Can Dog Food Affect Dog Training? Paws For A Minute Quick TIps

Can the way feed your puppy or what you feed your dog really affect dog training and your dogs ability to learn? The answer is YES, 100% yes. Your pups ability is learned and largely scheduled by you. Rescuing a dog or adopting a new puppy what and how you feed your dog ties into dog training. Potty issues, food drive for treats and territorial behaviors are learned. Here is my people training tips for the day. How, where, when and what you feed your puppy or dog most certainly dog can and does affect training and effects good and bad can be long lasting.  Most behavioral issues begin in the home and issues such as housebreaking and food based aggression can be innocently be triggered by you. 

Paws For A Minute®  Dog food, dog training and daily life with Fido. 

People treats and Fido facts: 7 Tips for creating Muttri-mony. 

  • Time feed your dog. When, how and what you feed your dog is directly tied in to housebreaking issues. Teaching your puppy to go “outside” potty is directly associated with meal time. Put food down for 15 min. only. Do so when you are home so your dog learns to eat in one sitting. 

  • Use correct portions. Puppy needs change as they grow. Many people end up over feeding or guessing on portion size. Hence, often creating a finicky eater or over feeding an adult dog and creating long term potty issues. 

  •  Check-in with your vet as to the amount of food for your size and breed. The back of the dog food bag cannot determine your own dogs exercise level. Growing pups need several meals yet adult dogs do not. 

  • Leaving food out all day for your dog to nibble is not a great idea. Dogs love routine. Leaving food in dog bowls can lead to possible behavioral issues. It can also create a finicky eater. Sort of a self fulfilling prophecy, the people who feel they need to leave food out so that their dog will eat, is actually creating less drive to eat.  If a dog does not eat at the same time of day they will also not go to the bathroom at the same time. 

  • Check dog food ingredients. What makes a dog food good for your dog should not just be judged only by your dog liking it. Some dogs will hover anything down others will not touch steak before they sniff it first. Training your dog and vet bills are tied to long term nutritional of your dogs needs being met. Check the back of the bag. Sugar should not be one of the ingredients in your dog food. Often blueberries and other antioxidants sometimes are the culprit to loose ( you know what) causing vet bills only to finally (through non conclusive tests to rule out other things ) switch brands to a more palatable food. The main protein of the food should be the first ingredient ( such as ) Chicken, Salmon etc.

  • A balanced diet= a less hyper dog and makes potty training easier with other training tips.  Puppy food is generally feed to a puppy until they are 1 years old. Then adult food takes over for maintenance. Senior food begins at age 7. 

  • Changing dog food to different brands. Always do so slowly over a 3 to 4 day span. Slowly add in the new food in small amounts increasing the amounts over several days. This prevents stomach upset.

New Trend: L.A Pet Foundation’s Lead A New Paws-a-tive Perspective To The Pet Store Concept

A new trend in Los Angeles is helping to change the face of pet stores. Many animal foundations are redefining the “pet store” concept to include “only” rescued shelter pups. The concept has been emerging over the past few years, but now picking up steam.

During  the past 20 years the pet industry has tripled and so has the volume of breeders good and bad. The internet and local pet stores are inundated with breeding facilities who follow a trend of popular pups, designer or not. The internet competition of where to get your Lassie-like idea of your next BFF is an underground web of confusion in this furry internet secret society. 

In other words, the rescues and shelters can’t stop the puppy mill or internet breeders. They can only educate us to be responsible and provide help for the pups in the pound. Only we can change with awareness, education and knowledge to ask the right questions. USDA (United States department of Agriculture) are legal commercial kennel facilities that produce mass puppies often sold to pet stores. That’s not to say all breeders are bad, it’s truly buyer beware and education on how, where, and who to get a puppy from, that’s lacking to the general public.

