Ticks or Tick Talk…how to Tick-Proof Your Dog During Tick Season (which is most of the year…)

Tick TalkTick Talk…

Get it?  I love a play on words, but I don’t love ticks!

In the Northeast region of the country, we’re into tick season again.  All we need is a couple of warm days in a row (even in the middle of winter), and they’re out in force!  Although I’ve touched on the tick topic before, it bears mentioning again, and there some updates to share.  I’ve heard from more and more dog owners that their dogs have contracted some kind of tick-borne disease; usually they test positive for Lyme, but not always.  Sometimes dogs are treated on a symptomatic diagnosis only.  Chloe never tested positive for Lyme, but she certainly had the symptoms and quickly improved on the medication.  I’ve also heard that Doxicycline, which has long been the go-to antibiotic to combat Lyme Disease has become very difficult if not impossible to get.  There is a subsitute in place, but it’s a more expensive treatment.Chloe at 17

So…it’s time to decide on how to tick-proof your pooch.  For many years, we resisted putting anything like Frontline on Chloe.  She had skin allergies, we hugged her a lot and we weren’t wild about snuggling up to the chemical (so why would we put it on her?)

For many years we took the avenue of checking her daily for ticks.  She was light in color, so that made it easier, and it gave us some tactile time every day to spend with her which we couldn’t get enough of.

As ticks have become more of a problem, this became a less viable way to combat the little monsters.  For the past few years, although Chloe never tested positive for Lyme Disease, she exhibited the symptoms of some version of a tick borne disease several times.  Stiff, sore, lethargic.  Dogs have very expressive faces, and if you really know your dog, you can see on their face when they are feeling poorly.  Most often, we could tell.

As I’ve mentioned, we had switched Chloe to an integrative vet when she was 13 years old.  I had a conversation with him about how to protect her from the ticks while exposing her to the least offensive kind of chemical.

Chloe’s vet told me he had decided to only use the Preventic Tick Collar for Dogs made by Virbac on his dog, DougIt contains 9.0% Amitraz and lasts three months.  When we are in the depths of winter here, and we don’t see ticks for a while, I would stop using the collar all together.

This collar worked well.  Chloe tolerated it, and although we would still spend some tick talk time together just to be sure she was tick-free, it was very effective.  I will definitely use this product again!  Check it out here…http://healthydogsworld.com/preventic

To Your Dog’s Good Health!

Cheryl Major

The Chewing Puppy…(or the Taming of the Chew)

Learn the R.E.S.T. Method – or…The Taming of the Chewing Puppy

Did you adopt Lassie or the Tasmanian Devil? While a new puppy is cute and cuddly, things can go crazy pretty quickly! Before you know it, you can have a mini-tornado on your hands; a whirling dervish of chewing and biting with furniture stuffing flying around and shoes left totally personalized by your little fuzzy family member.ah...the chewing puppy!

Puppies love to bite and chew whatever they can find. It’s no wonder, since from birth it’s a major part of their lifestyle and communication. A new puppy will play around biting other puppies and their parents all day long. It’s how they have fun, it’s how they learn what’s what, and it’s how they learn their limits. It’s not surprising then, that your little puppy wants to chew on your things and you, too.  And, it gets more intense as they start to teethe.

How to you tame the chewing puppy?  There are a number of things you can do to encourage your puppy to curb this behavior without deterring the puppy’s playful nature, or the need to chew. When your puppy is trying to chew or bite on things, just remember this training tip – R.E.S.T.

