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Teaching your dog not to chew

Chewing is something that comes naturally to every dog.  Every dog feels the instinctual need to sharpen its teeth and hone his biting skills.  Chewing on the right things, like specially designed chew toys for instance, can even help the dog clean his teeth and remove plaque.

Even though chewing is natural and healthy, that does not mean that the dog should be given carte blanche and allowed to chew everything in sight.  It is vital for every dog to learn the difference between the things it is OK to chew on, like toys and ropes, and the things that are off limits, such as carpets, shoes and other items.

When working with a new puppy, it is advisable to keep the puppy in a small, puppy proofed room for at least a few weeks.  This is important not only to prevent chewing but to properly house train the puppy as well.

Older dogs should also be confined to a small area at first.  Doing this allows the dog to slowly acquaint him or herself to the smells and sights of the new household.

When you set up this small, confined area, be sure to provide the puppy or dog with a few good quality chew toys to keep him entertained while you are not able to supervise him.  Of course the dog should also be provided with a warm place to sleep and plenty of fresh clean water.

As the dog is slowly moved to larger and larger portions of the home, there may be more opportunities to chew inappropriate items. As the dog is given freer access to the home, it is important to keep any items that the dog or puppy should not chew, things like throw rugs, shoes, etc. up off of the floor.  If you forget to move something and come home to find that the dog has chewed it, resist the urge to punish or yell at the dog.  Instead, distract the dog with one of its favorite toys and remove the inappropriate item from its mouth.

The dog should then be provided with one of its favorite toys.  Praise the dog extensively when it picks up and begins to chew its toy.  This will help to teach the dog that it gets rewarded when it chews certain items, but not when it chews other items. 

Teaching the dog what is appropriate to chew is very important, not only for the safety of your expensive furniture and rugs, but for the safety of the dog as well.  Many dogs have chewed through dangerous items like extension cords and the like.  This of course can injure the dog severely or even spark a fire.

Most dogs learn what to chew and what not to chew fairly quickly, but others are obviously going to be faster learners than others.  Some dogs chew because they are bored, so providing the dog with lots of toys and solo activities is very important.  It is also a good idea to schedule several play times every day, with one taking place right before you leave every day.  If the dog is thoroughly tired after his or her play session, chances are he or she will sleep the day away.

Other dogs chew to exhibit separation anxiety.  Many dogs become very nervous when their owners leave and some dogs become concerned each time that the owner may never come back.  This stress can cause the dog to exhibit all manners of destructive behaviour, including chewing soiling the house.  If separation anxiety is the root of the problem, the reasons for it must be addressed and the dog assured that you will return.

This is best done by scheduling several trips in and out of the home every day and staggering the times of those trips in and out.  At first the trips can be only a few minutes, with the length slowly being extended as the dog’s separation anxiety issues improve.

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Training your new puppy

Bringing a new puppy into the household is always an exciting and fun time.  Everyone wants to play with, cuddle and hold the little ball of fur.  The last thing on the minds of most new puppy owners is training the new addition, but it is important that puppy training and socialization begin as early as possible.

Socializing a new puppy is a vital part of any training program, and it is important for socialization to begin early.  The window for socialization is very short and a puppy that is not properly socialized to people, dogs and other animals by the time he or she is four months old often never develops the socialization he or she needs to become a good canine citizen.

Learning how to interact with other dogs is something that normally would occur between littermates.  However, since most dogs are removed from their mothers so soon, this littermate socialization often does not finish properly. 

One vital lesson puppies learn from their littermates and from the mother dog is how to bite and how not to bite.  Puppies naturally roughhouse with each other and their thick skin protects them from most bites.  However, when one puppy bites too hard, the other puppies, or the mother dog, quickly reprimand him, often by holding him by the scruff of his neck until he submits.

The best way to socialize your puppy is to have it play with lots of other puppies.  It is also fine for the puppy to play with a few adult dogs, as long as they are friendly and well socialized.  Many communities have puppy playschool and puppy kindergarten classes.  These classes can be a great way to socialize any puppy and for handler and puppy alike to learn some basic obedience skills.

