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.

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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!

 

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Dogs are great companions. They’re amazing pets. They’re best friends.

And while they’re all of the above, one thing they are not is a good surprise.

Even so, that doesn’t stop families from buying or rescuing a dog with the intention of surprising someone with a new pet. Without a doubt, this is one of the worst gift ideas to ever come about. As we inch closer to the holiday season, here’s why a stuffed puppy is far better for someone else than an actual pup.

 

Toys aren’t expensive.

Even if the dog has already had their shots and is spayed or neutered, there’s still the fact that they’ll need toys, dishes and food at the bare minimum. This doesn’t even take into account a kennel or heartworm pills or a monthly anti-flea scrub. Small dogs are just as bad. There’s a good reason your friend hasn’t gotten a dog yet even though they might have mentioned owning one in the future.

 

Toys don’t need you to invest time into them.

Dogs need to go outside no matter their age. They need to play regularly, preferably at a dog park with other dogs so that they can socialize properly. They need love and attention on a regular basis. Dogs require hours of attention each day to keep happy. Many people just don’t have the time, and while they do adore canines, they love what they’re doing now more and understand any dog they would own would be much happier with a family that can provide sufficient attention.

 

Toys aren’t destructive.

Puppies are destructive because they’re still learning the boundaries of the world, much like human children. Dogs are destructive for any number of reasons. Though you might think it’s funny when Bo chews up the couch or that it’s not a big deal if Chloe got back into the computer cords, not everyone wants their stuff ruined just because they forgot to lock up the dog or didn’t have time to play with them that day.

 

Toys don’t ignite allergies.

Do you know if this friend or acquaintance has any allergies? Some people’s lives are put in danger when they’re introduced to pet dander. Unless you know full well they don’t have any allergies or that they’re family is entirely healthy around dogs, rescuing a pup could mean a quick return to the rescue center.

 

Toys don’t require commitments.

With a lifespan of just over a decade, dogs are a partial lifetime commitment. Once you get one, you can’t just leave for vacation unless there’s proper boarding. You can’t have people over unless they know you have a dog and aren’t allergic. You can’t walk out the front door unless Fido is locked up properly. You need to take them to regular vet visits, and you need to feed them.

 

The best gift dogs are those that have had extensive consideration. Never force someone into that kind of commitment unless you’ve agreed on it together.

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When you’re ready to grow your family, it’s time to set out on a search for the perfect addition. Small, medium, large, high energy, low energy—adoption dogs come in all shapes and sizes. The only thing they ask for is a loving place to call their forever home.

 

Decide on the Dog

Dogs have been bred for generations to have specific qualities based on breed. Because of this, you’ll want to do research to find out the temperament that will best match your home. For instance, if you live in an apartment, a small-to-medium sized calm dog would be ideal. If you have acres of land, why not go for a larger, energetic companion?

 

Start Saving

While shelters wish they could give away their adoptees for free, the vet bills and maintenance means they do require adoption fees. Usually around $100-$150, these fees cover the vaccinations, health exams and microchipping the pup has gotten while being held at the shelter. On top of this, you’ll need to invest in a good leash, food, bowls and anything else your dog will need to be happy in its new home.

 

Get to Searching!

Though it may take a few months for you to find the perfect pooch, never give up hope. Check the internet weekly for dog adoptions. Visit your local humane society to get to know potential pets. Once you’ve found the one, all you’ll need to do is sign some paperwork and bring them home.

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Though your dog is its own being and not just one of your many possessions, they still need all the safeguards you would give a child. After all, the world isn’t as wonderful as we’d like it to be, forcing us to be well aware that an excited dog can get lost as easily as a purebred can be stolen. Make sure you keep your best friend secure with these tips.

