Mistakes create bad habits which are hard to break, so you must prevent mistakes at all cost. Here are some house training tips:
- When you are not home, leave your dog or puppy in a long term confinement area, such as a crate or single room in-doors with easy-to-clean floors, bathroom, kitchen, or utility room.
- When you are at home and your dog cannot be watched, confine your dog to a short-term confinement area with a number of stuffed chew toys for entertainment.
- A portable dog crate makes an ideal den. Alternatively, keep your dog on a short leash fastened to an eye-hook in a baseboard near it’s bed, or attach the leash to your belt.
- Every hour on the hour, say “let’s go pee and poop” (or your potty instructions) and, with your dog on leash, hurry it outside where you want your dog to go.
- Keeping it on leash, stand still and repeat the instruction to eliminate.
- Give your dog at least three minutes to do its business.
- When your dog eliminates, praise it enthusiastically and give it a yummy treat.
- If your dog does not eliminate during this time, put it back either leashed to you or in its confinement area for another hour and then repeat.
Chewing is perfectly normal, natural, and necessary canine behavior. Prevention and treatment of destructive chewing focus on management and education. Here are some tips to try:
- When leaving home, confine your puppy or dog to a long-term confinement area, such as a single room or crate, with a bowl of water and nothing to chew but half a dozen freshly stuffed chew toys.
- The purpose of confinement is to prevent your dog from chewing inappropriate items around your house and to maximize the likelihood your dog will develop a chew toy habit.
- Kongs, Biscuit Balls, Big Kahuna footballs, and sterilized long-bones are by far the best chew toys. They are made of natural products, are hollow, and may be stuffed with food to entice your dog to chew them exclusively.
Dogs consider digging to be perfectly normal and natural doggy activity. It would therefore be fruitless to try to stop your dog from digging altogether. Here are some things you can try:
- When you are away from home, keep your dog indoors.
- When you are at home, try to accompany your dog outdoors to supervise and teach backyard manners.
- Some dogs dig to escape because they cannot bear the boredom and anxiety of solitary confinement in the yard.
- If you decide to leave your dog in the yard, make sure the yard is more interesting with proper toys and be sure your fence is in proper condition.
- Tie chew toys to ground stakes or hang them from tree branches in dog zones to encourage it to want to spend time in areas where he supposed to be.
- Discourage your dog from entering non-digging areas. If your dog digs in a non-digging area, put some of his excrement in the hole. This tells the dog that all he'll find is his feces there and he won’t want to dig there again.
Some dogs get extremely worked up when visitors ring the doorbell or when dogs walk by the house. Barking is as characteristically doggy as wagging a tail or burying a bone. It would be silly and inhumane to try and stop your dog from barking altogether. After all, some barking is extremely useful.
- Do not leave an excessive barker outdoors. Yard-bound dogs are exposed to many more disturbances and their barks more easily penetrate the neighborhood.
- Leave your dog comfortably in a single room (away from the Street) with a radio or TV playing to mask outside disturbances.
- If you have been leaving your dog outside because he soils or destroys the house, house train and chew toy train your dog so he may enjoy indoor comforts when you are away from home.
Many people have unrealistic expectations about interactions between dogs. Most dogs have frequent disagreements and arguments, and on occasion it leads to scrapping noisily, but only in extremely rare instances does one dog severely harm another dog. Though it is unrealistic to expect dogs to never have arguments, it is perfectly realistic to raise and train dogs to never hurt each other when fighting. Learn how to teach canine good manners:
- Socialize your puppy to be friendly, so that he would rather play than fight.
- Prevent predictable adolescent de-socialization, but most importantly, teach your puppy bite inhibition, so that if he does scrap as an adult, he causes no harm. Adolescence is a particularly stressful time for young dogs, especially males, who may be repeatedly harassed by older dogs, again mainly males.
- Additionally, to maintain self-confidence and offset the stress of adult-doggy discipline, an adolescent dog requires many positive social interactions. Regular play sessions and repeated friendly encounters are crucial. To prevent your puppy from becoming asocial or antisocial during adolescence, they must continue to meet unfamiliar friendly dogs on a regular basis.
- Throughout adolescence and adulthood, always praise and reward your dog with food treats or a special toy for meeting, greeting, and playing with unfamiliar dogs.
- An adult dog may learn basic manners and good behavior (house training, proper chewing, when and how to bark) at any time in his life.
- Shy and fearful dogs can be substantially rehabilitated, but they will never develop the confidence and social skills of a well socialized puppy.
- After eight weeks of age, puppies start to become shy and wary of unfamiliar people.
- Between five and eight months of age, they become fearful of strangers, especially men and children.
- Fearfulness and aggression worsen very quickly, because once a dog becomes fearful or aggressive, socialization stops.
- If your puppy becomes fearful, his life as a companion dog will be riddled with anxiety and stress.
- If you notice that your puppy or adolescent dog is shy, standoffish, or fearful, seek help immediately. A good resource for positive trainers is the www.apdt.com web site to find a positive trainer in your area.