Ask Inger: How To Stop Doggie Destruction While At Work?

Hi Inger!
I have a 10 month-old Yorkie named P-Nut and although it took her a while, she is now housebroken and uses the doggie door regularly.  In addition to her, we have a 4 year-old Australian Cattle Dog mix and a 13 year old cat.  All get along famously, if you consider chewing on the cats head getting along!??!  I minimize it, but also think the cat enjoys the playing…

We have tried leaving the puppy out of her crate while we are at work, which unfortunately can be about 10 hours a day with drive time, but when we return home, destruction of some sort has happened.  Thank goodness it hasn’t been anything of significant value, however, I am not wanting that day to come, so I have chosen to crate her again.
I hate the thought of her being in her crate for that long during the day and would like the two pups to be able to play during the day (cat is confined by a gate upstairs).
She goes into her crate willingly, so doesn’t hate it.  She of course is beyond excited when we get home, but then she is that way if we step outside for 3 minutes…
Any suggestions how to reduce her anxiety?
I have been reading and reading and there is no way that I can go home and take her out during the day, etc… It’s about 30 minutes each way drive time.  I considered corralling the doggie door, so they both can go in and out, but I’d think that with 2, I’d have to get quite a large corral.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
-M

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Hi there M, thanks for the great question. P-Nut’s so cute for a trouble maker!

Several important  important  issues pop out, that I need to explain. Your problem might not be what you think it is! Offering the use of a doggie door to a young pup does not teach your puppy how to hold the urge to go. Don’t misunderstand me, in some environments dog doors are great, but when getting a new puppy, teaching them housebreaking basics is important. You see, pups need to chew. Especially, 10 month-old puppy’s, yes even toy breeds! Chewing is a function of a puppy, way beyond the teething process! What they chew on becomes the possible bad behavior. 

It sounds to me like there might be a little competition between your two dogs and maybe a bit of frustration involving the chew toys. This can happen when dogs are by themselves and one wants what the other has, and if that’s not possible then destruction happens! When you’re at work there could be a dominance vibe over chew bones by your older dog,  that may not be evident when your home. 

Sometimes in multiple dog homes the older dog can vibe chew bones or be chewing on a bone and the youngest pup only wants what the other dog is chewing! Even though you may have  20 toys on the floor, resulting in frustration and destruction.  

This vibe can take place even if the older dog is not chewing any toy! A glance is all it takes between dogs who are trying to claim  possession. So it may not be separation anxiety at all! My diagnosis is codependence between the two dogs mixed in with a little doggie hierarchy and a 10 month-old pup who needs to chew on something!  She also may need the proper type of chew.

I always encourage people to teach a new puppy independence, with some form of gating as a protocol for training for a period of time. This ensures your 10 month-old pup’s chewing needs are met while you’re at work and teaches them to respect a boundary. 

Paws For A Minute® – Quick TIp: doggie demolition-  7 steps to success.

1. Exercise is important and important for training. A tired dog is a good dog. Playtime together with both dogs is awesome and should be often. Occasionally, exercise them for a few minutes separately too. 

2. Initiate going potty while your present: Perhaps before you go to work exercise both dogs and formalize the “going potty” process by you initiating it and being present.

3. Initiate going potty a second time before you leave: Formalize the process of going potty again before you leave for work. Formalize the process by taking each dog separately on leash for a quick potty break to ensure they have gone. Remember, your younger dog needs to be guided by you! 

4. Apply a new temporary set up: Try this while you’re at home (on the weekend) to start. Once safe apply during the week.  Use a corral and put the crate within the corralled space but leave the crate door open. Make sure the coral is set up in a central area in your home. This allows her to go in and out of the crate and to learn to self-soothe and enjoy her own chew bone privately. She will learn to next and feel safe while not feeling confined. Your other dog can be loose. Start with small increments of time while your home. Then slowly build to longer periods. Remember, your 4 year-old dog doesn’t have the same urge to chew, at least not with the same urgent impulse. Music helps set the tone.

5. Occasionally walk your dogs separately: This easy tip really helps train dogs to anticipate separation in a positive way, if only occasionally. The learn to accept the ritual of waiting for their turn to be walked. If you use a term such as “wait”  with corralled space to designate the area, the dog that’s waiting there turn to be walked can get a bully stick while waiting. This will divert the possible anxiety and teach them to wait their turn. Leave the ritual of play time for when you get home or perhaps before you leave for work.