The puppy mill breeders appear behind internet sources and pet stores providing cute puppy faces and sometimes make deals with pet stores. The breeding conditions aren’t known (behind a website or from a store) and a seemingly heathy puppy within a year can have chronic ailments due to bad breeding or not having the  proper training (due to lack of puppy parent education) hence, they’re turned into the shelter. By the way, not all rescue pups are in ill health. I personally have a rescue pup that will turn 17 years old in August. She’s in perfect health for her age! 

The rescues keep plucking the best out of the pounds urging people to spay and neuter and adopt, but the cycle continues. All topics are important issue’s that contribute to the approximate 10 Million animals a year that get euthanized across the U.S shelters, costing tax payers roughly 2 Billion dollars to execute. 

Congratulations to the many animal foundations who are making their way into main stream retailers! This provides the space and appeal to “rescue” a puppy while shopping in a local shopping mall. Spot! (West Hollywood) , Love and Leashes (West Los Angeles) and Adopt and Shop (Mission Vejo, CA)  to name a few. Many people want to rescue yet the local animal shelter can be a sad depressing place or not local. The great thing about these types of stores is that they provide more than just puppies. Often a more mature pet is your ideal lifestyle pick. Viola, love at-first-sight! A store front environment changes the appeal and makes recycling a paws-a-tive gift! 

 Found Animals Foundation who  is a privately funded operating foundation in Los Angeles that focuses on a few powerful levers for changing the outcome for millions of animals euthanized each year in the US. Working with local communities and animal care professionals, we deliver innovative community-based adoption, spay/neuter, and pet ID programs while offering a wealth of trusted educational resources. Bravo! 

Ask Inger: How Do You Re-Train A Dog Who’s Developed Selective Hearing?

Hi Inger,

I rescued my dog, Milo, 4 1/2 years ago when he was about 8 months old.  We immediately signed up for puppy obedience school.  He passed with flying colors.  He is a mix of border collie/lab and I think pit, but our first vet said no.  Anyway, as he entered his “teen” years (1 year 6 mos to 2 1/2) he became a terror on leash.  VERY protective.  I hired a private trainer and we did a lot of one on one to help him stay relaxed. 

Fast forward and he’s now 5 1/2.  He knows all his commands–knows them even better when I have treats.  He knows the click and treat perfectly.  He’ll come on command in our yard. Click, treat.  He’ll sit, stay and come, click treat.  When I throw the ball with our Chuck It, he gets the ball and runs to the top of the deck and completely ignores any command I give him.  I can’t get him to just come back to me with the ball let alone drop it.

