Housebreaking A New Puppy: Do’s and Don’ts

Housebreaking a new puppy or dog happens in stages. The dog owner training is what needs to happen first! Since your puppy or new dog  is looking to you for guidance, I figured I would help you understand the basic philosophy behind the housebreaking concept.

Paws For A Minute® Housebreaking a new puppy Philosophy

Dogs are den animals and they love small spaces. Your first mission as a new dog owner is to create a small space within your home for your new pup. Use a baby gate to create an area. This can be achieved with a corral pen too. Within that gated space put a crate and keep the crate door open. This allows your new puppy to go in and out of the crate at it’s leisure and slowly learn to self soothe. It’s important for a new puppy to be able to learn to be independent from you while you are HOME and yet still see out. This helps establish a pattern and a system of being able to see you walk around the house yet still be in a puppy proofed space. Sure you can allow your puppy to have free time with you but while you are acclimating your new dog to your lifestyle and home it’s important to teach your puppy to be able to be alone and respect the boundary of a baby gate. Your puppy will quickly learn to relax in the gated area.

The gated area will ultimately help aid teaching your puppy to hold the urge to go to the bathroom and help create a schedule. However, the first stage of housebreaking is to teach a puppy to except the boundary of the gated space, learn to naturally den in the crate by allowing him to go in and out of the crate by himself with out shutting the crate door on him. The first week of owning a 8 week-week old puppy it’s okay to have puppy pads at one end of the gated area for the first few days.

Don’t stand over the gate or corral and talk baby talk at your new puppy. This will make him jump up on the the gate and eventually teach him to want to get out. Never shut a door on a puppy or a new dog. This creates anxiety. Even if that’s the end goal with a trained dog. More housebreaking tips to come…


Quick Dog Training Tip

Many owners often complain that their dog has tuned them out. Puppy’s and teenage dogs have their own issues, as we know. The mature dog, however, grows to know you and your household like any old soul but even with perfection every know and then some kinks can creep in to your relationship. Sometimes, like with most fabulous friendships familiarity can breed… well you know, contentment. Another word that could be used is flat out laziness! So how do you spice things up again, other than to use bribery of the T.R.E.A.T?

Paws for a Minute® Quick Dog Training TIp Put your dog on a leash for just a few minutes, every so often, and walk around your house. This is a great way to achieve eye contact and practice heeling without any distractions! Occasionally, stop and say “sit” while gently lifting up on the leash. Then have a love fest. I know your dog may look at you like you are loco but there is a method to this madness.

The leash helps connect your voice to movement and helps reemphasize the eye contact for your dog. A simple 5 minute exercise you can do in your home that will have a huge impact within a few weeks! It is also a short exercise that can help re establish the connection to action. Your dog will go from lazy too Lassie in a matter of a few weeks. I know it sounds a little crazy, but it really works. Simple. No treats. Just focus and love.

Oxytocin And Dog Training: Owner Rehab

Paws For A Minute® Inspiration 

It’s the cuddle chemical and it’s findings have forged studies for decades. You know, oxytocin it’s the human brain and stimulant that emotes empathy, trust and of course, the hug. Dog’s provide this in massive quantities for owners and all dog owners definitely understand this high.

The wet nose, the unconditional hello, the crazy tail wag and total excitement to see you creates a feeling in us that is fantastic for our well being.  It’s the cuddle chemical in our brain that is evident with pets and it mirrors the same bond that baby have with their mothers. That powerful punch that creates the warm fuzzy feeling of euphoria. The love drug.

So can training your dog actually make you feel better after a bad day? Actually, yes.

As a matter of fact, oxytocin levels probably remain higher and longer with the tail wagging family members then with some others. As a dogs life span averages over a decade, dog ownership can this carry this particular confection of brian chemistry into addiction. Puppy love can outlast some marriages, and trump the endorphins required to endure long days at the office. So if you want to feel better after a long day, get the leash, your dog and practice a few sits, a stay, or even the come command. End the commands with eye contact and the word “okay” and watch the love and happiness pour out of both of you!

The prime ingredient: a leash, a great walk, a few commands and an occasional cookie. What more could you ask for?

* Not to be confused with oxycontin which might be needed if your dog doesn’t get trained to ease the pain of the destruction and doggie demolition that could occur.

Ask Inger: The Barking Dog Syndrome. How Do I Get It To Stop?

I have a dog named Romeo about 2 years ago. He’s been great and I love him very much, however my roommate does not. Unfortunately, Romeo has a barking problem, whenever anyone gets close to our apartment door, or enters / exits our apartment Romeo barks uncontrollably and it is very loud and piercing. Admittedly I find it annoying as well, but I can deal with it, my roommate can not and it is causing a riff.

