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Note: This isn’t my blog. This blog comes from a Trainer on Dogster.com. She makes Excellent Points
As a trainer, every day I see the negative consequences of dogs being off-leash when they shouldn’t.
By: Annie Phenix
Let me be blunt with you, dear reader. We have a big problem in the canine community, and it’s ruining dogsWe require leashes for valid reasons, No. 1 being safety for all concerned: safety not only for you and your dog but for all of the dogs and humans out and about. There are leash laws in most cities – you can be fined for not using one in places that require it. And yet … some of you dog owners have decided that this crucial law does NOT apply to your dog.
I work with clients to make them better on-leash walkers. (Photo by Tica Clarke Photography)
I read the sad consequences caused by a dog being off-leash every single day on trainer forums. Many responsible owners are walking their dog-aggressive (reactive) dog on leash precisely to keep their dog from having to come face to face with YOUR off-leash dog. You can set such a dog’s training right back to square one if you let your dog greet their dog while off-leash. This may be breaking news to some, but not all dogs want to say hi to every dog they see every day. Do you – as a verbal human – always want to say hi and hug everyone you see? I didn’t think so. Also, here are just a few things that can happen to your roving un-leashed Rover:
He can be hit by a car. He can jump on an elderly person and knock them over.
He can harass wildlife.
He can mow down children.
He can get in the face of every other dog out that day, some of whom will respond with aggression.
He can get in a dog fight that will frighten both dogs and will likely result in an expensive vet bill.
After you pay that vet bill, you may now be the owner of one of those dogs who cannot stand to have off-leash dogs in his face.
He can be shot, even in a city park (it’s happening in Colorado and other places).
He can eat something that may kill him.
Even my well-trained dogs, Radar and Echo, must abide by leash laws. (Photo by Tica Clarke Photography)
Yes, my dear dog owner, I understand that dogs DO enjoy and probably need a good run now and again. Just because that’s true, that does not make it okay for you to allow that to happen in a public location where leashes are the law. You are endangering your own dog and every other dog when you do this.
So what can you do to help your active dog out? Here are some solutions:
1). If your dog is truly people and dog friendly, take him to a fenced-in dog park. Most cities have them. Please do not take aggressive dogs there, however. It does no one any good, most especially dogs.
2). Work with a certified, force-free trainer to help your dog learn to walk nicely on a leash.
3). Once your dog is comfortable not pulling you across town on that leash, consider jogging or riding a bike with your leashed dog.
4). Consider learning a sport such as nose work that you can do in your own home and in all kinds of weather. It might be even more fun for your dog than a walk outside.
5). Smelling and sniffing for a dog is incredibly important, perhaps even more so than a good run. Take your dog on neighborhood sniffing walks where you allow your dog to sniff – on leash – whatever he wants to sniff.
6). Use mind puzzles at home to keep your dog mentally stimulated.
Leashes keep dogs safe and from being chased by other dogs (Photo by Annie Phenix)
In case I haven’t been clear enough, here is what I will leave you with:
For the love of Dog, do not be that person chasing after your unleashed dog as he gallops right into the face of someone’s leashed dog, calling out as you come panting up: “He’s friendly! He just wants to say hi!”
It is rude behavior, both in terms of canine behavior and human behavior. More than half of the dogs who end up in my reactive dog class are there because they have been confronted, scared, and sometimes physically hurt by on off-leash dog.
Leash. Your. Dog.
It is the law, and for very good reasons.
And yet … so many dog owners have decided that this crucial law does NOT apply to their dog. Why do those of you who allow your dog to run free in cities feel that your dog is above the law?
What do you think about this? Do you agree or disagree with me? Let me know in the comments.
Boy, do I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say their dog was “hyperactive” or “ADHD” – I’d be a wealthy woman. In fact, those are clinical terms referring to very specific behavioral disorders (canine and human) that are relatively uncommon in dogs. In reality, most “hyper” dogs are just under-exercised. A couple of days hiking at the Peaceable Paws farm and you’d hardly know them.
Not every dog owner has access to large tracts of acreage upon which to exercise their unruly canines, and in any case, “wild child canine syndrome” (WCCS) is more than just lack of exercise; it’s also lack of appropriate reinforcement for calm behavior – i.e., training. Unfortunately, all too often a dog loses his happy home – maybe even his life, as a result of his high-energy behavior.
We’ve seen several of these WCCS dogs at the training center in recent weeks. One private client decided to return her Shar-Pei-mix to the rescue from whence the pup came. Despite her best intentions and efforts, the client had mobility challenges that made it impossible for her to provide the pup with the exercise and management she needed. As painful as it was for the owner, returning the pup was the right decision.
WCCS dogs often include inappropriate biting in their repertoire of undesirable behaviors. We currently have a temporary foster resident at the training center: a 13-week-old high-energy Jack Russell Terrier who failed his assessment at the shelter for using his mouth in protest when restrained. Little Squid is a perfect example of the kind of dog who needs to learn self-control and the art of being calm.
A successful WCCS behavior modification program contains three elements: physical exercise, management, and training. While any one of these alone can make your high-energy dog easier to live with, apply all three for maximum success. Let’s look at each of these elements in greater detail.
Squid’s day begins with an hour of barn-play while we do chores. He delights in harassing our dogs (and our pig). He gets at least one long hike around the farm per day, preferably two, or even three. He also gets one or more sessions of ball/toy fetch in the training center, and some puppy socialization/play time when there’s a class going on. Finally, he wraps up his day with evening barn chores. Does it tire him out? No. I have yet to see him tired. But it does take the edge off, so that when I work with him to teach calm he is able to focus and participate in the training. The physical exercise sets him up for training success.
Not everyone has an 80-acre farm to play on. If you’re farm-deprived, there are other ways to provide exercise for your WCCS dog. A placid walk or three around the block won’t do it. Nor will leaving him on his own in your fenced backyard. He needs to be actively engaged.
Outings to your local well-run dog park can be a good exercise option. If you don’t have one in your area, invite compatible canines over to play in your dog’s fenced yard. If you don’t have one, invite yourself and your dog over to your dog-friend’s fenced yard for play dates.
Absent any access to a dog-friendly fenced yard, play with your dog on a long line. A 50-foot line gives him a 100-foot stretch to run back and forth and work his jollies off.
Caution: Work up to 50 feet gradually, so he learns where the end of the line is. You don’t want him to blast full-speed to the end of his long line and hurt himself. Also, wear long pants. A high-speed long-line wrapped around bare legs can give you a nasty rope burn.
If none of those work for you, having him wear a pack when you walk him, or even better, pull a cart (which takes significant training), or exercising him (safely) from a bicycle may be options for using up excess energy. If outside exercise is simply out of the question, here are some indoor activities that can help take the edge off:
-Find it. Most dogs love to use their noses. Take advantage of this natural talent by teaching yours the “Find It!” game:
1. Start with a handful of pea-sized tasty treats. Toss one to your left and say “Find it!” Then toss one to your other side and say “Find it!” Do this back and forth a half-dozen times.
2. Then have your dog sit and wait or stay, or have someone hold his leash. Walk 10 to 15 feet away and let him see you place a treat on the floor. Walk back to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” encouraging him to go get the treat. Repeat a half-dozen times.
3. Next, have your dog sit and wait or stay, or have someone hold his leash and let him see you “hide” the treat in an easy hiding place: behind a chair leg, under the coffee table, next to the plant stand. Walk back to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” encouraging him to go get the treat. Repeat a half-dozen times.
4. Again, have your dog sit and wait. This time hide several treats in easy places while he’s watching. Return to his side, pause, and say “Find it!” Be sure not to help him out if he doesn’t find them right away.