He’ll only drop a toy in his mouth if you have a treat.  He loves to play, but he likes to play keep away and then tug of war.
What do we do?!  I tried going back to simple commands again and he knows them, but the second that ball comes into play or another toy inside…all commands go out the window!
HELP!!
Thanks,
Rachel from Massachusetts
_________________________________________________________________________
Hi Rachel,
Great question, I have to say that Milo is a beautiful boy! Wonderful that you rescued him and good job on training him plus working through his kinks for the first 5 years! After reading your question I think for now, chuck the “chuck it.” A new pattern needs to be established.  I’ll give you a few tips to regain Milo’s selective hearing.Okay, first, I’ll explain the some issue’s that stuck out for me and then give you a few exercises to try.
Clicker training is great for certain breeds and for sure creates “the special effect” of a learned trick. What I mean by effect is that it’s reward based, reward meaning treat for the trick. Lifestyle type issues like stay at the front door with guests requires a different on leash approach in creating the trust and bond between a dog and owner. Once learned “off leash commands hold with distractions a bit better then with clicker training. But that’s another topic.
Eye contact and a personal bond gets formed by leash training and verbal rewards, than with treat exclusive methods. Remember, you can show love and “positive” reinforcement  in many different ways.. voice, touch, eye contact, and oh, yes food. I’m babbling on about this because one thing is missing in clicker training and that’s eye contact and voice inflection. The focus goes on the reward of the treat not the eye contact, gestures or the owners praise. The dog is looking at the treat not the person or any hand signal. I’m not saying clicker training is bad, only that sometimes it’s limited and in your case not working.
Change the focus
The leash and the game follow the leader around the house helps to create eye contact and enables your voice to become task and the praise, not just a treat.
The leash helps create eye contact between the two of you. Isolating this process in your house helps you both succeed. Try the simple exercise of walking around the house while on a leash and occasionally stop and gently lift up on the leash and say sit. You’ll see he will glance up at you. Dogs are pack animals and LOVE follow the leader. I know it may sound stupid and boring but try it for 5 minutes a few times a week.  Use a flat nylon 6 ft nylon or leather leash not the retractable kind.
No more tricks
Tug of war and chase are never good games. Even if you’re just trying to get the ball, toy or shoe from your dog, luring or begging just creates more of a keep-a-way game going.
Prey drive is what makes a dog fetch. That translates to chase and catch and you want that instinct to be ball exclusive. So create a drive to bring the ball back! Use only one ball. That ball is a special fetch ball. It ONLY comes out during fetch! When the game is over it goes into a special drawer.
Use a treat more effectively
Start over, re-teach the game of fetch. Use that “fetch only” ball and begin the re-teach with following a few new steps. Get a treat but put it into your back pocket. Create a structure with a beginning, middle and end theme. Begin slowly, the first day of re-doing this game do so indoors. Begin with bouncing the ball to get him interested and say sit. No treat or clicker, use the ball as the focus. Say the word o.k and toss the ball, as soon as you do, crouch down and clap your hands and praise! As Milo begins to come towards you reach into your back pocket get the treat in your right hand, suddenly stand up and gesture the letter “J” with your hand (holding the treat under your thunb) and say sit. Gesturing the letter “J” is the hand signal to sit. Then say “watch me” holding the treat near your eye for a second,  he’ll spit out the ball as you give him the treat. Remember hand him the treat with your right hand and pick up the ball with your left. This pattern will get a new flow going with the game of fetch.
Dogs are smart and stimulated by motion. So be a little smarter. Use the movement of suddenly standing up combined with  the motion of the hand signal for the command sit. This will capture his attention. Eventually the hand signal (alone) will take the place of the treat and you wont have to crouch down.
Now the key to success is to toss the ball once, the first day. Only once then put the ball away. The next day, toss it twice, third day and so on. This process will build drive and interest, once he’s in the groove of fetching you can take the game outdoors. Before long you’ll have a ball-o-holic that LOVES to bring back the ball.

Is Your Dog Friendly With Strangers?

I thought I’d right about this topic in honor of the up coming holiday of Halloween. The scary surprise of a “Boo” in the form of a sudden snap may come from your dog being unpredictable, if you’re not prepared or take precautions. By the way, during Halloween I think the best tip is to exercise your dog in advance  and gate your dog in a bedroom or a safe area with music, way before the tricker treaters start ringing. It’s not worth anyone getting scared or hurt.

Costumes or not,  people wanting to say hello to a shy dog can make some dog owners nervous. Often people who are unsure look to their dog to indicate friendliness. Don’t. Many people leave too much up to the dog. They think, oh, he likes that person, phew! Many owners who’s dog may indicate territorial behavior like barking excessively or growling at a guest can over time become really insecure and hold their breath but never make attempts to resolve the growing issue. Crossing your fingers that a bite won’t happen, isn’t the answer. This blog is really about prevention and dog owner awareness.

Dogs wag their tails right? Well sometimes an (at home) friendly dog can feel insecure when a new person approaches. Especially if that dog has not been socialized in puppyhood to sounds, people, streets or trained.  The problem can slowly begin to escalate. Some dogs can learn to be plain bossy about who comes into THEIR home. Often these bossy barks can go uncorrected or redirected by the owner and the problem escalates even more over the years. When in truth, your dog is always looking to you to redirect and show him how to say hello. People can give off subtle misunderstandings to  by tightening up the leash or not correcting their dog who’s apprehensive about the person approaching. In general, if you’re unsure of your dogs behavior this insecurity from you can create a tension and body language that can lead to actually creating a fearful dog. This subtle reaction of insecurity (about how your dog will react) is a projection that can often mirror the same potential fear back at your dog. Making the unpredictability worse.

