Your Puppy's Senses
When you notice the way your
puppy reacts in situations,
remember that dogs live in a
world that looks,
smells and sounds quite a bit
different than ours.
You might think a situation
seems quiet and safe,
but your dog may sense
something you do not that causes agitation -
a sound too high-pitched for
you to hear or the scent of another animal you can't detect.
Dogs can see with less light,
detect motion, and see flickering light better than humans, but the clarity of their distance vision is typically poorer.
The popular theory that dogs
only see shades of gray may not be true.
Some theories suggest
they see blues and yellows but can't see reds and greens as humans do.
A dog's hearing is more sensitive
They hear higher pitches and
Dogs are able to register sounds
of 35,000 vibrations per second
compared with 20,000 per second
This sensitive hearing
can alert you to visitors or danger,
but it also means you
should take care with loud noises,
and be patient when your dog
howls at a train whistle or siren.
A puppy's sense of smell is
much more acute than a human's -
tens of thousands of times more
acute by some estimations.
We'll never fully understand
what their world looks like, smells like or sounds like,
just as dogs will never even
be able to understand how different our world is.
But we both understand
one thing: affection.
Kindness crosses all barriers
and lessens all differences.
BECOMING PACK LEADER
There is no equality in dogdom.
You’re either ahead or
behind your dog in line and that is decided by how
you interact with your dog.
Being a good leader means being
calm, kind and consistent.
Here are a few suggestions:
Teach your dog to control his mouth. If he mouths or nips
you, react with a startling “No biting!”
This will teach him that you
are not another puppy and he needs to treat you differently. Have him ‘sit’ or ‘down’ before you give him anything he wants, from petting to tossing
When he responds to you before
you respond to him, he will start to look to you to set the rules, while at the same time getting in daily training practice.
Practice submission exercises daily. These include holding him in your arms or on his side and speaking to him gently until he stops squirming.
When he stops, release him,
praise and give him a kibble of food. Gently handle
his ears, mouth and paws so he learns to accept this.
These exercises are easy with most dogs but if your dog really
struggles or gets upset, seek assistance from
a qualified dog professional.
Use tone of voice to communicate. A higher than normal pitch is exciting and playful and perfect for praise.
A normal tone - direct and confident
– is your command tone.
A lowered voice your dog hears
as a warning, like a growl.
With practice, your puppy
can learn to understand your mood through your tone of voice. When you get home, you and your family should eat in your dog's presence before setting out the dog food.
Among dogs, the most important
dogs always eat first.
Walk through doors first.
Remember: Pack leaders NEVER
share their food with other dogs.
If you follow all of the steps above and then give
your dog table scraps and bites of your sandwich
you are sending mixed signals to your dog.
If you do these things consistently, you can elevate yourself
in your dog’s eyes, which can make all the
difference in training.
Housetraining Step By Step
Housetraining can take different
amounts of time for different dogs.
But by applying schedules, setting
boundaries for where elimination is acceptable,
a verbal command,
praise and crate training, you
should see progress over time.
If you do not see progress,
consult your veterinarian or a behaviorist.
Establish an elimination spot
outside. That takes the guesswork out of the trip.
Ideally, housetraining should
be done in conjunction with crate training.
Read about Crate Training.
When you think your dog is due
to go to the bathroom,
or if your dog exhibits signs
like sniffing an area or
(once better trained)
whining or going to the door, clip a leash to his collar and take him to the spot.
Pick a phrase like "Go potty"
or "Hurry up," then say it calmly whenever your pup is going.
Praise your puppy after
he is finished. Over time, he will come to link those words with those actions and you’ll have a dog who goes on command.
Go inside for food and water.
About 15 to 30 minutes later, go back out again.
During the housetraining period,
keep your dog in sight.
If he should start to do something
in front of you, interrupt him and take him outdoors quickly.
Praise him for completing the
Through repetition, your dog
will learn that there is one place where elimination is appropriate,
and when he needs to go he will
Maintain a regular feeding,
drinking and elimination schedule.