You can repeat the “find it” cue, and indicate the general area, but don’t show him where it is; you want him to have to work to find it.
5. Hide the treats in harder and harder places so he really has to look for them: surfaces off the ground; underneath things; and in containers he can easily open.
6. Finally, put him in another room while you hide treats. Bring him back into the room and tell him to “Find it!” and enjoy watching him work his powerful nose to find the goodies. Once you’ve taught him this step of the game you can use it to exercise him by hiding treats in safe places all over the house, and then telling him to “Find it!” Nose work is surprisingly tiring.
If you prefer something less challenging, just go back to Step 1 and feed your dog his entire meal by tossing pieces or kibble from one side to the other, farther and farther, with a “Find it!” each time. He’ll get a bunch of exercise just chasing after his dinner!
-Hide And Seek. This is a fun variation of the “Find it” game. Have your dog sit and wait (or have someone hold him) while you go hide yourself in another room of the house. When you’re hidden, call your dog’s name and say “Find me!” Make it easy at first so he can find you quickly and succeed. Reinforce him with whatever he loves best – treats, a game of “tug,” petting and praise, a tossed ball – or a combination of these. Then hide again. As he learns the game, make your hiding places harder and harder, so he has to really search. A trainer friend tells me she has hidden in bathtubs and closets, under beds, and even inside a cedar chest.
-Manners Minder. If you are into higher-tech exercise, use a treat dispenser called the Manners Minder that spits out treats when you push a button on the remote control. A Maryland trainer friend, Elizabeth Adamec of Sweet Wag Dog Training, shared her exercise secret with me for her high-energy adolescent Golden Retriever, Truman. This one is especially useful if you don’t feel like exercising along with your canine pal or can’t, due to physical restrictions of your own:
Teach your dog to use the Manners Minder, by showing him several times that when he hears the beep, a treats fall out of the machine. You can use his own dog food, if he really likes his food.
1. Set the machine a few feet away and have your dog sit next to you. Push the button, and let him go eat the treats. Repeat several times, encouraging him, if necessary, to go get the treats when he hears the beep.
2. Put the machine across the room, and have your dog sit next to you. Push the button, and watch him run over and eat the treats. If he’s not doing this with great enthusiasm, repeat Steps 1 and 2 several more times with higher value treats, until he really gets excited about the treats when he hears the beep.
3. Set the machine in the next room, and repeat the exercise several times. Call him back to you each time, so he runs to the Manners Minder when he hears the beep, eats the treat, and runs back to you to wait for the next beep. Gradually move the treat dispenser into rooms farther and farther away from you, until your dog has to run all the way across the house, or even upstairs, when he hears the beep. Now you can sit back with the TV remote in one hand, your dog’s remote in the other, and enjoy your favorite show while canine pal gets exercise and dinner, all at the same time.
There are tons of other ways to provide your dog with indoor exercise. Play tug. Teach him to bowl. Teach him to catch, then repeatedly toss him his ball 10 feet away and have him bring it back to you. Some trainers use treadmills and canine exercise wheels to exercise their dogs. (These must be carefully trained and supervised.) Get creative. Get busy. Have fun. Let the indoor games begin.
Successful positive training, especially for high-energy dogs, relies on the appropriate use of management tools to prevent the dog from practicing – and being reinforced for – undesirable behaviors. In between his many daily exercise and training sessions, Squid is either parked in an exercise pen in the barn tack room (with plenty of bathroom breaks outside), or in an outdoor kennel off the side of the training center.
Here are examples of when to use various management tools for your wild child dog:
Crates and Pens. Use crates and exercise pens when you can’t directly supervise his energy to consistently reinforce appropriate behaviors and prevent reinforcement for inappropriate ones. The best times for the appropriate use of crates and exercise pens include:
–When you can provide adequate exercise and social time in addition to his time in the crate or pen.
–When your dog has been properly introduced to the crate or pen and accepts it as a good place to be. Note: Dogs who suffer from isolation or separation distress or anxiety often do not crate or pen well.
–When you know you’ll be home in a reasonable period of time so you don’t force your dog to soil his den – no longer than one hour more than your pup’s age in months, no more than an outside maximum of eight to nine hours for adult dogs.
Leashes and Tethers. Leashes and tethers are useful for the “umbilical cord” technique of preventing your wild child from being reinforced for unwanted behaviors. With your dog near or attached to you, you can provide constant supervision. Also, with your dog tethered to your side, you should have many opportunities to reinforce him for appropriate behavior.
The leash can be hooked to waist belts that are designed for that purpose, or clipped to your belt or belt-loop with a carabineer. Your WCCS dog can’t zoom around the house if he’s glued to your side.
If inappropriate mouthing behavior is included in his high-energy repertoire, however, this may not be the best choice. Tethers are better for keeping this dog in view, with easy access for reinforcement of calm behavior, while keeping his teeth from your clothing or skin. Appropriate situations for the use of leashes and tethers include:
–For dogs who get into trouble when they are unsupervised.
-Leashed when your activities don’t preclude having a dog connected to you – okay for working on the computer; not okay for working out.
-Tethered when you want to keep your dog near but not directly connected to you, to teach good manners and/or prevent inappropriate behaviors.
Baby Gates and Doors. Baby gates and doors prevent your dog’s access to vulnerable areas when he’s in wild child mode. A baby gate across the nursery door keeps him safely on the other side while you’re changing diapers, but still lets him be part of the “baby experience.” Not to worry if the older kids left their stuffed toys strewn across the bedroom floor; just close the bedroom door when your dog is in a “grab toy and run” mood. The most appropriate uses of baby gates and doors include:
–To prevent your dog’s temporary access to areas during activities you don’t want him to participate in.
–To prevent your dog’s access to areas when you can’t supervise closely enough, to prevent inappropriate behaviors such as counter surfing or getting on forbidden furniture.
The final element of your WCCS behavior modification program is training. The more training you do the easier it is to communicate with your dog. The better he understands you, the more easily he can follow your instructions and requests. With a high-energy dog, in addition to basic good manners training, invest a lot of training time in impulse-control behaviors.
-Click for Calm. Start by simply clicking your dog for calm behavior, beginning with clicks and treats for any pause in the action. One challenge with a high-energy dog is that the instant you try to praise or reward, he’s bouncing off the walls again. With the clicker, an instant of calm elicits a “click” during the calm behavior. Even if the delivery of the treat causes excitement, your dog still understands it was calm that caused the click-and-treat to happen. An added advantage of the clicker: when they hear the click, most dogs pause in anticipation of the coming morsel, drawing out the brief period of relatively calm behavior even longer.
The goal of clicker training is to get your dog to understand that he can make the click happen by offering certain behaviors – in this case, calm. At first you won’t get long, leisurely stretches of calm behavior to click. Begin by giving your dog a click and treat just because all four feet are on the floor at the same instant. Be quick! You want him to understand the behavior he got rewarded for was pausing with all four feet on the floor, so the click needs to happen the instant all four feet are down. If you click late, you may reinforce him for bouncing around – the exact opposite of what you want!
If your timing is good and you click for four-on-the-floor several times in a row he’ll start to stand still deliberately to make the clicker go off. This is one of the most exciting moments in dog training –when your dog realizes he can control the clicker. Your clicker is now a powerful tool; you can reinforce any behavior you want, any time it happens, and your dog will quickly start repeating that behavior for you.
How does “pausing briefly on all four feet” translate into calm? Very gradually. You will “shape” the pause into longer periods of stillness, by extending the time, in milliseconds at first, that he stands still before you click and treat. As he gets better at being calm for longer periods, be sure to reinforce randomly – sometimes for shorter pauses, sometimes longer. Do the same thing with “sit” and “down.” Down is my favorite calm position: the very act of lying down evokes relaxation.