  • Replace – Instead of furniture, shoes, and you, allow your puppy to chew on toys you’ve bought for such a purpose. There are rawhide bones, plastic bones, ropes and other toys and treats made for chewing. Make sure puppy knows where to find them and that they are always available when the urge to chew hits. Just saying ‘no’ to chewing doesn’t work; puppy needs a replacement.  Be careful when using rawhide bones.  There are different schools of thought on these; discuss with your vet before giving them to your puppy.  Also, natural bones which we used to get directly from the store or from the butcher can splinter and cause a world of problems with your puppy.

the chewing puppy needs to know what he is allowed to chew

  • Energize – Is puppy trying to bite you to play? Instead of constantly scolding him, you need to energize puppy with some playful games. Wrestle around, chase around, or throw a ball to fetch. He’s got energy and he wants to use it. Have fun while playing around with puppy so he’s distracted, happy, and forgets he even wanted to bite. The bonus is all that playing around burns energy and the little darling may even take a nap.  Another caution…playing tug of war with your puppy is not recommended.  It teaches him how strong he is, and can lead to other more aggressive behavior down the road.
  • Settle – Sometimes, when puppies get overexcited, they start to nip and bite. You will know when your playful puppy goes from fun to frantic when he or she starts nipping again, and perhaps panting. Calm down your puppy by gently holding and petting rhythmically, keeping the puppy in one position, preferably down on his or her side. Don’t push your puppy away as this will only translate into another game, inciting the puppy’s instinct to play. Lower your voice, keep is soft…no yelling!  Calm your motions, and wait until your puppy settles before you play again.
  • Trap – If you let a young puppy have free-run of your home, you are apt to find it difficult to control the chewing. It’s a better idea to designate an area and gate it off so that you can keep only puppy-friendly materials in there. This will prevent you from going crazy chasing after puppy trying to stop the chewing. It will also eliminate stress on the puppy, constantly being reprimanded for chewing when that’s all a puppy wants to do. Fill your puppy-friendly place with lots of chew toys so you both can relax.

the chewing puppy needs an area with his chew toys and playthings

It’s hard for a puppy to give up chewing and biting just for you and your sanity. It’s up to you to teach your puppy that this is not acceptable to do on certain things. It may take some time, but your puppy will learn what can and cannot be chewed. With these four simple tips – Replace, Energize, Settle, Trap – you and your puppy will come to an understanding and enjoy a long, wonderful friendship.

To Your Dog’s Good Health!

Cheryl Major

Cheryl Major

 

 

The New Puppy And Your Kids – Blending The Pack (part 1)

Introducing The New Puppy And Your Kids – Blending The Pack (part 1)…

Bringing a new puppy home is a fun time for all. The kids are thrilled to have such a fun, furry friend and the parents are excited to have a playmate for the family. Then reality hits and a couple of things become apparent. First, it becomes clear that this is going to be some work and second, puppies and kids don’t always mix…at least not at first. Try not to stress. You can help the kids and the new puppy become friends, but first you must learn how the pack relates. Yes, your family is now a ‘pack’.

The Leader

In most cases, one of the parents will become the dominant ‘leader’ of the pack according to your puppy. It will usually be the person who feeds the puppy. This person will be seen as the boss, and your new puppy will look to you for commands. You will use this to your advantage during training and during your work positioning the pack.

The New Puppy And Your Kids – Blending The Pack

The Siblings

As for the kids, to your puppy they are equals, and your puppy may feel he has some control over his ‘equals.’ This means the puppy will most likely treat them like he would other puppies. In other words, your puppy will treat the kids in the family as siblings. There will be little respect to no respect, some fighting (biting), some yelling (barking), and probably jealousy when it comes to who gets the parents’ attention.

The Competition

Most kids will be very excited around puppies. The puppy will see this as a sign of weakness. Just like your puppy will see you as the leader of the pack, so will he take this excitement as an indication that the kids are beneath him in rank, and he will treat them as such. Playful behavior is expected, but uncontrolled excited behavior will just confuse your puppy. If your kids are out of control around your puppy (or just in general…) this behavior needs to be corrected as quickly as possible for everyone’s long term success and happiness. This is the beginning of understanding what it takes to successfully integrate your new puppy into your existing family. In the next post, I’ll give you some suggestions you can use to make everyone get along beautifully!

To Your Dog’s Good Health!

Cheryl Major

Cheryl Major

Training Your Puppy…Tools You Can Use (Part 2)

Training Your Puppy…Tools You Can Use (Part 2)

Now that you’ve started using the training tools from Part 1, here are a few more to add to your repertoire!

