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.

Pool Safety Tips For Dogs.

Creating the aqua boy or diving diva your pup sometimes needs some preparation. In order for a dog to learn to enjoy the process of swimming it’s helpful to make the process safe and fun. Pool safety for pets is important in case of accidental dips.
Paws For A Minute® H2o – Swimming 101 
  • Get. A leash, have a collar on your pup and purchase a doggie lifejacket. 
  • Play. Use a hose and begin water play with that first. If your dog loves the water play your in good shape in creating the swimmer. 
Tools 
  • The Leash. It helps guide your pup to know where to get out and gives you control to guide vs coax. 
  • Life Jacket. I know many think that’s overkill but it helps your new swimmer with being buoyant and therefore learning to enjoy being the otter. Not using one, you run the risk of a bad experience. Best dog life jacket: Outward Hound.
  • How. Lift your pup into the pool and  gently let him go. Use the leash and your voice to guide and show him the stairs and where to get out of the pool. 
  • Safety: Even if your dog doesn’t end up to be Aqua Boy – always good to teach how to swim and where to get out in case of an accidental unintended dip.

4 Triggers That Create Bark-a-holism In Dogs. How To Get Your Dog To Zip It!

Definition:  Bark-a-holism- Creates insanity in humans, fights between spouses and neighborhood disputes. A dog’s barking behavior of non-stop machine gun-like barking, yapping at anything and everything. How do you know you need help? If your dog has tuned you out and refuses to listen to the words no, stop, shut up, or zip it. 

photo’s courtesy of Jim Dratfield

Paws For A Minute® Quick Dog Training Helpful Tips: Curbing the Bark-a-holic

Barking is a normal way for a dog to  communicate. Excessive barking is not, and the way to curb this issue quickly becomes a  owner lifestyle issue. Triggers that create bad barking habits are usually lack of boundaries ( no positive training rituals, boredom (listening to endless neighborhood noises all day long), and  territorial-ism (gazing out windows or fences) . The fourth trigger is you. How? A lack of routine, exercise creates the ability to tuning you out!  




  • Create a routine: Exercise ( a must) , leash training ( 10 minutes a day), freedom in the house and hang time with you ( whenever and often), play time ( 1/2 hour, several times a day) along with gating a few hours ( now and then)  will help create a schedule. Especially, if you have a multiple dog household, breaking up the pack helps create a routine and curbs excessive barking at noises. Age related dog chews help curb boredom. Use a baby gate to divide the space and create a bone chewing time for each dog in there own space. Kitchen, hallway or breakfast rooms or good central areas. Occasional gating  takes away the ability to bolt to a window and bark. Dogs LOVE den’s. You just have to create one in your house and reclaim your home to break this pattern.  Hence, the habit of racing to the window to bark slowly dissipates, over time of course. Eventually, no gating is needed. This new ritual helps to desensitize outside noise triggers that creates barking as a pack. It should always be initiated (at first) when your home on the weekend to make sure it’s safe and everyone gets into the groove of denning on your terms.
  • Add Music. Block out daily outdoor or apartment noises when your not home with music. This helps to to set a tone and mutes out car door noises and daily mail delivery.
  • Exercise. Plain and simple, a game of turbo fetch, walk run, or hike on a daily before you leave for the day will help curb barking.
  • Use a fence cover.  If your backyard fence, faces the street and is chain-link or wrought iron cover it with a tarp, tennis netting or bamboo.  Covering your fence will help reduce territorial boredom barking at people, dogs and cars. Use a tarp or fence covering to block the street view. Not seeing people walk by will help barking by 50%.

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.

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! 

Paws For A Minute® Puppy series: Teething Tips

The teething stage of puppyhood can be so annoying, keep you on your toes and constantly chanting a chorus of “No’s!” Most new puppy people have arms that resemble a heroin addict covered with needle marks. Puppy teeth hurt like crazy! 

There are several stages to this function of puppyhood and good for new puppy parents to know how to deal and what chew toys are good for each stage. Usually this topic is not discussed in detail as to what and how to deal with this sometimes painful playtime. Having a zillion toys on the ground often don’t get noticed, especially if you don’t have the right toys for the right stage!