The “unsure” dog owner end’s up freezing up and hoping that their dog (albeit loving to them) doesn’t snap at the person approaching. Body language can sometimes become a self fulfilling prophecy in dog training.

Tensing up sends a signal (down the to the other end of the leash) that there’s apprehension on your part which certainly doesn’t help an already nervous dog to feel self assured. In dog training, body language and voice inflection matter a lot! Sending the right signals to your dog will help socialize him to greet new people with joy.

If you own a small toy breed dog who’s shy with new people don’t introduce your dog when holding it. Put your pup on the ground. Having your dog on a leash helps create eye contact from your dog to you and not the person approaching, then redirect your dog to sit. The same goes for larger dogs.

Here are some helpful tips. The following advice is only intended for pups  learning to greet strangers and guests that have no prior behavioral issues or aggression.

1. Have a treat in your pocket to give to the person wanting to greet your dog. As your dog to sit and hand the person the treat.

2. If you feel your dog is NOT going to do well with the person approaching then simply say to the person approaching that  you and your dog are in training and pass on the interaction all together.

3. It’s best to have your dog on a leash and ask your dog to sit, always use a happy voice. Talk to the person approaching. Often apprehension creates silents and your dog senses something strange.

4. Crouch down next to your dog holding his collar and the leash. Most dogs without severe issue’s feel more relaxed with you crouching next to them, even scratching their chest. Your dog should be on your left with your left hand on their collar and right hand rubbing your dogs chest. This helps indicate assurance. Also your right there in control if something where to happen. Most dogs just want to smell the person’s hand and the treat helps socialize the interaction into a positive thing. Talking to the person approaching in a happy voice helps everyone relax too. If you just stand next to your dog and don’t speak holding the leash tightly it sends an odd signal that may created a sudden reaction.

5. Teach your dog  basic commands on a leash. Training creates a great foundation for you and your dog as to how you communicate and about what. It also replaces the nervous babble that sometimes happens because you can replace it with praise of doing a command. Many times people start repeating good boy nervously trying to indicate to their dog to be good (when they’re actually not sure what’s going to happen) as a the strange person is running at them to  hello to their dog. Guiding your dog to sit, giving the person a treat to hand to the dog first, then guiding your dog to sit gives you steps to assure your dog you have it all under control and a person saying hello is a good thing!

6. Varying your dogs routine, upping the amount of regular walks, leash training and again the more exercise the better! All will  help get you and your pup on the road to being well socialized and create trust.

If your dog has ever displayed severe aggression or fear towards any person or has bitten anyone, you must seek an in-home professional trainer immediately. Do not attempt to resolve such issues on your own.  Ask your local vet for referrals. 

Recipe For Success: Teach Your Dog To Come

Teaching your dog to come, while at a park or outside in your yard, and with distractions can be challenging. Here is one of my quick dog training tips that you can practice at home to ensure your dog learns to come when you call.

Paws For A Minute® Quick dog training tip. Play the game of hide- and-seek in with your dog in your house! This game teaches dogs to seek you out as a game. It’s important to practice initially indoors, using the boundary of the four walls in your house. After you and your pup master the game indoors you can try the game at a park.

Recipe for success /Ingredients: You need 2 people. One dog. A treat. Practice once daily for 2 weeks.

-One person holds the dog by his collar.

-The second person hides in another room with a treat. 

- The person hiding begins to call the dog repeatedly and happily, using a really exited voice. 

- The person holding the dog lets him go on the fourth call of his name. 

- As your dog seeks you out, hold the treat in your right hand, and gesture the letter ( j ) as you say sit. This is the hand signal for sit. The hand signal  stops you from needing body gear, as your dog runs toward you and signals your dog to sit and wait for the release command and treat. This is a great way to capture his attention with a hand signal which allows you to redirect him to sit. Then end the command by giving him the treat as you say the word O.K.