Crate

If you are potty training your new puppy, a crate is a very useful tool. Dogs are den animals, and if you introduce them to a crate early enough they will consider it their den. Dogs don’t like to mess in their dens, so your puppy will hold their potty time as long as they possibly can in order to keep their ‘home’ clean. They will learn to wait for you to let them out to go potty. This helps with potty training as you can reward puppy for going outside when you let him out of the crate. Of course, puppy will need play and cuddle time, too, so be sure to reward puppy after a successful potty trip with time out of the crate and fun time playing with you.

Training Your Puppy - A Crate Can Be a Useful ToolNewspaper

When potty training puppy, there are bound to be accidents at first. Newspaper or puppy training pads can be used to transition puppy from inside the house to outside. This will keep the inevitable mess to one location. This may also be necessary if you live in an apartment or other location where it’s not possible to run outside each time a puppy needs to go potty. In the middle of a dark winter night, you may also consider paper-training necessary for a young puppy who hasn’t quite gotten big enough to hold his potty urge for very long.

Chew Toys

This is a big deal. Your new puppy needs chew toys so you can train him not to chew and bite your furniture, your shoes, or you! There are many choices when it comes to chew toys. You can buy hard plastic bones for puppy to chew on, soft squeaky toys, balls, ropes, boiled wool toys and more. It’s best to try out a variety of toys and see what your puppy likes. Make sure to give the toys to your puppy quickly when you see him or her trying to bite something inappropriate. Distraction and expediency is key. Keep the chew toys handy and interrupt any bad behavior quickly. Then, praise your puppy when he’s chewing on the toy you’ve given him. Be prepared to have chew bones devoured quickly. Stock up so you are always ready when your puppy is.

Harness and Leash

Using a harness and a leash is something most dog owners will need to do. To walk your dog, you’ll want to start training your puppy by first having him or her get used to having a harness and leash on. Just having your puppy wear them around the house will help, even before puppy is able to walk properly with a lead. Then, when you are ready to start training puppy to walk alongside you, the harness and leash won’t be foreign.  Be prepared for some resistance at first while your puppy tries to understand how it all works and what you expect, and don’t plan to go very far in the beginning. A walk down the driveway may be all your little puppy, or you, can handle at first.  Some people suggest training with a collar and a leash.  I don’t advise this.  For your puppy’s lifetime neck health (to say nothing of comfort), I strongly advise using a harness for walking and training your dog.  That doesn’t mean your puppy doesn’t wear a collar.  Of course he needs one for his license and tags.

Training Your Puppy - It's Best to Use a Harness Rather than a Collar

Training a new puppy can be a rewarding experience especially if you have the right tools for the job. These basic training tools can help you and your puppy get started on the right foot – or paw!

To Your Dog’s Good Health!

Cheryl Major

Chloe at 17

 

 

 

Training Your Puppy…Tools You Can Use (part 1)

Training Your Puppy…Tools You Can Use (part 1)

You have welcomed your new puppy into your family. Your fuzzy addition is a little confused, a lot excited, and not one bit obedient which should be no surprise. Your puppy will be spending a lot of time doing whatever comes natural, including going potty, chewing, digging, jumping, running, biting, and barking.

You need training tools for your puppy

How do you help your puppy become a well-adjusted member of the family? With training, lots and lots of patience and consistency! There are many tools available today to help you train your puppy, but the most important aspect will be the patience and love you show and the bond that develops between the two of you.  Dogs only want to please their humans. The following are some of the most common training tools for puppies.

