Socialize Your Dog for Life!

We tend to forget these days that dogs are pack animals.  Many of us may have just one dog, or even two.  But we don’t see them as they were in nature.  Left to their own devices, dogs join up into a pack, often of related animals.  Like their wolf cousins and ancestors, dogs have a hierarchical structure to their packs, with leaders, assistants, subordinates and followers.  In nature dogs would learn everything they need to know, including dog manners, from their mother and other pack mates.

To live in our world of cars, buildings and cell phones, we have taken dogs almost completely out of their natural world.  In many places they exist without even having fields and forests anymore to share with their humans as they did only 100-200 years ago.  The only way they can exist in our world is if we teach them the skills they need to understand it and to thrive in it.  This means we have to socialize them to the human world and to the people in it.

Socialization means much more than learning a few commands.  Socialization is learning, from birth, to accept humans.  Good breeders begin socializing puppies from the day of their birth, picking them up and holding them, stroking them and talking to them, getting them used to sights and sounds in the house.  This should continue for the first seven weeks of life, with puppies being introduced to new things each week.

From the age of 8 weeks to 12 weeks, the time when many people get their new puppy, puppies are going through a fear imprinting stage.  This means that it is very easy at this time for anything that frightens the puppy to be remembered for the rest of their life.  New owners should take special care during this time to bolster their puppy’s confidence.  Do let puppies see new things and introduce them to new places and people.  Give them time to see that there is nothing to be afraid of.  Give plenty of praise when the puppy is brave and curious about things.  Try not to encourage your puppy to be fearful at this time or reward fearful behavior.  If a loud noise or something frightens your puppy, instead of cuddling the puppy take him to see what it is and show him that it’s okay.  Dance, laugh, be positive instead of petting the puppy for being fearful.  This is the difference between a fearful adult dog and a confident one later in life.

Introduce your puppy to many different people during this time to help him learn that he has nothing to fear from strangers and that he can meet them and be friendly.  Take him for short rides in the car.  Introduce many strange things at this time, such as umbrellas and the vacuum cleaner if he has not already encountered them.  Let him see normal things in unexpected places in the house.  Make sure he gets used to being groomed and bathed during this time.  And, of course, make sure he learns some leash training.  This is helpful since he will be going to the vet for his shots during this time.  Makes these pleasant experiences for him (especially bathing) and your future experiences will be much better.

Exercise basic common sense, of course.  Don’t allow your puppy to put himself in any danger while encouraging him to be confident.  Don’t allow him to wander where other animals have left droppings.  Remember that your puppy is not fully vaccinated yet so limit his socialization time with any unknown pets.  Don’t make your puppy do anything that is frightening for him.  Puppies at this age will remember things forever.  You want to encourage confidence, not ask them to do more than they can cope with.  And, remember that your puppy is just a baby at this time.  He needs lots of sleep and several small meals during the day.  You should only have a couple of socialization sessions per day along with things that occur on their own.

The socialization period continues until dogs are about 20 weeks old.  By that time their basic personality is in place, though socialization can continue for months.  You’ll begin to see your puppy making his own decisions about what he wants to do, what he likes and doesn’t like, what frightens him and what he’s confident about.

Early socialization is an extremely important time in the life of every dog.  You can help your dog adapt to living with humans by working with him during this time and make your future life together a very happy one.

Socialize Your Dog for Life courtesy Dog Articles.

Looking for a great gift idea? Who wouldn’t love a cute mouse pad showcasing their favorite breed? Check out all of the great doggie gift ideas on Amazon.com –doggieoftheday@amazon.com


10 Pet Safety Tips You Should Know

In some ways having a pet is like having a child.  You have to do all of the thinking and planning for him.  You have to be prepared for every contingency.  That means being prepared in case of emergencies and taking the proper precautions ahead of time.

Here are some tips that should help you take good care of your dog:

1.  Make sure that your dog is up-to-date on his vaccinations and that he has proper tags and ID at all times.  Microchips are recommended.  This is a great help should your dog ever become lost.  It gives him the best possible chance of being returned to you if somebody finds him.

