Tips & Training Tricks

Here are some tips, ideas and training techniques to help with your puppy or dog.

* Don't allow the new dog to sleep in your bed- this gives the message that the dog is equal to you, and may lead to behavior problems later in life.
* We slept with an extra old blanket next to our skin for three nights preceding Dallas' coming home, then put it in her bed when she arrived. This allows her to sleep near our smells, even though her bedroom is in the living room.
* Find out what the previous owners/ foster/ shelter fed the dog. Then buy some. You can transfer to your new food slowly with this recipe: 2-3 days of 75% old food, 25% new food. 2-3 days of 50%/50%. 2-3 days of 75% new food, 25% old food. This may avoid indigestion and vomit issues.
* Vomiting food whole means your dog is eating too quickly, and special dishes or a silver ball can be placed inside their food bowl, to slow the consumption process.
* Parvo IS common in puppies from shelters. Don't be like me and freak out every single time your dog tries to sleep, because you are convinced she's got parvo virus. Look for vomiting non-whole food, diarrhea, blood in the stools, in addition to lethargy. Otherwise, you just wore her out from all of the walks. Well done.
*Be sure your puppy is neutered/spayed before they come into heat at 6 months of age. There are a TON of puppies in shelters, already.

* Don't be like us, and buy a house with all white carpets...
* If you can catch them "in the act" in the house, great.  Say no and move them outside immediately, to finish.
* If you can't catch them "in the act" and just find the little surprise later, too late. There is nothing you can effectively do.
* Don't let them watch you clean it up. This will re-enforce you spending time and attention on these mistakes, and could make it more difficult to stop.
* The real key is positive positive positive re-enforcement when they do the deeds outside. Lots of praise and a little treat.
* Be prepared to spend a lot of time following your puppy around the house, to make sure they aren't "going." They will likely move away from you to do so- which could be a warning signal, and you may want to take them outside quickly, to turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one.
* Feed and water your dog during specific times only, INSIDE the crate (where they are LEAST likely to mess) then keep them there for about 15 min. while the food/water works its way through their system, then immediately take them outside.

* Bitter Apple is a spray (for furniture/ walls, etc.) that makes stuff taste bad.
* Redirect the behavior. Puppies have to chew. They just need to learn where its OK, and where its not. Quickly replace the furniture in their mouths with a chew toy.
* Provide MANY chew toys. Kongs are great because its a built in puzzle that will keep them busy for a while, as they try to get the food out of it.
* Try more exercise to help curb chewing, which can sometimes result from excess nervous energy.

* Do it. Right away. We started with Dallas as soon as we got her, at 3.5 months old. She caught on quickly, but try not to get frustrated if they don't. Just keep at it. It really is an exercise in consistency.
* Training could become critical later in life (if you need a dog who is about to run into the street to suddenly "sit" and "stay"), but also provides hours of mental stimulation AND increases communication between you & your animal, so is REALLY a win/win.
* Start with "sit" and create a hand movement that always go with the verbal cue ("sit.") Some dogs pick up more on seeing the hand gesture, while others pick up more on the verbal cue. Either way is fine, even after they go blind or deaf, so long as you always use both in tandem.
* Dried liver treats can be broken or cut up into little tiny pieces. Use these, or even dog food (taken from their meals) so they never overeat as a result of all of the training. You just need to give the message "this was the right thing" when you train- they don't need an entire meal out of it.
* After a while of food rewards, vary whether they get a food reward or social reward (petting, "good dog," happy voice.) You want them to do the behaviors you ask not because they WILL get a treat. But because they MIGHT get a treat.
* PetSmart has classes in training. I've not taken any, but have heard good things about them.