With the Christmas around the corner, getting a puppy for Christmas as a gift for yourself or your kids is a noble idea. However, there are certain questions you need to ask yourself before taking a final decision on getting a puppy for Christmas. These questions will afford you the opportunity to take a well-thought decision.

1.     Can you afford to own a puppy?

You need to be sure of being financially capable to own a puppy. The expenses attached to owning a puppy does not stop with merely purchasing her; grooming, vaccinations, feeding and insurance cost a lot too.

2.     Have you ever owned a puppy?

Consider your previous experience of owning a puppy. Was it good or bad? Were you able to cope well with the puppy? Were you able to cater for the mental, emotional and physical needs of the puppy? The answers to these questions will be pointers to what you would likely experience when you get a puppy for Christmas.

3.     Are other members of your family ready to cater for a puppy?

If you stay in an apartment with other people, you must be sure others will be comfortable staying around your puppy. If they are unwilling to welcome a puppy into the household, it is better to forgo getting a puppy for Christmas.

4.     Do you have time to take care of and train her?

Puppies are inexperienced, young and needy; hence, time must be dedicated to training and taking care of them. You need to be certain you will be able to create enough time for the training and care of the puppy before getting her for Christmas.

5.     Is your home comfortable for accommodating a puppy?

Although puppies do not require large space to grow, there are certain breeds of dogs that like playing around the house. If you are getting one of such breeds, it is important to consider how spacious your home is for your new puppy. You also need to be sure there are no poisonous substances around your home that could injure the puppy.

6.     Will your lifestyle accommodate a puppy?

Do you stay out too often? How many hours do you spend at work each day? Do you receive lots of visitors regularly? Are you physically and mentally capable of taking care of a puppy? These are just some of questions about your lifestyle you must answer before getting a puppy. In case your lifestyle is not accommodating to a puppy, it is wise to forget about getting a puppy for Christmas. You can, however, bring her home if you are ready to change your lifestyle.

7.     Is anybody in your household allergic to dogs?

While many people may not take note of this, dog dander can cause allergic reactions. Therefore, you must be absolutely sure that nobody is at risk because of your desire to bring a puppy home for Christmas.

If you can sufficiently and sincerely answer the aforementioned questions, making a decision about getting a puppy for Christmas will never cause you, your household or new puppy any problem as the decision taken will be a product of a reasonable conclusion.

Are you planning to get a new puppy to join your household? If yes, there is need for you to respect your older dog in the process of bringing in the new puppy. While you may find getting the new puppy delightful, your dog may feel otherwise, and hence, she may become agitated by the new puppy.

These are some of the things you need to consider when considering bring another dog into your family mix:

·        The hostility and aggressiveness of your dog around other dogs

If your dog is always protective of you around other dogs when they meet outside or inside your home, she would likely be protective or even aggressive towards the new puppy too.

·        The preference of your dog

Have you noticed if your dog has a preference in other dogs?  Are there certain breeds, sizes, gender, or even age s/he feels more comfortable living or playing around? There are some older dogs that will comfortably stay in the same home with new puppies.

·        Introduce the dogs for the first time in a neutral environment

To decide if your dog would be alright living around a new puppy, get them introduced to each other in a neutral environment. Just like many other animals, territoriality is one of the things dogs often encounter when another dog is introduced into their environment. To solve the problems associated with this, introduce the dogs to each other in someone else’s house or park so that neither of the dogs will feel intimidated about the presence of the other.

·        Pay special attention to your dog

Many dog owners often cater more towards a new puppy while neglecting an older one.  The simple fact is the puppy is new and you’re trying to help them acclimate to you and their new surroundings.  Your dog also is acclimating so be sure to pay attention to their needs and issues.

Finally, when the new puppy arrives, other things you can do include ensuring you have enough toys, foods and beds for each of the dogs, giving the dogs adequate training, providing them supervised time for socialization, and keeping them in separate cages whenever the new puppy first comes in.

There are several events that can trigger separation anxiety in dogs. Those that are given up by their previous families and placed in shelters often exhibit this behavioral problem. This is also the case for dogs whose families have moved to a new home and those that have lost a human family member (either because of death or moving away).

Dogs whose owners change their schedule can also experience separation anxiety. For example, if you used to work at home but then get a new job in an office, your dog might get anxious when you leave for work since he’s used to having you at home the whole day.

Separation anxiety versus simulated anxiety

Just because you have a seemingly sad dog doesn’t mean he’s automatically going through separation anxiety. He might be experiencing simulated anxiety, which has similar symptoms with the former but is actually a type of learned dog behavior.