Treats

A well-known favorite in puppy training is puppy treats. Have treats handy at all times in order to get your puppy to respond quickly to commands. Puppies love treats and most respond very well when they know they’ll receive one as a reward for doing as you ask. Make sure they’re healthy treats…which is another blog post often in need of updating these days.  Treats are good positive reinforcement for puppy potty training. Give puppy a treat when the right potty spot is used. As with all training, keep consistent for this to pay off. You can tell a person is training a puppy or dog by the pockets full of treats. In other words, be prepared to be consistent.Have treats handy as a training tool for your puppy to reward desired behavior

Clicker

Another form of training that has caught on is the clicker method of training. The clicker is typically a mechanical device (although some people just use vocalization) which emits a pleasant, you guessed it, ‘click’ sound to reinforce a puppy’s good behavior. People will use this training tool for many reasons. For instance, if you don’t want your puppy to have a lot of treats, you can train your puppy very effectively without them using the clicker method. The thing to remember is the ‘click’ sound must be associated with good things, like a pat on the head, a hug, a belly scratch, or whatever your puppy wants for a job well done.  The timing is important, so this is a method that you will be wise to get some coaching on…another subject for a more detailed blog post in the future.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Training Your Puppy…Tools You Can Use.

To Your Dog’s Good Health!

Cheryl Major  Chloe at 17

 

 

Tips for Choosing a Veterinarian for Your Puppy

Use Your Head and Your Heart When Choosing A Veterinarian For Your Puppy!Choosing a veterinarian for your puppy

You love your puppy and want the best care. Of course that includes choosing a veterinarian for your puppy who is available in your area, but there’s more to the process of choosing as this relationship needs to be more than professional; it needs to be personal. How do you find a great vet, one that offers top medical care but also really cares about you and your pet?  Let’s take a look at your options:

Get Several Recommendations

Ask Other Pet Owners – If you have friends with a dog, ask them first. One of the best ways for choosing a veterinarian is word of mouth. Ask them what vet they go to, and why. Ask around at the pet supply store. Pet lovers love to talk about their pets and their vets.

Check Media Resources – Look up local vets in the phone book, online, or in the local newspaper’s business section featuring pet care. Create a list of vets to check out.  If the ad or article has testimonials, call the people if you can.

Interview the Veterinarian

Once you find a few veterinary clinics worth checking out, you’ll need to go prepared with some good questions. Write up a list to include the following:

  • What are the hours of operation?
  •  Do you handle emergencies? If not, who do I call when I have an emergency?
  • If my pet needs to stay overnight, how is this handled?
  • What are the typical pet care costs, including vaccinations, medication, etc?
  • How many veterinarians are on staff?
  • If you’re not there, who will handle my appointment?
  • What are the technicians allowed to do?
  • Will I be able to get a message to you?
  • How many years have you been in business?
  • What other services do you provide? (laboratory, boarding, grooming, etc)?
  • May I tour your facilities?
  • Is there any pet insurance available or do you have partners to provide this?
  • Do you offer micro-chipping?
  • How many dogs and other pets do you have?
  • Do you offer alternative therapies such as chiropractic and acupuncture?

Even after all getting answers to all these questions, a lot of the decision is going to come down to your gut feeling. Don’t dismiss this. It may be the way the questions are answered; it may be the attitude; it may be the time the vet is willing to take with you. You can often get a great sense from your own intuition on whether a place is right for your pet and you. Of course, you’ll need to be practical too, in terms of hours, location, the condition of the clinic, etc.

Once you decide on a veterinarian for your puppy, remember, there’s nothing that says you absolutely have to stay with them after you choose to make an initial appointment. Things may happen to change your mind, and frankly, your pet’s needs may change as he ages requiring you to find a different vet.

Go to your first appointment and watch what happens. How does the veterinarian treat your pet? How does your pet react to the vet? Is the staff friendly and caring? Did your puppy get the attention he or she deserves while being examined? Did YOU get the attention you deserved, as well? Overall, did you and your puppy have a positive experience in the veterinarian’s clinic?

Choosing a veterinarian for your puppy may take some time and research, but it’s well worth the effort. A great vet will get to know your puppy throughout the years and will become a trusted adviser. Take the time, and you’ll be glad to know your puppy is getting the best care possible in order to grow into a healthy, happy dog!