  • Don’t assume you know where your dog is. Unless you can see exactly where they are, you have no idea what they’re up to. Much like Schrodinger’s cat, your dog is both there and not there until you call them in for dinner.
  • Always keep your dog on a leash unless you are in an enclosed doggie park. Squirrels, strange odors and mailmen are often times too tempting to resist, and you want to make sure you can stop them from bolting into traffic.
  • Get your pooch a well-fitting collar complete with your telephone number and other bits of contact information. If they do happen to chew their way out of their leash, the collar becomes the only way a stranger will be able to return them to you.
  • If they aren’t already, get your good boy microchipped. It is a painless little chip that serves as back up should the collar come off. With one scan, a pound can easily find your information and set up a heartfelt, tear filled reunion.
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Be it for cheaper rent, a new location or just because you like to move, downsizing your home is a great option when you’re sick of having to take care of so much extra space. However, when you have a dog around, going small isn’t exactly easy, especially when extra space is all they’ve known. When you’re ready to go small but have dog, make sure you consider these things before falling in love with a new location.

 

Nearby Parks

If the yard is getting smaller as well, make sure there’s a huge open space friendly to pets where you can let your friend run around untethered. Chances are they’ll have a lot more pent up energy so you want to make sure they still get as much activity as they did in the bigger space.

 

Puzzle Toys

A sudden change in space size can also cause your dog to go a little stir crazy when you aren’t around. To keep them from taking out their frustration on your pillows, fill the house with tricky treat Kongs or other toys that can be stuffed with treats.

 

Comfy Crates

Sometimes, though, it’s simply easier and less worrisome to keep them locked away all day until you can get home and play. For this, invest in a crate large enough for them to stand up in and move around. This will make sure you can get through your work day without stressing about one more thing.

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Most new puppy owners face a difficult decision when it comes to potty training their pups. Should praise or punishment be the technique of choice for reinforcing positive behavior?

According to a study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, researchers confirmed that praise works for new puppies learning potty training, while aversive training does not. Veterinary behaviorists surveyed 140 dog owners about their different training methods and their effectiveness as part of the study.

Of those who rubbed their dogs’ noses in the house-soiled areas, not one person reported that the technique was beneficial. In fact, 89% stated that it had no effect, and 11% said it actually made matters worse. With these type of findings, any pet owner can see that praise is clearly the more successful route to go in.

Start to incorporate positive reinforcement into your house training program, and talk with your dog trainer or veterinarian about other reward-based techniques to successfully train your dog to do his business out of doors.

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Halloween is just around the corner and most kids and parents are probably already getting ready with the costumes, candy, and plans with friends. However, for pet owners, Halloween takes a little extra planning in order to keep the pup safe from even the simplest of things.

Kids, candy, and dogs

One of the biggest dangers during Halloween is the chocolaty treats that are so readily available. Whether it’s waiting by the door to get passed out to children or the debris left over from the night before, candy can find its way into your pup’s mouth very easily.

Be cautious around youngsters, especially if your pup knows they can show off a little cuteness in order to get treats. Don’t let your pup wander around alone, and keep in mind that many adults don’t know better either.

Keep all candy, not just the chocolaty stuff, up high in your home. Pups can be sneaky, and there are those that climb just like a cat. So, just because it’s up on the counter doesn’t mean your pup won’t give up trying to get a piece for themselves.

Even your yard can hold on to leftovers long after trick or treating has passed. Be sure to clean up wrappers and scan your yard for any trash before setting your pup loose to potty. Even in small quantities, chocolate will make your pup sick.

Be safe

While we’d like to believe that everyone enjoys the companionship of a furry friend, there are still strange people out there that aren’t going to treat your pup as caringly as you do. Halloween night is highly notorious for animal cruelty, mostly targeted at black cats and dogs (perhaps out of superstition or just plain stupidity). Just to be safe, don’t leave your pup unattended, even in your own back yard. There’s enough commotion and people walking around trick-or-treating that it’s easy for a dog to be puppy-napped.

What about those fast rascals who just want to get outside every time the door opens, even if it’s just a crack? If your pup’s a runner, be sure they’re secured safely in your home, perhaps in a room by themselves where they won’t be inclined to make a break for it every time the doorbell rings.

If you’re concerned for your dog’s safety and anxiety, putting your pup in a quiet, secure place in your home may be the best solution. Just be sure that you give them something to listen to and play with. Make it a party for them, and make sure they have a few treats of their own to enjoy as well.

Dressing up

There are those furry rascals who do enjoy being a part of the team, whether it’s answering the door for trick-or-treaters or traveling with the pack and keeping their family safe while out in the neighborhood searching for goodies.

