10 Ways to Make Your Puppy a Better Citizen

 

  • Socialize, Socialize, Socialize:   Get your puppy out into the world as soon as it’s safe to do so.  Once they have two sets of the vaccines recommended by your vet, take them to training classes, enroll them in a dog camp, and take them to the park.  Make sure they see all different kinds of people of varying ages, races, sexes and in different settings.  The same goes for other animals as well.  Expose them to as much variation as possible.

  • Teach them some basic obedience:   Learn to communicate with your pet.  We can’t expect them to navigate the human world if we don’t give them the vocabulary and skills to do so.  It is good for you too.  People who are involved in training their pets develop a much stronger bond with them.

  • Get them to the groomer:  What does grooming do beyond getting your puppy spiffed up?  It teaches them patience and it makes any holes in your training readily apparent.  The one true test of training has always been: will the dog allow their nails to be trimmed?!

  • Don’t forget that they are still a dog:  This is a two part issue.  First, don’t treat your tiny lap dog like a baby.  No matter the size, a dog is a dog is a dog.  When we treat them like fragile babies what we really create are unstable monsters that run our lives. Dogs need to be treated as dogs.

  • Don’t forget that they are still dogs part 2:  Even though your big, laid back Golden lets the kids climb all over him, he is still a dog.  If you watch closely you will see the signs of stress.  Did you know that more “good” dogs are euthanized because of bites than “bad” dogs?  We don’t push the envelope with bad dogs but we will push our good dog until they snap and claim we never saw it coming.  Dogs need to be treated like dogs.

  • Fences make good neighbors:   Don’t let your dog run loose.  Keep your fence and gates in good order.  Otherwise you run the risk of your dog getting lost or injured and other pets can become injured or even worse, our neighbors can become injured, frightened or just plain angry.

  • Keep in mind that not everyone loves dogs:        As much as you love your dog, there are a lot of folks out there who may be frightened of or simply don’t like dogs.  Even plenty of people who enjoy dogs don’t appreciate someone else’s dog jumping on them or their pet.  Respect other’s boundaries.

  • Find ways to allow your dog to do what he or she was bred for:   We forget that many of our favorite breeds were actually developed for a purpose.  Put your Labrador in dock dog contests; take your herding breed to a herding clinic.  Your hunting dog may love fetching a dummy even if you never want to spend single day hunting.  There is nothing more enjoyable than seeing a dog exercise their inherent abilities.

  • Learn to recognize the signs of stress in your pet and others: The dog park will be a lot more enjoyable if you learn to see the signs of impending disaster before it occurs.  Learn to tell if the excitement level is over the top; if the crazy unbalanced small dog is tipping everyone else over the edge.  We expect our dogs to read us but we rarely return the favor.

  • Keep your dog healthy:      Keep your pet current on vaccines and parasite protection so that they are not spreading disease. Spay and neuter to decrease the urge to wander. Make sure that your older pet is pain free so he/she doesn’t strike out in pain.   Healthy pets are happy pets and happy pets make for happy owners.

     

Animal Family’s Easy Guide to House Breaking your Puppy

 When it comes to puppy training consistency is the key.

 

  • Always use the same door to take your puppy outside to eliminate. 

 

  • Take him or her to the same area.  Hopefully once that area smells like urine and stool their sense of smell will help stimulate them to eliminate.

 

  • Go out with them, so you can praise while they are going and give a treat right afterwards.  Don’t give them their treat once they are in the house.  If you do,  you praised them for is coming back in, not going potty outdoors.

 

  • Always use the same word for elimination, Start talking as soon as you take them out of the kennel and continue until you get to the designated place outside.  Choose a word.  It can be “go potty”, “do your business” or any other phrase that works for both you and your puppy.

 

  • If your puppy starts going to the door on his or her own, ask them to let you know it’s time to go out.  An easy way to do this is to hang a bell by your door.  You can teach the pup to touch the bell or simply reward them when they do it inadvertently. 

 

  • If your puppy goes outside and doesn’t get down to business (within 5 minutes or so) bring them back indoors and put them in their kennel (yes I do recommend crates or kennels).  Wait about 15-20 minutes and try again.  Make a big deal about it when they go outside (“YEH!!! GOOD PUPPY, GOOD JOB….LOOK HOW SMART YOU ARE!!!!!”)  Go ahead and give a treat as well. (Remember,  give the treat while they are outside.)

 

  • Anytime your puppy has been playing for more the 30 minutes go outside again…… Puppies can’t engage in more than  30-50  minutes of active play without needing to eliminate!

 

  • Puppy stays in the kennel when you can’t give them 100 %  of your attention!!!! That way they can’t sneak off into another room.  Use it like a play pen or crib for babies .  As they get better, try using the kennel less and less. 

