more
Vacation Angst…or What to do with the Dog?
Leaving home for work or vacation? Are you concerned about leaving your pets behind? A clean, professional kennel offers convenience and a secure location for your dog. But there is an alternative. Your pets can stay home in the care of a professional pet sitter. Here’s what you need to know to help you choose the very best for your dogs, cats, snakes or gerbils ...read more
Rain, rain…go away. All our dogs want to play!
Bad weather shouldn’t stop you from exercising your dog’s body and brain. Here are a few great ways to keep your dog from going stir crazy when you’re house-bound.
Days of rain or bitter cold, even unbearable heat usually mean we coop up the dogs with nothing to do. And that got me to thinking: What do we do with our dogs ...read more
Today I want to talk to you about the often dreaded "Vet trip."
For some lucky dog owners, it's a breeze. Their dog happily bounds into the examination room and only seems mildly put off by the doctors poking and prodding. Most dog owners aren't so lucky. The good news is your dog can learn to enjoy the Vet if you start doing a few specific things. But before I tell you how ...read more
Many, if not all, behavioral problems have a direct link to the dog’s physical, emotional and mental health.
To be successful, any approach taken to address a behavioral problem must take into consideration the dog’s diet, exercise, general health and relationship with its owner.
Sudden changes in behavior should always raise a red flag about the dog’s physical health. The first step to addressing a change in behavior that is radically different ...read more
Most puppies can be housebroken prior to 8 months of age using traditional methods. But for older dogs that are still having accidents in the house, the umbilical cord method should be used. This method has worked on the most difficult housebreaking cases and can be used with dogs of any age.
When the owner makes a commitment to success and is consistent with its application, the success rate using this method is very ...read more
Pack work, or using a group of dogs to influence the behavior of an individual dog, is an amazing tool which can create permanent change in a dog and help create a healthy balanced attitude and behavior.
There are a variety of ways in which trainers use this concept to assist in the training of a client dog from simply using a senior steady, trained dog to calm a nervous nelly, to having a young ...read more
In my ‘Behavioral HELP for Dogs’ seminars and 1 on 1 sessions, I start teaching with a sound foundation.
During the course of our time together, I build line upon line on that foundation until my students or clients have a complete understanding of how to interact with their dogs, so as to draw from them the behavior they want, thus creating harmony in the home and the neighborhood.
One of the main reasons that ...read more
(Addictive behavior in dogs which can sever the bond with their family)
You may already be in trouble if you did not study the history and purpose of your purebred dog before you brought him home. Your failure to diligently manage your dog to prevent his characteristics from growing into dangerous obsessions could seal your dog's fate.
You may think you did everything you could to successfully raise your dog. Following well-meaning veterinary advice ...read more
Do you find yourself avoiding taking your dog out for a walk because you are unable to stop their constant pulling?
Do you hold the leash in a death grip as you brace yourself for the ensuing tug of war through your neighborhood?
Do you worry that your dog may knock you over or break free during your walk?
Learning how to achieve a relaxed, controlled walking experience with your dog will not only alleviate ...read more
We started teaching our dog to ’Spin’ and now it’s time to introduce the ‘Step-up!’
What is Step-up? This trick is the first part of teaching a dog to place its front feet on a low solid item and remain there until released. As training progresses the dog will eventually be able to sit on top of a low object and balance perfectly! Dogs’ love this one so much that when a ‘practice object ...read more
Dog training (reliable dog training) is my passion. It's a long story, going back to 1966.
I've been a professional dog trainer since 1970. I have always worked hard to make my dogs trustworthy off lead, but it takes time and consistency. I am rather old fashioned in my dog training techniques. My dogs have a lot more 'freedom' because we trust each other. They all know that there are consequences for their ...read more
I am not the trainer for everyone; no one trainer is. Some will pooh-pooh my ideas, some will love them, some will get angry about them. I get results and I've never harmed a dog.
To teach come: I use a variety of methods depending on the dog. I do not ever call a dog out of a stay command for at least the first year following training. To that end, I frequently use ...read more
Your dog must be taught to instantly drop whatever he is holding in his mouth.
This is a safety issue since your dog may pick up a dangerous or poisonous object. It is a pack leadership issue since your dog should obey every command without hesitation. It is a behavioral issue when used in conjunction with classical counter-conditioning, as it can help prevent and correct resource guarding.
Use the following methods to teach this command ...read more
Teaching a dog to touch his nose to your hand on command is a simple, highly effective training protocol that has many practical uses:
- It can teach a touch sensitive or hand shy dog to welcome physical contact instead of avoiding it.
- It can help a reactive dog to direct his attention to the handler, thereby interrupting fixation.
- It can establish a bond between an anti-social dog to a human handler because it is a ...
One of the most important things for your dog to learn is to walk on a leash without pulling.
This makes walking the dog much more enjoyable for both you and the dog. If the dog is pulling, walking is unpleasant and he gets walked far less often -- this makes him pull all the more because he needs the exercise even more. It’s a vicious cycle.
Never wrap the leash around your hand: you ...read more