Be careful when choosing the right type of costume for your pups. There are plenty out there on the market, but they don’t always make the budget or your pup’s “cool” list: not every costume is necessarily dog-friendly. Some hold in too much heat and become burdensome and uncomfortable. While your kids can tell you what isn’t working, your pup is either going to run with it anyway or take it off themselves–usually in pieces.

That’s another thing to watch out for as well. Depending on the materials and ornaments, a fancy dog-costume can quickly become a toy for them to play with.

Before dressing your pup in anything, make sure that you feel along the inside of the costume before putting it on your pup. Tags, pins, and even obtuse stitching can become a nuisance for your pup very quickly. Choose something simple when in doubt. A bandana or alien antennae will give your pup another personality for the night without getting too expensive or uncomfortable for your pup.

Halloween is fun for everyone, even your pup; whether it’s by dressing up, offering the right treats to the right individuals, or being out there trying to find some treats to satisfy your cravings. Just be sure that when you’re planning a night of fun and entertainment, include your furry four-legged friends as well.

Please feel free to offer other loving pup owners helpful advice that will keep Halloween fun and safe for everyone.

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Many owners will tell you that owning a pup is just like having a child; they get into mischief, they always want to play (putting their favorite ball or toy in your lap when you’re trying to work), and even try to eat dessert before dinner time, which ruins their appetite.

However, there are a few things your pup can’t do on their own, such as brushing their teeth before going to bed. And while the regular chew bone will help keep some issues at bay, it’s essential that every dog owner understand the importance of oral hygiene.

Your pup’s mouth

Jaws can sometimes be an intimidating sight for the new pup owner. Raising your pup to be okay with you handling their mouth is important and needs to be started as soon as possible. Of course, with that big, pink bologna tongue hanging out in there, things won’t seem so intimidating after all.

Like humans, dogs also have two sets of teeth in their lives, one set as a puppy and the other that grows when they reach four to six months. After their adult teeth come up, dogs won’t grow any more teeth and since there aren’t any canine dentures, it’s important that you help them take care of the ones they have.

There are four different types of dog jaw alignments, some of which can be more vulnerable to tooth problems. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian and discuss how often and what oral hygiene issues you may need to specifically look out for with your furry friend.

My, what big, dirty teeth you have!

Most dog mouths don’t have problems with cavities, but over time small problems can turn into serious issues, such as gum infections.

Tarter is one concern, and is especially visible to the naked eye. It doesn’t take much to spot tarter buildup, specifically around the molars when that rascal of yours takes to smiling.

Tarter buildup comes from calcium salts and hard water type deposits that accumulate on the teeth when eating and drinking (distilled water is ideal). Over time, buildup of tarter can lead to gum infection and eventual tooth loss, which is why it’s important to make sure your pup brushes their teeth regularly.

For those pups with a sweeter diet, such as treats that happen to “slide” off your plate on occasion, tarter may not be the only problem. Softer foods (often including sugary goodies) also tend to get stuck in the gum line, thus causing gum decay and recession of the gum, leaving your pup’s teeth even more vulnerable.

Brushing their teeth

Bones and chewable treats that are tough will allow them to remove the tarter buildup and debris from their teeth and gums. If you’ve noticed, some pups enjoy chewing on sticks as well. It’s not ideal, but it is an instinctive way that helps clean their teeth naturally.

In addition to chewable and dental treats, a good tooth brushing should be done every two to three weeks depending on your dog’s jaw type and diet (soft foods may require a tighter schedule).

But getting in your pup’s mouth and successfully brushing is a challenge on its own. Few pups are going to want to sit still for such an exercise, especially if they think it’s potentially a game they’ll incorporate a few evasive techniques (rushing in and out of the room or teasing).

Rather than jumping right into the brushing and scrubbing, you’ll need to get your pup used to you putting your fingers in their mouth. That’s going to be the hardest part, especially since dogs seldom put anything in their mouth they don’t chew on or eat.