When socializing puppies, it is best to let them play on their own and work out their own issues when it comes to appropriate roughness of play.  The only time the owners should step in is if one puppy is hurting another, or if a serious fight breaks out. Other than that the owners should simply stand back and watch their puppies interact.

While this socialization is taking place, the pack hierarchy should quickly become apparent.  There will be some puppies who are ultra submissive, rolling on their backs and baring their throats at the slightest provocation.  Other puppies in the class will be dominant, ordering the other puppies around and telling them what to do.  Watching the puppies play, and determining what type of personality traits your puppy has, will be very valuable in determining the best way to proceed with more advanced training.

As the socialization process proceeds, of course, it will be necessary to introduce the puppy to all sorts of humans as well as all sorts of puppies.  Fortunately, the puppy kindergarten class makes this process quite easy, since every puppy gets to interact with every human.  It is important that the puppy be exposed to men, and women, old people and children.  Dogs do not see every human as the same.  To a dog, a man and a woman are completely different animals.

It is also important to introduce the puppy to a variety of other animals, especially in a multi pet household.  Introducing the puppy to friendly cats is important, as are introductions to other animals the puppy may encounter, such as rabbits, guinea pigs and the like.  If your household contains a more exotic creature, it is important to introduce the puppy to it as early as possible, but to do it in a way that is safe for both animals.

It is often best to start by introducing the puppy to the smell of the other animal.  This can be easily accomplished by placing a piece of the animals bedding, like a towel or bed liner, near where the puppy sleeps.  Once the puppy is accustomed to the smell of the other creature, he or she is much more likely to accept the animal as just another member o the family.

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Taking your dog training off lead

Many dog owners are anxious to give their four legged companions the freedom of going off lead, but it is important not to rush that important step.  Dogs should only be allowed off their lead after they have become masters of all the basic obedience commands, such as walking at your heel, sitting and staying on command

Another skill that must be completely mastered before the dog can be taken off the lead is the come when called command.  Even if the dog can heel, sit and stay perfectly, if he cannot be relied upon to come when called, he is not ready to be taken off the lead.

Taking any dog off the lead, especially in a busy, crowded area, or one with a lot of traffic, is a big step and not one to be taken lightly.  It is vital to adequately test your dog in a safe environment before taking him off his lead.  After all, the lead is the main instrument of control.  You must be absolutely certain you can rely on your voice commands for control before removing the lead.

After the dog has been trained to understand the sit, stay and come when called commands, it is important to challenge the dog with various distractions.  It is a good idea to start by introducing other people, other animals, or both, while the dog is in a safe environment like a fenced in garden.  Have a friend or neighbour stand just outside the fence while you hold you dog on the lead.  As the friend or family member walks around the outside of the fence, watch your dog’s reactions closely.  If he starts to pull at the lead, quickly tug him back. 

Repeat this exercise until the dog will reliably remain at your side.  After this, you can try dropping the lead and eventually removing the lead and repeating the distraction.  It is important to vary the distractions, such as introducing other animals, other people, traffic, rolling balls, etc.

After your dog is able to remain still in the face of distraction, start introducing the come when called lessons with distractions in place.  Try inviting some of the neighbours and their dogs, over to play.  As the dogs are playing in the fenced in garden, try calling your dog.  When the dog comes to you, immediately give him lots of praise and perhaps a food reward.  After the dog has been rewarded, immediately allow him to go back to playing.  Repeat this several times throughout the day, making sure each time to reward the dog and immediately allow him to go back to his fun.

After the dog has seemingly mastered coming when called in his own garden, try finding a local dog park or similar area where you can practice with your dog.  It is important to make the area small, or to choose a fenced in area, in case you lose control of the dog.  If you cannot find a fenced in area, choose an area well away from people and cars.  Practice with your dog by allowing him to play with other dogs, or just to sniff around, then calling your dog.  When he comes to you, immediately reward and praise him, then let him resume his previous activities.  Doing this will teach the dog that coming to you is the best option and the one most likely to bring both rewards and continued good times.