Simulated anxiety happens when the dog mainly wants to get his owners’ attention. For instance, if your dog frequently jumps on you, you might push him away to show that you don’t like his behavior. But, while the action might have a negative connotation on you, your dog might actually interpret it as positive since he got you to notice him. As a result, he’ll develop the habit of jumping on you when he wants your attention.

So how do you tell if your sad dog has simulated anxiety or true separation anxiety? Well, if your dog has the former, he’ll usually exhibit negative behavior most of the time; if he has the latter, he’ll usually behave badly only when you’re out of the house.

 

Signs of separation anxiety

Different dogs exhibit different behaviors, but there are several common signs that you should look out for. These include:

  • Howling
  • Excessive barking
  • Pacing in a circular pattern or a straight line
  • Digging (particularly in points of exit like doors and windows), sometimes in an attempt to escape
  • Chewing on objects other than his toys, or excessively chewing to the point of destroying his toys
  • Urinating or defecating, with some dogs even exhibiting coprophagia (eating their excrement)

How to reduce or eliminate separation anxiety

One of the first things you should do is to remove leaving and arriving cues (such as fussing over your dog when you get in the door). Acting like going to work and coming home are a big deal can actually make your dog more anxious, so go through your routine quietly and act like it’s a normal part of the day that your pet should get used to.

 

If your dog has mild separation anxiety, you can calm him down by giving him an activity toy that’s filled with delicious treats when you leave. This can distract him from your departure since his attention will be focused on extracting his snacks from the toy. It will also make him associate his alone time with a positive experience (i.e. enjoying yummy snacks).

If your dog has moderate to severe separation anxiety, he won’t be easily distracted with food. Because of this, the best thing you can do is to get the help of experts, like us here at Atlanta Dog Trainer. Through our professional dog training services, we can help your pet recover from separation anxiety and develop good dog behavior. For more information and tips about dog training, please visit us http://www.atlantadogtrainer.com. Now, you and your pet are ready for this summer!! We want to hear from you, please tell us how was the experience at Atlanta Dog Trainer

I am Susie Aga, the founder of Atlanta Dog Trainer. My passion for dogs stems from my mission to want to teach people how to communicate with dogs. With 20 years of working with canines, I have refined the science of behavior modification by adding my own unique techniques. I have provided learning strategies for numerous families, countless foster families, rescues, non-profits and government agencies that work with canines.

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It would be wonderful to imagine that once a dog is potty trained, they are forever potty trained. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. In fact many dogs in various stages of their lives will regress to having accidents in the house. If handled correctly, this is only a mere stepping stone that is easily fixed with the proper attention and care.

 

Teenagers

If you have a younger pup that’s just hitting their teenage years (anywhere from 4 months to 3 years old), they may start throwing fits as their hormones kick into gear. Much like human teenagers become rebellious, so, too, do your teenage pets. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for them to begin peeing inside again. Remember, don’t get angry. It’s highly likely that the behavior of going outside isn’t nearly as ingrained as you assumed. Should your testy teenager start using the floors as their own lawn, start over with the potty training. Keep a schedule and enforce the rules like when you did when they were a puppy. In only a few weeks, they should be back to behaving correctly.

 

Adults

If your adult dog starts having accidents, the first thing you need to do is have them checked out by a vet. Urinating in the house after a lifetime of going outside might point to something wrong with their kidney’s or bladder. If there does happen to be a medical issue, follow the instructions of your vet. If your vet gives your pup a clean bill of health, it’s time to figure out what caused the problem and how to fix it.

Older dogs get used to routine, much like humans do. They expect food at a certain time, they expect you home at a certain time and they expect to be taken on a walk at a certain time. Sudden changes in this schedule can throw off their own expectations, resulting in a dog that doesn’t know when the next time it will see green grass again and can’t hold its bathroom accordingly.

Like the teenager, you’ll need to once again assert the potty training rules. Take them out about 20 minutes after they eat and stop leaving food out for them. By controlling when they eat, you’ll have more control over when they need to head outside.

 

Purging the Home

One final thing you’ll need to be on top of is keeping your house clean of scents. A dog’s urine and feces leave behind an odor that often tempts them into going to the bathroom in the same area again and again and again. As soon as you find an accident inside, clean it up with an odor removing cleaner. Because dog urine contains ammonia, make sure the cleaner you use does not contain this ingredient as this can actually encourage them to soil the area further rather than deter them.