2.  Obey leash laws.  This means that you should keep your dog safely contained in your own yard behind a fence.  When you have your dog out with you make sure that he is restrained on a good quality leash.  Don’t let your dog run loose.  This is dangerous to him and a nuisance to the neighborhood.

3.  Be careful what you feed your dog.  No chocolate.  No onions.  No raisins.  If in doubt about something your dog eats or if you suspect poisoning call your local veterinarian immediately.  Know the number of your closest emergency vet clinic and the shortest route in case you have an emergency at night.

4.  Crate train your dog.  Your dog should ride in a crate in your vehicle.  This is the safest way for your dog to travel.  Crate training is also a great way to help house train your dog.  If you ever intend to fly anywhere with your dog he will also need to fly in a crate.

5.  Keep a pet first aid kit on hand and know how to use the contents.  A good first aid kit should contain blankets, surgical tape, a muzzle, an antibacterial ointment (such as Neosporin), cotton swabs, tweezers, gauze and gauze pads, hydrogen peroxide, ipecac, scissors, forceps, diarrhea medication, and activated charcoal.  Remember that if your dog experiences an injury that he may react out of fear or pain.  Be careful in handling him.  He could bite you accidentally.

6.  Take special precautions in hot summer weather and during extreme cold.  Remember that dogs can’t sweat and that they suffer during extremes of weather just as people do.  They should not be left in vehicles during either extreme, even for a few minutes.

7.  Remember that your dog needs fresh water available at all times.  Dogs can become dehydrated just as people can.

8.  Take special precautions with dogs when there may be fireworks or other loud noises.  Many dogs are sensitive to these loud booms and can become frightened from them.  Some dogs can bolt and become lost.

9.  Old dogs need special care.  Keep an eye on their weight.  You don’t want them to be either too thin or too much overweight.  Both can be signs of an underlying health problem.  Make allowances for their age.  Provide a softer place to sleep, give them more time to eat, make their food more appealing.  Take them for a senior check-up starting when they’re about seven-years-old.

10.  Be patient with puppies.  They come to you not knowing anything.  They will make mistakes.  Teach them using positive training techniques and they will be able to learn anything you want to teach them.  A trained dog is a happier dog and has a better chance of fitting into your home and lifestyle and living a wonderful life with you.

10 Pet Safety Tips You Should Know courtesy Dog Articles.

Looking for a great gift idea? Who wouldn’t love a holiday ornament showcasing their favorite breed? Check out all of the great doggie gift ideas on Amazon.com –doggieoftheday@amazon.com


My Dog Won’t Listen To Me

Bringing home a new puppy is very exciting but we often forget that a new puppy doesn’t know very much.  He’s still a baby.  His mother and siblings have taught him a few things about being a dog but when it comes to understanding people, he’s a rank beginner.

It doesn’t matter how many times you tell him, “NO!” or “OFF!”  Your puppy hasn’t yet learned what these words mean.  He doesn’t even know his name yet.  He really has no idea what it means when you tell him to lie down or leave something alone.

Your puppy will quickly become very good at reading your body language and understanding the tone of your voice but you will have to patiently teach him each word and phrase that you want him to know.  Puppies aren’t born knowing English or any other language.  It’s up to you to teach him the basic vocabulary.

If you are adopting an adult dog then he will also have to learn some things when he comes to living with you.  He may know some basic words and phrases, especially if he has been housebroken already.  But your family will probably have some words that are unknown to him.  There may be some new rules that he doesn’t know yet.  It will take a little time for your new dog to learn the new words for things.  He may know some things by other names — “bathroom” for “potty,” or “dinner” for “supper,” and so on.  Try different words for things and see if he gives a reaction.  You may find the words that he knows.

On the other hand, there are times when your puppy or dog does know certain words and may choose to ignore you.  If you have been training your puppy or dog and you know that he knows the word “Sit” but he won’t sit for you, then there may be something wrong with your training methods.  Most likely your training is inconsistent.  You may not train very often and your dog doesn’t see any reason why he should obey the command when it is only used once in a while.  In these situations you should train more often so your dog will take the training more seriously.