Do several short training sessions every day. You’ll have the most success if you practice “clicking for calm” right after one of your dog’s exercise sessions when he’s tired anyway. When he understands that “calm” is a very rewardable behavior, it will work even when he has more energy.
When your dog will remain still for several seconds at a time, add the verbal cue of your choice, like “Chill out,” that will eventually cue him into calmness. Over time you can phase out the click and treat for calm behavior and use other rewards such as calm praise, a gentle massage, or an invitation to lie quietly next to you on the sofa.
-“Sit” As Default Behavior. “Sit” is one of the first behaviors we teach. Even after the dog knows it well we reinforce “sit” so heavily that it becomes his “default behavior” – what he does when he doesn’t know what else to do. Teach your dog to sit by holding a treat at the end of his nose and moving it slowly back a few inches, clicking and treating when his bottom touches ground.
Alternatively, shape it by clicking and treating for slightly lowered hind end until touchdown, and/or click for offered sits. Then shape longer sits. If he already knows sit, start reinforcing it every time he does it until he sits for anything and nothing. When you have installed “sit” as his default, things like the “Wait” exercises (below) and “Go wild and freeze” (See “More Steps to a Calm Dog,” page 19) happen very easily.
-Wait. “Wait” is especially useful for dogs who are short on impulse control. I teach it using food bowls and doorways. “Wait” then easily generalizes to other situations.
-Wait for Food: With your dog sitting at your side, tell him to “Wait.” Hold his bowl (with food in it, topped with tasty treats) chest-high, then move it toward the floor 4 to 6 inches. If your dog stays sitting, click and feed him a treat from the bowl as you raise it back up to your chest. If your dog gets up, say “Oops!” and ask him to sit again. If he gets up several times in a row, you’re asking for too much too soon; lower the bowl in smaller increments.
If he remains sitting, lower the bowl 4 to 6 inches again, and click and treat for his continued sitting. Repeat several times until he consistently remains sitting as you lower the bowl. Gradually move the bowl closer to the floor with succeeding repetitions until you can place it on the floor without your dog getting up. Finally, place the bowl on the floor and tell him to eat. After he’s had a few bites, lift the bowl up and try again. Repeat these steps until you can easily place the bowl on the floor and he doesn’t move until you give him permission.
Caution: If your dog guards resources such as his food bowl, consult with a qualified positive behavior professional before trying this exercise.
-Wait at the Door: With your dog sitting at your side, tell him to “wait.” Reach for the doorknob. If he doesn’t move, click and treat. Repeat this step several times. Then jiggle the doorknob. Click and reward him for not moving. Repeat this step several times. Slowly open the door a crack. Again, click and treat if he doesn’t move, and repeat. Gradually open the door farther, an inch or two at a time. Do several repetitions at each step, with clicks and treats each time.
Eventually you’ll walk all the way through the door, stop, and face your dog, without having him move. Wait a few seconds, click, then return and give him a tasty treat. Of course, occasionally you’ll actually give him permission to go out the door!
Squid does a variation of “Wait at the door” in his pen and kennel. With the dog on the inside and human on the outside, I reach for the latch. If he jumps up, I pull my hand away. If he sits, I continue with the gate-opening process. Each time he jumps up, the process stops. If he exercises self-control the gate opens and he earns his freedom.
A Happy Future
Using a combination of exercise, training, and management, I am wildly optimistic that I can help Squid chill out, pass his shelter assessment, and find his forever home. If, after reading all this you still think your dog suffers from clinical hyperactivity or ADHD, then it’s time to visit a qualified behavior professional for help. More likely though, using the same combination of exercise, training, and management, you can ensure your own dog’s calm and happy future in your family.
I have had my new Shih Tzu puppy , Prince Nino for almost three weeks now. I will tell you, it has not been easy introducing Nino to his new siblings of dogs and cats. The older pets simply don’t like him. And I’ve been working on different strategies to help them get along. I get that Nino is a puppy. Puppies can be annoying. My older pets have no issue with letting him. And when Nino cries, I get very upset and feel bad. I know what it’s like to be rejected too.
Well I have developed some strategies and want to pass along the tips to anyone going through the same thing.
It’s exciting to add a cuddly new pet to your life, except maybe when you have to introduce it to another pet that has already staked claim to your home. That’s especially true if one’s a dog and the other’s a cat. But whether you’re introducing a new dog to your cats — or a new cat to your dogs — it doesn’t have to be hard. Here is some expert advice to help keep peace during the transition.
Watch the Dog
If there’s going to be a problem during cat and dog introductions, it’s usually caused by the dog. SURPRISE!
Most dogs will chase a rapidly moving object. So if a cat gets frightened and runs, a dog often feels honor-bound to chase it.. It’s important to nip that in the bud. If you don’t, the result can be injury, and even death, for the cat.
Make sure your cat can run and hide if it wants to. Whether your cat is the newbie or the senior pet in the house, the cat needs to be able to move freely when the introduction is made. There should be perches or cubbies for hiding, someplace where the cat can get off the floor and settle in. You basically want an elevated resting place [for the cat].
Make sure your puppy or dog is well restrained. Your dog shouldn’t be able to chase, even if the cat darts away. This is a bigger issue with herding breed dogs, who have a prey instinct. But it’s really a hardwired response in all dogs to chase small fluffy things that run away quickly.
Consider baby gates. Gates can help you gradually introduce dogs and cats, and the barrier minimizes danger to the cat. A baby gate is often better than a cat carrier because it gives the cat much-needed freedom.
Age Can Make a Difference
When introducing a new pet to the household, youth can be a virtue. That’s because puppies are much less dangerous to adult cats, and kittens can be quite fearless with adult dogs.
The same safety rules still apply, though. When adding a kitten or puppy, you may want to enforce separation longer or extend your period of supervision. That’s because kittens tend to scurry (an enticing behavior for dogs) and puppies are just goofy and will want to pester the cat.
Here are four common mistakes you don’t want to make when introducing cats and dogs:
Forcing physical proximity: Picking up your cat and holding it in your dog’s face by way of introduction will tempt your cat to scratch the dog and encourage the dog to not like the cat. Always let kitty decide when or if it will approach the dog.
Not knowing the background of the dog you adopt. Adopting a dog from a shelter is often a wonderful idea, especially if you don’t have other pets. But people rarely know a shelter dog’s past. If a 2-year-old dog is looking for a home, there’s usually a good reason. In some cases, the dog may be aggressive, destructive, or have other problems. If you want to bring a canine into a feline household, I do recommend getting a puppy.
Not preparing your pet for change: Make changes like moving your cat’s litter box, putting up a baby gate, or closing certain doors before you bring your new pet home. That way, your long-time pet has a chance to get used to the changes before the new pet shows up.
Not thinking about your pet’s reaction. Try to think about the changes you’re making in your home from your pet’s perspective. For example, be aware that if you move the litter box and the cat has to walk past the dog’s kennel to get to it and the dog is barking that’s going to be stressful for the cat.
When to Get Help
If you’re lucky, it can take just a few minutes for a new pet to settle in, although it’s more likely to take days or even weeks.
But if you’ve come home to find your kitty cowering in fear, if one pet is always hiding, if your dog is displaying resource guarding behavior (such as snarling around its food) or being aggressive toward your cat, get help.
Don’t wait until a pet gets hurt. Talk with a veterinary behaviorist (a veterinarian specializing in animal behavior). These professionals can help you troubleshoot so that your old and new pets get along.