Voila, you’ve taught your dog to seek YOU out. The secret here is by holding your dog back, a few calls of his name, creates a high prey drive to seek you out based on his name! Your dogs name becomes a trigger to bolt to you.

Try it, you’ll like it.

Our mission: To keep dogs safe and owners sane. If you dig, help support us, please pass along. Thank you! 

 

Do You Trust Your Dog? 5 Steps To Success

Do you trust your dog? Achieving trust with your pup is a process and must be developed by you! Do you have a dog that’s not a puppy anymore, but still not housebroken or trustworthy in the house? Are you waiting for your dog to get it? Guess again, it’s you that needs to guide your dog to get it! It’s not about your dog being smart or stupid.

Recently one of our readers, sent in a plea to address this issue. Her dog has the bad habit of busting through the back door, every time they leave the house, and eats all the food off the counters. Also known as, counter surfing! Puppy proofing and not keeping food on counter tops is one issue, the other is the urge to bust down a door is a more complicated behavior and it has to do with the owner, as well as the dog.

I’m talking about separation anxiety, which often results in doggie demolition.  Blocking doors with tables or chairs, or sometimes just  shutting a door on a dog (that doesn’t want to be alone) whether in a room or yard  can create distress. Separation anxiety in dogs can actually be created (albeit unintentionally) by you! Coaxing, pushing you already anxious dog back and shutting a door can induce crazy behavior. Many owners leave their dogs in the yard or locked in a room while they’re gone because they don’t trust their dog loose in the house. The act of pushing a dog back and shutting a door can sometimes create the separation anxiety, especially in a young untrained dog. all behaviors owner and dog can become a vicious circle.

The solution to solving separation anxiety in dogs and creating trust within your lifestyle has many parts.

I know everyone means well, and life does get busy! But sometimes bad dog behaviors and habits such as; barking, destroying things or eating food off the counters can develop from boredom, lack of routine or bad triggers. Bad triggers can develop from owners as they rush out the door to go to work, not knowing how to train their dog to be trustworthy. If trust was not created during puppy training, then as a dog matures bigger problems can occur. If your dog’s destroying things, not housebroken or barking up a storm at every noise then that’s your sign to jump into action and begin asking yourself some questions!

The first question to ask yourself is, are your dogs needs met? Many people think so, but if your dog is barking, digging, and destroying furniture then those signs may indicate your dogs needs are not met. Dogs need to exercise, to be apart of the family, be trained in basic commands on a leash, by you! Also they also need praise, to be guided and fed, to have a chew on a delicious, safe “chew” type bone, and oh, did I say exercise? I did.

One bit of advice I have is to begin creating a new routine. Get your running shoes on and take your dog for a long walk, or to the dog park and tire your pup out! You would be surprised how many owners don’t. Get into a routine of exercising your dog everyday. A tired dog is always a better dog. The main ingredient is to have a new routine. Exercising your dog  will become  a huge part of the solution and the road to recovery. Be aware of when you exercise your dog. Timing is everything. Dog’s are very routine oriented and sometimes varying the time of your outings can be helpful in getting rid of bad habits.

 

The weekend may be the best time to implement this training!

Paws For A Minute® Quick tips: Trust 

Method: How to Feng Shui with Fido.™ Dog+ Home= peace 

1.  Initiate a new routine on the weekend when you’re home. If your dog lives outside all day long, then your yard becomes his den. This con promote digging, barking and possible separation anxiety. Ideally, you want to reverse this concept, and create trust indoors. Look at your individual lifestyle and age, temperament of dog to be sure this concept is right for you. You want the yard to be a place to run and jump, not on you.