If you let your dog sleep on your bed six nights in a row and on the seventh night you tell him very sternly that he’s not allowed on the bed, the chances are that he’s not going to take you seriously.  Training is the same way.  If you want your dog to listen to you then you must be consistent in what you tell your dog and in what you expect him to obey.  Be consistent, use the same words for things, and always be fair.  You must also train regularly so that your dog knows you are committed to what you are teaching him.

If you are inconsistent or you don’t train very often, then your dog is apt to ignore you.

Remember that your puppy isn’t born knowing any language at all.  Like human children, puppies have to learn the meaning of words.  They cannot hope to learn any training until they begin to understand some words in the home.  Fortunately, puppies learn very quickly and they can start to learn all that we have to teach them — and some things we don’t mean to teach them.  Your puppy will begin listening to you as soon as he is able.  It’s up to you to teach him things that are worth learning.

My Dog Won’t Listen To Me courtesy Dog Articles.

Looking for a great gift idea? Who wouldn’t love a holiday ornament showcasing their favorite breed? Check out all of the great doggie gift ideas on Amazon.com –doggieoftheday@amazon.com


My Dog Is Marking In The House!

If you see a woman chasing a dog from room to room, threatening them with a mop, it’s possible you are watching a dog owner who has a male dog that’s been marking in the house.

It should be understood that marking behavior is not the same as ordinary peeing in the house, although the result may be the same.  Marking behavior, which may be no more than sprinkling everything in sight, is not a housetraining issue.  It is about territory, dominance and sexuality.  Sometimes it is about insecurity.  But even dogs that are thoroughly housetrained can mark in the house.

Marking is usually, but not always, an issue that involves male dogs.  Some females will mark in the house, but by far most dogs that exhibit marking behavior are male.

Dogs mark by peeing on furniture or other items in order to establish their territory.  They are “marking” something as theirs.  They are usually motivated to do so to show their status.  There may be other dogs in the household that they think should be reminded about their position.  There may be females around and they want to advertise their sexual availability.  Or, the male may be insecure in some way and marking makes him feel bigger and tougher.  He’s tossing his hat in the ring, so to speak.  He wants to be one of the guys.

As you probably know, dogs have incredible noses and they can gather a wealth of information from sniffing urine.  Your dog is leaving information about himself and his position when he marks something.

Not surprisingly, most owners don’t appreciate this practice in their homes.

Marking is far more prevalent with unneutered males since it seems to be linked to testosterone.  Neutering at any point in a dog’s life does seem to reduce or nearly eliminate the behavior (though it is not a guarantee).  So, you might suggest to your intact male that if he doesn’t want to lose something he values he should knock off the marking.  If that doesn’t work, there are some other ways to try to discourage marking behavior.

One of the best ways to stop the marking is to catch your dog in the act.  This usually requires very close supervision and immediate correction.  You may have to confine your dog to one small area of the house in order to watch him closely.  You may even need to put him on a retractable leash in the house.  However, this method is effective.

You can also make yourself a shaker bottle using an old soda bottle and fill it with pennies or something else that rattles.  Watch your dog and as soon as he starts to mark you give your command, “NO MARK!” and rattle the shaker at him.  The goal is to startle him into not marking.  Do this consistently for a couple of days and he should be on his way to breaking the habit.

You may need to confine your dog while you are away from home, at least while you are trying to break the marking habit.  You can crate your dog for a few hours while you are away from home in order to control the marking.  Make sure your dog goes outside to potty, as usual, and praise him when he pees outside.

Remember to thoroughly clean every area where your dog marks in the house.  These areas are special to him and you have to remove all trace of the urine so he won’t be tempted to mark there again.  A 50/50 solution of vinegar and water works well.

If none of these solutions works you may have to resign yourself to putting a belly band on your dog.  A belly band is a wrap which fits around your dog’s waist and over his penis.  You fit it inside with a sanitary napkin.  If your dog is tempted to mark and lift his leg then he pees into the band and not onto anything in the house.  It’s really a method of last resort.