I am so excited, overwhelmed, overworked yet very happy! This is the new edition to our family, an all black Shih Tzu named Prince Nino. My Nino is smart, affectionate , very energetic and a quick learner and he is only 8 weeks old. It hasn’t been hard to train him because of several reasons. He listens well and is growing up with three other Shih Tzus in the house . He knows when to eat, and how to ask to go outside to potty. He even knows to pee on the pee pad. We have had only one accident and that happened on the first day.
Yes, we are lucky but you can be lucky , knowledgable and an expert too with training your new pup. I just want to give some of my tips as well as a professional dog trainers advice. There are some things that professional trainers believe you should do that I don’t do such as crate training. I am including it because every dog breed is different. So where I don’t believe in it for my shih tzus, it doesn’t mean it is not appropriate for let’s say a German Shepard.
EASY PUPPY POTTY TRAINING
It’s normal for a young puppy to be a little ‘input-output’ machine. Since they are growing and developing rapidly at this stage, they eat more food, burn up more energy and seem to need to eliminate constantly! Puppies have not yet developed bowel and bladder control, so they can’t ‘hold it’ as long as adult dogs.
Puppies need time to developed a “den” instinct to cause them to want to ‘hold it’ and not soil the den, i.e., your entire house. In their litter, puppies just go whenever and wherever they happen to be! Successful house training depends upon your diligent supervision so you can be there to show your pup where to eliminate.
Just so you know, a puppy is never completely housetrained until they are 6 months old. For some breeds, even later. This means that though you may be making tremendous progress housetraining, there will be “mistakes”. Sometimes for reasons you can’t figure out! Don’t fret about it. Stay focused on the progress you are making. Your confidence in the techniques you are using to house train your puppy will ensure your success.
Your Five Rules for House Training
• Give your puppy frequent access to his toilet area – prevent soiling in the house. • Reward the pup for peeing or pooping in the right place – use a special treat. • Never punish the pup for housetraining “mistakes” – scolding has dire consequences. • Put your puppy on a regular and timely feeding schedule – in/out clockwork.
• Know when your puppy last eliminated – keep a diary.
How often do puppies have to potty?
Most puppies have to eliminate about every 30-45 minutes except, of course, when sleeping. Their elimination schedule will depend upon when they last ate or drank water; rambunctious physical activity; and the big unknown – personal preference! That’s right – every pup has their own inherent elimination schedule. The good news is, puppies sleep alot!
The section below on “HouseTraining Taxi Service” will tell you WHEN to give your pup immediate access to her toilet area. For now – keep reading.
If your puppy is not sleeping in her crate or pen, and is out in the house, you must follow her around to know what she is doing: chewing a bone, running circles, getting a drink of water, etc. In fact, don’t take your eye off of her! If you cannot watch her continuously, you must put her back into her pen or crate to prevent potty training “mistakes”.
Regular feedings will house train a puppy faster
It’s very important to put your puppy on a regular and timely feeding schedule; What goes in on a regular schedule will come out on a regular schedule. Every pup is different; some poop immediately after eating; with others it may be 30 minutes to an hour after eating. Unless advised by your vet for some medical reason, do not free-feed. That is, do not leave food out all the time. For two reasons: First, your pup’s elimination schedule will be random at best. And second, she will not necessarily associate you as the provider of her food (see our article on being a pack leader and winning a puppy’s respect and trust).
Always leave water out for your puppy. Check the water bowl frequently to note how much she is drinking and to make sure the water bowl is full.
The best way to potty train a puppy
Confinement to a small area such as a bathroom or an enclosed exercise pen in combination with confinement to a crate works best.
This method is the most effective and flexible. Your pup needs to develop his natural “den instinct” and learn where to eliminate – and where not to. To potty train our puppy we must condition a desire in the pup to avoid soiling the “den” – your house. Confinement and your due diligence in providing access outside the “den” to potty and poop will develop this instinct and eventual desire. When and how to use confinement is described in detail below.
Choose a designated toilet area for House Training
So, where do you want to train your puppy to always potty and poop? The puppy toilet area needs to be accessible very quickly.
• If you live in a high rise apartment, or a street level apartment or home with DIFFICULT outdoor access, use a bathroom or pen in the home for housetraining.
• If, however, you live in a street level apartment or home with EASY outdoor access, use a specific, very close outdoor location and use “Housetraining Taxi Service.” You will still use an indoor pen for housetraining purposes, but outdoors will be your puppy’s primary toilet area.
Get the items you need for housetraining and set up the household:
• A few bottles of Nature’s Miracle or similar product to remove urine and fecal stains and odor. Place these in a central or multiple locations in your house with paper towels. • A crate that will fit next to your bed but only large enough to accomodate your puppy when full grown. I prefer the wire type for a full view of the puppy. Get one that also collapses for easy transporting. • An exercise pen that your puppy cannot jump out of. Put the exercise pen in a central location where you spend most of your time at home. You may want to put a tarp down first then set the pen on top of it. • Special housetraining treats (rewards) – something small and special, reserved and used only for a housetraining reward. These treats should be kept close to the designated toilet area.
• An uplifting, cheery, excited tone of voice to carry with you at all times ( do they have that at the pet store? ).
“HouseTraining Taxi Service”
What ? To house train my puppy I have to call a cab? Well, not exactly, here’s the scoop. Puppies will decide to potty or poop instantly, giving you no warning. So many times when housetraining, a puppy is led to the door and on the way they just stop and do their business. This usually happens because the puppy has not developed enough bladder or bowel control yet to “hold it” until they get to the toilet area or they simply don’t know where the toilet area is yet. Not only has the pup made “a mistake,” but you have lost a chance to reward for going in the right place.
The key to house training is preventing “mistakes” and rewarding the puppy for going in your chosen spot.
“HouseTraining Taxi Service” is simply picking the puppy up into your arms, taking them to the designated toilet area, setting them down and praising them for going where you want. If you are going outside, put a collar and leash on the pup immediately after picking them up, unless the toilet area is safely enclosed and escape proof.
When should you provide “HouseTraining Taxi Service” • Immediately upon your puppy waking up (morning, noon or night). • Immediately after they finish eating, get a big drink of water, and after excited play • When you think they might have to go – about every 45 minutes. Better too often than too late! • When your puppy whines in the crate in the middle of the night or whines in their pen during the day. Take them out to potty, reward for going and put them right back. If they continue to whine, see our article on whining and crying. • When your puppy is standing at the door to the outside. Why not just let them out, you say? Well, he may not make it all the way to the toilet area, potty or poop in the “wrong” place and you have missed a housetraining opportunity!
For how long should you provide “HouseTraining Taxi Service” ? Taxi your pup for about one month (until the pup is about 3 months old as this should give the pup enough time to develop some bladder and bowel control). By doing so, you will prevent many mistakes. At the same time you will train a stong preference in your pup to eliminate in your chosen spot. The pup will also learn that being picked up gets – kisses !
If you have a large breed puppy and can’t pick them up, slip on a leash quickly and “rush” them to the potty area, do not stop until you are there !
House Training Warnings – “I’m gonna go!”
Guess what, you get no warning before a young puppy is about to potty! They just squat and do it… in an instant. So, if they potty in the wrong place, you didn’t take them to their potty area soon enough – plain and simple.
However, with a poop you might get some warning – sometimes sniffing; usually circling by the puppy. By paying close attention to your puppy when they are out and about in the house, you may get a heads-up.
What to do if you catch your puppy in the act of a potty training “mistake”…
If pup is peeing in the wrong place… you may be able to stop him. Move quickly towards him when he begins to pee and pick him up. Urgency is key here – you want to startle the pup just a little as you move towards them to pick them up, but you DO NOT want to scare the pup. You are redirecting your puppy to the right spot – not disciplining him. Immediately after picking him up, take him to the potty area and patiently wait. Most pups will finish there. Reward your pup with exuberance!