Only after the dog has consistently demonstrated the ability to come when called, even when there are many distractions around, is it safe to allow him time off lead.  Off lead time should never be unsupervised time.  It is important, both for your well being and your dog’s, that you know where he is and what he is doing at all times.  It is easy for a dog to get into trouble quickly, so you should always keep an eye on him, whether he is chasing squirrels in the park, playing with other dogs, or just chasing a ball with the neighbours kids.

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Training your dog to not pull on the lead

Pulling on the lead is one of the most common misbehaviours seen on all kinds of dogs.  Puppies and adult dogs alike can often be seen taking their owners for walks, instead of the other way around.  Pulling on the lead can be much more than an annoying habit.  Lead pulling can lead to escape in the case of a break in the collar or lead and an out of control, off lead dog can be both destructive and dangerous to itself and to others.

Lead pulling can result from a variety of different things.  In some cases, the dog may simply be so excited to go for a walk that he or she is unable to control themselves.  In other cases, the dog sees itself as the leader of the pack and he or she simply takes the “leadership position” at the front of the pack.

If excitement is the motivation for lead pulling, simply giving the dog a few minutes to calm down can often be a big help.  Simply stand with the dog on the lead for a couple minutes and let the initial excitement of the upcoming walk pass.  After the initial excitement ahs worn off, many dogs are willing to walk calmly on their lead.

If the problem is one of control, however, some retraining may be in order.  All dog training starts with the owner establishing him or herself as the alpha dog, or pack leader, and without this basic respect and understanding, no effective training can occur.  For dogs exhibiting these type of control issues, a step back to basic obedience commands is in order.  These dogs can often be helped through a formal obedience school structure.  The dog trainer will of course be sure to train the handler as well as the dog and any good dog trainer will insist on working with the dog owner as well as the dog.

The basis of teaching the dog to walk calmly on the lead is teaching it to calmly accept the collar and lead.  A dog that is bouncing up and down while the collar is being put on will not walk properly.  Begin by asking your dog to sit down and insisting that he sit still while the collar is put on.  If the dog begins to get up, or gets up on his own after the collar is on, be sure to sit him back down immediately.  Only begin the walk after the dog has sat calmly to have the collar put on and continued to sit calmly as the lead is attached.

Once the lead is attached, it is important to make the dog walk calmly toward the door.  If the dog jumps or surges ahead, gently correct him with a tug of the lead and return him to a sitting position.  Make the dog stay and then move on again.  Repeat this process until the dog is walking calmly by your side.

Repeat the above process when you reach the door.  The dog should not be allowed to surge out of the door, or to pull you through the open door.  If the dog begins this behaviour, return the dog to the house and make him sit quietly until he can be trusted to walk through the door properly.  Starting the walk in control is vital to creating a well mannered dog.

As you begin your walk, it is vital to keep the attention of the dog focused on you at all times.  Remember, the dog should look to you for guidance, not take the lead himself.  When walking, it is important to stop often.  Every time you stop, your dog should stop.  Getting into the habit of asking your dog to sit down every time you stop is a good way to keep your dog’s attention focused on you.  Make sure your dog is looking at you, and then move off again.  If the dog begins to surge ahead, immediately stop and ask the dog to sit.  Repeat this process until the dog is reliability staying at your side.  Each time the dog does what you ask him to, be sure to reward him with a treat, a toy or just your praise.

Remember that if your dog pulls on the lead and you continue to walk him anyway, you are inadvertently rewarding that unwanted behaviour.  Dogs learn whether you are teaching them or not, and learning the wrong things now will make learning the right things later that much harder.  It is important to be consistent in your expectations.  Every time the dog begins to pull ahead, immediately stop and make the dog sit.  Continue to have the dog sit quietly until his focus is solely on you.  Then start out again, making sure to immediately stop moving if the dog surges ahead.