8 week to 10 week old pups: Squeaker toys are awesome at this age. It helps pups focus and follow you. Oversized “dog” stuffed animal toys fantastic. At this age pup’s are just beginning to chew so biting into a stuffed toy instead of your arm helps the play process. Ice cubes are also a big hit during playtime. Toys that roll are essential to your sanity and keep your pup moving.

11 to 14 week old pups: During this stage they are beginning to really teethe! Tempting to repeat the word no constantly as they gnaw on everything. By the way, this stage will pass. Don’t think this will become a bad behavior or that you have a devil dog. In the meantime, think exercise and reverse psychology with trading in your arm for the right toy. Being smarter than your puppy when he’s being evil works. What satisfied your pups urge to chew a few weeks ago  may not be working anymore. Bring in different toys! 

Planet dog brand has great softer rubber toys pups this age love them. Pigs ears and bully sticks are your ticket to peace during these weeks. Hold the bully stick while your puppy chews. Holding it identifies the stick as the right chew bone. I know it seems obvious however, you’d be surprised at how fast they’ll learn what to chew. If it’s just laying on the ground they may not seem interested in it until you give it them to chew. 

 

A helpful tip is to define a chewing area that’s  a gated space, in a central part of your house. This helps to keep your puppy on a bit of a schedule, preventing your insanity and puppy’s constant freedom. It also helps them to focus on the art of chewing.  

 

Chewing is function of a puppy not a behavior, what they learn to chew on becomes the behavior over time. You get to teach your puppy what to chew on, so setting a puppy schedule helps.

Good news! Adult teeth appear when your puppy turns 6 months-old, like clock work — all breeds. Promise!

Must-know Checklist For Senior Dogs

Paws For A Minute® Quick Tip

Dog Owner Checklist for Senior Dogs

1. When your dog turns 6 years old have a complete medical examination with your vet.

2.  Examine your dog occasionally when cuddling for lumps and bumps.

3. Have your dogs teeth cleaned. This can prevent major problems in the future. This is very important, especially for toy breed dogs.

4. Speak to your vet about your dogs food. Nutritional needs change over time. Adding a few supplements or changing your dogs food to a senior diet could be needed.

5.  Aging dogs sleep longer and deeply. Dog parents with children need to remember to recheck their reality. What was and still is a nice dog may have physical changes happening that we aren’t aware of (such as sight changes and hearing loss) due to the aging process. Even the nicest dog can snap at a child how is approaching their dog to pat it while sleeping.  Note any changes in your dog and communicate this to your children or create a new schedule for your dog as to where he/she naps.  If you have young children, creating a baby gated space for your aging dog to sleep will protect both.

6. Do some training on a leash! Yup, bring back the puppy in your older dog. The leash will formalize this fun exercise and really create the focus and attention your older dog will love then go through some old tricks. Your older dog will love the attention and praise for this accomplishment. Training also enables you to see if your dog is hearing or seeing properly. Changes can happen subtly but go un noticed. As your dog ages it’s common to go into a bit of a  “dog owner denial” and think our dog is just being stubborn, when really other changes might be taking place. 

7. Become aware of your dogs water intake. This can be an indicator of changes on the way and vet’s welcome new information. Noting water intake changes, eating and sleeping habits help guide your vet too in helping to Always check with your vet.

Happy Thanksgiving From Paws For A Minute

Giving thanks for the years of unconditional love, dog slobbered windows and free facials.

This Thanksgiving I must admit is sad. I recently lost my love. R.I.P

His knick name was Big boy and anyone who met him would undoubtedly have a comment. Guys would want to crack a beer with him and every woman would always ask me if he could be their boyfriend, married or not. Augie had a spirit that made people laugh and always walk away with a smile on their face.

He will be greatly missed.

 

 

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
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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.

Paws For A Minute® Mutt-rimony

Sure, you can try to teach me the first year, but I got you trained for the the next 16…