If the pup is pooping… let them finish. Puppies are not able to shut off a poop like they can shut off a pee. More likely than not, you’ll just create a huge mess by trying to interupt a poop.
As always, never make a big deal about cleaning up after your puppy when an accident occurs.
Housetraining at your bedtime and when you wake up
Just before you go to bed and turn out the lights, go get your puppy, no matter where she may be, asleep or not, and taxi her to the potty area. Reward and praise as always for eliminating. Put her in the crate next to your bed and retire for the night.
First thing in the morning, take her out of the crate and taxi her to the potty area. Return her to the crate or pen unless you are able to supervise her without distraction. Feeding is usually next up. Feed your pup breakfast around the same time each morning and in the same location.
House Training When you are NOT Home
Confine your puppy to his, ‘puppy-proofed’ bathroom or an exercise pen and paper (or wee-wee pad) the entire floor. Put his bed, toys and food/water bowls there. At first there will be no rhyme or reason to where your pup eliminates. He will go every where and any where. He will also probably play with the papers, chew on them, and drag them around his little den. Most puppies do this and you just have to live with it. Don’t get upset; just accept it as life with a young puppy. The important thing is that when you get home, clean up the mess and lay down fresh papers.
While your puppy is confined to the bathroom or his pen, he is developing a habit of eliminating on paper because no matter where he goes, it will be on paper. As time goes on, he will start to show a preferred place to do his business. When this place is well established and the rest of the papers remain clean all day, then gradually reduce the area that is papered. Start removing the paper that is furthest away from his chosen location. Eventually you will only need to leave a few sheets down in that place only. If he ever misses the paper, then you’ve reduced the area too soon. Go back to papering a larger area.
Once your puppy is reliably going only on the papers you’ve left, then you can slowly and gradually move his papers to a location of your choice. Move the papers a little bit each day. If puppy misses the paper, then you’re moving too fast. Go back a few steps and start over. Don’t be discouraged if your puppy seems to be making remarkable progress and then suddenly you have to return to papering the entire area. This is normal. There will always be minor set-backs. If you stick with this procedure, your puppy will be paper trained.
House Training When You ARE Home
When you are home but can’t attend to your puppy, follow the same procedures described above. However, the more time you spend with your puppy, the quicker he will be house trained. Your objective is to take your puppy to his toilet area every time he needs to eliminate. This should be about once every 30-45 minutes; just upon waking; just after eating or drinking; and just after a play session. Provide house training taxi service to avoid unnecessary “mistakes”.
When your pup does eliminate in his toilet area, praise and reward him profusely and enthusiastically! Don’t use any type of reprimand or punishment for mistakes or accidents. Your puppy is too young to understand and it can set the house training process back drastically.
Don’t allow your puppy freedom outside of his room or pen unless you know absolutely for sure that his bladder and bowels are completely empty. When you do let him out, don’t let him out of your sight. It is a good idea to have him on leash when he is exploring your home. He can’t get into trouble if you are attached to the other end of the leash. Never, ever tie the puppy’s leash to something and leave the puppy unattended.
As your puppy becomes more reliable about using his toilet area and his bowel and bladder control develops, he can begin to spend more time outside his room or pen with you in the rest of your home. Begin by giving him access to one room at a time. Let him eat, sleep and play in this room but only when he can be supervised. When you cannot supervise him, put him back in his room or pen.
Active House Training
The most important thing you can do to make house training happen as quickly as possible is to reward and praise your puppy every time he goes in the right place. The more times he is rewarded, the quicker he will learn. Therefore it’s important that you spend as much time as possible with your puppy and give him regular and frequent access to his toilet area.
The Key To Successful House Training
Consistency and Patience. Never scold or punish your puppy for mistakes and accidents. The older your pup gets, the more he will be able to control his bladder and bowels. Eventually your pup will have enough control that he will be able to “hold it” for longer and longer periods of time. Let your puppy do this on his own time. When training is rushed, problems usually develop. Don’t forget, most puppies are not completely house trained until they are 6 months old.
Last But Not Least
Recommend this blog for Pet Tips and Happy Walk Happy Dog For Pet Sitting & Other Pet Care Services
Most dog breeds were developed with a specific purpose in mind, for example, sporting, working, herding and so forth. Consequently, whether your pet is a purebred or mixed breed, chances are he carries genetic traits that drive him to pursue an activity.
Many modern day dogs don’t get opportunities to do what their breed instincts tell them to do. In addition, it’s a rare dog that exercises on his own, and your backyard doesn’t provide the variety of sensory stimulation most dogs need to ward off boredom.
Dogs need walks for both exercise and mental stimulation.
According to Clinician’s Brief:
Generally, people walk their dog for 4 reasons: elimination, mental stimulation, exercise, and training. Dogs like to go for walks to get outdoors, sniff and engage with their environment, exercise, and perhaps socialize with people and dogs outside the home. There is no reason that a walk cannot encompass and meet all the needs of both humans and dogs. Because time is often at a premium, it is useful to help owners understand and find creative ways to meet these needs.
Why and how to walk your dog may seem like a ‘no brainer’ topic to many of you, but the fact is there are lots of pet owners who:
Don’t walk their dogs at all, or don’t do it routinely
Don’t make the most of the activity
Dread walks because their pet actually walks them, or exhibits other bad leash manners
Before You Head Out the Door
The best way to develop a positive dog walking habit is when your pet is a puppy.As soon as her immune system is strong enough to protect her from communicable disease (discuss when it’s safe to take your pup outside with your vet) , she’s ready for walks with you or other family members.She should already have her own secure-fitting collar or harness and ID tag, and sheshould be used to wearing it before you attempt to take her for walks. Some puppies have no problem wearing a collar; others do. If your dog is fighting it, as long as you’re sure it isn’t too tight (youshould be able to easily slip your fingers under it) or uncomfortable for some other reason, distract her from fussing with her collar until she gets used to it. It shouldn’t take more thana couple days for your pup to forget she’s even wearing it.Don’t try to take your pup for a walk if she protests wearing a collar. Get her used to wearing her collar first.If you plan to use a head halter or harness for walks (which I recommend for any dog at risk of injury from pulling against a collar/leash combination), the next step is to get your puppy comfortable wearing it. As with the collar, this needs to happen before you attempt to attach a leash and head out the door.Once wearing her collar and a halter or harness (if you choose) is second nature to your dog, you’re ready for the next step. Attach about four feet of light line — cotton awning cord or light cotton rope will do – and let your puppy drag it around the house with her under your watchful eye, of course. She’ll get used to it being attached, as well as the tug of it when she steps on it.Once your pup is used to the four-foot line, swap it for a 10 to 15 foot line of the same material, and head outdoors.
Starting Off on the Right Foot
Initial walks should be short for most puppies – the main goal is to get your dog used to being attached to you by a lead.
Find a safe environment. Allow puppy to drag the line behind him for a bit, then pick up the opposite end. Let him lead you around for a few seconds while you hold the line just off the ground. Slow down so he’s forced to slow down, ultimately to a stop. Take a short break for praise and a little playtime.
Next, let him trail the line again, but when you pick up your end this time, call him and stand still. If he pulls, hold your ground without pulling him in your direction. The goal is to teach him to put slack in the line himself by moving toward you. When he puts slack in the line, praise him and call him to you.
If he comes all the way to you, more praise and a training treat are in order. If he stops on his way to you, tighten the line just enough to apply a tiny bit of pull to it. Immediately call him to come again. Give praise as he moves toward you and treats when he comes all the way back.
Two or three repetitions is all many puppies need to understand lack of tension in the line is what earns praise and treats.
When your pup has learned to come towards you to relieve tension on the line, you can begin backing up as he’s coming towards you to keep him moving.