6. Always leave water available in a corralled space: Make sure dogs have water and something safe to chew. Check with your vet to see what’s safe for your breed of dog.I like to suggest a 12″ bully stick chew for toy breeds. It’s the same size you’d give a big dog, but it’s for safety reasons when your not home to monitor the chewing. Use your own common sense with chew toys. 

7. Always try this new corralled space out on a weekend when you’re home, first. To ensure success, try the corral set up and dog separation on the weekend when your home. So that you can correct any unwanted behaviors and have peace of mind that the process of separation is effective. Never wing it and see what happens. 

In no time, she’ll be an adult dog and you can leave them together with a doggie door access.The need to chew whether it’s stuff they shouldn’t or provided by you does subside with age but it remains a nice hobby for dogs through out there lives.

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.

Paws For A Mintute® Quick Puppy Training Tip

Paws For A Minute®

Providing a safe place and schedule for your new puppy creates a mellow puppy.

Mello puppy = happy person.

Feng Shui with Fido™Puppy series: Housebreaking Your Puppy

The CRATE: 

Using the puppy crate properly has a few tips that I want to share in order to create the best results. Feng Shui with Fido™ is my method of puppy training and philosophy that I’ve shared with my private clients for years. In order to get great results with housebreaking new 8 week-old puppy, it’s great to remember that crating your puppy is age related.

Here are 5 steps to help explain the crating process.

1. The crate serves as a den. The den concept is meant to teach your puppy to learn to self soothe, learn to hold the urge to go to the bathroom and learn the route outside. This is a process and happens over time. Some people try to crate their puppy’s early and get up at 2 am and 5 am to take their pups outside, this does not housebreak your pup faster.

2. If your puppy has pee’d in the crate, your doing something wrong and shutting the crate door too early in your pup’s development.

3.  The crating process should begin within a corralled space. This allows your puppy initially to be able to go in and out of the crate and den naturally.

4.  Your first step is to provide a space within your house that will serve as a playpen area. The crate will help your puppy den and feel safe. This is the first step in teaching separation from you and preventing separation anxiety from happening in the future. 

5. When your puppy is approximately 14 to 16 weeks old he/she will be able to hold his urge to go to the bathroom all night long. By that time shutting the crate door will be no big deal. Until then you should initiate outside many times throughout the day/evening and provide wee-pads within the corralled space only. Free time with you to play is awesome too.

6. The whole point of a crate is to provide a covering for your puppy. Plastic crates do that. If you have a wire crate put a towel on the top in order to create a cozy space.

Does Your Dog Really Know What He’s Done Wrong?

Paws For A Minute® … and think about this…

Some people give lengthy verbal dissertations trying to explain to their dog their extreme displeasure they feel after they’ve discovered their best shoes chewed. Other’s righteously feel their dog totally gets what he’s done wrong. Absolutely, 100 %.. slinking out of the room with their ears back and tail tucked. For sure they know! Right?

 Some people try to punish their dog by using spray bottles, crating or putting your dog outside in the yard to “think about” what he’s done. This may give the person time to cool off after being mad, but really? Does it get the right point across?

Well, the truth is that dogs do respond to voice inflection and body language. So yeah, they get that your mad, but not at what? Dogs associate to things with sense of smell, patterns and triggers. It’s best to explain to them what they’ve done wrong with a sensible process that has a beginning, middle and end to it. Whether your pup has chewed something or gone to the bathroom in the house, get the leash, put it on and guide them over to what they’ve done wrong. Isolating the item or area by guiding your dog to it helps them associate the scent and your voice inflection to the word NO.

Reprimanding your dog this way you’re actually associating the smell of their saliva on the chewed item or urine on the carpet and that identifies to your dog what you’re saying NO for and to what?  After saying no, take your dog “outside” ( in the case of a bathroom mistake) or (in the case of chewing the wrong thing) give them the right chew bone. Then say “okay” in a happy voice indicating that the reprimand is over! Over time he’ll learn the pattern of where to go to the bathroom and what to chew. The days of needing to catch your dog in the act of doing something wrong are over.

