Tips for taking home your new puppy

Remember these tips to make your transition go well:

* Limit the space in the house where the puppy gets to go. Expand it over the next few weeks.
* Walk the dog (not carry) to the door and show where they should potty.
* Potty the pup after every transition – after eating, drinking, playing, sleeping – potty them!
* Withhold food and water after 8 pm, do the final potty around 11pm, and wake yourself (and the puppy) up around 2am to potty again, and then again at 6am. That should do it! You will need to keep this up until the pup isn’t pottying at the 2am time.
* If there is a potty accident in the house DO NOT correct the puppy unless you see it happening! Pups only relate a consequence to the behavior that happened 3 seconds prior. So if you see a puddle, call the pup to you and scold it, you are in essence, scolding the puppy for coming to you.
* Remember this rule – any talking, comforting, and removing from the crate will reinforce the behavior that happened right before (usually crying, whining or scratching at the crate). If you don’t what those behaviors, don’t reinforce them!
* Keep the energy low for the first two weeks. It will feel like you are ignoring the puppy but it is the nicest thing you can do to give them the time they need to acclimate. If you have kids, limit the amount of time they get to interact with the pup.
* Keep the crate open and accessible during the periods of the day where the pup isn’t confined – that way when she/he needs comfort or respite, she/he can retreat there.
* Try to match the energy of the puppy – when they’re quiet do quiet activities (cuddling) and when they’re active do more active things (playing and not cuddling).
* Remember to give them access to food four times a day for the first two months home. Then move to three until 5 or 6 months old and then to twice a day. Feed amount suggested on bag.
* DO NOT keep a collar on a young pup who is confined to a crate – it is a strangulation hazard.
* DO teach leash manners, inside, after the first few days home – just let the leash drag for a day, then pick it up and encourage the pup to follow you, do not tug or reel them in.
* Do consider signing up for a puppy class anytime after the pup is 2 months old.

AND MOST importantly …

Good luck!! Trust your instincts and you’ll do fine.

Training classes offered

Lollie outsideI have been working with the new owner of a doggy day care facility in Geneva, IL – The Water Bowl, on getting together a list of classes I will be teaching there. If any of you are interested, check out my training page.

And if you don’t find the class you need, let me know! We can see what we can do.

Bauer Graduates from Puppy Class

Here is an update on Bauer (from Annie‘s litter)…. You are a model student…way to continue and expand on the training. I agree with you that Bauer definitely has a future as a therapy dog – the right disposition, temperament, and a huge jump on his training. Thanks for these.

Bauer Update at 3-4 Months Old

Bauer and his toys

Bauer and his toys

As some of you may know, Bauer recently graduated from Puppy Training…hooray! It was six weeks of puppies, treats and learning…all very much essential to the handsome dog Bauer is becoming. Without any fears or hesitations, Bauer joined his “classmates” as they started to learn who the true “Alphas” in their relationships were. Bauer loved every minute of being with the other dogs…so much that he didn’t listen so well at first! Slowly he realized that while we were around so many distractions, he still needed to keep his focus on Josh and I. He went in knowing how to “sit” and “lay down” and “paw” on command. He came out not only being able to “roll over”, “stay”, “bow”, “come”, “leave it”, release”, “watch”, “speak”, and walk very well on his leash, but being able to perform any number of these tricks on command, with distractions, and without treats! What a good boy!


The WATCH and LEAVE IT commands

“Watch” means keep your eyes on my eyes. We teach this by showing the dog a treat while we place our face in their line of vision. As we give the treat we say “watch.” A dog will usually get this pretty fast. Then you can move the treat away from your face while tapping your nose with your other hand as you say “watch.” The movement of the treat-free hand draws the dog’s attention back to your eyes from the treat which they invariable track. As the dog’s eyes are on you, pop the treat in the dog’s mouth. The better your timing on this one the faster the dog learns it. Make sure you are only giving the treat while the dog’s eyes are on your eyes. Many dogs will avoid eye contact out of submission or respect and that is fine. Don’t demand direct eye contact from a submissive or young dog. Just make sure the eyes are looking toward your nose, forehead, or chin. As your dog builds confidence with this exercise they will look into your eyes.

“Leave it” means take your attention off of that thing (food, dog, person, goose poop, etc, and put it on me). To practice leave it, put a treat in front of your dog while he is on leash. Make sure that he cannot under any circumstance get to the treat! As you place the treat say “LEAVE IT” in a firm commanding tone and hold on tight to the leash. He will likely strain to get to the treat. Refrain from repeating the word leave it over and over again. Eventually, the dog will give up and often they will look at you…praise this immediately by giving them a treat from your hand (not the one on the floor) and saying “good dog” or something like that. The dog will then usually try to go for the treat on the floor and when they do you say “LEAVE IT” again in a firm voice and repeat. The dog will catch on fast. That is the first part of the exercise.

 [flashvideo file=images/watchleaveit.flv /]


March 3, 2009 • Tags: , , • Posted in: behavior, training, video • No Comments

Another to the rescue and random thoughts

Whew. That was a close one. Thankfully another rescue organization agreed to foster Nisha and her pups. And, I didn’t post this but there was ANOTHER pregnant mama looking for a place to raise her pups at the same time as Nisha and thankfully she too was rescued by someone else. I am relieved because I have so much I am doing now to get the house together. I knew that my head wouldn’t be in the game so to speak – I really need to have the rest of my life on auto pilot when I’m fostering. So now my job is to work on what is before me (painting and painting and painting ceilings…does anyone like painting ceilings?) and get that job completed.

Here are some dog related thoughts that have been bouncing around inside my head: Why do people hold so strongly to a set of beliefs, to the point that they become obstacles to understanding other’s beliefs? This doesn’t make sense to me. So many trainers hold so firmly (more…)

Bauer Training Video

More video from Bauer’s family – this is great!  Here we see Bauer at 9 weeks, practicing giving paw, lying down, and sitting up.  Teaching these basic moves is essential for a young pup and Bauer is doing a great job!

February 1, 2009 • Tags: , , • Posted in: behavior, pups, story update, video • No Comments