So I was thinking about getting Romeo a bark collar, but they are kind of expensive and I want to know what is what before I purchase anything. I’m thinking preferably to get one that emits a sound humans can’t hear but dogs can, does something like that exist? I really don’t want one that shocks him, unless you think it’s not a big deal and I can use one like that.

The other kind I see all over are the citronella ones, but they seem so bulky and he’s a tiny dog so I don’t see that working out.

Anyway, what are you thoughts? What should I do / buy to start correcting this problem?



Hi Paul, Thanks for your question! It’s a common one.  Remember behaviors take time to develop and they also take a little time to go away. There are various issues that contribute to barking and why dogs bark. Some barking is due to boredom, triggers, lack of training, separation anxiety, lack of exercise and so on… Owners can play a huge part too. Yelling “NO” constantly at your dog puts you both into the looney camp. Bark collars are not the answer. Look into your daily life and make a list of the times your dog barks. It will help isolate where you need to focus. Here are a few tips to get you started on the road to recovery.


Paws For A Minute® Lifestyle Dog Training

Tips To Help Barking At The Front Door


Everyone should note:  If your dog is barking his head off all day long, that is what’s called boredom barking and it’s up to you, as owners, to make sure all exercise needs are met!


So before you do any corrections get on your running shoes  and warm up your throwing arm. Ultimately, a tired dog is a good dog! Hello, get off the couch! Therefore, if you have exercised your dog daily and barking is still an annoying sound effect, the below may help. 



1. One option is to create a bone chewing time by using a baby gate. This can help in creating a new pattern. Gate one or two of the dogs in a kitchen or hallway for bone chewing time. For multiple dogs breaking up the pack can stop the trigger of one dog instigating the barking. Doing so will help train your dog over time out of the pattern of scouting for the person, noise or action to bark at. Music is key, to soothe the beast during this peaceful time. Remember, this is NOT meant to be a punishment place! AND implementing this 20 minute space a few times a day should be done when you are home. It helps break up the barking pattern.


2. Another option is to know when the barking happens is to put music on in advance. Sounds crazy, but this will really break up the pattern of being alert to outside noises. It also sets a tone and a completely different atmosphere to your house. Much less trigger oriented. Not meant to be a cure, but it will help.


3. A third option is to correct this barking with a shake of a penny can from out of sight! Your dog should not see you shake the can.


This next tip is not for every dog or owner. So really assess your circumstance carefully. Use your common sense! Not all dogs can handle a loud noise and others can and will respond no problem.


The trick  is to not let your dog see you shake the can. It’s just really about the sudden, quick sound. This correction is not meant to scare, just make as clear communication that no barking allowed. You should think of this correction more like a police siren pulling a car over for speeding. Know that not all dog temperaments are right for this type of correction. Note: Very timid dogs will respond well to a firm no, that should ban the barking and do the trick. If your dog has a really strong, confident personality the penny can “shake” can be tolerated and send the right signal to zip it.


Take a coffee can, empty it,  then put a handful of pennies in it and the lid back on. As your dogs begin to bark, shake the can once and say “No!” This loud abrupt noise will represent the same boundary as the siren of a police care pulling you over for running a red light. Then back up this quick correction by redirecting your dogs in a positive way!  Ask them to “come” to you in a really happy, nice voice. Finish the command by having your dog sit. Then praise, love and maybe even a treat!


If you haven’t guessed already I’m really training you to be a little smarter than your dog, have a little foresight to your circumstance then the bad dog behavior will go away. Dogs love to please, they just don’t know how unless you guide them.then put a handful of pennies in it and the lid back on. As your dogs begin to bark, shake the can once and say “No!” This loud abrupt noise will represent the same boundary as the siren of a police care pulling you over for running a red light. Then back up this “quick” correction by redirecting your dogs in a positive way!  Ask them to “come” to you in a really happy, nice voice. Finish the command by having your dog sit.


Add praise, love and maybe even a treat! If you haven’t guessed already I’m really training you to be a little smarter than your dog, have foresight to your circumstance and the bad dog behavior will go away. By the way, a tired dog is always a better dog. So exercise is always a great routine to help barking problems. Dogs love to please, they just don’t know how unless you guide them!

Paws For A Minute® Puppy Guide 2012: How to Find The Best Puppy.

So you’re looking for a new puppy but don’t know where to begin? The Puppy Guide 2011/12 is here to get you started on the right track to perfect muttrimony! It’s so easy to say “I want a new puppy” but, yet much harder to determine where to look, what to look for and, ultimately, decide which pup is right for your home.

