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Basic Socialization of Your Puppy

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

Preparing Your Home for the Puppy
Home is much more than a dwelling or a place of stay. Home evokes many emotions in a person and you definitely are no exception to this basic human trait. When you decide to bring home a puppy, you are subtly playing with your emotions because your puppy is not a human being and has no idea of the emotional value you attach to your kitchen garden or the importance of your favorite pair of sneakers. All these things can be objects of play for your canine friend. It is therefore your responsibility to puppy proof your house before you bring one home.

By puppy proofing your home, you are avoiding possible accidents and are indirectly training your puppy as to what things are out of bounds for her. Puppy proofing your house involves:

Making sure that everything that you want to be free from puppy’s chew marks should be at least three feet above the ground level. Puppies have an amazing ability to jump and a high level of curiosity that makes everything placed on the coffee table, corner stools and kitchen counters accessible and vulnerable to chew marks.

Establish puppy-norms in consultation with your family members and decide what areas are accessible and what areas are out of bounds for her.

Once you establish the geographical limitations for your puppy, ensure that no one breaks the rules and you or your family members never allow her in the forbidden territory or on forbidden objects such as beds, sofas and rug.

Always keep the toilet doors closed to eliminate toilet drinking and strewing of toilet paper rolls by your cute puppy.

Place your kitchen garbage in enclosed areas where it is out of your puppy’s reach. Puppies are curious animals and your puppy can develop a fondness of playing with kitchen garbage if she finds an opportunity to do so.

Ensure that your ashtrays are emptied and clean because cigarette butts can cause nicotine poisoning.

Ensure that electrical cords and cables are inaccessible to your puppy. Monitor them regularly for chew marks and take preventive steps if necessary. Ask your vet if you can spray some nasty tasting or nasty smelling compound on the electrical wires.

Besides puppy proofing your home, it is necessary that you shop for adequate puppy supplies. Some important items are: puppy food, dishes for food and water, a crate or kennel, paper and other things for cleaning, grooming items, training equipment and other accessories. Having these things handy will ensure that your puppy gets used to them from day one.

Early Home Routines
Socialization and training your puppy begins from the day one, or the moment she enters your home. When you bring a new puppy in your home, you and your family members are overjoyed and enthusiastic about the little puppy. A puppy is a cute creature and deserves a lot of love and affection.

Never forget to establish and then adhere to initial socialization norms for your puppy. Teach early home routines to your puppy from the first day because the first week your puppy is in your home sets the tone for her future behavior and habits.

It is important that you allow the puppy some time in your home before everyone tries to handle or touch her. Let her be comfortable and get used to this new place. She has just separated from her mother and littermates and will take some time before she adjusts herself to the changed environment. Any attempts to handle her in this period can scare her and make her shy or irritable.  If you have other pets such as dogs or cats in your house, take some time before introducing them to your puppy and ensure that their initial interaction is under adult supervision.

Gradually you can allow her to mix up with other pets and humans to overcome shyness and fear. It is important that you allow some time of isolation and loneliness for your puppy. If you do not do this, she will always crave your company and can become restless and irritable when you are not around. 

Ensure that fresh water is always available and accessible for the puppy. Also, ensure that no other liquids or food items other than those meant for the puppy and in her designated pots are accessible for the puppy. You should serve the food to her at fixed intervals according to the directions of your pet or puppy breeder. Try to feed your puppy near the airing space because it helps in the housebreaking training. Overeating and eating at erratic timings can spoil your puppy.

Puppies are pack animals and require a private place where they can relax and be comfortable. Provide that private place to your puppy from the first day. If you don’t provide a place she will try to find a place on her own.

Ensure that your puppy has adequate chew and other toys available within her reach. If she has desirable things to chew, she will have less motivation to chew undesirable objects. However never make the mistake of leaving anything other than chew toys within her reach until you have trained her for chew control.

The initial socialization of your puppy also involves establishing a hierarchical command structure for the puppy. This is the time when she has to understand to whom she is accountable and who is her boss.

She also gets to know the other members of the family. Ensure that the person who is responsible for obedience training the puppy should feed her. This will give a clear indication to the puppy who is her master and she will automatically become subjugated to her/him. This discipline will help you in the training process. 