Next, turn and walk forward so he’s following you. If he passes you, head in another direction so he’s again behind you.
The goal is to teach him to follow on a loose lead. Once you’ve accomplished the goal, you can continue to use the light line or replace it with a leash.
Depending on your pet’s temperament, five to 15 minute sessions are sufficient in the beginning. Practice controlling your dog on the lead for 30 second intervals during each session. Exercise patience and don’t engage in a battle of wills with your pup. Don’t snap, yank or otherwise use the line for correction or punishment. Stop before either of you gets frazzled or tired.
After each short session on the lead, liberally praise your dog and spend a few minutes playing ball or some other game he enjoys. Remember — you’re building the foundation for an activity both you and your dog will enjoy and look forward to throughout her life.
Some puppies stubbornly fight the pressure of the line rather than create slack.
If your puppy freezes on a tight line or routinely pulls against it, my first recommendation is to use a halter or harness rather than a collar attached to the lead. Your dog can create serious neck and cervical disk problems by pulling on a collar/leash combination.
Next, make sure it’s not you creating the problem. Our human instinct is to hold the leash taught, so you must also train yourself to keep slack in the line. Your dog’s natural response to a tight line is to pull against it.
Next do the following when your puppy refuses to create slack or move toward you:
Maintain the tension on the line and turn your back on her. Allow time for it to occur to her she can’t win by pulling against you.
Remain still with your back to her holding the tension in the line – don’t jerk the line, don’t pull or yank her toward you, and don’t put slack in the line yourself, which will teach her the way to get slack is to pull at the line.
The message you want to send your pup is pulling on the lead doesn’t accomplish a thing. It doesn’t change the scenery and it doesn’t earn praise or treats. Eventually, your puppy will stop doing what doesn’t work – especially when she is consistently rewarded for desirable behavior.
The very first second you begin leash training, make sure your puppy accomplishes nothing by pulling on her line. It takes some dogs longer than others to learn to keep the leash loose, but with patience and persistence, any puppy can learn to follow on a loose lead.
Different Types of Dog Walks
Once your dog has been taught good leash manners, I recommend you vary the purpose of your walks with him.
If your habit is to walk him to his potty spot to relieve himself, that’s a purposeful walk – usually of short duration.
Then there are mentally stimulating walks during which your pup is allowed to stop, sniff, investigate, mark a spot and so forth. Most dogs on a leash don’t spend as much time sniffing and investigating as off-leash dogs. (This is probably because leashed dogs sense their owners aren’t really into the same things they are!)
Allowing your pet some time to sniff around and investigate is good for him mentally. Dogs gain knowledge of the world through their noses. You can train your dog with commands to know when he’s out for a mental stimulation walk, a training walk or an exercise session.
Regular exercise is a necessity for your dog, the natural athlete. Regardless of his size, breed, gender or even his age, he needs physical activity in order to be a balanced, healthy animal. Exercise will keep his frame strong, his weight in the healthy range, and it can also help prevent or alleviate arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases.
Exercise consistency is really important. Dogs need exercise every three days, minimum, in order to maintain muscle tone and prevent muscle wasting. In my opinion, consistent daily aerobic exercise should be the goal. It’s important to elevate your pet’s heart rate for 20 minutes during exercise sessions. If your dog is out of shape, you’ll need to start slow and build gradually to 20 minutes per session.
Ongoing training throughout your dog’s life is a great way to keep his faculties sharp and boredom at bay. It’s also a wonderful way to strengthen the bond between you and your pet.
Training walks can be about improving leash manners, learning basic or advanced obedience commands, ongoing socialization – just about anything you can think of that can be done on a leashed walk.
Your dog depends on you for her quality of life. Walking her every day or at least several times each week – taking advantage of different types of walks to stimulate her mentally and physically – will help your canine companion be balanced, healthy and happy for a lifetime.
Are you looking for pet holidays that recognize the special role that dogs, cats, and other pets play in our lives? You’ve come to the right place. This extensive calendar, updated throughout the year, features fun pet holidays as well as serious pet awareness days, weeks and months that focus attention on challenges in the pet world.
National Train Your Dog Month
Walk Your Pet Month.
Adopt a Rescued Bird Month.
Jan. 2, 2015: National Pet Travel Safety Day.
Jan. 14, 2015: National Dress Up Your Pet Day.
Jan. 22, 2015: National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day.
Jan. 24, 2015: Change a Pet’s Life Day.
Jan. 29, 2015: Seeing Eye Guide Dog Birthday.
Spay/Neuter Awareness Month. (Humane Society of the United States)
Pet Dental Health Month.
Responsible Pet Owners Month.
Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month.
National Prevent a Litter Month.
Unchain a Dog Month.
Feb. 7-14, 2015: Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week.
Feb. 16-17, 2015: Westminster Kennel Club Annual Dog Show. Held at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, this event is televised.
Feb. 14, 2015: Pet Theft Awareness Day.
Feb. 15-21, 2015: National Justice for Animals Week.
Feb. 20, 2015: Love Your Pet Day.
Feb. 22, 2015: Walking the Dog Day.
Feb. 23, 2015: International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day.
Feb. 24, 2015: World Spay Day. Annual campaign by the Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States; held the last Tuesday of February.
Poison Prevention Awareness Month.
Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month.
March 7, 2015: Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begins. Called “The Last Great Race on Earth,” this grueling race travels along a path that alternates between two paths, changing in even and odd years. The race crosses two mountain ranges in conditions that range from 30 degrees above to 30 degrees below zero.
March 3, 2015: If Pets Had Thumbs Day.
March 1-7, 2015: Professional Pet Sitters Week.
March 5-8, 2015: Crufts. Held in Birmingham, England, this is the world’s largest dog show, featuring nearly 28,000 canines in its four days.
March 15-21, 2015: National Poison Prevention Week.
March 23: National Puppy Day.
National Pet First Aid Awareness Month. This event is an effort by the American Red Cross to draw attention to the need to know specialized pet first aid.
Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs Month.
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. (ASCPA)
National Pet Month. (UK)
April 12-18, 2015: Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week.
April 11, 2015: National Pet Day.
April 18, 2015: Pet Owners Independence Day.
April 22, 2015: Earth Day.
Third week in April. Animal Cruelty/Human Violence Awareness Week. An effort by the Humane Society of the United States.
Third week in April. National Pet ID Week.
April 26, 2015: National Kids and Pets Day.
April 25, 2015: World Veterinary Day. This event from the World Veterinary Association is always celebrated on the last Saturday in April.
April 25, 2015: Hairball Awareness Day.
National Pet Month (US)
Responsible Animal Guardian Month.
Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Sponsored by Pet Cancer Awareness and the Blue Buffalo Foundation for Cancer Research. (Also see November events.)
Chip Your Pet Month.
National Service Dog Eye Examination Month. The American College of Veterinary Optholmologists hosts this annual event when over 200 veterinary optholmologists donate their services to provide eye exams to service dogs in the US and Canada.
May 1: National Purebred Dog Day
May 4-10, 2015: American Humane’s Be Kind to Animals Week. This week-long event has been celebrated since 1915. Always the first full week of May.
May 3-9, 2015: National Pet Week. Always held the first full week of May by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
May 4-10, 2015:American Humane’s Be Kind to Animals Week . An initiative of the HSUS, this week is always scheduled to begin the Monday before Mother’s Day.
May 18-24, 2015: Dog Bite Prevention Week. This event by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) along with the United States Post Office (USPS) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) focuses attention on preventing dog bites.
Adopt-a-Cat Month®. From the American Humane Association.
Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month. From the ASPCA.