2. Exercise your dog at the proper time. Sometimes people exercise their dogs at the wrong times. For example, I recently had a client who had a similar issue. Her dog was walked and exercised early in the morning and then basically spent the rest of the day barking and sleeping in the yard! Pay attention to the time your exercise your dog and if your not then do so! Sometimes a quick game of turbo fetch and potty is a better use of time, leaving the longer walk for later.

3.  Get the right chew bones for your dog to enjoy! Make sure you have “chew time” coincide with a new added routine! Young dogs LOVE to chew and it’s a function not a behavior, they must. Chewing also tires a young dog out and gives them a hobby. Ask your vet what would be right for your dog. Use this chewing hobby to your advantage by introducing the concept indoors as apart of the new training.  A special, new “chew bone” could be given in a gated area creating a “new space.” * Note: Always ask your local vet what type of dog chew is best for your dog!

Choose a gating area for a (20 minute period of time) while YOU are home. This teaches your dog to be gated in an area and learn to be mellow in the house. The gates allows him to see what’s going on yet still be apart of things. This is a temporary training exercise only meant to be applied for an hour here and an hour there, while your home! This will psychologically create a new “den space” for your dog and develop a trust. Absolutely, allow your dog free time loose in the house with you after a walk, this will reinforce mellow behavior.

Occasionally, guide your dog into the space on a leash, say sit, WAIT and then put up the baby gate. Always take off the leash while your dog is gated for safety and give the proper chew type toy or bone that’s safe for your dog to chew. Dogs are den animals and LOVE small spaces, if introduce correctly. The baby gate allows them to see out and be apart of the household without being completely loose all of the time. They love being apart of the family. Begin training with a little patience and always while you are home. This will help you to be able to correct any anxiety. Remember, gate in a central part of the house for best results.

4. Put music on while your dog is gated. This triggers a comforting feeling and trigger a mellow behavior and help to mute out other sounds.  This may also help get your dog of the pattern of going to the door, window or back door waiting for the next sound. All of these tips together will work together over time to help curb the barking or anxiety. You must be in the room your dog is gated during this training process. At least for the first week. You need to build on a new routine.

5. Stop the madness. While your dogs gated, and you are in the room or near by, if your dog continues to bark, you can give a correction. If your dogs needs are met and you know that he’s been to the bathroom, exercised, loved, fed and has water then correcting him to waittTake a coffee can, empty it and then put a hand full of pennies in the can and make sure the lid on the can is on tight. Make sure your dog has gone to the bathroom and had plenty of exercise. If the barking gets excessive, shake the can once, from out of sight, only while your dog is gated. Being out of sight is key! The noise of the can acts just like a siren does of a police car pulling you over for blowing a red light. It’s a sanction, a growl or just plain NO! This can help break the barking pattern.

Remember, it’s important to keep this gating exercise to a short amount of time, slowly building up to an hour over a few days.  I do not suggest you leave your dog gated in the house alone when you have to go out! This new pattern may take months of application before  a new pattern is set. 

Yes, I know dogs can jump over gates and get through most barriers, if the process is initiated incorrectly. This new routine is only meant to be implemented for short periods of time, while your home, only! All of the steps must be in place in order for this concept to become effective. Slowly, you and your dog will learn to trust and eventually the old pattern of anxiety will dissipate.

It’s really important to do all of steps together! Increase exercise, apply short increments of time gated, only while you are home. Remember, gating your dog for “short” periods while your home, can be done several times a day! This creates a pleasant chew bone “chewing” experience and music triggers a new positive pattern of waiting! Often shutting a door on a untrained dog can sometimes create massive anxiety. You may have to leave your dog at home (the way you used to) until a new pattern is formed for a while. Add these new steps indoors, slowly over several weeks or even a month adding the new routine slowly, and before long a healthy trustworthy behavior will develop.

In extreme cases:  ALWAYS seek out a professional dog trainer in your local area. Always ask your local veterinarian what type of  ”dog chew” is best for your dog, 

Does Your Dog Sleep In Your Bed? Good Idea or Bad?