To Your Dog’s Good Health!Chloe at 17

Cheryl Major

 

 

 

 

 

How and Why to Crate Train Your Puppy…Part 2

Crate Train Your Puppy – Crate Training BasicsCrate Train Your Puppy

Once you have a crate that is the proper size, you’ll need to begin to get your puppy used to his new “house”. Here are a few tips for getting puppy to explore and enjoy the new crate:

  • Leave the Door Open – Place the crate in a central location where you spend time and are close by. Tie the door back so it’s open and your puppy can go in and out. This will allow the puppy to explore without feeling separated from you, that he is being punished or trapped. Puppy won’t understand at first that the door opens as well as closes, but he will after further exploration and training.
  • Drop in a Few Treats – As puppy explores, the little treats you’ve left inside the crate will reward him for going into the crate and will encourage more exploration. This will allow puppy to associate happy feelings with the crate and will help him to become accustomed to using it more quickly.
  • Make His Crate Comfy – Add some comfortable bedding for puppy to lie on. You can also put your puppy’s favorite toys in there. Give your puppy all the comforts of home in his little den so he looks forward to going inside.
  • Short Intervals Only – Once you start closing the door, be sure to keep puppy’s time in the crate short. Younger puppies cannot hold their bladder for very long so don’t leave him in the crate too long or your crate training will backfire. Over time you can increase the intervals. Try crating puppy after a potty break for about 15 or 20 minutes. Set a timer and release your puppy when the time is up. And don’t forget to praise your puppy for his good work!
  • Crate Train Only While Home – When you leave for a few hours at a time, section off a safe area of the house for puppy to stay while you are away. Set the crate in the safe area with the door propped securely open so your puppy can use it as a resting area within the play area. Closing a puppy in a crate while you are gone for a long period of time may cause him to form an aversion to the crate if he associates it with you being gone.
  • Crate Use For Potty Training – Once your puppy is familiar with the crate, you can start potty training using the crate for short periods of time. As soon as you take puppy out of the crate, go right outside to the potty spot. If puppy goes potty, make sure you praise, offer treats, and play. If puppy doesn’t go potty, then back to the crate for another short interval. Repeat this routine several times a day and your puppy will soon understand; he will get to know his crate and his potty spot. Remember to be consistent if you choose this method.

If you stay the course with crate training you’ll find the rewards are great. Your puppy will love the comfort of his new ‘home’ and will become more and more capable of controlling the urges to potty wherever and whenever. Puppy will also appreciate you for being such a determined and consistent puppy parent when guidance is needed most.

Chloe at 17To Your Dog’s Good Health!

Cheryl Major

How and Why to Crate Train Your Puppy…Part1

How And Why To Crate Train Your PuppyCrate Train Your Puppy

Dogs are den-dwelling animals. That being the case, you can understand why a dog would find comfort and safety in a crate or small kennel. Puppies and dogs enjoy having a place to themselves where they know nothing can get at them, or is expected of them. Let’s take a look at the following information to find out why you would want to crate train your puppy and how you would proceed.

 

Crate Train Your Puppy…What exactly is Crate Training?

Crate training is the process of getting a puppy comfortable with staying in a crate as a means of security and as a place of safe retreat. That’s why crate training is not cruel;  it is quite the opposite, providing comfort and safety for your new family member. Deciding to crate train your puppy may also be used to help potty train a small puppy.

Some experts say that crate training is the basis for all further training. It sets the stage for good puppy behavior and gives them a level of confidence they may miss without crate training.  Another advantage of being crate trained early on is it can help reduce anxiety in the event puppy needs to be crated, such as at an overnight stay at your veterinarian’s clinic or hospital.

Choosing the Crate to Crate Train Your Puppy

When buying a crate for your new puppy, you’ll want to consider his size. The crate needs to be big enough for the puppy to be comfortable but not so large that puppy no longer sees it as a den. If you get a crate that is small enough, puppy will greatly resist using part of it as a potty place, as they see their crate as their den and want to keep it clean. If you get a crate too large, your attempt to crate train your puppy may not work as he may use one side as his den and the other for a potty.

