• Puppy

    Training Your Puppy To Be a Dog You Can Live With

    Always use a cage when you are not at home or cannot supervise your puppy. Always have a correction collar and leash on your dog when you can supervise him. Never carry your puppy. This will make jumping extremely hard to break. Keep him off of all furniture (only the leaders of the pack are allowed up). Never allow him to sleep in your bedroom (he is not your equal and shouldn’t sleep with you). Always feed after the family has eaten (the leader of the pack always eats first). Never initiate affection or petting unless you are giving a command first (i.e. sit for a pat on the head),…

  • Puppy

    Puppy Play

    Your puppy needs exercise and interaction with you. Playing with your pup is vital to his physical and mental development. However, because a pup’s body is growing and changing, certain types of “play” activities should be avoided. Different dog breeds and mixes of breeds have different energy levels and rates of growth; the growth plates in their joints close at different ages. Sustained vigorous running and jumping (even off the couch) can cause damage during the growth period. Focus instead on play that expends mental and physical energy without placing undue stress on your pup’s developing body.  Provide at least three structured play sessions per day and allow (or teach) your pup to rest in between.   Safety First  Don’t…

  • Puppy

    Mouthing

    One of the most common issues raised in my puppy classes is “mouthing.” Like many puppy behaviors, mouthing is rooted in canine instinct. It is not inherently “bad” but like many instinctive behaviors it can become problematic in a dog sharing its life with humans.  In the wild, the other members of the pack would teach a pup if and when the behavior is useful or appropriate.  In the home, it is up to us to teach our pups how to channel and control their behaviors in acceptable ways.  You cannot allow your pup to mouth just because it is “natural.” Humans and dogs made that trade-off generations ago when dogs domesticated. Some natural and instinctive behaviors had to…

  • Puppy

    Stubborn, Scared or Stupid?

    Puppies have a way of pulling on our heartstrings and pulling on our common sense. Their cuteness overrides logic and we bring into our homes an animal that leaks, whines, chews, and generally turns our lives upside down. And in the chaos that ensues, we maintain our sanity by clinging to the knowledge that it won’t always be like this.  Eventually, out pups will learn manners and good behavior and we can enjoy loving them and having them in our lives.    Pups don’t just “outgrow” most of their more challenging behaviors. The skills required for living with people don’t come naturally to them. Housebreaking, leash walking, and spending periods of the day alone are not…

  • Puppy

    Creating Structure

    Most young dogs are eager to please. They want to make you happy and yet their behavior very often achieves the opposite effect. You may wonder how your dog could possibly think that by stealing your shoes he will increase your happiness. The answer is simple: He’s a dog. HIs perspective is completely different from yours. He thinks he is livening up your dreadfully boring day by initiating a game of grab-the-shoe.  Until he is reliably trained, his choices will be based on trial and error and a flawed interpretation of desirable behavior. In the meantime, you must provide structure that limits his chances of making bad choices. When dogs stay with me for training, their day has a simple structure: Eat, drink, walk/play/train, crate time, repeat. This structure facilitates…

  • Puppy

    The A-B-C’s of Raising a Puppy

    (and keeping mistakes to a minimum!)  If you have recently brought a puppy into your home, you have my congratulations and my sympathy. Congratulations, because raising a puppy will change your life! My sympathy because, well . . . raising a puppy will change your life.  Sure, the little guy will steal your heart. He will also steal your socks, your sandwich, your sleep, and if you are not careful, your sanity. Face it; your puppy is a ball of fur filled with pee, poop, energy, and curiosity. He has an alarming lack of impulse control and his primary means of exploring new discoveries is his mouth. He will lick, chew, or eat anything—regardless of whether it is disgusting, valuable, or dangerous.  He will run…

  • Puppy

    Teething

    Teething is more likely to involve chewing on household items whereas play biting is a form of social play.  When your puppy is biting you, he is biting because he considers you ‘another puppy’ not an Alpha or leader.  If you are providing your dog with enough play, attention and exercise, this behavior should be a rare occurrence.  Teething on furniture etc. is a natural behavior in all puppies  Confinement and Attention  My puppies are crated when I am not paying attention to them.  They do not have the run of the house.  They come out at times when I can give them my undivided attention and that means no texting, television or…

  • Puppy

    Playing with your Puppy

    Puppies usually start to play with each other at about 2 ½ weeks old.  Initially they are crawling on each other and biting; as their mobility increases the wrestling and biting increases.  As they get older they will begin barking at each other to initiate play, sometimes even baring their teeth.  Once toys are introduced, stealing or grabbing of toys and getting everyone to chase you is the new game.  But that game usually ends in a tackle with biting and fighting over toys.  This is how dogs play!  Home Sweet Home:  You bring your puppy home, you want to lie on the floor and cuddle with him because he is so…

  • Puppy

    Handling your Puppy

    Too often clients tell me that their dog ‘freaks out’ when they are at the Veterinarian or when they try to cut their nails or anytime they have to be restrained. These dogs are sometimes friendly in normal situations but the restraint causes them such fear they resort to biting.  These bites occur during nail clipping or grooming, while they are being examined by a veterinarian or when they become tangled in a leash or caught on a fence by their collar.  These bites occur because the dog anticipates pain even when no pain may occur.  I have discussed this in my article titled “Good Stress” which I encourage you to read.  Good Stress:  When dogs are raised…

  • Puppy

    Properly Socializing Your Puppy

    (and the people who greet him!)  Socializing your puppy is extremely important. However, socializing your puppy in the wrong way can do more harm than good. To properly socialize your puppy, you must provide the experiences and training that will build a foundation for him to function successfully in the world he shares with you. In other words, you must teach your puppy to greet and interact with others appropriately and to remain calm and behave well in a variety of situations.  Along the way, you may also need to teach some people the appropriate way to greet a puppy!  How Exciting  People tend to get excited when they see a puppy. They may squeal, giggle, jump, and rush toward your pup with…