National Pet Preparedness Month. This month, timed for the first month of hurricane season, urges people with pets to make preparations in case they should be hit by a disaster…and that includes making plans for what you would do with your dog in case of a hurricane, tornado, flood or other natural disaster.
June 4, 2015: Hug Your Cat Day.
First week in June. Pet Appreciation Week.
June 9, 2015: World Pet Memorial Day.
June 10-14, 2015: World Dog Show, Milan, Italy. This large show is hosted by a different county every year.
Mid-June: Animal Rights Awareness Week.
June 26, 2015: Take Your Dog to Work Day.
Dog House Repair Month.
July 4: Independence Day. This US holiday is no holiday for dogs; the sounds of fireworks causes many dogs to panic and run, resulting in many lost dogs every year.
July 15: National Pet Fire Safety Day. Sponsored by the The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), ADT Security Services and the American Kennel Club® (AKC).
July 21: National Craft for your Local Shelters Day.
July 31: National Mutt Day. Also see Dec. 2.
Aug. 1: DOGust Universal Birthday for Shelter Dogs. The North Shore Animal League America, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, declared August 1 as a birthday for all the shelter animals whose birthdays are unknown. Happy DOGust!!
Aug. 5: Work Like a Dog Day.
Aug. 2-8, 2015: International Assistance Dog Week.
Aug. 15: National Check the Chip Day. AVMA and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) joined together to create “Check the Chip Day.”
Aug. 15, 2015: International Homeless Animals’ Day®. From the International Society for Animal Rights.
Aug. 17: National Black Cat Appreciation Day.
Aug. 26: National Dog Day.
Aug. 30. National Holistic Pet Day.
National Disaster Preparedness Month. Led by FEMA’s Ready Campaign, Citizen Corps and The Advertising Council, this effort encourages individuals, families, businesses and communities to work together and take action to prepare for emergencies. Visit Ready.gov and CitizenCorps.gov.
Second Sunday in September. National Pet Memorial Day. Established by the International Association of Pet Cemeteries (IAPC).
Last full week in September: National Dog Week.
Last full week in September. Deaf Pet Awareness Week. By Petfinder.com.
Sept. 13, 2015: Pet Birth Defect Awareness Day. A day dedicated to the issue of pet birth defects including information on identification, prevention and treatment. Sponsored by the MBJungle Foundation.
Sept. 23: Dogs in Politics Day (also known as Checkers Day). Recognizing the dogs of politicians.
Sept. 28: World Rabies Day. Sponsored by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control.
Adopt-A-Dog Month®. By American Humane Association.
Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month. By ASPCA.
National Animal Safety and Protection Month.
National Pet Wellness Month.
1st Week of October. National Walk Your Dog Week.
October 4: World Animal Day.
1st Full Week of October. Animal Welfare Week (AVMA)
Oct. 11-17, 2015: National Veterinary Technician Week. Sponsored by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America.
Oct. 16: National Feral Cat Day.
Oct. 16: National Feral Cat Day.
Last Saturday in Oct.: National Pit Bull Awareness Day.
Oct. 28: Plush Animal Lovers Day. A day that most dogs will be happy to celebrate…as they unstuff them…
Oct. 29: National Cat Day.
Oct. 30: National Black Cat Day in the UK.
*MORE November holidays; observances
Adopt a Senior Dog Month. By ASPCA.
National Pet Awareness Month.
National Senior Pet Month.
Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Sponsored by Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) and the Animal Cancer Foundation. (Also see May events).
Pet Diabetes Month.
National Dog Show. Always broadcast in the US on Thanksgiving, this event is held at The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania and is hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia. Sanctioned by the American Kennel Club, the event features 2,000 dogs.
First full week of Nov: National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. by The Humane Society of the United States.
I posted the picture above to represent the winter season. In reality, I live in the South but this picture symbolizes how we deal with the cold season. There are many pet parents like myself that feel guilty when our active life with our pets decreases. Our pets get lazy, a little overweight and bored. Well, I want to help all of us out of our runt. No matter what’s going on in any of our lives, let’s make sure one of our priorities is keeping our pets happy through vested activities.
The winter season puts our dogs at risk for many illnesses. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates over half of all dogs in the United States are overweight or obese and have an increased risk of injury, disease and shortened life expectancy. Yes FiFi looks cute and cozy in their pet beds or your bed but believe me having some exercise with their favorite person will make them come alive. It will also prolong their health and lives. So what are these activities you say. I have 6 great activities you and your fur baby will enjoy.
Six Exercises Your Dog Will Love
Dog or human treadmills work well to exercise your dog. Start slowly with your dog on a leash and use high-value treats as motivation. After your dog is comfortable walking slowly, gradually increase the speed to a trot. Always stay with your dog to watch him closely. Never tether your dog to a treadmill or force him to stay on it. If your dog doesn’t seem to enjoy the treadmill, find another form of exercise.
2. Stair Climbing
If your dog is young, healthy and not prone to hip problems, throw a ball or toy up to the top of carpeted stairs for an aerobic game of fetch. Just be careful not to overdo exercising on the stairs. Stair climbing is also a quick way to develop your leg muscles quickly.
3. Train with Tricks
Try some new training techniques or reinforce any existing commands or training that need more work. Teach your dog some tricks. If your dog already knows the basic tricks, try teaching him something to help out around the house, such as picking up his toys and putting them in a basket. Most dogs like to learn something new and it’s a great way to bond with your dog.
These gyms are popping up all over the country and if there’s one close to you, they offer various ways to exercise your dog. Some even have swimming pools and indoor dog parks.
5. Dog Walkers
If you really hate walking outside in the winter or don’t have enough time to exercise your dog, hire a recommended and reliable dog walker. Make sure they are from a formal company. And also make sure they are insured and bonded. Check out the services we offer : HWHD Services & Fees. This will give you an idea of what activities you would want no matter what part of the country reside.
6. Play Dates
Get together with friends who have dogs that want to exercise, play and socialize. Better yet, host a play date in your home and make some homemade dog treats for your dog to share with his friends.
Bonus: More Winter Season Activities
Anyone live up north, the Midwest or Canada. Here are some other Great Ideas!
1. Snow Hikes
Head out for a hike in a wooded area after a fresh snowfall. It’s beautiful and serene since most people don’t take advantage of hiking trails in the winter. It’s also the perfect time to use off-leash areas where your dog can have more freedom without running into too many other dogs or people.
2. Sledding and Snowball Fights
Have your dog join you for some childhood fun in the snow.
3. Dog Parks
If your dog gets overwhelmed by crowded dog parks, try visiting in the winter when there are fewer people and dogs at the park. Hint: Pro Petsitters love an afternoon in dog parks.
4. Snowshoeing or Cross-Country Skiing
Enjoy these sports if you have a snow-loving dog.
Have you ever heard of Skijoring? Skijoring is having your dog pull you through the snow while you’re wearing skis. It sounds like a lot of fun if you have a snow-loving dog that can safely pull you.
Winter Advice To Keep Your Dog Safe During The Cold
Short-haired, small or elderly dogs may need a water-repellent coat to help keep them warm.
Trim the hair between your dog’s toes to reduce snow and ice buildup.
Dog booties can keep paws dry and free from ice, salt or de-icing chemicals
If your dog hates booties, apply Musher’s Secret wax to his paws before going outside to prevent painful ice balls from forming between his toes. Musher’s Secret also protects paws from hot pavement or beach sand in the summer.
If you don’t use booties, clean your pup’s paws with a warm wet cloth when you return home to remove any salt, de-icing chemicals or ice balls. Also wipe down their legs and belly.
Use reflective wear or clip-on LED collar lights if you walk outside after dark.
Consult with your vet if you have any concerns about exercising your dog outside when it’s cold.
