Puppy Care

Puppy Care Tips
House Breaking

A dog or puppy is either housebroken or not. If your dog is sneaking off to another room and having an accident, you will have to take some of his freedom away until you can solve the problem. The longer you allow this type of behavior to exist, the harder it will be to modify. Unless you can catch him, it really does not do any good to drag him off to the site of his mishap and try and punish him. Keep him in sight if he is bold enough to try something in front of you, say “No,” get his attention and take him outdoors quickly so he can finish eliminating in the appropriate area. Remember that it is your house. He has to earn his freedom through good behavior and this is your responsibility. Start by establishing an elimination spot outdoors. In the morning, clip his leash to his collar and take the dog outdoors to his spot for elimination. State commands like “go potty” or “hurry up.” After he does his duty, bring the dog inside for food and water. About 15 to 20 minutes after the meal, take the dog outside again for elimination. Take your dog to his “spot” at each elimination time. Maintain a regular feeding, drinking, and elimination schedule. One of the most commonly made errors in housebreaking is rushing too quickly ahead of your dog. Too much freedom too quickly can cause some confusion. If your dog experiences an accident or two, you will have to back up and slow down. Marking should not be confused with housebreaking problems because marking is deliberate. This behavior will arise in dogs that may be trying to vie for the role of the leader in the household; marking is a way of claiming territory. It is advised that if you should notice this behavior indoors or out, you strengthen all obedience commands immediately. This will remove all doubts as to who is in charge around the house. Providing your dog or puppy with a crate that is way too large may allow him to relieve himself in one end and sleep in the other. Placing food or water in his crate will allow him to fill up his bladder and bowel and he will have no choice but to relieve himself in his crate. Make sure you take your dog or puppy outdoors to eliminate on a regular schedule and especially prior to being left for prolonged periods of time. If you have tried all the above and are still experiencing what you believe to be “Territorial Marking,” consult your veterinarian. Your dog/puppy may have a bladder infection and it’s always best to be safe, not sorry. If your dog/puppy is not spayed or neutered you may want to talk to your veterinarian about this procedure. It usually has a very positive effect on this type of behavior problem. Even well trained dogs sometimes have accidents. Clean the accident area with a pet odor neutralizer so your dog won’t be tempted to repeat his mistake. Here are some tips to help prevent accidents:
· Do not make sudden changes in his diet.
· Avoid giving your dog late night snacks.
· Make sure to spend enough time outdoors.

Potty Training:
Puppies will eventually stop soiling in their bed, box, or sleeping area? Dogs do not like messes in their areas any more then you do in yours so use this to your advantage. While he is little, cover his entire personal area with newspaper. He will of course take care of his business on it. After awhile reduce the area of the paper to half. Encourage and praise him when he uses the paper. Keep reducing the paper area until it is one sheet and keep praising him for using it. When he is ready to venture out into your house move the paper to the back door and eventually out the back door. As you do this the puppy will come to see the entire house as his living area and will help you keep it clean.

Crate training is not putting your dog/puppy in a cage or jail, and you are not being cruel if you follow these tips. Dogs feel secure in small, enclosed spaces, like a den. Dog crates make excellent dens. It is a safe place for him to stay when you’re away or when you cannot watch him. Watch your own dog around home. Where do you find him napping in his deepest sleep? Under the table, desk, chair? Yes, somewhere out of the traffic pattern where he has a roof overhead and a little privacy. A crate offers security, a den with a roof, and a place to call his very own where he can go to get away from it all. There are basically just a few steps in “crate” training and they are as follows: Choose a crate the same size as your puppy/dog. He should only have enough room to stand up, turn around and lie down. His crate is for sleeping or for a safe place to be when you cannot be with him. If you get a huge crate for a small dog, he may eliminate in one end and sleep in the other and you will have defeated the whole purpose of using the crate (dogs do not like to eliminate anywhere where they sleep or eat). If you have a puppy that will grow into a 60-70-lb. dog, you may have to buy two different crate sizes or purchase a crate with a divider you can move as he grows. Use a single-word command for your dog to enter his crate, for example, “KENNEL”; throw in a treat or piece of kibble; when the dog/puppy enters, praise him and close the crate door. Increase the time he spends in the crate before you let him back out. Remember that your dog still needs time to play and eliminate. Maintain a regular schedule of trips outdoors so as not to confine him too long. As a general guide, your puppy can stay in his crate comfortably for as many months as he is old plus one month (2 mth old pup + 1 mth = 3 hours in his crate). Always take your puppy/dog outside to the same area in your backyard to eliminate on a leash so you can praise him when his job is finished. This will take the guesswork out of his visits to the backyard. And don’t forget to play with him and exercise him. He needs this kind of stimulation for his mental and physical wellness. Remember your dog or puppy is a pack animal by nature and he will be looking to you for direction. Your job as a responsible pet owner is to give him that direction so you can enjoy each other, as true companions should.