Though we don’t have to be as conscious of toy safety with our canine companions as we do with human babies, our pups are nevertheless prone to accidents and mishaps. To them, toys are a necessity and are not optional. They help alleviate boredom while you’re away, and since dogs will play with anything, it’s that much more important that you pay attention to what you leave for them to tear into without your supervision.

 

Size Appropriateness

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. What works for a Chihuahua isn’t always a good choice for the St. Bernard. You’ll want to make sure the toys are big enough that they can’t become lodged in your dog’s throat. From tennis balls to stuffed toys, one accidental hard inhale could lead to a very sad ending.

 

Dog Proof

Some toys dogs enjoy aren’t entirely dog proof. Muck like tinsel during the holidays is a choking hazard, so too is any kind of string or ribbon. Even if it seems firmly affixed to the toy itself, never underestimate your dog’s ability to loosen those bonds. Other things to watch out for are hard eyes that could pop off or any other thing that could be ingested. Make sure to always dump toys that are falling apart or are extremely ragged.

 

Squeaker Danger

Never leave your pet alone with a new toy that has a squeaker unless you know for a fact that they won’t go digging for it. Some dogs are driven mad by the noise and refuse to give up until they find the source – a choking hazard. If such a toy irritates them in the slightest, trade it out for a new one.

 

Stuffing

Ideally, you’ll also want dog toys that are considered to be child friendly for children under the age of three. This means the insides are probably not filled with toxic substances or those tiny beads. It should be machine washable and sturdy enough that it doesn’t fall apart after the first play session.

 

Rawhide Risks

Of the toys dogs are often left with, rawhides have been extremely popular. Nowadays, though, they are under heavy scrutiny and not sold the way they were. This is because the small pieces they break into pose choking risks and can even obstruct the intestines. Plus, some of the cheaper brands are taken from the fur trade. Either way, rawhide is no longer on the list of good toys to leave your dog with even when supervised.

 

Two Holes

If your dog has a toy that has only one hole, there is the chance a vacuum can form, sealing the toy on your dog in a dangerous fashion. Instead of throwing it out, simply make sure you poke a hole into the other end. If this is not possible, trash the toy in favor of something that won’t potentially hurt your pup.

Just as soon as it began, spring is almost over, quickly growing warmer with the longer days and hotter afternoons relegated to summer. While this means perfect outdoor weather for you and your pooch, summer isn’t as wonderful as it may seem. Complete with insane temperatures, bugs and poisonous plants, better to prepare now than to be sorry later.

 

Stay Cool

Even if your pup is begging to go out during the middle of the day, keep them restrained. Dogs with short snouts are especially prone to overheating along with dogs that have thick coats. Even if you go out later in the day, they could still fall prone to heat exhaustion, panting heavily, exhibiting bright rid gums and drooling a very thick mucus. To offset this, move them to a cooler place immediately. Set them on a damp towel and let them rest until they return to normal.

Also, remember to never, ever leave your dog in the car in the summer months. Winter can be passable in certain areas of the country, but even with the windows cracked, summer temperatures inside the car can rise an astounding 19 degrees Fahrenheit in as little as seven minutes.

 

Beat Bugs

Along with summer comes the explosion of insects we hate. Including mosquitoes, ticks and parasitic worms, these warm months prompt a breeding frenzy that leads to a burst in bug population, increasing the chance your dog will pick up something nasty. Plan ahead with a regular dose of parasite protection medicine for your pup. As for the fliers or hitchhikers, look for an insect repellent that staves away the most potentially harmful critters.

To top this all off, make sure your dog is up to date with their shots and be regular with the vet visits. There is always the chance that something won’t work as intended, so the healthier your dog is before falling prey to a nasty critter, the easier it will be to clean them out.

 

Fear the Fertilizer

Summer is the most exciting time for gardeners across the country. With blooms planted in winter finally opening and potential harvests starting to ripen, there are fertilizers and pesticides everywhere. Though you might think your dog is smarter than the average pooch, never underestimate just how much trouble your bud can get into.

For plants, avoid azaleas and lilies. Though pretty, both are extremely toxic and can even lead to death if ingested. For pesticides, try to find a natural brand that works. While your dog won’t feel good if they happen to eat any, the lack of harmful chemicals make these options far less dangerous. With fertilizer, keep any open bags up and out of reach. After a day in the yard, give your dog a quick wash off to clear away any of the garden soil that carries those chemicals.