Is it a good idea for your dog to sleep in your bed?

Many owners LOVE the concept of cuddles while getting their zzz’s, despite the potential dog hair issue. Often though, new dog owners wonder about when to start this life long ritual? Other’s end up questioning their original decision to allow their dog on the bed, if other training issues come into play.

Here are some dog owner tips to consider. Timing is everything! Allowing a very young “new” puppy to sleep in your bed too soon, can create a huge mixed signal. Sure the end goal may be to get snuggles all night long, however, allowing this to happen during the first few months of puppyhood can create separation anxiety later, when you attempt to leave for work or dinner. Many dogs can become codependent on you because they learn to feel safe only in your presents rather than being able to be secure alone in the house or yard. Teaching your new puppy to self-soothe (in an independent space) first, is really important. This training process is age related and sometimes crucial for new rescue pup’s that are already adult, but new to you and your lifestyle.

Issue’s can develop from allowing this nesting (in your bed) to happen too soon. Territorial behavior (over your bed) can occur, never getting housebroken, separation anxiety while being left alone, are a few issues that can develop, overtime, from allowing new dogs to sleep in your bed too soon.

For best results and an issue free experience, new puppy’s, like children, need to learn from you, a lifestyle pattern. Such as, where to go to the bathroom, how to hold the urge, what to chew on and how to be alone. After you have achieved all of that and a bit of obedience training, then you can both knock yourself out with some sweet dreams for the next 15 years.

 

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.

 

Nightmare Puppy Nipping. 3 Steps To Make it Stop.

A recent reader wrote in and asked me to address the cute puppy but very obnoxious puppy syndrome called teething! This JAWS like behavior was driving them all NUTS. As cute as their new ball of fur was and as great as training had been progressing, there seem to be one MAJOR kink. Those needle teeth that latch on to your leg like a viper out of a horror movie. He explained how there perfect first dog would also endure these crazed attacks. They all have battle wounds. Wearing long sleeve shirts all the time as protection is a must. Trying to explain to coworkers that they were NOT closet heroine addicts became a common dialogue during coffee breaks.

The last straw was when the innocent new little angel or “devil dog” began to show his teeth at their first dog. This new three-months old terror was ruling the house. After reading a ton of information on how to deal with this puppy nipping, he wrote in to ask me to please explain what to do about this nipping, biting and horrible behavior!

Many people try to dominate this puppy urge. This is bad. Dominating a puppy that’s teething can actually make the behavior worse. Information on how to deal with this behavior is often incorrect and can vary from muzzle grabs to teaching the owner to  scream ouch. None of these techniques are really effective or very realistic to many lifestyles. For example, children are not going to implement the word “ouch” to effectively train a puppy. Oh they may say the word, but it’s not going to help train your puppy not to nip. Besides, teething is a biological development of a puppy, not a bad behavior. Although it should be redirected. Here’s how…

1. What often happens is that people try to cuddle with their wired for sound, squirmy, hyper, needing exercise puppy. Wrong. Play with him, tire him out, first, then cuddle. Puppies have short spurts of energy not dissimilar to human toddlers and meeting those exercise needs will help.Timing is everything. The key here is to realize that teething and biting for a 10 week-old puppy is only a phase during development. Puppy’s loose their teeth from the age of 3 months to 6 months of age.

2. Get the proper teething chew bones. Bully Sticks are the best. Period. They look like long sticks, easy to hold (so you don’t get bitten) while they chew and they will leave everyone else alone.  www.bestbullysticks.com

3. Don’t reprimand this developmental stage. Redirect it. If your puppy is pestering your older dog, you need to separate them for a short time and allow your puppy to chew a teething toy behind a baby gate. Give your older more mature dog some relief!

Your puppy needs are to run around, chew in order to loosen those baby teeth, and learn some boundaries while being trained. Often when I teach or go into a private clients home to train,  I notice many toys but rarely the right type of teething chew bones. Most people have millions of toys lying around, but rarely the right teething chew bones. That’s the key to soothing that savage beast. I’ll have much more on this exciting topic in the months to come. Remember, no matter what breed of dog, puppy teething is only a developmental phase.