Because dogs/puppies are creatures of habit, schedules are very important. You need to schedule when to feed, water, exercise and take your dog/puppy outdoors to eliminate. You will want to get your new friend housebroken very quickly and, without a schedule, housebreaking can be a very long drawn-out ordeal. If you know when he ate and filled his bladder up with water you will have a pretty good idea when he will need to be taken outdoors to eliminate. You will also be training his digestive system as well, which will help take some of the guesswork out of housebreaking. Remember preventive training – it’s always best to be thinking ahead. Take your dog outside when you think he might have to eliminate, rather than wait too long and run the risk of your puppy/dog having an accident indoors. The more times your puppy/dog eliminates outdoors where you want him to, the slimmer the chance for him to have an accident indoors. The clearer the picture to the dog/puppy, the quicker they will catch on to what you want from them. They really want to please you and you can show them how to do it. Always accompany your dog/puppy outdoors. That way, you can take him to a pre-selected area in your yard to eliminate in, therefore doing away with the habit of smelling the whole yard to find the desired area to eliminate. You will also be assured that your dog/puppy has eliminated before bringing him indoors, and you can praise him. Exercise is important for all dogs. Between 40% to 60% of all adult dogs are either overweight or likely to get that way due to diet and lack of an exercise program. Lack of exercise can cause dogs/puppies to exhibit destructive chewing behavior because they become bored or are trying to burn off excess energy. Taking your dog/puppy for a 15-20 minute walk can help socialize him, give you both something to do together (bonding), and what a great way to exercise.

Mom, I Have to Potty…NOW:
You want to housebreak your puppy but you don’t always know when he has to go. If you see your puppy sniffing the ground it is a sure sign that he has to potty…NOW. Just as adult dogs mark their territory with urine, puppies mark their potty territory. When you see him sniffing the floor he is looking for the territory he marked earlier. If you did not correct the situation before the puppy will consider this area acceptable. If your puppy starts sniffing the ground you probably only have a few seconds to react. Prepare ahead of time by having newspaper available or the door unlocked.

Cleaning Up ‘Accidents’:
When housetraining a new puppy we accept the task of picking up or drying up after accidents. But, cleaning up is only half the job. You must also remove the spore smell so they will not return to the same spot again. Use a disinfectant, like vinegar but, DO NOT use an ammonia cleaner since the smell may remind a dog of their own urine and only confuse the situation.