Ask Inger: Puppies Peeing In The House. Help! Owning Two Pups = Double Trouble.

Hi Inger,

I have two 3 month-old Chi-weenie’s they are brothers and have never been separated. To potty train them I went and bought a play pen type gate and a big crate so they can sleep together at night or they cry.

I have set this up in my bathroom with the crate in the center and the metal play pen on the outside so they can’t get out and chew my cabinets but only enough room for pee pad and water when they come out of crate.

During the night they get out and use the pee pads and do not waste in the crate. But during the day the sometimes pee/ poop on the pad but a lot of the time pee/ poop around it or down the hall from it. I shampoo my carpets everyday now and have used the enzyme stuff also but it doesn’t matter.

Please help I don’t know what I am doing wrong. We even give them treats when they use the pads. I even have a pad in the hall slowly moving it in the bathroom, and same thing the use it sometimes but most of the time go around it. Please help I am tired of shampooing carpet everyday , and swear my house smells like pee. Help!

Delanee

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Hi Delanee, Very cute pups. Thanks for the great question! There are couple of things you’re doing right. Keeping the crate within the play pen area and the wee-wee pads on the far end is excellent. When training litter mates, though, there is a natural codependence that develops between the pups and as an owner you want to address that issue by teaching idea of separation, to them, slowly.

Here’s what I recommend:

Get 2 crates, one for each puppy and maybe an additional corral. Put both crates within one corral area for now, with the intention of giving each puppy their own space, in a few weeks. Remember, your pup’s are only 3 months-old, and they don’t have their shots, so wee-wee pads at this stage are the way to go. At the age of 16 weeks, your puppies will be able to hold the urge to go potty all night long and therefore be crated in their own crate with the crate door shut. They will also be able to begin going out doors for walks! So, therefore you need to begin preparing for that time. Otherwise, they will become so reliant on each other, you won’t be able to take one and not the other. They also need to learn to bond with you individually. Begin scheduling their time together and apart. The best way to do that is to create a structure introducing a little independence from one another. This is the key to help housebreak them too.

When you say “down the hall”  it’s sounds like you’re giving them too large an area for too long of a time. Have the second corral as an exercise PLAY pen “area” to be given to them to play for short periods of time. Then give a smaller area in your bathroom for chew bone, nap time and or feeding and sleeping. Perhaps getting the additional corral will make the process easier.

The goal is to begin slowly separating them, but only at certain times of the day. Having 2 corrals and 2 crates will enable you to begin creating separate time, as well as, additional play space! Use this individual space for chew bone time and use music to help reduce crying and trigger calmness. This should be done for one hour after play time.

Think about your day and daily routine and begin to think of their routine, and as to when you should create a separated space for each for a short period of time. Yes, they can see each other. Remember, the separation is only by corral and for short periods of time, to start. For instance, nap time, chewing a bone time, feeding time, all within their new separated space. They can have together time and run around time several times a day, in one large space.

Doing so, will help isolate who is going potty where and when?

The great thing about pup’s are that they operate on a clock. So make it work for you. Stop giving them treats for going potty, not necessary and distracting. If you have a patio or yard you can begin to bring one at a time, on a leash, to a wee-wee pad area there too. This will help establish a pattern of formalizing the potty process, until they get a bit older.

Please share this post and stay tuned for more…

Feng Shui With Fido™ Feeding Tip. Great Dog Bowls Add Color To Your Kitchen

Add a little color to your kitchen with these cute studio bowls by Wetnoz®.

These bowls are perfect for puppy owners, they’re plastic, inexpensive and look fantastic.

www.wetnoz.com

Paws For A Minute® Feeding Tip: Always feed your new dog a measured amount right for his size and age. Ask your vet about amounts rather than package servings. How, when and where you feed your puppy has everything to do with teaching your pup where to go potty. 

Feng Shui with Fido™ dog training method- Dog + Home = Peace.

Feeding Fido

Where: Kitchen is best, rather than outdoors.

When: Feed your dog when you are present. Many dogs love company or will get distracted if owners walk away and can become finicky eaters.