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Eliminating problem behaviours when training your puppy

  Problem Number 1 – Jumping up on people


Unfortunately, eliminating problem behaviours is one thing that most dog owners eventually face.  This article will focus on a few of the most commonly encountered behavior problems.

One of the most frequently cited problems with dogs is that of jumping up on people.  Unfortunately, this is one of those behaviours that is often inadvertently encouraged by well meaning owners.  After all, it is cute and adorable when that little 10 pound puppy jumps up on you, your family members and your friends.  Many people reward this behavior on the part of a small puppy with kisses and treats.

This is a huge mistake, however, since that cute little puppy may soon become a full grown dog who could weigh well in excess of 100 pounds.  Suddenly that cute jumping behaviour is no longer quite so cute.

In addition to being annoying, jumping up on people can be dangerous as well.  A large, heavy dog, jumping enthusiastically, can easily knock over a child or an older or handicapped adult.  In today’s litigious society, such an incident could easily make you, as the dog’s owner, the subject of an unwanted lawsuit.

The time to teach a dog that jumping up on people is unacceptable is when he is still young and easy to handle.  Retraining a dog that has been allowed to jump up on people can be difficult for the owner and confusing for the dog.

When the puppy tries to jump on you or another member of your family, gently but firmly place the puppy’s feet back on the floor.  After the puppy is standing firmly on the floor, be sure to reward and praise him.

It is important for every member of the family, as well as frequently visiting friends, to understand this rule and follow it religiously.  If one member of the family reprimands the dog for jumping and another praises him, the dog will be understandably confused.  As with other dog training issues, consistency is the key to teaching the dog that jumping is always inappropriate.

When praising and rewarding the dog for staying down, it is important for the trainer to get down on the dog’s level.  Giving affection and praise at eye level with the puppy is a great way to reinforce the lesson.

Problem Number 2 – Pulling and tugging at the lead

Pulling on the lead is another problem trait that many puppies pick up.  Unfortunately, this behaviour is also one that is sometimes encouraged by well meaning owners. Playing games like tug of war with the lead, or even with a rope (that can look like the lead to the dog) can unwittingly encourage a problem behaviour.

The use of a quality body harness can be a big help when training a puppy not to pull, or retraining a dog that has picked up the habit of pulling on the lead.  Try training the puppy to accept the body harness the same way it accepts the regular buckle collar.

When walking with your dog, try using a lure or toy to encourage the dog to remain at your side.  A training collar, when properly used, can also be a good training tool for a problem dog.  When using a training collar or choke chain, however, it is very important to fit it correctly and to use a size that is neither too big nor too small for your dog.

When walking with your puppy, it is important to keep the lead loose at all times.  If the puppy begins to pull ahead, the handler should quickly change directions so that the puppy fast finds itself falling behind.  It is important to reverse directions before the puppy has reached the end of the lead.  The lead should stay loose except for the split second it takes the handler to reverse direction.  It is important to use a quick tug, followed by an immediate slackening of the lead.

When training a puppy, it is important to never let the puppy pull you around.  Training the puppy to walk properly while he or she is still small enough to handle is absolutely vital, especially when dealing with  a large breed of dog.  If your 150 pound Great Dane hasn’t learned to walk properly while he or she is still a 20 pound puppy, chances are it never will.

It is important not to yank or pull on the puppy’s neck when correcting him.  A gentle, steady pressure will work much better than a hard yank.  The best strategy is to use the least amount of pressure possible to achieve the desired result.

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Training your new puppy – eliminating bad habits

Anyone who owns a dog or puppy will eventually run into the need to eliminate unwanted habits.  While most dogs are eager to please their owners and smart enough to do what is asked of them, it is important for the owner to properly communicate just what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.

 Each type of unacceptable behavior requires its own specific cures, and in most cases the cures will need to be tailored to fit the specific personality of the dog.  Every breed of dog has its own unique personality characteristics and every individual within that breed has his or her own unique personality.