My Dog Is Marking In The House courtesy Dog Articles.

Looking for a great gift idea? Who wouldn’t love a cutting board showcasing their favorite breed? Check out all of the great doggie gift ideas on Amazon.com –doggieoftheday@amazon.com


Corgi Training : Teaching Basic Obedience

There are two breeds of Corgis, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. They are both herding dogs, very intelligent and eager to please. When you begin your Corgi training, it is important to keep in mind what these dogs were bred for. The Corgi is a herding dog and thus can learn commands easily. However, when it comes to certain situations, instinct may take over. For instance if a toddler decides to run around in the yard, a Corgi may decide to herd the toddler, which may look cute, but can be harmful.

Herding behavior includes nipping at heels, barking and pulling on pant legs. Excessive barking is probably the most annoying of these behaviors. These are all things that a house pet needs to learn not to do. After all, you don’t want your neighbors hating you because of your dog. However, if you live on a farm and are using your Corgi for what it was bred to do (herding cattle, sheep and other livestock), you need not remove this instinct with training.

One of the ways to curb these herding instincts is with basic obedience training. There are four basic commands that you should instill in your pet during your Corgi training, “sit, come, stay and no”. Actually, all dog training should include these commands. Regarding Corgi training specifically, you may want to add “quiet” to their repertoire, as well as “leave it” and perhaps “gentle.” These last three commands will give you some control over their barking and their potential to focus their herding instincts on inappropriate items, animals or people.

When beginning your Corgi training, “come” should be the first training hurdle. They need to know their name and come to you every time you ask them to. You want them to want to come to you, so praise works well as a reward, but tiny dog training treats work well too. You want to start out on a leash and have your Corgi go to the full length of the lead and then say “come.” When they come to you in response to their name and the command, give them a reward. Even if they seem to get it and follow the command every time, you need to keep repeating this all the time. Corgis can often take off after things and need to come back.

As they are already quite low to the ground, the command “lie down” need not be taught, but they should know how to “sit”, and you may have to actually teach them not to jump on people. The Corgi can be a little stand offish to strangers and they should know that it is okay to be nice to those that you accept in your home. So, the “be nice” command may come in handy.

Eventually, you want your Corgi training to create a well behaved dog that will come every time it is called, sit when you ask it to, stay back when you don’t want it to intrude, leave things alone that are inappropriate, is quiet on command, and is gentle and nice to you those around you. The dog training process should be fun and is a great way to mentally stimulate and exercise your energetic little pooch.

Corgi Training : Teaching Basic Obedience courtesy Dog Articles.

Looking for a great gift idea? Who wouldn’t love a party cutting board showcasing their favorite breed? Check out all of the great doggie gift ideas on Amazon.com –doggieoftheday@amazon.com


Why is Puppy Socialization and Training Important?

So you’ve made a decision to get a puppy, you have evaluated your choices of breed and are ready to bring your puppy home. This is a commitment and one that should be happy and loving for everyone involved. When your puppy is not trained or socialized that relationship becomes strained and begins to lose its fun. Over the course of your dogs life it will meet many people and other animals, it’ll be exposed to people walking their dogs, bike riders, baby strollers, other dogs and cats as well as situations that may cause stress and fear so it is necessary to begin puppy training to socialize them and keep them and you happy and healthy.

When a puppy is not trained it begins to form its own habits based on its environment. Some of these habits may turn into negative behaviors like being protective of food and toys, growling at strangers or even biting them, fighting with other dogs, urinating and defecating in the house, begging at the table and other bad habits that could have been avoided with puppy training. Puppy training can begin with the breeder. Puppies 8-12 weeks are particularly absorbent when it comes to training. Even at birth they have instincts that kick in and begin to learn how to interact with their litter mates, mother and people who handle them. As they grow they go through an imprinting stage when puppy training is more easily accepted. There are four main commands that every puppy should be taught.