Start by working their lips to allow you to see their gums and teeth. Don’t be fooled by that big pink tongue, as some will use it to try and block your view or even to try to intercept your finger or brush. At first, it’s likely they’re going to push your fingers out with their tongue and may try to chew a little. Remove your hand when they do. You want the situation to be as soothing as possible, so you don’t want to scare or intimidate them into fearing when it comes to getting their teeth brushed.

Getting your pup used to you handling their mouth is essential. If they don’t get used to you at least looking at their mouth (few will enjoy this), it’s going to be ten times harder to get in there and brush when it’s most important.

After they’ve successfully examined their teeth, offer them a treat (preferably something dental in nature) to reward them for good behavior. This will positively reinforce the situation, making it easier to inspect and brush their teeth in the future.

As your pup’s faithful friend and guardian, it’s your duty to make sure they enjoy a happy and healthy life. And everyone knows that happiness starts with a smile.

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This has been a much debated question for years. Some say that dogs have no memories (playing catch with their pal) while some say that their pup does remember their past, and even dreams it sometimes.

As research on the subject raises awareness, it can be claimed that dogs do indeed have long-term memory. Like humans though, they don’t remember everything. This is because every dog is different. It’s like asking someone else to remember that time when you were out on the playground and so and so pushed you on the swing set. That experience may have impacted your life in some way that your brain felt necessary to keep stored away.

In most basic situations, dogs have to remember certain things. Say your pup happens to get a hold of some nasty weeds in the back yard and munches them down thinking they’re good. As a consequence, their belly is upset and they learn from the situation. Next time they see that particular weed (or smell it) they’ll avoid it. Why? Because they remember that it isn’t good for eating. It is a memory, even if it’s vague, that this particular plant is not yummy for their tummy.

Memories learned

This is perhaps what leads us to “educate” our four-legged friends. If they can’t remember what you’ve taught them, including the feeling of the experience, we might as well teach our pups the same old tricks every day when they wake up, which isn’t the case.

Consider this situation: Your pup knows they’re not supposed to loot the trash can for snacks. They don’t do it while you’re there, or at least while you’re not looking. The funny thing is when you do get back home and discover what they’ve done, what is your pup’s first instinct? Most likely, they’ll already be asking you to forgive them. They may whine all kinds of excuses, including it was just too good to be thrown away and I thought you said it was okay, but they remember that they’re not supposed to dig in the trash.

Remembering their way around

When it comes down to scientific studies, it has actually been proven that animals also have what is known as spatial memory. This is the reason why rats can run mazes, and why your pup will be a little aggravated when you move the furniture around (Hey, that table isn’t supposed to be there!). It’s because they possess the memory of what the world around them is supposed to look like, such as visiting a friend’s house and knowing exactly where everything is.

Of course, this same scenario can be very stimulating for a dog, like playing a game of hiding treats in new places. Such small changes are creative ways to help exercise their mind as they check all the places you might commonly hide treats – past history locations – and eventually they learn a new place that they’ll store away in their memory.

Past memories

In more advanced scenarios, especially when adopting a pup, some owners wonder if their new friend remembers their previous home or companions. Do they have memories of the past, like playing with an old friend, whether canine, feline, or human? This is far more difficult to prove as a fact, since dogs can only communicate (bark) so much.

Since it is often the feeling, positive or negative, that the dog associates with past scenarios, it makes it difficult to understand whether they are actually recalling a memory (visualizing the scene in their head) or simply the outcome of the situation and how it made them feel.

Take, for instance, dog-on-dog-aggression. This is a growing issue with many pups, especially if they find themselves at the center of an attack early in life. They may never see the dog that attacked or scared them again, but they will often associate the feelings of fear or intimidation with any other dog that physically appears or acts in the same manner.

What about dreams? Dogs do on occasion dream. Whether their paws are pattering the air or they are just woofing out a friendly hello to their pals, it is conceivable that their memories do influence what they dream about. Perhaps they remember chasing a ball through the park and catching a whiff of some strange new friend-candidate who just arrived and is ready to play too. Dreams have to come from somewhere, and what better source to tap than a great day with their best friends.

So comes the ultimate question: Does a dog have memories of its human companions, both present and past? In this case, it is likely that a dog will always remember those that they love and care about forever. After all, being with you is what they’ve been thinking about all day while you were away.

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