 Whining, howling and excessive barking

 Let’s start with one of the most frequently encountered problem behaviours in both dogs and puppies.  While some barking and other vocalizing is perfectly normal, in many cases barking, howling and whining can become problematic.  This is particularly important for those living in flats, apartment buildings, or in closely spaced homes.  Fielding complaints about barking is not the best way for you and your dog to meet the neighbours.

 Some tips of dealing with excessive whining, barking and howling include:

 Ø  If your puppy or dog is howling or whining while confined to its crate, immediately take it to its toilet area.  Most puppies and dogs will whine when they need to do their business.

Ø  It is important to teach a dog or a puppy to accept being alone.  Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety and these stressed dogs can exhibit all sorts of destructive and annoying behaviors.  It is important to accustom the puppy to being left on its own, even when the owner is at home.

Ø  It is important to teach a dog or a puppy to accept being alone.  Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety and these stressed dogs can exhibit all sorts of destructive and annoying behaviors.  It is important to accustom the puppy to being left on its own, even when the owner is at home.

Ø  Always strive to make the puppy or dog as comfortable as possible.  Always attend to the physical and psychological needs of the dog by providing food, water and toys.

Ø  If the dog is whining, check for obvious reasons first.  Is the water dish empty?  Is the dog showing signs of illness?  Has his or her favorite toy rolled under the furniture?  Is the temperature of the room too hot or too cold?

Ø  Do not reward the puppy or dog for whining.  If the dog whines when left alone, for instance, it would be a mistake to go to the dog every time it whines.

Ø  After you have ensured that the dog’s physical needs are being met and that discomfort is not responsible for the whining, do not hesitate to reprimand the dog for inappropriate behaviour.

Problem Chewing


Puppies naturally chew and they tend to explore their world using their mouths and teeth.  While chewing may be normal, however, it is not acceptable, and it is important to nip any chewing problems in the bud to prevent the chewing puppy from growing into a chewing dog.

 Providing a variety of chew toys is important when teaching a puppy what is appropriate to chew and what is not.  Providing a variety of attractive chew toys is a good way to keep the puppy entertained and to keep his teeth and gums exercised.  Scented or flavored toys are great choices for most puppies. 

The puppy should be encouraged to play with these chosen toys, and the puppy should be effusively praised every time he or she plays with or chews these toys.

Another great strategy is to encourage the puppy to get a toy every time he or she greets you.  Every time the puppy greets you or a member of your family, teach him to get one of his toys.

It is also important to exercise good housekeeping techniques when training a puppy not to chew on inappropriate items.  Keeping the area to which the puppy has access free and clean is important.  Keeping items out of reach of the puppy will go a long way toward discouraging inappropriate chewing.  Try to keep the puppy’s area free of shoes, rubbish and other items and always make sure that the area has been properly puppy proofed.

If the puppy does pick up an inappropriate item like a shoe, distract the puppy and quickly replace the item with one of its toys.  After the puppy has taken the toy, praise it for playing with and chewing that toy.

If the puppy does pick up an inappropriate item like a shoe, distract the puppy and quickly replace the item with one of its toys.  After the puppy has taken the toy, praise it for playing with and chewing that toy.

Try booby trapping items the dog should avoid by spraying them with bitter apple, Tabasco sauce or other nasty tasting but non-toxic items.



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Puppy house training tips

House training a puppy is very important for the well being of both the puppy and the owner.  The number one reason that dogs are surrender to animal shelters is problems with inappropriate elimination, so it is easy to see why proper house training is such an important consideration.

It is important to establish proper toilet habits when the puppy is young, since these habits can last a lifetime and be very hard to break once they are established.  It is very important for the owner to house break the puppy properly.  In most cases, true house training cannot begin until the puppy is six months old. Puppies younger than this generally lack the bowel and bladder control that is needed for true house training.

Puppies younger than six months should be confined to a small, puppy proofed room when the owner cannot supervise them.  The entire floor of the room should be covered with newspapers or similar absorbent materials and the paper changed every time it is soiled.  As the puppy gets older, the amount of paper used can be reduced as the puppy begins to establish a preferred toilet area.  It is this preferred toilet area that will form the basis of later house training.