Resist the temptation to save money by buying one crate for the life of the puppy. The crate you use to train your puppy should fit your puppy’s size now. Then, if you choose to have a crate for your full-grown dog, buy a new one to fit your puppy’s adult size later. Some crates and kennels take this into consideration and offer a divider so you can section off a larger crate into a smaller den for your puppy.  For goodness sake, don’t buy a puppy sized crate and then keep using that once your dog is full grown.  That would be considered cruel, and I have discovered people doing just that.

There are many types of crates, some designed for stationary use and some designed for travel. Some crates are designed to be mini-kennels, with features like quick breakdown and easy folding for transporting. You’ll find wire crates and plastic crates. Decide where you will put the crate and how you will use it before you choose one.

Crate Train Your Puppy – Crate Training Basics

Once you have a crate that is the proper size, you’ll need to begin to get your puppy used to his new “house”. Here are a few tips for getting puppy to explore and enjoy the new crate:

  • Leave the Door Open – Place the crate in a central location where you spend time and are close by. Then tie the door back so it’s open and your puppy can go in and out. This will allow puppy to explore without feeling separated from you or trapped. Puppy won’t understand at first that the door opens as well as closes, but he will after further exploration and training.
  • Drop in a Few Treats – As puppy explores, the little treats you’ve left inside the crate will delight him and encourage more exploration. This will allow puppy to associate happy feelings with the crate and will help him to become accustomed to using it more quickly.
  • Make Crate Comfy – Add some comfortable bedding for puppy to lie on. You can also put puppy’s favorite toys in there. Give puppy all the comforts of home in his little den.
  • Short Intervals Only – Once you start closing the door, be sure to keep puppy’s time in the crate short. Younger puppies cannot hold their bladder for very long so don’t leave him in the crate too long or your crate training will backfire. Over time you can increase the intervals. Try crating puppy after a potty break for about 15 or 20 minutes. Set a timer and release your puppy when the time is up. And don’t forget to praise puppy for the good work!
  • Crate Train Only While Home – When you leave for a few hours at a time, section off a safe area of the house for puppy to stay while you are away. Set the crate in the safe area with the door propped securely open so puppy can use it as a resting area within the play area. Closing a puppy in a crate while you are gone for a long period of time may cause puppy to form an aversion to the crate if associated with you being gone.
  • Crate Use For Potty Training – Once puppy is familiar with the crate, you can start potty training with the crate for short periods of time. As soon as you take puppy out of the crate, go right outside to the potty spot. If puppy goes potty, make sure you praise, offer treats, and play. If puppy doesn’t go potty, then back to the crate for another short interval. Repeat this routine several times a day and puppy will soon understand and get to know his crate and his potty spot. Remember to be consistent if you choose this method.

If you stay the course with crate training you’ll find the rewards are great. Puppy will love the comfort of his new ’home’ and will become more and more capable of controlling the urges to potty wherever and whenever. Puppy will also appreciate you for being such a determined and solid puppy parent when guidance is needed most.

 Chloe at 17To Your Dog’s Good Health!

Cheryl Major

Potty Training Your Puppy Part 2

Schedule Potty Training Your Puppy Time

Potty Training Your Puppy can be easier than you think!

Since you have been vigilant with your puppy, learning the ‘potty dance’ signs and understanding the potty habits, you can now set up a schedule for potty training your puppy so you don’t have to watch so closely. Typically speaking, most puppies will want to go potty about 30 to 40 minutes after they have eaten, after waking up from a nap, or after they’ve played hard. With this in mind, you are now ready to schedule these times so they can be more easily worked into your schedule. Feed puppy at a time when you know you’ll have time in 30 minutes or so to take puppy for a potty run. Set up your playtime in the same fashion and include that 30 to 40 minute time at the end for potty time.  If you stay consistent with your schedule, you’ll find you and puppy can relax a bit.

Consistency is Key… Consistency is Key

Speaking of consistency, it bears repeating. You must keep consistent with puppy! If you are not dedicated to the training, expect failure. Puppy is a creature of habit.  For instance, if you are providing treats as a reward during potty training, be prepared with them immediately. If potty time is 30 minutes after eating, make sure you get puppy out to the potty spot in 30 minutes. Remember, if you are not consistent, it is your fault, not puppy’s failure.