Paws for a Minute® Puppy Guide 2012: How To Find That Perfect New Pup To Fit Your Lifestyle

Know Thy Self: Picking a puppy is not easy. There are so many different breeds and many different personalities within a given breed that it’s tough to know where to begin the search. I suggest you start by thinking about your own lifestyle. Ask yourself some key questions and answer them honestly:

Are you active? Are you a couch potato? Do you travel a lot? Are you single or married? Do you have roommates? Do you have other pets? Are you a parent? How old are your children? What’s the energy level like in your home? Have you had dogs before? Are you allergic?

The answers to these questions will give you a much better idea of what type of dog and temperament will fit comfortably in your daily life. Think about the following questions and or concerns: size, exercise needs of the breed, your time and lifestyle, allergies, does you your financial budget include raising a dog, does the breed you like shed? Once you know roughly what your lifestyle and budget allows then it’s time to start researching breeds.

Do Your Homework: When picking a breed remember that there are always exceptions to the rule. Not every puppy is going to grow up to have the temperament described in the breed’s standard.  In general, go with three top favorites and investigate from there. Another great idea is to visit a local dog park. There you will find many owners with dogs you may be interested in, and be able to ask questions and seek out more information and match your expectations with their experience.

More Food For Thought: It’s not just personality and size that matter most. You should also consider any additional health risks or issues associated with a given breed. There are many breeds out there that have well-known chronic health issues. Issues prevail over time so you may not recognize such conditions during puppyhood. The problem may not prevail in all dogs of that breed but it could potentially mean LOTS of vet bills later so know your facts before hand and rule out anything you’re not prepared to handle.

Where To Buy Your Pup: First and foremost, be wary of online puppy stores and/or breeders. The internet is a great place to do your research but actually buying a puppy on the web usually ends bad. Whether it’s as severe as a rip-off scam or simply buying a puppy mill pup, you may get burned and it’s definitely going to cost you. In the long run you will save time, money and perhaps some emotional distress if you find a reliable breeder, rescue group or shelter. You can always find very reputable breeders on the America Kennel Club site. Or a great thing to do is visit any dog show in your local area. These shows are always hosted by breed or all breed events by a kennel club (such as AKC) there you can meet great people who breed professionally.  Also, keep in mind that nearly every breed has a rescue organization in nearly every major city. Always ask the right questions and make sure to visit them in person. That way you can meet greet and inspect their facilities and get a sense of how they treat their animals. Usually, your gut will guide you to make the right decision.

Good Questions To Ask Breeders

Who are the dog’s parents? Can I meet the parents? Do you have info on the dog’s bloodline? Where are the dogs kept? Can I see your housing facilities? Are there any health issues or risks in this bloodline? Do you have any certifications? Do the dogs have any medical certifications? Do you like the person you are speaking to?

Good Questions To Ask Shelters How old is the dog? Do you have any history on this dog? How long has the dog been in the shelter? Has it ever been adopted and returned? Where are the dogs kept and does it have any outstanding behaviors associated with being approached or while being fed? Can I see the housing facilities? Is the dog spayed or neutered? Does the dog have it’s shots with proper documentation?

Also, steer clear of “puppy stores.” Any shop with puppies playing in the window usually gets their dogs from large-scale puppy mills. Any puppy paper or pedigree that says USDA on it is not a fancy title or kennel. It means the kennel the puppy came from is a commercial one. It stands for United States Department of Agriculture and is one that’s zoned for breeding very large amounts of dogs. There are brokers who farm out these pup’s from other sources to the web and pet stores. The store itself may not even realize it! Not only should you not support this practice for the simple fact that they increase dog populations and we’re already in an overpopulation crisis in most cities but for the dogs themselves. Many puppy mill puppies are bred from dogs with genetic disorders, health issues or other problems that will likely cost you in vet bills later.

If you want the Pet Shop experience but would like to rescue a dog, look into facilities like Found Animals’ Adopt & Shop. This is a great option because you get to walk around and shop as though you were in the puppy store but at the end of the day you are really rescuing a dog from the shelter. What’s also great is that many shelter have older puppies, say 5 months and up.  If you are in LA, Adopt & Shop is a fantastic choice. If not, look online for a similar initiative near you. It’s worth it!


Why Does Your Dog Chew? How To Teach Him Not To Touch The Manolo’s

Demolition. Some homes don’t need a contractor, the construction or rather destruction has already begun. Whether it’s furniture, rugs, shoes or cabinets some people are convinced there dog has it out for their most expensive things. Why?!!!