When Your Dog Makes a Mistake
Every dog and puppy will make
mistakes when first being housetrained.
Watch these mistakes and
see if you can spot a cause.
Mistakes are a sign that
your puppy or dog does not know what is acceptable and so you,
as teacher, must find the source
of confusion and fix it.
Too much freedom too quickly
is the most common error.
If your dog has an accident
or two, back up and slow down the training.
Providing a crate that is too
big for your dog encourages him to eliminate in one end
and sleep in the other.
Also, if you place food
and water in the crate,
he'll fill up on both
and be forced to relieve himself.
It does no good to drag him
off to the site of a mishap and punish him.
A dog is unable to connect
punishment with a past mistake
and will believe you are angry
for no reason,
possibly leading to fear and
confusion on your dog’s part.
Changing your dog’s diet
can cause digestive problems that might result in an accident.
Late night snacks and not enough
exercise can also lead to accidents.
Even well-trained dogs may have
Clean the area with a pet odor
neutralizer so your pet won't be tempted to repeat the mistake.
Watch for territorial marking
– spraying urine on objects. That's not a housetraining mistake.
Your dog is vying to be
leader of the pack - which is your family.
When you see this behavior,
step up obedience training.
Don't rule out a bladder infection.
Spaying and neutering can help
reduce the risk. Talk to your veterinarian.
LEASH TRAINING A PUPPY
Dogs need to be comfortable
walking on a leash.
From a practical standpoint,
a leash means control and safety.
But it also means quality time
together for you and your dog.
Why To Leash Train
There are many reasons why you
want your dog to be
comfortable being on a leash
with you on the other end.
It keeps your dog from taking
off during a walk.
It allows you to control your
dog when excited or agitated.
It’s a tool you can use
in other training,
be it potty training, learning
to ‘come’ or other lessons.
In many urban areas, leashes
are required in public areas.
It allows you to bring your
dog with you, whenever you can.
How To Leash Train
The first step is a collar.
All dogs need to be comfortable wearing a collar,
so put a nontightening one on
as soon as your puppy or dog comes home.
Don’t let your dog’s
displeasure dissuade you unless it’s too tight or causing skin issues.
If you leave it on, he’ll
get used to it. Be sure to remove all collars if you crate your puppy.
Then:Attach the leash
and let your dog drag it around the house under your supervision.
Guide your dog to your designated
potty area with the leash during potty training.
If your puppy resists, use a
toy or a piece of kibble or two to lure him along.
Make sure to give him slack
and praise him warmly when he heads in the right direction.
That more than anything will
signal that he made a good choice.
Get your dog used to walking
on your left side by simply guiding him there each and every time you go outside together.
Praise and reward him any time
he shows up in that position.
Encourage your dog to focus
on you when you go for walks by using plenty of encouragement. Give commands and communicate.
Make it fun! Dogs generally
You’ll also want to start
teaching the ‘heel’ command when you start taking walks.
In short, start with your
dog on your left, then start walking.
When your dog drifts away or
tries to pull away, say, ‘heel’ and turn to the right.
Your dog is now behind
you and will run to catch up.
You may need to reel your dog
in while giving the command to reinforce its meaning.
Read about Obedience Commands
for more on heeling.
This is a behavior many
people struggle with. Finding a good local training class can help you learn how to handle your dog and teach him this basic
but useful behavior.
Principles Of Preventative Training
The idea is simple. If you never
leave your dog unsupervised where he can cause trouble,
he will learn which activities
are allowed and which are forbidden much more quickly than if he’s allowed to make mistakes.
If your dog is left unsupervised
often and does unwanted things, he believes these things are OK because he enjoys doing them and no one is there to say anything
You cannot correct a dog after
the fact – dogs can’t connect a punishment with something they did hours, minutes or even seconds ago.
Until you catch your dog in
the act, the unwanted behavior is reinforced every time he repeats it.