Housebreaking Your New Puppy

Monday, May 28th, 2007

The most immediate concern of new dog owners is that of housebreaking the pet. In order to accomplish this task, the essential principle that the owner must recognize is that it is always the desire of the dog to please its master. Nothing can give the dog greater pleasure than to know that its actions have met with approval; nothing can cause the dog greater displeasure than to know that its behavior has called forth disapproval.

When the dog performs its functions properly, it should be rewarded by a profusion of endearing words, by petting, or even with a tidbit.

It must also be remembered that these expressions of approval or disapproval must be made immediately after the animal performs or is about to perform. If there is a delay of even a moment, the animal simply will not associate the praise or punishment with its natural functions, and will be at a complete loss to understand the favorable or unfavorable outbursts on the part of the owner. In any case, the owner must be rigidly consistent in his/her rewards in the housebreaking routine.

For the speed with which housebreaking will be accomplished depends on the owner’s diligence in maintaining that consistency. It must further be borne in mind that a dog does not have a human mentality; so a reasonable amount of patience in training will be required.

Very young puppies, say between the ages of six weeks to two months, are usually first broken to paper indoors. This is commonly accomplished by lifting the animal and placing it on paper as soon as any “danger signals” are noticed.

When the animal becomes strong enough and if the weather is agreeable, the animal is broken to the outside. With older pups, or with pups acquired during the warm seasons, it will save time to break the animal directly to the outside.

How to Housebreak Your Puppy

Friday, January 12th, 2007

Housebreaking is the most indispensable thing your puppy must learn. Common sense should tell you why. Do you want your house to stay spic and span? Handle your puppy’s housebreaking well. Aside from the maintenance of your household hygiene, trained dogs are happy dogs. As creatures of habit, it’s in their nature to keep schedules as pack animals. Here is how you should housebreak your puppy:

Ideal Housebreaking Age

When your puppy reaches the age of 8 to 12 weeks old, it’s high time to begin housebreaking. Remember that adage that old dogs can’t learn new tricks? It is true so why take chances?

Crate Help

Dog trainers suggest using a crate in housebreaking your puppy. A crate is like a cage, with see-through bars and a locking door. Its size should accommodate well the dogs size for it to move around in. It should be used like a dog’s bedroom. It is advised to not confine your puppy in his crate for more than two hours at a time.

The reasoning behind using a crate in housebreaking your puppy is that dogs will not dirty their sleeping areas. However, he may do so if you lock him in somewhere for longer than he can hold it in. Never use a crate to punish your dog, it will backfire. Generally, pups that are three-months old must eliminate every 3 hours, so you should lead him to a special outdoor comfort place more often.

Make Your Puppy Learn Routines

Another tip is to leave the house through one door only. This door should be the one that you want your dog to scratch to warn you about his being called by the nature.

Taking your pup out at around the same times every day will be very beneficial for the both of you. This will help in establishing a routine, and will make him learn to hold it in until you become available to take him out.

Look For Clues

If your un-housebroken dog is accustomed to roaming freely around the house, search for signs that show you he needs to do it. Be really observant enough of his behavior, i.e., heavy sniffing, circling an area, staring at the door with an intense look on his face, etc. If you catch him WHILE doing it, stop him with a quick grab of his collar and pull it up while saying “No” using your deep, stern tone (don’t forget to use a deep, gruff voice when stating commands). Then, take him outside and let him finish what he is doing. Lastly, pat him on his head while saying “Good (his name)!” It is a must to make your dog get used to being praised whenever he does anything that makes you proud. Giving him food as a reward when he does his business in the appropriate spot can help, too.

Patience is a Big Virtue

Like any training endeavor, housebreaking requires a lot of patience. If you definitely despise cleaning your dog’s waste off your Persian carpets on an hourly basis and having your whole house smell like a public bathroom, you want the housebreaking to be successful in a wink of an eye, if not sooner.

Common Sense Makes a Lot of Sense

The use of common sense will aid you big time in dealing with your puppy’s housebreaking. Logical thinking should inform you to not give your dog water before bedtime if his tendency is to pee often at night time. Catering to his schedule first will prove to be very helpful in making it gradually change into yours.

Aside from patience and common sense, consistency is also one of the important factors of this dog training activity. If you suddenly forget about the routines yourself, don’t blame if your dog if he starts committing accidents more often. Remember that the stakes are high (dirty and malodorous house). If you would like succeed in this housebreaking feat or just about in any other training drills, don’t treat it as a game. Allot enough time and commitment on your part.

Best of luck!