Reprimanding a puppy for teething is wrong! Distracting your puppy with giant stuffed toys and lots of exercise, creating a space for him to chew and loving and  bonding with him when he is calm will ultimately create the behavior you want, until his adult teeth grow in.

P.S. Always check with your vet first about which chew toys are best for your dog.

Ask Inger: My Dog Chooses When He Wants To Listen. Selective Hearing?

Ask Inger: My Dog Chooses When He Wants To Listen. Selective Hearing?

Hi, Inger! A few months ago my boyfriend and I adopted the most well behaved Lab ever, Max. He’s seriously such an amazing companion and already knew several basic commands as well as has awesome leash behavior. We’re spoiled! We live near a dog park and even a dog beach so we love to get him out and about.

The only issue Max has is that whenever he is off-lead, he could care less about his humans (us) and is only interested in running around like a crazy man and visiting with new dogs (social butterfly!). How do we get Max to be more watchful when he is off lead?

We’re trying to make him more responsive to us using treats but it seems like he comes for the treat, and then takes off again – only coming back when he’s hungry (not as often as you’d think). At this point, we’re not sure if he can ever be off-leash at the beach as there are no fences and we can’t stop him from running around.

Sam

Hi Sam,

Great question! Many dog owners suffer from having their only dog hear words like COOKIE extremely well, yet words like “let’s go” at the dog park become in audible. Go figure, a similar hearing dysfunction can happen with family members too. Here’s the scoop. Often, what is deemed to be a well-mannered dog by many owners and new dog parents of a rescue dog is actually a manifestation of age, not necessarily obedience.  Now hang on, don’t get your knickers in a knot, I am not suggesting your dog is not “super” smart, or fabulous. I’m saying that in many cases, like yours, you or your dog have not participated in formal obedience classes. Therefore, you are winging-it and so is your dog. This technique (of winging-it) or treat training initially works really well with a puppy. Owners usually get that quick response of their pup eagerly wanting to please. What the puppy is responsive to is the owner’s body language and high voice inflection praise and treat. But by teenage-hood, like with humans, forget about it, in one ear, out the other. Then what?

Teach your dog to come, sit and wait for a release command. The missing link is that you just be a little smarter than your dog teach him to want to finish the command. Sometimes people hear positive reinforcement and treat training and end up coaxing their dog more than really training them. Playing a game of hide-and-seek in your house should fix the temporary hearing impairment. But wait, you need to teach your dog to seek you out, sit and wait for a release.

I recommend teaching this systematically in a step-by-step process. The dog owner tip is that you need to teach it with a beginning, middle and end. The end is the release. Very important!  You need 2 people, for walls (in your house or apartment) one dog, a treat, and a little reverse psychology. One person holds the dog; the other grabs a treat and hides in another room. The person holding the dog does so nonchalantly by it’s collar. The person hiding should repeatedly call the dog’s name. Don’t peak. The person holding the dog back should let the dog go on the third call of its name. Holding the dog back creates an instinctive drive to hear its name and WANT to seek you out. Suddenly letting your dog go creates the race- horse effect. When your dog finds the person calling have the treat already in your hand and gesture the letter “j” with the hand holding the treat. Your dog’s eyes will follow you hand signal with the hand that is holding the treat, and say sit. Now hold your dog’s focus and ask your dog to watch you. Only for a second, then say the “okay!” and give him the treat. Practice this game at home for a while before trying it at a dog park. Once dogs get and understand hide-and-seek, they love nothing more than to come immediately, sit and wait for that release command.

Please share the LOVE! Keep dogs SAFE. Tell other dog owners needing help with their dog! Our mission to keep dogs out of shelters. If ya dig?  Help support our mission follow us on Twitter and Facebook! What’s up with you? Tell us your dog story!