The Do’s of House Training Your Puppy:


Ø  Always provide the puppy with constant, unrestricted access to the established toilet area. 

Ø  When you are at home, take the puppy to the toilet area every 45 minutes.

Ø  When you are not at home or cannot supervise the puppy, you must be sure the puppy cannot make a mistake.  This means confining the puppy to a small area that has been thoroughly puppy proofed.  Puppy proofing a room is very similar to baby proofing a room, since puppies chew on everything.

Ø  Always provide a toilet area that does not resemble anything in your home.  Training the puppy to eliminate on concrete, blacktop, grass or dirt is a good idea.  The puppy should never be encouraged to eliminate on anything that resembles the hardwood flooring, tile or carpet he may encounter in a home.

Ø  Praise and reward your puppy every time he eliminates in the established toilet area.  The puppy must learn to associate toileting in the established areas with good things, like treats, toys and praise from his owner.

Ø  Always keep a set schedule when feeding your puppy, and provide constant access to fresh, clean drinking water.  A consistent feeding schedule equals a consistent toilet schedule.

Ø  Using a crate can be a big help in helping a puppy develop self control.  The concept behind crate training is that the puppy will not want to toilet in his bed area.

Ø  And finally, it is important to be patient when house training a puppy.  House training can take as long as several months, but it is much easier to house train right the first time than to retrain a problem dog.


The Don’ts of House Training Your Puppy


Ø  Never reprimand or punish the puppy for mistakes.  Punishing the puppy will only cause fear and confusion.

Ø  Do not leave food out for the puppy all night long.  Keep to a set feeding schedule in order to make the dog’s toilet schedule as consistent as possible.

Ø  Do not give the puppy the run of the house until he has been thoroughly house trained.


House training is not always the easiest thing to do and some dogs tend to be much easier to house train than others.  It is important, however to be patient, consistent and loving as you train your dog.  A rushed, frightened or intimidated dog will not be able to learn the important lessons of house training.  Once you have gained your puppy’s love and respect, however, you will find that house training your puppy is easier than you ever expected.




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Teaching your puppy proper socialization skills

Teaching a puppy or a dog proper socialization skills is vital to the safety of both your dog and other dogs and people with whom he comes into contact.  A properly socialized dog is a happy dog and a joy to be around for both humans and animals.  A poorly socialized dog, or one with no socialization at all, is a danger to other animals, other people and even his own family.

Socialization is best done when the puppy is as young as possible  The socialization lessons a young puppy learns are difficult to undo and it is important to remember that the socialization skills the puppy learns will affect his behavior for the rest of his life.

A dog that is properly socialized will be neither frightened of nor aggressive towards either animals or humans.  A properly socialized dog will take each new experience and stimulus in stride, and not become fearful or aggressive.  Dogs that are not properly socialized often bite because of fear, and such a dog can become a hazard and a liability to the family who owns it.  Improperly socialized dogs are also unable to adapt to new situations.  A routine matter like a trip to the vets or to a friends house can quickly stress the dog out and lead to all sorts of problems. 

Socialization is best done when the puppy is very young, perhaps around 12 weeks of age.  Even after 12 weeks, however, it is important that the puppy continues its socialization in order to refine the all important social skills.  It is possible to socialize an older puppy, but it is very difficult to achieve after the all important 12 week period has passed.

There are so definite do’s and don’t when it comes to properly socializing any puppy.  Let’s start with what to do.  Later in this article we will explore what to avoid.

