Tag Archives: Dog Training

Adding an additional dog to your home

You saw a sweet dog on Facebook or at an adoption event and you’d love to add a new member to your canine family.  However, you are suffering some apprehension because you are not sure how your current pup is going to feel about sharing his territory with a new dog.

Integrating a new pet into your household is not as difficult as people may think.  With some instruction and a lot of patience, most people can make it work.

The first thing to realize is that when a dog is in a shelter, it has to decompress for a couple of weeks once it’s out and in your home.  You can’t expect this dog to trust you and your other family members right away, especially another dog that is strange to them.

I always tell people to take your dog to the shelter or arrange with the rescue to do a meet and greet with the two dogs in a neutral place, like a park or a shopping mall parking lot in a quiet corner.  Never bring the new dog to your house unless you can meet outside and down the street from where you live.  Dogs can be territorial, some breeds more than others, and you want to first see if the two dogs get along in a neutral place.  Always keep them leashed and allow them to sniff each other.  Never pull on the leash or do anything that could make the dogs feel tense.  Of course, if there is any behavior exhibited that is troublesome, such as growling or lunging, then be sure to separate the dogs and consider bringing another dog into your home.

If the dogs do get along, the next step is to bring them both to your home.  If you have a yard, the best thing to do is to take them into the yard, still on the leash, and see how the dogs act in this environment.  If they are still getting along, the next step would be to bring the dogs into your home.

Always keep the dogs on leashes to make it easier to move them away from each other should either dog exhibit troublesome behavior.

If the meet and greet goes well, you will probably decide to adopt the new dog.  Your work has not ended yet!

It takes a dog from two weeks to a month to show their real nature once they get into your home. During that time be sure to keep anything valuable out of reach of the dog.  Put away TV remotes, favorite shirts, keys and sneakers and shoes.  You never know if the dog you’ve adopted will decide that one of these things is a nice chew toy.

It’s a good idea to crate train your new family member so that both dogs are safe when you are not at home to supervise them.  This is also a good idea if your new dog hasn’t gotten the hang of house training at your house.  New dogs will sometimes have accidents due to nerves or from not being on a regular schedule at the shelter.  Give your new friend time to adjust and don’t make a big issue out of the accidents.  Once you get them on a schedule, the accidents will become less and less.

Don’t bring a lot of people into your home for the first few weeks after you get a new dog.  Lots of activity will just overwhelm a dog who is trying to adjust to a new home, new schedule and new people.  It can be hard for some people who want to show off their friend to their family and friends, but remember – you must do what’s best for your new dog – you will have plenty of time to show him off once he’s adjusted to his new home.

Take time to allow your new pet to get used to his new home and new people, and introduce him to new people slowly.  If you notice any issues with shyness or aggression towards strangers, be sure to engage the services of a professional trainer.  Don’t try and go it alone, there is help out there for you.

Remember, the main thing is to enjoy the company of your new pet and get help if you need it!

House Training – It doesn’t have to be hard!

The cute face, the tiny fluffy body, the cuddling.  Those are all the things that people think about when they consider adopting a puppy.  The one thing they don’t think about – House Training.

Having a puppy can be a nightmare if the dog isn’t housetrained.  I can’t tell you how many dogs are given away or dumped in shelters because the owner didn’t housetrain them properly or not at all.

The good news is that housetraining a dog is relatively easy.  All it takes is some patience and learning to keep the dog on a schedule.

A tool that I recommend to my clients in housetraining is the dog’s crate.  It’s funny, but most people don’t see the value in using a crate to House Train a puppy.

I will get into crate training in another article, but using the crate to keep your dog on a schedule is an invaluable tool.  Putting your dog on a regular feeding schedule is another fool proof way to make House Training easy.

Puppies should be crated at night before they are House Trained.  The crate should be big enough to move around in, but not large enough so that the puppy can eliminate and move away from it.  A dog will never eliminate in the same place it sleeps as long as it gets out on a regular schedule.  You should allow a puppy to eliminate at least every 2-4 hours when you first get it at around 12 weeks old.  Once it gets to be around 4-5 months old, it should be able to hold it for at least 4-6 hours.  These are just general estimates, and your dog may differ, so you have to be diligent and determine what is best for your pup.

First thing in the morning, the dog should be let out of the crate, leashed, and brought outside to the place where the owner wants it to eliminate on a regular basis.  This could be in a spot in your backyard or our in front of you house – you choose – but take the dog there on a consistent basis.  Give the dog time to eliminate, at least 20 minutes before you bring the dog back into the house.  Praise the dog and give it a treat to reinforce the behavior.  Connecting food to the activity will ensure that the dog views this as something rewarding to do. Next thing is to feed and water the dog and place the dog back into the crate for at least 20-30 minutes.  Take the dog and repeat doing the same as when you first took the dog out.  Always wait at least 20-30 minutes to allow the dog to sniff around and get the urge to go.  A lot of people are in a rush, the dog doesn’t eliminate, so they bring the dog back into the house, go about their business of getting ready for work or whatever, and come out to the living room and the dog has left them a lovely present.  Don’t blame this on the dog – you have not given the dog enough time to eliminate.

As an owner, you should arrange to come home during the day to take your puppy out to eliminate, or have someone come to your house to do it for you.  If you don’t have those options, purchase a baby gate and confine the dog to one area.  I don’t recommend leaving a puppy in a crate for more than 4 hours at a time; no dog should be in a crate during the day for more than 4 hours, especially if you crate the dog at night for 8 hours.

The best thing to do when you get a new puppy is to take the time to House Train the dog properly and you will never have problems going forward.  As the dog gets older, it will be able to hold it longer, but don’t expect a puppy to go all day without going to the bathroom.  It’s cruel and just not possible.

For more information on House Training, please contact me.

The Importance of Leadership Exercises

As a dog trainer, I get a lot of calls that start with, “My dog just doesn’t listen to me!!”  The level of frustration is evident in the callers voice, so it’s my job as a trainer to talk them down from the ledge and explain to them that this problem can be fixed.

The first thing that needs to be done, is to build a trust bond between the dog and the owner.  This doesn’t happen when the owner only pays attention to the dog when he’s doing something that the owner perceives to be wrong.  What a lot of owners don’t understand is that good behavior should be rewarded, and bad behavior should be “managed”.  If you only talk to your dog when he’s getting into the garbage, he will soon learn that tipping over the garbage pail gets him your attention and you will be inadvertently reinforcing a bad behavior.  On the other hand, if your dog is sitting quietly in the living room and you give him a pat on the head and tell him he’s a good dog, you will be reinforcing his calm behavior and he will soon connect that when he is quiet is when he gets your attention.

Now to Leadership Exercises.  Every dog appreciates a leader.  If you do not show leadership your dog will become confused and he will take over the role of leadership which humans perceive as dominance and sometimes aggression.  But its just a dog who is longing for a leader.

The best way to become a leader to your dog is to create structured activities that you and your dog can do together.  The simplest one is walking your dog.  Your dog should be walked at least 2 or 3 times a day, for at least 20-30 minutes each time.  If you have a larger dog, longer walks will benefit him greatly.  Not only do walks wind down your dog’s batteries, but they create a bond, especially if you practice the heel command as you walk.

Another way of creating a bond is to play fetch with your dog.  While playing fetch you can teach your dog the Take It and Leave It commands as well.  It will become a real fun experience for both of you as your dog becomes better and better at the game.

There are many other activities that people can do with their dogs, such as agility training and nosework, but I think that you get the general idea – any activity that you can engage in with your dog will promote a bond of trust and in no time at all your dog will be viewing you as leader of the pack!!