They are sit, stay, come and no. It is important to keep puppy training and socialization experiences positive. Introducing your puppy to people is a good way to start the socialization and is fairly easy. After all, who doesn’t like a puppy? By introducing new people, places, things and other animals to your puppy you can prevent a lot of negative behaviors that may develop over time. Through puppy training and socialization, your puppy should learn that you are dominant over them. They should be friendly towards those who you let into your home and not be afraid of them (particularly people with beards and hats). You should be able to take food, toys and dangerous objects out of their mouths. They should not be fearful or aggressive. They should be comfortable on a leash.

They should be housebroken. They shouldn’t suffer from separation anxiety and understand that you will come back. Puppy training your pet to be confident while you are away, not to chew on people or destroy property, to come when called and stay when needed among other things will help to keep your sanity. Puppy training is important to start your relationship out on a good note and keep a better bond between you and your dog for many years to come. Puppy training is essential to your dogs care and the training should continue and be reinforced throughout their lives. Puppy training and socialization is also important in keeping your dog happy, healthy and safe. When they know how to react to certain situations there is less of a chance for a negative incident to occur. Lea Mullins talks about importance of socialization in puppy training.

Why is Puppy Socialization and Training Important courtesy Dog Articles.

Looking for a great gift idea? Who wouldn’t love a lovely tote showcasing their favorite breed? Check out all of the great doggie gift ideas on Amazon.com –doggieoftheday@amazon.com


Beginner’s Guide to an Australian Shepherd Pup

The origins of the Australian Shepherd aren’t actually grounded on the continent of Australia. The predecessors to the breed did make a small trip to Australia, but they quickly moved on to the western United States. Since the previous owners came from Australia, the name stuck. With their movements came sheep and that’s what they were trained to work with. In the 1800’s the breed was fine tuned giving it several unique characteristics. It is a nice compact, medium sized dog averaging 45 to 50 pounds in weight and 20” high at the shoulders. Their coats have a soft, thick undercoat with a slightly wiry top coat. This allows them to be physically able to live outside, but they need human contact and thus are not emotionally suited to a life in the yard.

Understanding a dog’s history goes a long way to understanding a breed as a whole. As a herding dog, Australian Shepherds like to herd children, cats, other dogs and anything they may perceive as livestock. This is an instinct that has been selectively bred into the Aussie. You may not see this behavior early on in your puppy’s life, but as they mature, you will begin to notice the signs of herding (like nipping at heels, body slamming, posturing, stare downs and the like). You want to prepare your Australian Shepherd with training to help curb that behavior into an appropriate release – no nipping on human heels. As the Australian Shepherd is a quick learner, you may find your training progresses easily, but don’t let that fool you. Keep instilling the trained behaviors in then, not to prevent their inherent instincts from coming out, but to control them when they do.

One of the most important things to teach an Australian Shepherd puppy is the “come” command. As herders and subtle guardians, they need a good recall instilled in them. Aussies are not only intelligent, quick learners, they are problem solvers. This ability allows them to make decisions, some good and some bad. Other commands like sit, stay, no, run and fetch are great to teach them early on. You also want to get them used to a routine. Set up play time, run time and relax time and stick to it. This will help you to keep your Australian Shepherd out of trouble as they will know what to expect and can look forward to it.

When they grow up, your Australian Shepherd will need to be exercised on a daily basis. This is where extensive training comes. You can begin to train your puppy to stay for longer periods of time before they chase after that tennis ball. They can be trained to perform helpful tasks like pulling the kids up a small slope on a sled. Agility training is also a great and fun outlet for their energy and mental stimulation.

An Australian Shepherd makes a great companion for families, individuals, farms, etc. and with the proper training and exercise can be lifelong partners (their average lifespan is 13 years). So, be sure to start training early, set up a schedule that is enjoyable for all and most importantly have fun with your Aussie.

Beginner’s Guide to an Australian Shepherd Pup courtesy Dog Articles.

Looking for a great gift idea? Who wouldn’t love a lovely cutting board showcasing their favorite breed? Check out all of the great doggie gift ideas on Amazon.com –doggieoftheday@amazon.com