Socialization do’s

  • Make each of the socialization events as pleasant and non-threatening for the puppy as possible.  If a puppy’s first experience with any new experience is an unpleasant one, it will be very difficult to undo that in the puppy’s mind.  In some cases, an early trauma can morph into a phobia that can last for a lifetime.  It is better to take things slow and avoid having the puppy become frightened or injured.
  • Try inviting your friends over to meet the new puppy.  It is important to included as many different people as possible in the puppy’s circle of acquaintances, including men, women, children, adults, as well as people of all ages.
  • Also invite friendly and healthy dogs and puppies over to meet your puppy.  It is important for the puppy to meet a wide variety of other animals, including cats, hamsters, rabbits and other animals he is likely to meet.  It is of course important to make sure that all animals the puppy comes into contact with have received all necessary vaccinations.
  • Take the puppy to many different places, including shopping centers, pet stores, parks, school playgrounds and on walks around the neighborhood.  Try to expose the puppy to places where they will be crowds of people and lots of diverse activity going on.
  • Take the puppy for frequent short rides in the car.  During these rides, be sure to stop the car once in a while and let the puppy look out the window at the world outside.
  • Introduce your puppy to a variety of items that may be unfamiliar.  The puppy should be exposed to common items like bags, boxes, vacuum cleaners, umbrellas, hats, etc. that may be frightening to him.  Allow and encourage the puppy to explore these items and see that he has nothing to fear from them.
  • Get the puppy used to a variety of objects by rearranging familiar ones.  Simply placing a chair upside down, or placing a table on its side, creates an object that your puppy will perceive as totally new.
  • Get the puppy used to common procedures like being brushed, bathed, having the nails clipped, teeth cleaned, ears cleaned, etc.  Your groomer and your veterinarian with thank you for this.
  • Introduce the puppy to common things around the house, such as stairs.  Also introduce the puppy to the collar and leash, so he will be comfortable with these items.

There are of course some things to avoid when socializing a puppy. These socialization don’ts include:

  • Do not place the puppy on the ground when strange animals are present.  An attack, or even a surprise inspection, by an unknown animal could traumatize the puppy and hurt his socialization.
  • Do not inadvertently reward fear based behavior.  When the puppy shows fear, it is normal to try to sooth it, but this could reinforce the fear based behavior and make it worse.  Since biting is often a fear based behavior, reinforcing fear can create problems with biting.
  • Do not force or rush the socialization process.  It is important to allow the puppy to socialize at his own pace.
  • Do not try to do too much too soon.  Young puppies have short attention spans, and continuing lessons after that attention span has passed will be a waste of your time and your puppy’s.
  • Do not wait too long to begin.  There is a short window in which to begin the socialization process.  A young puppy is a blank slate, and it is important to fill that slate with positive socialization skills as early as possible.
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Training your puppy – eliminating biting behaviors

Bringing home a new puppy is always an exciting time.  Introducing the new puppy to the family should be fun for both yourself and your puppy.  One of the first challenges, however, to the excitement of the new puppy, is curbing inappropriate puppy behaviors.

Preventing biting and mouthing

Biting and mouthing is a common activity for many young puppies and dogs.  Puppies naturally bite and mouth each other when playing with siblings and they extend this behavior to their human companions.  While other puppies have thick skin, however, humans do not, so it is important to teach your puppy what is appropriate and what is not, when it comes to using those sharp teeth.

The first part of training the puppy is to inhibit the biting reflex.  Biting might be cute and harmless with a 5 pound puppy, but it is neither cute nor harmless when that dog has grown to adulthood.  Therefore, puppies should be taught to control their bit before they reach the age of four months.  Puppies normally learn to inhibit their bite from their mothers and their littermates, but since they are taken away from their mothers so young, many never learn this important lesson.  It is therefore up to the humans in the puppy’s life to teach this lesson.

One great way to inhibit the biting reflex is to allow the puppy to play and socialize with other puppies and socialized older dogs.  Puppies love to tumble, roll and play with each other and when puppies play they bite each other constantly.  This is the best way for puppies to learn to control themselves when they bite.  If one puppy becomes too rough when playing, the rest of the group will punish him for that inappropriate behavior. Through this type of socialization, the puppy will learn to control his biting reflex.