Before you teach them fetch, before you teach them shake and before you teach them sit, you teach them how to eliminate outside. No matter the age and no matter the breed, all healthy dogs are capable of being trained to go potty outside. Unfortunately, such a task isn’t always easy as dog temperaments vary from breed to breed, resulting in a widely skewed teaching time. Even so, there is always one aspect of puppy potty training that remains uniform no matter the dog – patience.

 

Try, Try Again

Just like you will rarely be able to do something new correctly the first time, so, too, will your dog need a number of attempts before they understand exactly what you’re asking of them. Impatience is a negative emotion that fosters frustration and anger that is typically then turned toward the dog. Instead of helping your dog learn faster, these emotional outbursts teach them anxiety and shame, leading to even worse habits that are much harder to break. Now, instead of a young pup that would have taken only three months to housebreak, you have a young pup that is a year old and eliminates in the house when you’re not looking.

 

Consistency is Key

Unlike teaching a dog commands, potty training is one of the easiest lessons since dogs innately know to not go potty in their den. Ideally, you’ll want to take them outside on a set schedule whether they have to go or not. Typically, a young pup will need to go anywhere from five to 30 minutes following their meal. When you go outside, take them to the same place you take them every day. The scent of their older eliminations will trigger them to go again.

 

No Negativity

Remember that if your puppy has an accident, they didn’t do so on purpose. Puppies do not wake up in the morning with the desire to ruin your rug as vengeance for feeding them the kibble they don’t like. It’s a very bad idea to associate any form of negativity with a natural bodily function. Staying calm also means your dog won’t learn what your trigger is – something they could potentially use against you in future scenarios. Instead, remain neutral and bring them to their outdoor potty spot even if there is nothing left for them to let loose.

As a final note, be sure to clean up the accident area with a cleaning agent that will remove the smell of feces and urine. Dogs in the wild do not live anywhere near areas that smell like feces. Should this smell remain in the house, it will condition them to believe that indoors is a potty area.

 

So long as you remain patient with your puppy, potty training is a very simple task because it is what the dog wants to naturally do. Stay positive, and they’ll be outdoor champs in no time.

Easter is just on the horizon and with it are all the festivities and treats that we enjoy. But, you must also consider the safety of your dog. While children are good at finding eggs and treats during the annual hunt, dogs are even better. Hiding eggs around the home and out in the yard will undoubtedly leads to a few that aren’t found at the end of the day. Even you may not be sure that every single one was found. Because of this, there are a few precautions you should take before you start the hunt, or your dog may enjoy a few treats they shouldn’t.

Chocolate bunnies and treats

While a tasty favorite amongst kids and adults, chocolate can be extremely dangerous for dogs. Since it would be unfair to deprive your children of some enjoyment, you can take a few precautions instead. Avoid hiding chocolate in hidden eggs during the hunt. Instead, control the delivery and disposal of chocolate based items. Candy bars, bunnies, and other sweets can be offered in their own basket- away from your dogs. Be sure that any wrappers are picked up and disposed of properly. Be aware: one of the most inconspicuous treat that is hidden is the tiny chocolate eggs that are wrapped in shiny foil. These can be easily overlooked or forgotten in the grass or house. Avoid using these treats at all, and instead stick to treats that can be contained in larger eggs or that aren’t chocolate-based.

Paper or plastic?

Something commonly overlooked is the decorative contents of an Easter basket. Grass helps to soften and enrich the experience, and is a main ingredient for Easter baskets. Most artificial grass is plastic, which can be harmful if ingested by a dog. Instead, use paper or even natural grass as a substitute for your basket. Not only is it better for the environment, but is also much safer in case your dog manages to get a mouthful. This should be taken only as a precaution, since dogs shouldn’t be allowed to indulge themselves on your basket’s contents in the first place.

A new chew toy

This also brings up another concern. Plastic is a very inedible substance, but many Easter eggs are now commonly composed of this product. They’re cheap, convenient, and can contain any range of goodies. When eaten, however, they can also splinter and turn into dangerously sharp objects if your dog discovers them first. The egg is a classic of Easter, so needless to say, hardboiled or confetti filled shells are also on the venue for the hunt. These should be kept out of your dog’s reach at all times, especially since they smell good enough to eat. One of the best precautions you can take prior to the hunt is to count the eggs you place around the home and yard. (After all, a hardboiled egg will eventually become a stinky issue within a few days.) Once the hunt is over, take the time to count what was found, and keep an eye out for any strays before they find their way into a hungry mouth.

