For lots of great tips and tricks on – Managing common dog and cat behavior problems, as well as guides to basic dog and cat training click here
Our shelter uses and recommends Good Dogs School of Obedience!
Adopters always ask our shelter staff … “Is he/she trained?” Our response is “expect the worst and hope for the best”. A new dog is a full-time commitment and you should expect and allow for accidents before your new best friend no longer soils or damages anything in your home. Your new pet needs your time and your patience so that he/she will learn what is expected of him/her in order to build a relationship based on mutual respect for one another. This is why training is so important. It helps YOU become a better owner and helps the dog become a better dog. The more time, effort and energy you spend with your dog, the better outcome. Very similar to raising children! Remember – Puppies under 12 weeks of age have little or no muscle control, so avoid accidents by keeping your pup confined to his/her area at all times when he/she is not 100% supervised. Which is WHY we recommend crate training (crate training effectively keeps your pooch safe while reinforcing potty training and avoiding chewed items in your house).
Destructive Behavior - As a general rule, destructive behavior will usually begin at the age of five months and possibly continue until the pet is one to one-and-a-half years of age. Any dog can be destructive during the adjustment period into a new environment. This is why we recommend crate training. Crate training is a safe and effective way of housebreaking your dog as well as keeping your dog safe. A dog that is confined in his/her crate with its safe toys will not chew up your couch, computer wires and wall to wall carpeting.
Keep in mind, Your pup should be on a leash and directly supervised at all times when outside of the house.
Training crates are highly recommended as a way to housebreak your new dog as well as prevent destructive behavior!
For a puppy, a warm, snug crate works as a house-training aid (dogs typically won’t soil their “personal space”), a temporary playpen when you can’t directly supervise the pup, and a cozy bedroom that can comfort the pup during those first few stressful nights away from littermates. Crates are, hands down, the safest way for dogs to travel in cars. A crate offers quiet refuge when a dog is recuperating from an illness or injury, and can be a sanctuary when things get hectic around the house. Every dog should have a place to call his/her own.
While you are home, acclimate your dog to his/her crate throughout the day by practicing going in and out of the crate and spending short amounts of time inside. This will prevent your pet from associating the crate with being alone.
Important! Never use the crate as punishment for bad behavior!
As long as you don’t use them for punishment, crates can also help you correct some undesirable canine behaviors such as destructive chewing. More important, crates can help prevent behavior problems before they start by helping you establish routines for your dog.
Your job is to teach your dog that the crate is a great place to be. No matter what your dog’s age, make sure every interaction he/she has with the crate is pleasant. Even though your dog loves his/her crate, he/she may whine a bit when left alone in it for the first time. Always wait until your dog is calm and quiet before opening the door. If you uncrate a dog because he/she is whining, you teach him/her that whining is okay.
What crate to buy? Most crates are made of either thick-gauge metal wire or molded plastic. Whichever material you choose, your dog’s crate should be ruggedly constructed and fitted with secure door latches. For portability, look for crates that disassemble or fold up easily. Our shelter sells and recommends the wire crate with the divider panels (the divider panel is great because you only have to buy ONE crate for the entire life of the pet (it grows with your dog/puppy) - which we sell cheaper than the petstores. Come down and see what we offer… we also offer Starter Kits – which include crates/beds/toys/and miscellaneous items you need to train your dog/puppy.
Above all, make sure your dog’s crate is the appropriate size at least large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down in. But, a crate shouldn’t be too big, especially for a pup (which is why the divider panel is so important). Young dogs often find spacious quarters more disturbing than comforting. Also, a crate that’s too large can sabotage house-training because the pup can eliminate at one end and then move to “higher ground.” If you’re raising a pup, purchase a crate that will be big enough to accommodate him/her when he/she is full-grown, then insert partitions or cardboard boxes inside the crate to reduce the interior space for the time being.
Important! Always remove your pet’s collar before placing in the crate!
House Breaking – Any punishment after the fact will only serve to confuse your pet. If you catch your dog in the act, distract him/her with a clap of your hands and/or a growling “no” and bring him/her outside to finish. Always praise your pet when he/she chooses to use an appropriate place to eliminate.
When you have the pup out of his/her confinement area, be sure bring the puppy to his/her area periodically, especially: after each meal; after waking from a nap/sleep; after running around, playing, or becoming excited; or, any time your pup starts walking around in circles or sniffing the floor like he is looking for something.
If your dog does have an accident outside of his/her training crate, be sure to disinfect with a cleaner, but be sure to finish cleaning the area by wiping or spraying it with white vinegar and water (50/50 solution) or a pet appropriate pet accident cleaner such as Nature’s Miracle (we sell this at our shelter too). This will neutralize the odor, reducing the chances of your pet re-marking the area.
Never hit your puppy, scream at him/her, or rub his/her nose in his/her mess!
Puppies and Children – Play biting is an instinctive behavior, which is centered around the instinct to chase prey and capture it. We can apply these same behaviors in a home with small children. Small children run through the home and this activates your dog’s prey/chase behavior and the puppy takes off after the children. Parents must supervise their children and pet 100% of the time. If parents cannot supervise the children and the pet, the pet should be placed in his/her confinement area until he/she can be supervised.
The smartest thing to do is invest in a crate (we sell them here!) and sign-up for training with Phil at Good Dogs School of Obedience. What are you waiting for? You have a lot to do!