Proper socialization has other benefits as well, including teaching the dog to not be fearful of other dogs and to work off their excess energy.  Puppies that are allowed to play with other puppies learn important socialization skills generally learn to become better members of their human family.  Puppies that get less socialization can be more destructive, more hyperactive and exhibit other problem behaviors.

In addition, lack of socialization in puppies often causes fearful and aggressive behaviors to develop.  Dogs often react aggressively to new situations, especially if they are not properly socialized.  In order for a dog to become a member of the community as well as the household, it should be socialized to other people, especially children.  Dogs make a distinction between their owners and other people and between children and adults.  It is important, therefore, to introduce the puppy to both children and adults.

The best time to socialize a puppy to young children is when it is still very young, generally when it is four months old or younger.  One reason for this is that mothers of young children may be understandably reluctant to allow their children to approach large dogs or older puppies.  This is especially true with large breed dogs, or with breeds of dogs that have a reputation for aggressive behavior.

Using trust to prevent biting

Teaching your puppy to trust and respect you is a very effective way to prevent biting.  Gaining the trust and respect of your dog is the basis for all dog training and for correcting problem behaviors.

It is important to never hit or slap the puppy, either during training or any other time.  Physical punishment is the surest way to erode the trust and respect that must form the basis of an effective training program.  Reprimanding a dog will not stop him from biting – it will simply scare and confuse him.

Training a puppy not to bite is a vital part of any puppy training program.  Biting behaviors that are not corrected will only get worse and what seemed like harmless behavior in a puppy can quickly escalate to dangerous, destructive behavior in an adult dog.

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Dog training – dealing with house training issues

The best house training uses the dogs own instincts to avoid soiling its bed to train the dog where and where not to eliminate.  That is the basis behind crate training, in which the dog is confined to its crate in the absence of the owner and den training, in which the dog is confined to a small area of the home.  In essence, the crate, or the room, becomes the dog’s den.  Dogs are naturally very clean animals and they try their best to avoid using their dens as toilets.


This type of training usually works very well, both for puppies and for older dogs.  Problems with this type of toilet training are usually the result of not understanding the signals the dog is sending, not being consistent with feeding times, or trying to rush the process.


While the house training process can be sped up somewhat by consistently praising the dog and rewarding it for toileting in the proper place, some dogs cannot be rushed through this important process.  It is always best to house train the dog properly the first time than to go back and retrain a problem dog.


If the dog continues to soil the den area after house training, the most likely reason is that the owner has left the dog in the den for too long.  Another reason may be that the den area is too large.  In this case, the best strategy is to make the den area smaller or to take the dog to the toilet area more frequently.


If the dog soils the bed that has been provided in the den area, it is most likely because the owner has left the dog there for too long and the dog had an understandable accident.  Or it could be that the dog has not yet adopted this area as the bed.  In addition, urinary tract infections and other medical conditions can also cause dogs to soil their beds.  It is important to have the dog thoroughly checked out by a veterinarian to rule out any medical problems.


One other reason for house training accidents that many people overlook is boredom.  Dogs who are bored often drink large amounts of water and therefore must urinate more frequently than you might think.  If you notice your dog consuming large amounts of water, be sure to take the dog to the established toilet area more often and provide the dog with toys and other distractions to eliminate boredom.


Boredom is the root cause of many dog behavior problems, not only house training issues.  Chewing and other destructive behaviors are also often caused by boredom and separation anxiety.


Other problems with house training can occur when the dog’s den is not properly introduced.  In some cases dogs can react to the den as if it is a prison or a punishment.  Those dogs may exhibit signs of anxiety, such as whining, chewing and excessive barking.  It is important for the dog to feel secure in its den and to think of it as a home and not a cage.


The best way to house train a puppy or dog, or to re-house train a problem dog, is to make yourself aware of the dog’s habits and needs.  Creating a healthy, safe sleeping and play area for your dog, as well as a well defined toilet area, is important for any house training program.


House training is not always an easy process, but it is certainly an important one.  The number one reason that dogs are surrendered to animal shelters is problems with inappropriate elimination, so a well structured house training program can literally be a lifesaver for your dog.