When Can I Start Training My New Puppy?

Westie_PuppyYour puppy’s training starts the minute you bring that little furry critter home!

At this age, your concerns will be house training, play biting and socialization. However, you can introduce a young pup to basic commands: look, here, and sit. Just make sure your expectations are realistic, and be kind. Puppies and dogs do not ever need to be spanked!

Follow this link to see a video of Harry, a very young Norwich Terrier perform look, here, sit. The client is using a clicker for the instant reward marker.

Raising a perfect puppy is much more than teaching basic obedience and house training.

The truth is, every time you do anything with your puppy, your puppy is in class, learning. Chances are, you might teach bad habits if you don’t think about your actions.

For instance, suppose your cute puppy raises up on two feet and places paws on your leg, and looks up at you with those “I love you” puppy eyes, and barks. Most of us will automatically reach down to touch or pick up the puppy. Yikes, you are  teaching your puppy to jump up and bark for attention!

Another common error is when children get on the floor and let the puppy jump, lick, and play bite as they wrestle with the puppy using their hands. It seems so fun and the puppy is so little. What’s the harm?

This teaches the puppy that us two-leggers play just like other puppies. Sure, your 8 year old daughter is having some fun now! But in another couple of months, when the larger puppy tackles your daughter, nips at her clothes, and bites her (all in play), it won’t seem so fun anymore!

Children should play games like hide and seek, sit for a treat, and chase the stuffed toy on a rope!

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley

Private and Group Dog Training – Memphis, Germantown, Collierville, Bartlett, Cordova TN


Should I Get Another Dog / Puppy?

2DogsHere’s the deal. Your 7 month old Labrador Retriever is driving you nuts. Walter has so much energy, you can’t seem to wear him out. You take him on 2, 30 minute walks every day, one in the morning and one when you get home from work. He is crated during the day, because Walter would “remodel” your house otherwise.

Every evening, you play fetch for at least an hour. You want to teach Walter some obedience commands, but with your busy schedule, you just don’t get around to it.

Walter knows sit, and will usually come when called, unless he sees a squirrel or other dogs.

People tell you, “Get another dog. They can play and exercise together.”

This sounds like a great idea! If you add another dog, a playmate for Walter, they can wear each other out. Walter will have a friend and your life will be easier. Right?

Things to consider:

Can I afford the expense of another dog?

Expect to spend anywhere from $60 – $235 per month, per dog.

Will Walter  get along with my current dog?

There is always the chance that your friend for Walter may become his enemy! Managing a multi-dog household can be tricky, specially if the dogs are untrained. They might fight over your attention, rawhide chews, or that perfect spot on the sofa.

How will I find the time to train 3 dogs?

When you have 2 dogs, you have the training workload of owning 3 dogs. You’ll need to train Dog A, when Dog B is not nearby. Then you’ll train Dog B, when Dog A is not around. Great, now you have two dogs that will listen to you. Put them together and it all goes down the drain! The dogs act differently when they are together. They are another Dog, let’s call this one Dog AB. So, you really have 3 dogs to train. Train Dog A, Dog B, then train Dog AB.

Will I become a 3rd wheel?

Anyone who has litter mates can tell you. They become very accustomed to each other, so much so that they become anxious when separated. If you have time to work with each dog, without the other dog nearby, you can remain relevant. If the 2 dogs are always together, they may become one unit. And you may be the 3rd wheel.

What if both dogs chew up my stuff?

Dogs play in many ways. They chase each other, wrestle, jump and mouth each other. AND, dog dig together, hunt together and chew together. Monkey see, monkey do! One dog may never dig, but when the other starts, he or she may decide to dig too! Two dogs can destroy a set of patio furniture, or remodel a couch much quicker than 1 dog!

Will Walter teach my new dog bad habits? Or vice versa?

Dogs feed off each other’s ill manners. For instance suppose Walter is a friendly guy to everyone. He watches out the window at passing dogs and people, and rarely barks or jumps at the window. Enter new dog, who is always on patrol, barking and jumping at the window anytime anyone passes by. Walter watches and then decides to get into the act. Now you have two dogs barking and jumping! House training is another issue. If one dog has accidents inside, it’s likely that the other dog will too! Some dogs start to mark their territory when another dog is introduced. So, a problem that did not exist before is dropped into your lap!

Conclusion

When you add dogs to the house hold, you are taking on a greater responsibility for training and meeting the social, physical and emotional needs of your pets. I never suggest that a client add a dog if they are having trouble meeting the needs of 1 dog. On the flip side, if the client has one, well balanced trained dog, another dog could be a great addition!