Chewing is a function, not a behavior. Dogs must chew on something. Now, it’s true some dogs “need” to chew more than others. However, the ‘FYI” for most owners is that what their dog chews in can become a behavior. Let me explain, all dogs loose their baby teeth between the ages of 4 to 6 months of age. Yup, all breeds.

Many people don’t realize that if they don’t provide their dog the proper teething chews then shoes, carpets and cabinets are fair game. Ah, so it’s your fault? Well, kind of…

Many owners have a hundred toys and not the right chew bones. The chewing needs of a dog largely depends on the age, but it’s up to you to provide the time and place and teach your dog to chew, relax and leave your things alone. Once you have that down, then you can show your dog properly his wayward ways. Yelling the word NO! doesn’t always penetrate. The best thing to do is to get a leash, guide your dog to the chewed item and show it to him. He smells his saliva on the shoe. Now, you can say the word NO.

The leash helps guide, isolate the experience, gives the reprimand a structure to prevent misunderstandings. After showing your dog the “chewed” item you can then give him the delicious something to chew. That’s when you can really end the reprimand on a happy POSITIVE note. Lots of love, praise and take off the leash.

Oh, by the way, always ask your vet what chew is best for your dog, every dog is different.



Tips For Bringing Home A Shelter Dog. Get It Right From Day One.

Are you looking for a present for under the tree that will keep on giving? Check out your local shelter. Puppy’s aren’t for every lifestyle and there are some unbelievably cute dogs at your local shelter. Once you have found your match bringing home a new dog is exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time. Shelter dogs are awesome and in many ways can be the perfect option to raising a really young, teething, pooping and extremely playful puppy. An adult dog can sometimes be a perfect present because you bypass puppy teething and housebreaking.  Remember though, there is still always an adjustment period with training to be done. So therefore, I recommend not winging it.

Paws for A Minute®- Mutt-rimony

 The best thing to do is plan out the first few days. Make sure you have all bowls, food, collar, leash, toys, name tags, a baby gate, and even a crate ready to go before you go to pick up your dog. Seems like basic advice, but like dating, what you see is not what you’re going to get. Relationships take time to develop and so do behaviors. Think of the first six weeks as an adjustment. Once your ready and the “pick up day” is arranged it’s best to be prepared. 

1. Ask the shelter what food they feed, so you can get a few days of the same food your new dogs been eating. Otherwise, you may have stomach issue’s the first night especially if you switch food suddenly. That would be a drag for everyone, including your new dog.

2. Don’t assume your new dog is housebroken. Many shelters, rescue’s or foster helpers may indicate that a particular dog is housebroken or trained, but your new dog is not housebroken to YOUR house. So you need to have foresight and take your dog outside often, on leash, formally and initiate the outside command.  Use one word like “outside” or “go potty” to trigger the process. Seems like common sense, but  you’d be surprised even the smartest people forget on the first day. Or they want to test the dog to see if the dog will “get it” or understand the not peeing in the house rule. Don’t expect your new dog to morph into Lassie overnight, it’s up to you to show him.

Also, most importantly we often forget that many shelter dogs have to urinate where they are kept or have been abandoned situations and need to re-learn the rules.

3. A fantastic thing to do the very first minute you pull up to your house with your new dog is to plan to go on a long walk. Exercise is your friend and a tired dog is a great dog, especially the first night in a new home.

There are many more tips to come on this topic… the above are just a few to get you started. If you dig…please share.


Paws For A Minute® Lifestyle: Dog Tip Of The Day

Getting your dog presentable for that holiday party may mean giving a bath. What professional groomers know that you may not, is that putting shampoo directly onto your dogs coat could create an opposite effect. Applying shampoo directly onto your dogs coat can make rinsing impossible.  Often shampoo residue never gets fully rinsed which leaves your dog’s coat flaky, itchy and even smelly. Therefore, giving you the impression that your dog is dirty and needs baths more often, when actually your dog is reacting to shampoo residue which is creating the flakes. A vicious circle.

A key strategy to getting a really clean dog and a sweet smelling pup is to rinse your dog really well! A helpful tip is to diluting the shampoo with 2 parts water, this  is key. Soapy water baths get your dog cleaner and is easier to rinse.







Cool Cat Beds: Gift Idea

Great gift idea’s…
I saw these fantastic handmade pet beds and what I really wanted is for this artist make me a sweater! Amazing colors and a must-have unique gift for the holidays. These cute beds will add color to any room in the house and accent like a throw pillow.
The artist is from Boothbay Maine and takes orders.  K’s one-of-a-kind hand-knit pet beds are wool and range from $88.00 USD to $98.00 USD.
Perrfect for cats or even a toy or small breed dogs.
Check it out!