How: Best to time feed your dog. Put food down at the same time of day, same amount. Use a 15 minute increment for meal time. Pick up the food if not finished, until the next feeding time.

Why: If you leave food in a bowl out all day, it will effect your dogs housebreaking process.

 

A Straight Up Answer About Having An 8 Week-Old Puppy

Paws For A Minute® / ASK INGER-Q&A
Question:
I recently purchased, Montauk, see attached. She is a beautiful 8 week-old
“miniature” english Bulldog. 
I have set her up with a crate and a small pen area in my kitchen – about 8ftx3ft in total. I had read a lot about crate training so had been taking her outside frequently over the first few days to go potty. I think she was beginning to understand and respond.
I live in New York City and went to the vet for the first time yesterday. He basically explained to me that as she has not had any vaccinations yet that she must stay inside at all times until the shots are completed when she is about 17 weeks-old. Do you agree with this? I definitely don’t want to put her in danger but feel that keeping her confined in this space for the next 8-weeks is hardly a good life?
In addition, if I am to keep her in the crated / fenced area. What should her schedule look like? Do I only take her out when I play with her (maybe twice) per day? For the rest of the time she is in the fenced area? And I should go about my normal day.
Really appreciate your help. No one seems to give straight answers.
                                                                                                - Richard
ANSWER:
Hey, thanks for the great questions. She’s gorgeous and congrats on the new puppy!
 Firstly, yes I do agree with your vet. The problem is that many pet professionals neglect to tell owner’s “why” they should so a certain protocol, hence the confusion. The reason (very young) pup’s should not go outdoors, until fully inoculated, is because they should receive a series of shots, which are complete at around 17-weeks. This is to prevent many viruses but an important one to note is called parvo, a very contagious illness that pup’s can pick up from there pads. The incubation of this type of virus is roughly 15 days and owners wouldn’t know it until their puppy gets sick. Vomiting and diarrhea are the symptoms and rapid dehydration can be the killer, literally. So that’s the main reason, however, remember your pup’s been on the planet only 8 weeks, what’s the hurry? Oh I know, housebreaking.
Yes, well, that’s the next topic of conversation, leaning to go poop outdoors!
Paws For A Minute® / new puppy 8 weeks-old
 Even if your puppy appears to be getting the concept of going to the bathroom outside, biologically she can’t hold it 8 hours (at 8-weeks of age) that happens in stages. So you could neurotically feel compelled to take our puppy outside 45 times a day, because pup’s that age poop a lot, but the truth is that she needs to grow in order to learn to hold the urge to go. Yes, training is apart of that, but your not accelerating the training process at this young age by thinking she understands. Your main mission right now is to teach your new puppy to self-soothe and begin to understand the process of where to go potty.Teaching when to go potty comes later
Learning to self-soothe means teaching your pup to chill by herself (within a safe space) such as a gated area. At 8-weeks a puppy’s day consists of  playing , eating, peeing, pooping, learn how to (go in and out) of the crate, chewing, and get to know you! Think infant. Sleeping in the gated area all night long is a big deal. Music or a sound machine will help. Keep papers or wee-wee pads in one end of the gated area. When you take her out of the gated space, take her out on a leash, and guide her to spot (on a patio or yard) for potty on a wee-wee pad. Dogs will learn by routine, so it’s up to you to set one. Don’t expect for them to just “get it,” cats do that, not dogs. Remember, even if a puppy stumbles out a patio door (that’s kept open) to go potty, doesn’t mean she’s even close to being housebroken. That happens from a combo of training and age! After she goes potty then it can be playtime with you, but for 20 minutes or so at a time! Remember, this can be many, many times a day! You can also hang inside the gated space with her.
You mentioned this type of routine is hardly the good life? Don’t think of it that way, she’s a baby. A ball rolling at that young age is a good time. Have fun and get to know each other. Just like a human baby, puppies at that stage; eat, play, pee, poop, sleep. Now, having said that, when your puppy becomes 12 or 14 weeks-old, the party begins. All papers in the gated space come up, the crate door shuts for periods of time, triggers of music get introduced, commands get implemented, teething starts and the housebreaking concept comes alive.  Stay tuned for stage two of the puppy process which is only a few weeks away. I hope this helped and helps others. Please keep us posted on your progress!