Alan J Turner – Howsbentley

Dog Trainer – Memphis TN


Simply Fido Organic Holiday Moose Dog Toy

Simply Fido Organic Holiday Giant Moose

Click the image to visit Only Natural Pet Store, one of my favorite online pet supply stores!

Simply Fido Organic Pet Toys are made of organic fabrics and all-natural dyes. Organically grown, the fibers in each toy are unbleached, untreated, and unprocessed. Natural extracts from plants and minerals, such as gardenia seed, clove and chestnut bur, are used to dye the fibers. Simply Fido Toys are 100% environmentally friendly!

Simply Fido toys use only OCIA certified organic cotton, undergo toxicity testing and environmental analysis in Germany, and comply with European and US standards for toy safety. Simply Fido toys are made safely in China at the Simply Fido facility in Shanghai. This facility is under the direct management of Simply Fido’s international offices and practices a low-eco impact manufacturing process. They directly manage the quality of their products from the raw materials to the final packaging to ensure their safety.

Dog Fights are Scary – Interdog Aggression

dog_fightIt’s scary when dogs in the same household fight. The solutions can be as simple as feeding the dogs in different areas, or as complex as implementing a behavior modification plan for inter dog aggression.

Your first steps are to identify triggers and situations when the dogs are more likely to fight. Manage the environment so the fights are less likely.

Remove high value toys and food items; avoid situations that are known to trigger fights. This means you may have to kennel one, or both, dogs. If your dogs are not keen on kenneling, you will need to teach them to relax in the kennel.

Each dog should be able to to perform these basic obedience commands:

Look, Here, Sit, Down, Stay, Go-to-Place

To teach these commands, you’ll need a conditioned reward marker, and a reward system.

Obedience training, the reward system, and a conditioned reward marker are very important communication and motivation tools. These will increase your relevance to your dogs, and the dogs will begin to listen to you, and think about their behaviors.

The aforementioned tools and steps will create a healthy relationship.

After you have developed a relationship, you can work with your dogs, using specific triggers.


iPhone 3Gs Video ** Best Dog Foraging Toy, Tug a Jug

ChristinetugjugAll animals’ instincts are to forage for food and to look for a mate. We’ve pretty much eliminated those two important tasks, and some dogs are out of balance.

Instead of feeding your dog with a bowl, exercise that rascal and have some fun!

You can enrich your puppy or dog’s environment by providing foraging toys. Most dogs love the Tug a Jug!

Penny, the sweetest Pit Bull Terrier ever, pictured in this post, is hoping to find one in her Christmas stocking!

My dog, Bentley, loves the tug -a- jug. When I place dog kibble inside, he knocks it around a bit and gets most of the dog food. When I mix in a few tasty Paws Kickin Chicken treats, he gets downright excited. He’ll toss it much higher and farther for these Kickin Chicken treats! Click the Paws Gourmet Kickin Chicken Words below to get your Kickin Chicken from Sit Stay, one of my favorite online dog supply stores.


Paws Gourmet, Kickin’ Chicken, 16 oz.

The tug -a- jug is filled with dog kibble in the video.

The Tug a Jug comes in 3 sizes, so there’s one that’s just right for your puppy or dog.

Click the Tug a Jug picture below to visit sitstay and order one for your dog!

Tug-a-Jug, Small

Troubleshooting: Capture Sit for Folded Arms

Black DogTruth is, most dogs default to sit when they reach the impasse, as presented during the ” capture sit for folded arms” exercise.

The leash is a tool to reduce your dog’s choices. Ideally, the dog will not feel any pressure from the leash, unless he or she jumps up. The short leash will abruptly stop the dog’s upward progress, and the dog’s attempts to jump up will fail. Most dogs stop trying to jump up, after a few of these failures.

Stepping on the leash, reduces vertical and horizontal territory. Standing upright, with arms folded, eliminates stimuli from you, the handler. The dogs only have a few choices of what to do with their bodies.

If your dog does not sit after a minute or so, consider the following points.

You can use your body language to help. To do this, lean towards your pup with your upper body or take a very small step towards the puppy. He will sit.

Immediately straighten your upper body (remove the spatial pressure you added by leaning forward) and immediately mark the instant his rump hits the floor. Give him a treat. Say nothing.

Is your dog looking at you? If not, go to a different area, a place with fewer distractions.  Are you stepping on the leash, so your dog cannot jump up or move away? If you are stepping on the leash, does the dog have enough slack in the leash to sit?

If you are still having problems getting your dog to sit for folded arms, discontinue the exercise and try again later.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner –  Dog Trainer – How’s Bentley – Memphis TN

Private and Group Dog Training Services

Group Dog Mini Course

Do-It-Yourself, Internet dog training basics