Practicing Preventative Training
First off, plan to spend a lot
of time with your dog for the first several weeks
or even months after you
bring your dog home.
Make sure you have a crate
for your dog.
Confine your dog to the room
you're in and litter it generously with chew toys.
If your dog starts heading toward
distract him with an appropriate
toy and praise him when he takes it.
If your dog is already into
trouble, interrupt him with a firm ‘No!’ then when the dog stops,
offer a toy and praise him for
interest in it.
Or give an obedience command
and praise your dog for obeying.
When you can’t be around,
keep your dog confined in his crate, a pen or in a small,
(Read about Crate Training for
It’s that simple. And
it’s extremely effective because:
It sets you up immediately as
It doesn’t allow bad habits
to start, so you don’t need to untrain them later.
It quickly builds a strong bond
between you and your dog.
Do’s and Don’ts
Do use the right tone of voice
to communicate: higher pitched for praise;
matter-of-fact for commands;
lower, growling tones to show displeasure.
Don’t hit your dog. Dogs
and puppies do not understand being hit or grabbed.
They will only learn they
cannot trust you and learn to fear you,
making them even harder
Do praise your dog warmly
and often for doing the right thing.
This will help your dog
to make the right choices in the future and besides, it’s fun!
Where does your dog prefer to
nap? Under a table, desk or coat?
Dogs feel secure in a small,
It is like a den to them.
You can recreate that
feel – and develop a healthy training environment – with a crate.
The Principle Behind Crate Training
Dogs like small, enclosed spaces
because of the security it offers them.
Crating is not jailing
your dog, and the crate should never be used for punishment.
Instead, it draws on your
dog’s preference for small spaces and allows you an extra measure of control over your dog.
If you practice preventative
training, your dog will spend time in the crate
when you aren’t
around to set boundaries.
One benefit of a crate is in
Dogs try not to go to the bathroom
where they sleep.
If you keep your dog in
a crate when you’re not together during potty training,
your dog will try to hold it
until you let him out and take him outside.
Your job is to keep a
reasonable schedule with plenty of chances to play and eliminate.
Choosing a Crate
Choose the right size crate
for your dog.
Your dog should have enough
room to stand up, turn around and lie down.
Anything bigger and he
may eliminate in one end and sleep in the other.
If you have a puppy that will
grow into a big dog, you will either need two crates of different sizes
or a crate with a divider that
you can move as your puppy grows.
If your dog is past the chewing
stage, make the crate comfortable with a blanket and favorite toys.
You want the crate to
be a place your dog wants to spend time but you won’t want him to spend his time ripping up bedding.
Some pups never chew bedding,
Never use carpeting or anything
in the crate that could be dangerous if swallowed.
Practicing Crate Training
Introduce your dog to the crate
in a low-pressure situation,
not when you’re
about to leave.
Leave the door open and
let your dog explore.
Remove all collars before you
crate your puppy.
If your pup is frightened by
the noise of a metal crate on a hard floor,
put a towel or mat underneath
the crate to muffle noise and prevent slipping.
Toss a treat – ideally
a kibble of food – into the crate, then use a simple word like ‘kennel’ to get your dog to enter.
Praise your dog and close the
door. Open it after a few moments.
Slowly increase the time your
puppy spends in the crate with the door closed.
Don’t open the door because
your dog whines. It will only teach him to whine more.
A general rule for determining
how long your puppy can be confined is one hour for every month that your puppy is old, plus one hour.
Most three-month old puppies
can stay in for four hours.
Do NOT crate your dog for more
than eight hours.
It is unfair to leave
the dog without a chance to eliminate or exercise any longer than that.
The more confinement your dog
has to cope with, the more exercise he needs daily.
Crating is a tool that should
never be used to avoid training
exercise and spending
time with your best buddy.
Maintain a regular schedule
of trips outdoors so he can relieve himself.
And so the reason for the trip
is clear, always take your puppy on a leash to the same place.