During the hunt

Many dogs enjoy running around with their family members, but the Easter egg hunt may not be the right time to let them interact. Dog’s may jump up on children or try to take goodies away from them. For everyone’s safety, it may be best to put them in a secure location with food and water while the hunt is on. You can let them out afterward, but keep an eye on them and be quick to take any lost eggs away before they become a dangerous snack.

Because it is Easter, why not treat your pup to their own hunt. Take a few of their healthy treats and hide them around a certain room. You may even want to toss in a toy or two. Be sure that you use a fluff-less toy so they won’t be inclined to fill their belly with stuffing. Then set them loose and let them have their own Easter fun hunting treats that are good for them. One thing to consider is that you shouldn’t involve multiple dogs in the same hunt. They may become aggressive with each other, especially if you are hosting a friend’s or neighbor’s dog as well.

Any dog lover wants their best friend to participate in all aspects of their life. But, sometimes we have to take into consideration the safety of our companion. Though they can be extremely smart and clever, a dog’s belly doesn’t always know the difference between safe and dangerous. Make your Easter hunt something that everyone can enjoy, even if they can’t do it at the same time.

 

Housebreaking your beloved canine companion means deciding when and where you want your dog to eliminate. Once you have determined the type of routine you want your pet to follow, the next step is to select the specific spot where you want your dog to do his business. Having a designated potty area will help make the toilet training process a whole lot easier!

 

Whenever your dog goes potty, chemicals within his waste are released. These chemicals are called pheromones and are what tell him to poop again when he goes back to his potty area. These chemicals are also what let other canines know that this particular spot has already been taken and so they will have to find another one.

 

Establishing a potty area is crucial to housebreaking your dog. Now what if he is having difficulty understanding where his potty area is and is constantly eliminating inside the house or in places where he isn’t supposed to go? What you can do is try feeding him where he is having these accidents. Generally, dogs are clean animals and will not dirty the place where they eat or sleep, so by feeding your pet in the accident areas, you can reduce the chances of your dog peeing or pooping again in those spots.

 

As much as you want your pet to be accident-free from day one, you have to understand that all dogs have accidents, so expect one every now and then at first. Housebreaking your canine friend is a process, not an instant solution. It’s more like running a marathon than running around your block once.

 

Keep in mind that positive reinforcement will always give you better results than any other training method. Punishment does not work because your dog will be unable to make the connection between his mess and the reason for your anger. In fact, getting mad at him will only lead him to become afraid of you.

 

I highly encourage you to practice patience and be positive. Your dog will pick up on your positive energy and this will keep him from resisting your training or getting frustrated.

Q:  Recently, my good friend Ricky, who is a professional dog trainer, asked me if I would like to adopt his five-year-old Belgian Malinois, Beaumont. Beaumont is a trained protection dog and is capable of guarding his master, biting on command, releasing the bite on command, and others. He has placed third in level 1 protection in a protection dog competition. I currently have two dogs – both are Labradors, females, obedience trained, and not spayed. One is nine months old while the other is one year old.

I would like to adopt Beaumont, and I know that I will be able to take care of him. I’m concerned about one thing, though. Will he accept me after being with my friend for five years? Ricky assured me that he can transfer Beaumont’s loyalty to me. He is a fierce dog when competing but is a very quiet one otherwise. In fact, Ricky brings Beaumont with him all the time, and on many occasions he is off his leash. Ricky is offering Beaumont for adoption because he wants to get a younger dog.

Should I adopt Beaumont?

A: I’ve got good news for you. Yes, the dog will transfer his loyalty to you.

But. But! There are two main issues you should consider before adopting Beaumont:

  1. Plenty of work is required on your part to learn how to handle a Belgian Malinois, especially one that has been trained for protection. You’re going to need a lot of one-on-one training to successfully integrate Beaumont into your life. Think of it as driving a race car. The vehicle already runs great, but if you don’t learn how to drive it properly, you’ll only end up crashing the car. Or worse.
  2. The Belgian Malinois is a very high drive breed. Beaumont will need tons and tons of physical exercise and mental stimulation. Tons. Please take the time to recognize that adopting him will be a huge responsibility.

If you decide to take your friend up on his offer and are successful with Beaumont, then you’ll have an excellent companion by your side. The Belgian Malinois is a healthy breed and is a first-rate working dog.

To be honest, I’ve always wanted a Belgian Malinois myself. But I know that my current lifestyle will not be a good fit for the dog. Training requirements and dedication to exercise are some things that I do not have time for right now.

One last thing – make sure that Beaumont isn’t aggressive towards other dogs before you adopt him.

Good luck!