Puppies are cute but bringing one home requires a lot of patience and preparation. In honor of National Puppy Day we’ve got some furry guests who are looking for a home.
Robert Haussmann , certified Professional Dog Trainer/Canine Behavior Counselor, stops by to give some tips. You can also email him at email@example.com for more.
Dogs Up For Adoption Featured on PIX 11
Rebound Hounds Rescue
Tater Tot – 12-week old Pit Bull
Mr. Bones & Company Rescue
1123 Broadway, Ste 1003 New York, NY 10010
Adoption inquires – firstname.lastname@example.org
Just under 3 months. Mom was rescued pregnant in Puerto Rico
The Sato Project
Robert Haussmann’s Training Tips:
Potty Training Your Puppy:
First and foremost when it comes to a new puppy or even an adult dog who may be new to living in a home, keep your expectations realistic. There will be accidents while a young puppy is developing and while you are both finding your groove with one another. The key to potty training is timing. Knowing roughly when your dog will need to eliminate will help you be in the right place at the right time. Enthusiastically reward her for going in the right spot. You also want to set them up for success. Scheduling food and even water when you can along with crate training early on will help you get on a predictable schedule. Most young pups will start on potty pads until they have received the appropriate vaccines and get the green light from the vet to go outside. If you have been successful on pad training you will then need to transition to the outdoors. The right place/right time model still applies. As a side note, dogs don't pee out of spite or to show you they are angry. Dragging your puppy over to rub her nose in it will likely teach her only that you are unstable. Stay calm, chalk it up to a young animal making a mistake and do better tomorrow.
Mouthing, nipping and chewing with reckless abandon is normal and healthy and it's how your puppy explores her environment. A pound of prevention is worth its weight in gold when it comes to a puppy's mouth. You should set up a confinement space other than the crate where the puppy can be free to frolic but still keep safe and out of trouble. A baby gate in the kitchen door may do the trick. Provide plenty of chewing options for her to meet that natural need. My favorite are hollow toys that can have food stuffed inside. This tends to keep pups busy for a long time and can be a bit more appealing than your moldings and furniture. Keep in mind the food will need to be relatively easy to get out at first. But once they get the hang of it, you can make it more and more challenging. Robert suggests feeding at least one meal through some kind of puzzle toy that needs to be dissected. When the puppy is outside the confinement area, be sure to puppy proof your place. Shoes, kids toys, power chords, even rugs may be picked up off the floor for a while. As for nipping, try to engage your pup with a toy when you’re playing and interacting. Remember that your big toe is the best toy in the room. It's soft, salty and immediately gets your attention. She learns she can turn it into the puppy show at any moment she wants and it's highly rewarding. Even grabbing her and yelling at her (which is frowned upon) is giving attention. Robert’s suggestion would be to remove yourself or remove the dog when the nipping gets to be too much. She learns that nipping gets her the opposite of attention and interaction which is what she wanted in the first place. Give it 15-30 seconds and re-engage and try again. She will eventually get the point.
Remember, exercise, mental stimulation and environmental enrichment is key to a fulfilled and well behaved dog.
Dogs always repeat a behavior that works for them. Because we are humans and have thumbs, we can convince them certain behaviors work better than others and make them part of our routine. For instance, on their own, dogs learn jumping on guests works very well. Often people encourage it, it gets lots of attention from the owner and the entire event ends up revolving around the dog. If we are successful, we can teach a dog, especially while they are still puppies, that first, sitting is awesome, then that sitting gets you access to all awesome things including the attention of a guest. You want to start teaching this by luring the dog to perform these behaviors, then rewarding them for it. Robert says mark the success with a novel sound, in this case Robert uses the word "yes" which eventually informs the puppy that he has done the right thing. We are very treat heavy to start as it is a no brainer when it comes to motivation and reward. However as the dog begins to consistently perform we need to increase the difficulty and then slowly fade the treats out of the equation so the dogs behavior doesn't become contingent on the treat. Once your dog can perform a few behaviors on command you are going to want to "prove" it in real life scenarios like stay while the front door is being opened or sit at the corner and when greeting strangers. If you are waiting for big distractions to start your training it's like learning how to ice skate at a hockey game. You’re going to get clobbered. Be gentle and patent while being consistent and persistent. Remember this is a very young animal. Yelling, forcing, choking or causing discomfort is a jerk move.