An industry with an industry that has really taken off is the Pet Sitting Industry. Let’s face it , we all love to spoil our fur babies . If we could, we would take our pets to work, shopping, out to eat with us and vacation. Unfortunately, for us crazed parents , these are not reasonable options. There are going to be times when we will have to depend on others to help out. When family , friends or neighbors are not around to help us in the long term , one of the best options available to you is a professional pet sitter. So let’s start off with the first question.
A) What Is A Professional Pet Sitter?
Anyone can put an ad in the newspaper or Craigslist offering their services to care for your pet. Let’s suppose you have a three week trip coming up over seas. Your fur baby, Milo, has diabetes. You see an ad by a twelve year old kid offering to care for your pet. Do you really want to leave that responsibility in the hands of a seventh grader?
A Professional Pet Sitter has three qualities beyond loving pets that pet parents should consider. 1) Formal Work Experience with animals. 2) Completed Pet Related Courses and Continued Education and 3). A Code of Ethics which is set by the organization. Generally reputable Professional Pet Sitters can be through NAPPS (National Association of Professional Pet Sitters) or PSI ( Pet Sitters International ). Both organizations provide pet sitter accreditation to those with these three main qualities.
B). What Qualifications Do You Have As A Pet Sitter?
Our fur babies may be four legged creatures but they are our family. Here’s a list of other qualifications and characteristics one should consider before trusting anyone with their pets.
1) Can the pet sitter provide written proof that she has commercial liability insurance (to cover accidents and negligence) and is bonded (to protect against theft by a pet sitter or her employees)?
2) What training has the pet sitter received?
3) Is the pet sitter associated with a veterinarian who can provide emergency services?
4) what backup plans does the Petsitter have in place?
5) Does the pet sitter provide related services such as in-home grooming, dog training , pet taxi or the selling of pet supplies and foods?
6) Will the pet sitter provide a written service contract spelling out services and fees?
7) Ask the Pet Sitter for references from clients that are willing to share information with you.
C) How much time does the pet sitter spend in your home to care for your pet(s)?
The average in-home visit to care for one pet is 30 minutes, but additional time may be required if you request special services such as dog walking, pet grooming, etc. or have a multiple pet household.
D). What are the payment terms?
Some pet sitters require payment in full for first time customers while others require a deposit upon reservation and balance paid at the end of the assignment. There is no industry standard for payment terms, so be sure you understand in advance the terms of the pet sitting business you utilize.
E) Does the pet sitter (or agency) have established fees for pet care they can quote over the phone and/or in company literature?
A professional pet sitter should have a published list of fees that cover the most common pet-care requests. Fees for special services may be worked out on a case-by-case basis.
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How many of us are guilty of feeding our canine babies human food? Any of us that says no, stop fibbing :)). We are all guilty of doing it from time to time . Therefore let’s take responsibility of turning our fur baby into a picky eater who has forgotten they are still a dog.
I’m a Professional Pet Sitter and have rules for all my fur babies . I love my fur babies and I love spoiling them. So yes I’m guilty of feeding them people food. I also recognize that can be harmful. And if I want my babies to be healthy a long time , I need to make sure they are eating healthy dog food. I want to help other pet owners continue to keep their pets healthy and turn that that picky dog eater into a lover of dog food.
Dogs and Dog Food
There are two kinds of dogs. The first kind lives to eat. They will devour anything you put in front of them. The second kind eats to live. They pick and choose, take longer to finish meals, and sometimes won’t finish them at all.
A dog’s size, breed, and age often dictate whether he adores food or could care less. Every Labrador who ever lived is food motivated and smaller canines, such as Maltese and Yorkies, tend to be more discriminating.
When Does Picky Eating Become a Problem?
If you’re having trouble getting your pet to eat on a regular basis, and he won’t consume his food at least once a day, your dog is a picky eater.
If your dog has always been a picky eater, there is likely no need for concern.
A picky dog that maintains a healthy weight, is alert and perky, and has a shiny coat, is much less worrisome than one who has dropped a few pounds and has a less lustrous coat. If you have a dog who is a regular eater that suddenly stops, that can be a sign something is wrong. Picky eating is one symptom.
What should be the most concern is change. Many illnesses could be why your dog refuses to eat. Even problems associated with old age, such as joint pain while walking to and from the bowl, could be the cause.
The only way to get to the root of the problem is to visit the vet.
If your dog has always been a voracious eater, and is becoming more selective, go to the vet after about 48 hours. For puppies, who have less reserves, don’t wait more than 24 hours.
Tips for Encouraging Your Picky Eater Dog to Develop Healthier Eating Habits
Tip 1: Start early. Before you bring a dog home, come up with a feeding plan. You and your family need to sit down and decide what the rules will be. And you must all be on the same page. If mom gives food off the plate, but dad plays by the rules, it won’t work. If one family member is adamant about people food, then agree to mix in some healthy options, such as low-fat vegetables, with the kibble.
Tip 2: Don’t feed from the table. Doling out table scraps will cause your dog to eschew dry or canned food and hold out for more salivating options. It can also cause health problems, such as pancreatitis. In addition, variety or changes to the diet may cause diarrhea, as well as reinforce the inappropriate behavior of begging.
Tip 3: Keep dog food and people food separate. Never let a dog associate your food with their food. You have to keep it very separate. Otherwise they’ll start to think they can eat their food and their owner’s, too. Your dog should only eat food out of his bowl, and should never see food as coming from your plate or from something you’re preparing for yourself.
Tip 4: Stick to a schedule. Feed your puppy two to three times each day, as recommended by your vet. Gradually increase the volume of food as you decrease the frequency of feedings as your puppy matures. Your adult dog should be fed once or twice daily without leaving the food out more than a short period of time. To ensure equal portions for each serving, use a measuring cup. If you do choose to incorporate healthy people food, mix it into the kibble. Variety may be the spice of life for humans, but consistency is key for your canine.
What If Your Start Your Dog On The Wrong Foot?
It’s never too late to start over, but if you want to transition your pup off the filet mignon and sweets, and on to strictly canine fare, it’s best to take it one step at a time.
It’s going to be tough and require 100% compliance from the entire family. Start by lessening people food and increasing dog food bit by bit every day until your pup is off human food entirely. While you are mixing foods, it’s best to use canned dog food as opposed to dry food. That way, your pet can’t separate out and just eat the people food.
If your dog refuses to eat, he is likely holding out for people food, but it’s important to hold firm. Just because he skips a few meals, don’t give in and give him what he wants. Leave the bowl out for 15 minutes, and if he’s not finished, take it away. He’ll eventually choose dog food over no food at all.
Make Sure You’re Giving Your Dog a Healthy Diet
Occasionally the problem with a picky eater may be that he doesn’t like the brand of food you’re giving him. Or it may be that he prefers canned food over dry or vice versa. A high-quality commercial brand is important for a healthy diet.
Check the ingredients, and make sure corn doesn’t top the list. Corn isn’t an ideal diet for a carnivore.
If you’ve tried three brands and both canned and dry food, it’s time to look for another reason your dog refuses to eat. Most likely, he’s holding out for table scraps.
Reserve treats for times when praise is necessary, such as in training. But remember, not all rewards have to be edible. If your dog loves attention, a scratch behind the ears is a treat.
If you find that food treats get the best results, create some boundaries.
For instance, only give a treat after a trick, and always do it in the backyard.
Also, limit treats to three a week, and put them in a separate container so that the entire family knows how many have been given.
It’s one thing if your dog knows he only gets certain things while he’s training, But it’s another if you’re sitting in the kitchen reading a magazine and give your dog a treat because he looks cute.
I hope these tips help in turning that picky canine eater into a healthy canine eater.