Preventive training means you try to prevent your dog from exhibiting inappropriate behavior by keeping an eye on him when he is with you, or by keeping him in his crate or a puppy/dog-proofed area when you cannot keep an eye on him. The methodology behind this type of training is if your dog does not get an opportunity to exhibit an unwanted behavior, you do not have to modify his behavior or use negative training methods. This type of training requires more participation from the owner, as far as constant supervision and consistency, but in the long run preventive training is far less stressful on both owner and dog. This training method has two advantages: 1) sets you up immediately as the pack leader and 2) expedite the bonding between you and your new friend. If you bring your new puppy home and just turn him loose in your house, in a matter of maybe five minutes he will have carried off as much as he could stuff in his little mouth, and chewed up what he could not. On the other hand, if you chose to train in a preventive manner, you would only allow your puppy or dog in the room you are in and you would have a supply of proper chew toys ready for him when the need arises. If you catch him chewing on something he should not have, such as your draperies, you would distract him by saying “NO” in a very firm tone of voice and then offer him a proper chew toy along with praise so he will associate the praise with the appropriate chew toy. Remember dogs/puppies understand about three tones of voice along with body language and eye contact. For example: High-pitched, excitable tones would be very effective for motivating your dog/puppy (for coming to you when he is called or for heeling properly). This tone also reminds him of his littermates (this is why children have a difficult time winning the respect of a dog/puppy, since they sound like equals). Matter-of-fact tones are excellent for giving commands to your dog/puppy (same tone as a bark – calm, direct, no urgency). Lowered tones which would simulate a growl from mom (which means whatever it is you are doing, stop it now). Remember, yelling or striking your dog/puppy will only confuse him and cause him to mistrust you. Dogs/puppies do not understand being hit or grabbed. They will only learn they cannot trust you or to fear you. They will understand direct eye contact, tones in your voice or your body language, so use it to your advantage. Direct eye contact can mean you are looking at your dog lovingly and he will exchange your glance. Or when giving a dog a good long stare in the eyes after he has just jumped on you and you have told him “OFF” the stare means “I mean business.” What about body language? Do you have a puppy that cowers when you approach him, maybe even squats and urinates just a little? You do not hit him, so why does he do this? The way you move toward a dog can be a threat in itself. Are you a lot bigger than the dog? Do you move quickly? Do you bend towards him? Why not try to encourage the dog to come to you, squat down on his level so you are not so threatening; use a piece of his dog food or a favorite toy to convince him to come closer. Pet him when he gets very near you (do not reach out), make sure you praise him for showing courage. All too often people console their dog/puppy when he shows signs of being frightened, which is a normal human reaction. However, to a dog/or puppy, this only confirms his fear. For example, your child drops a metal lid from a cooking pan onto the hard surface of the kitchen floor. Before you can blink an eye, your dog/puppy has thrown himself under the nearest piece of furniture shaking uncontrollably. Instead of pulling him out and consoling him (which would be the same as saying to your dog/puppy “It’s okay to be afraid”), try enticing him out with a treat, laugh, be positive. Your dog/puppy will pick up on your mood. Show him he has nothing to fear.

Stop the Biting
What is cute in a puppy is a pest in a grown dog: You may think it is cute when a puppy bites or nibbles on you, but if you don’t stop him now he will learn that it is OK to keep doing it. When he is older your postman and neighbors will not appreciate it. So how can you stop him.

How about some quiet time:
Puppies, like people enjoy being a part of the family or pack. When he bites put him in a room by himself for about five minutes. He will eventually associate his biting with loneliness. Hopefully, he will prefer your company to being alone.

Soak him down:
Keep a squirt bottle around full of tap water. When he bites you blast him. The water isn’t harmful but when he is nice and relaxed and enjoying a good nibble it certainly is an unexpected and unwanted surprise.

Make a little noise:
A sudden unexpected and harsh noise will serve to distract him so shake a can full of pennies at him. Drop 5 or 6 pennies in a soda can and tape over the hole. Keep it handy and when he nips you rattle the can with the other hand. His head should immediately go down while his ears go up.

Act like a dog yourself:
Your mother probably told you that if a dog threatens you “do not look him in the eye” he will take it as a challenge. Well, NOW is the time to challenge him. Hold your puppy’s head still in your hands so he can’t look away, look him in the eye and say no. Afterwards, offer him your hand again. If he licks it praise him. For a puppy, your size and strength can be intimidating and he should back down to you. This should not be attempted with larger aggressive dogs though. In which case, you should listen to what your mother told you.

The hidden smack:
Take two fingers and sharply but lightly smack him on the underside of the jaw to clamp his mouth shut. He will begin to associate the unpleasant jaw smack with his biting and quit. You should smack the puppy under the jaw instead of using the traditional rolled paper or your hand on the nose or tail. Using a rolled paper or your hand will teach the puppy to fear one or both. Smacking the puppy under the jaw lightly separates the sight of your hand from the punishment.

When all else fails:
In most cases your puppy is only expressing his youthful exuberance and a little training on your part will help him learn what is socially acceptable. However, remember your cute little pet is still an animal and some animals have a strong drive to dominate the pack. Aggressively confronting him in a biting situation can be potentially dangerous. If your pet continues biting and expresses a strong defiance to your training consider contacting a professional trainer for help.