Get Adobe Flash player

Archive for December, 2008

Going to the vet!

I found out about a week ago my dog had an impacted anal gland.  If you are unsure what that is, let me just say its nasty.  Regardless, it was something we wanted fixed asap.  So we went to the vet,got some meds and one week later we have to go back. My dog Dakota is a bit stressy about the vets office. He gets anxious, whines, ears back and is just plain nervous.  I blame myself for his experience.

My younger dog,Nitro, goes to the vet relaxed, happy and thrilled someone is going to pet him and talk to him.  Two very different dogs in the same circumstance.  Now granted they are different dogs altogether (different personalities) but their experiences don’t have to be so different.

With Nitro I made a point to make his experience at the vet a very fun positive one.  We stopped in, said hello, got cookies, let him say hi to dogs in the office – all things he loves.  I assumed when  he was neutered it would be the end to the fun for him.  I even considered neutering him at a different vets office.  It didn’t  phase him a bit.  I  just continued on with my socialization at the vets office and today, they love having him come in.

Here are a few ideas that help a pup relax at the vets.

  1. Stop in and just say hi, and hang out for a bit
  2. Bring  extra special treats.
  3. Stay low key and try to relax when you are there.
  4. Exercise  your dog ahead of time.
  5. Ask if  the vet can give the  pup some treats and just say hi before doing any of that scary stuff.

Happy dog training!

Traning your new puppy!

Step 1- be in charge.

Step 2- stay consistent.

Step 3- meet their physical and emotional needs.

Sounds easy right? It is actually.  I spoke with a nice guy yesterday who had done his research and his reading.  He read books by Ian Dunbar, Patricia McConnell – great authors which you can purchase at  What did he learn?  Force isn’t required with puppies.

To meet goal #1, be in charge, start by having your pup follow you around (not the other way) with a lead or some cheerio rewards. Ask for sits before petting, playing, going outside, coming out of hte crate, eating dinner – its the easy way to teach “please”.

Goal #2, consistency.  Make  up rules, whatever they are, and follow them 100% of the time.  If you give in 1 out of 10 times then the dog learns that there is a chance to get away with whatever it is.  Lets say its jumping. The dog jumps, you ignore the pup for 30 seconds.  Every time! that means if you are sitting on the floor, standing, outside, 100% consistency.

Goal #3,meeting their needs.  Often times people think this means exercise, exercise. It doesn’t! Puppies do not need to run that much, or walk that much.  10 minutes two times a day is typically adequate for a young puppy (under  14 weeks).  Meeting their needs means exposing them to new things daily, challenging their every sense and  giving them mental stimulation.  Make them use their brains – try buster cubes, kongs, hide and seek, find it, or learn a new trick. My favorite game is called 101 things to do with a box. More  about that one later!

Good luck and happy dog training.

Christmas Dogs

The phone calls are starting to come in, we got a puppy for Christmas, now what?  The novelty wears off quickly and you realize that you have just that – a new puppy.  Puppies are hard work!  I  remember when we brought home Nitro, as a dog trainer I knew what to do, but I forgot how much time and attention it all requires.

So, if you have a new Christmas puppy, and are confused about where to start, there are three main things to focus on.

  1. Socialization – keep everything positive and fun.  If your pup backs up, licks his lips, yawns, shakes off – those are signs of stress.  Use things he likes to make things fun – try food (cheerios are great) or toys. Petting can sometimes make the situation worse.
  2. House training – keep an eye on your pup!  Depending on his age and size, I would start with potty breaks every 20 minutes.  House training a new  puppy can  be hard if done improperly.  Read this article for the best way to  house train a dog
  3. Watch your puppy!  When you follow your puppy everywhere, he is acting as the leader.  Teach your puppy to follow you.  Either keep a leash tethered to him or constantly be calling him to go with you – of course rewarding him as he comes.  Do not let your pup in unsupervised rooms.

Lastly and most importantly – start looking for  a puppy preschool. Puppy preschools are meant for socialization and fun, not obedience.  If you are looking for someone qualified,  visit the Dog Trainer Search Dog Training Directory – all of these trainers are qualified professionals.