Give it Time

Puppy will have accidents. There will be times when puppy will happily go outside to the potty spot, only to look at you with a puzzled expression. Then, just as you return to the house, puppy will suddenly understand, and go potty on the floor. Be prepared for this, and don’t get too stressed by it. You’re looking for improvement over time. Yes, time. As long as there is a forward progression, you have nothing to worry about. Patience will be your best friend while housebreaking your puppy.

Limit Food and Drink at Bedtime

When puppy is very little, you can’t expect more than approximately one hour of sleep for every month since their birth. So, if you bring home a three month old puppy, expect to set the alarm for every three hours during the night, or wake up to a puddle or a pile. In order to stretch this time out while waiting for growth and nature to take its course, it’s a good idea to limit food and drink about three hours before bedtime. Schedule your puppy’s feedings earlier in the day to help you, and puppy, get a full night’s rest.

Being prepared with this type of information can help you get through puppy potty training smoothly without too much stress. Remember, consistency is key.  If you stick with it, your new puppy will be happily house-trained in no time!

To Your Dog’s Good Health!Chloe at 17

Cheryl Major

Successful Puppy Potty Training…Part 1 (success or failure, the choice is yours…)

Successful Puppy Potty Training Depends On You

New puppies are great fun. They’re cute and cuddly; they’re playful and friendly. Who can resist the charms of a sweet, innocent puppy? Your new family member is so loveable that you can almost forget one of the biggest challenges you’ll face when that cute little puppy comes home – potty training.

Puppy Potty Training can be a fun together time

Puppy potty training, also known as housebreaking your puppy, is rarely easy. In fact, at times, it can be downright frustrating and upsetting. However, there are ways to make sure you both get through the process successfully. Let’s start with these tips to get you and your puppy off on the right paw!

Know Your Puppy’s Potty Dance

You’ll want to catch your puppy in the act when possible, so you can teach puppy the right place to go potty. Start watching your puppy for signs of a ‘potty dance.’ These signs often come right after eating or drinking, and very often after a good bit of playful activity.  After you feed your puppy, watch for signs of sniffing, circling, and squatting.  Also, after you play, observe puppy for those same kinds of ‘looking for a place to piddle or poop’ signs.

Assign a Potty Spot

When you catch your puppy getting ready, you’ll need to show him or her where to go potty. If possible, the best thing to do is take puppy outside right away in order to help train him that the inside of the house is not a potty spot. If that’s not possible because puppy is too little to wait until you can get outside to the potty spot, then you will likely need to paper-train puppy first with a spot in the house. Puppy will be able to hold on longer and longer as time goes by, making it possible to plan an outdoor excursion to the potty spot.

Verbal Cues

I discovered, quite by accident, that you can assign a verbal cue to help your dog understand you want them to do a pee-pee.  Shortly after we adopted our dog, Chloe, I was walking her and needed to leave the house for work.  She was doing her doggy thing and snooping around instead of getting down to business.  I tried to encourage her by saying, “Quick, quick!  Do a pee-pee!”  Much to my amazement, she squatted and did a pee-pee!  I tried it again another time, and the same thing happened.  While I will never know if her puppy potty training included that cue on purpose or by accident (she was sooo smart), I encourage you to give that verbal cue as soon as you see your puppy starting to pee.  It can come in very handy when time is short.

Reward Good Behavior

If puppy goes potty in the right spot, a reward is in order. This can be your praise and affection or it could be a special treat just for potty time. A mixture of treats, praise, and playtime works very well for puppies. Because puppy wants only to please you and only to play with you, your praise and play means everything to them, and they will do anything to get it – including go potty in the right place.  Never punish your puppy for making a mistake or for having accident!

Remember, puppy potty training is essential for a long happy life together with your puppy.  There is a Part 2, because you have more to do in your puppy potty training adventure!

 

To Your Dog’s Good Health!Chloe at 17

Cheryl Major