 

  •  If your puppy makes a mistake in the house, clean it up thoroughly and be more vigilant.  The fewer mistakes your puppy makes indoors the faster he or she will learn.  No corrections unless you catch them in the act.  If you see your pup going potty in the house, startle and redirect.  Yell, shake a penny can or throw a toy towards them and then quickly take them to their designated area outdoors.  Spankings just scare and confuse the puppy.

 

  • Repeat as needed for good house breaking…. If you put all of your work in at the beginning you and Rover WILL SUCCEED! 

 

  •  House breaking is easier in the winter.  I find that you and your dog spend very little time outside, so the puppy really learns what you want.  Whereas in the summer, when both people and pets want to spend a lot of time outside,  puppy can potty any time and may have a much harder time understanding the actual mission.  Still if you are consistent you will get the job done.

Davenport, Iowa Veterinary Clinic Lists 10 Reasons People Take Pets to the Humane Society.

 

According to the ASPCA, “approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats). Shelter intakes are about evenly divided between those animals relinquished by owners and those picked up by animal control. These are national estimates; the percentage of euthanasia may vary from state to state.” 

That is a really sad statistic.  We work closely with many of our local shelters at Animal Family and are always surprised at the quality of the pets we see.  These animals are neither worthless nor dangerous.  In fact, often the opposite is true.  Many are pure bred and almost all are loving, healthy animals who through no fault of their own end up homeless.

The 10 most common reasons owners give when surrendering a pet at the Humane Society of Scott County are:

  1. The owner is moving and is not able to take their pet with them
  2. The pet is too active for the owner to handle.
  3. The owner does not have enough time to devote to pet care
  4. The owner has encountered problems with housebreaking
  5. The animal is too expensive to care for.
  6. The animal is too young, too old or has developed health issues.
  7. The owner or a family member is allergic to the pet.
  8. The pet does not get along with another animal in the household.
  9. The pet belonged to a child who no longer lives in the home.
  10. The pet has become pregnant

Do you see a common thread among many of the reasons for pet relinquishment listed above?   How many of these problems could be avoided by a little research and planning before acquiring a pet.  For all the information on specific breeds that is available, it seems that people still jump into pet ownership on impulse.

So, please, before you bring a pet into your life, do your research. Think about your lifestyle, future plans, and overall health.  How busy are you?  Can you even afford a pet at this time?  Do you have the time or interest for training, walks and general health and coat care.  Don’t pick your pet based on looks.  Don’t assume you have to have a puppy and never, ever give a pet as a gift without a thorough discussion with the prospective new owner first.

Next week, we will go over what you need to think about before you add a new pet to your family.

Animal Family’s Easy Guide to House Training Your Puppy

  1. When it comes to puppy training consistency is the key. Always use the same door to take your puppy outside to eliminate.
  2. Take him or her to the same area. Hopefully once that area smells like urine and stool their sense of smell will help stimulate them to eliminate.
  3. Go out with them, so you can praise while they are going and give a treat right afterwards. Don’t give them their treat once they are in the house.  If you do,  you praised them for is coming back in, not going potty outdoors.
  4. Always use the same word for elimination, Start talking as soon as you take them out of the kennel and continue until you get to the designated place outside.  Choose a word.  It can be “go potty”, “do your business” or any other phrase that works for both you and your puppy.
  5. If your puppy starts going to the door on his or her own, ask them to let you know it’s time to go out. An easy way to do this is to hang a bell by your door. You can teach the pup to touch the bell or simply reward them when they do it inadvertently.
  6. If your puppy goes outside and doesn’t get down to business (within 5 minutes or so) bring them back indoors and put them in their kennel (yes I do recommend crates or kennels).  Wait about 15-20 minutes and try again.
  7. Make a big deal about it when they go outside (“YEH!!! GOOD PUPPY, GOOD JOB….LOOK HOW SMART YOU ARE!!!!!”) Go ahead and give a treat as well. (Remember,  give the treat while they are outside.)
  8. Anytime your puppy has been playing for more the 30 minutes go outside again…… Puppies can’t engage in more than  30-50  minutes of active play without needing to eliminate!
  9. Puppy stays in the kennel when you can’t give them 100 % of your attention!!!! That way they can’t sneak off into another  room.  Use it like a play pen or crib for babies .  As they get better, try using the kennel less and less.
  10. If your puppy makes a mistake in the house, clean it up thoroughly and be more vigilant. The fewer mistakes your puppy makes indoors the faster he or she will learn.  No corrections unless you catch them in the act. If you see your pup going potty in the house, startle and redirect.  Yell, shake a penny can or throw a toy towards them and then quickly take them to their designated area outdoors.  Spankings just scare and confuse the puppy.
  11. Repeat as needed for good house breaking…. If you put all of your work in at the beginning you and Rover WILL SUCCEED!
  12. I love house breaking in the winter!!! I find that you and your dog spend very little time outside, so the puppy really learns what you want.  Whereas in the summer, when both people and pets want to spend a lot of time outside,  puppy can potty any time and may have a much harder time understanding the actual mission.