Before we can even talk about dog parks we should address socialization in general. This is the single most important thing you can do when you bring home a puppy. Dogs have an important developmental window call the "critical phase" that starts at 2 weeks and is over around 12 weeks. This does not give us a lot of time. Even if your dog does not have the immunizations to go outside, you should be carrying them out into the wider world. Especially if you live in the city where there is much more noise and general mayhem. Before 12 weeks your puppy should learn that strangers, bikes, skateboards, cars, sirens, traffic, construction are all safe. Not to mention other dogs. Look into a puppy socialization class taught by a certified trainer. This gives your dog a safe environment to learn about its own species. Also, a fully vaccinated healthy adult dog can be a great asset to your socialization. If you have a friend, neighbor or family member who has a well socialized adult dog get some play dates started. Just be sure if your puppy still lacks immunity, that a visiting dog has its paws wiped clean before coming in and has A clean bill of health. You should consider having regular dinner parties for a few weeks with lots of people, kids and even dogs interacting with your pup. Whatever they are exposed to during this. They tend to be comfortable with well into adulthood. Now that's only part of socialization. The other part revolves around handling. It will be your job to get your puppy comfortable with having his paws, tail, ears, mouth, teeth, toenails etc. touched and handled, sometimes pretty aggressively, and be comfortable with it. You should also get them comfortable with human hands around they're valued food sources and chew items. Also, a sneer of peanut butter on the side of the tub will get her comfortable with bathing as long as you start gentle.
As for the dog park, a dog should be big enough and experienced enough to handle what can sometimes be a pretty intense social experience. Robert usually suggests waiting till about four or six months depending on the size and personality of your dog and how much experience they have had interacting and playing with other dogs. You should familiarize yourself with the etiquette of a dog park and be sure you're paying attention to what your dog is doing.
It's important to keep in mind one thing that all animals do all the time. They learn. Whether you are helping your dog do this or not she will be learning , And without your help she could be learning the wrong thing. you want to be sure she is learning what is appropriate to live in a human environment.
Preparing Puppies For A New Baby:
Robert says he thinks it's strange that the last member of the family to learn what is going on, is the only one with poor impulse control, no language, and giant sharp teeth. Now, as a dad himself, Robert is happy to report to those expecting parents out there that life is not over. You will once again go out to dinner and see a movie no matter what people may tell you on the street. Life will go on exactly the same only plus a baby. Where things can get particularly dicey is if your dog is completely clueless to the fact that things are about to change. Your schedule will certainly change there will be new smells lots of things on the floor that your dog is not supposed to touch, double or triple the guests that normally arrive and a squirming, squealing little animal that has taken up all your attention. Preparing months ahead of time by brushing up on your dog’s obedience skills such as stay, leave it, go to your bed etc. along with tightening up her greeting ritual toward guests at the door or her reaction to the doorbell will make your life much easier. As you acquire toys, baby swings, tummy time Matt's and all that good stuff you should be able to practice leave it, go to your bed, and stay while these new objects or on the floor. You can also play a recording of a crying baby through your iPhone while you hold a swaddled sweatshirt in your arms and regularly reward your dog for staying in her own space. Teaching your dog to stay outside the nursery door way before you're trying to change a diaper for the first time is helpful as well. If your dog is perfectly comfortable following you to that room and staying at the doorway while you set up the crib and paint the walls, then by the time the baby actually comes this should be routine. Same thing goes if you have a staircase in your house. A hyper golden retriever who knows to stay and wait at the bottom of the stairs until was invited up is much less likely to knock you down the stairs with a baby in your arms.