Category Archives: Puppies

Puppy Help – Potty Training

The whole potty training thing is bad.

I hear the human people talk a lot about figuring out how to potty train a puppy.  It’s hard to believe, but somehow the puppy doesn’t seem to know she’s not supposed to pee in the house.

That means you’re going to be cleaning up “mistakes” for a while.  Yippee.

Puppy Potty Training Isn’t Easy
This is the thing that everyone forgets when they think about getting a new puppy… how much of a pain they are.

Here is what happens:

Potty training a puppy

  • They forget all about the problems
  • They get a new puppy (hopefully not an evil one like ours) and go on and on and on about how cute they are
  • Then… they remember the problems
  • They complain to their friends
  • Their friends always say “you forgot how much of a pain puppies are, didn’t you”?   It happens every – single – time.

Our puppy Scout pee’d in her actual kennel a couple of times, but that seemed to stop when we did two things:

  • Reduced the size of the kennel (by putting a box in the kennel) so she didn’t have as much extra space.
  • Caught” her in the act so she could be corrected right away.   This is pretty important when learning how to potty train a puppy.

How To Potty Train A Puppy
Learning how to potty train a puppy isn’t about hitting them with newspapers, yelling at them or rubbing their nose in it.   It’s about TEACHING them that they’re supposed to pee outside and helping them be successful at it so they learn faster.

The one item that is crucial when training a puppy is having a kennel.   We’ll cover that in more detail in another post, but just know that you must have one, you must use one and the dog actually doesn’t hate it.
They will have to pee as soon as they get out of the kennel and immediately after they play.   This isn’t just stuff that people say… it’s true.   If you take them outside immediately after these two events, the potty training thing will be much easier.   fyi… the younger the puppy, the more “immediate” applies.  Scout usually pee’d on the way to the door for the first week, then each week was able to hold it a little longer.
When the puppies comes out of the kennel, they have to pee.   Take them immediately outside or to the pee pad if you’re using one.

Play with them then immediately take them outside to pee… yes… again.   Put them in the kennel to nap (because they do this a lot).

Follow a pattern with the new dog.   Kennel, pee, play, pee, kennel, pee, play, etc.

When you take them immediately (get the picture?) outside to pee, take them to the place you want them to pee and say whatever keyword you’re going to use until they pee.

When they do pee outside in the place they’re supposed to, you’re supposed to make a fool of yourself.   What I really mean is that you should be super excited for the puppy and let them learn that peeing outside is a good thing.

You get much, much, much, much faster results when training your dog from positive reinforcement than with negative.   I know I’m a dog and it sound like I’m just saying this because I like the positive stuff better, but it’s actually true.   If you ask anyone who actually knows how to train a dog they will confirm this.   If you happen to talk to someone who does not agree with this, you are getting very bad advice… they only think they know what they’re talking about.

Pee-Pads
I don’t think the experts are a big fan of the pee-pads, but we liked them.  When the evil new puppy started to pee in the house she got moved immediately to the pee-pad.   It made a much smaller mess if she could be moved to the pee pad instead of having to go all the way to the door.    The boss seemed to like this.

The trade off is that getting truly potty trained probably takes a little longer, but you have much less of a mess to deal with in the interim.

Towels
The clean up got a lot easier for us when we decided to use towels.   The boss gathered up all the ratty white towels and put them on the kitchen counter.   She also put a few in the kennel (because it’s easier to wash towels than it is a blanket when they get pee’d on).

When the evil puppy pee’d on the carpet, we soaked it up with a towel, sprayed the carpet with a vinegar/water mix and tossed the towel in the bathroom sink.   fyi – they have a lot of other stuff also available to make clean up easier.

When the sink got full, we tossed the towels in the washing machine.   Using the same color of towel made the laundry easier.   This also works best if you do NOT use fabric softener on the towels because it helps them absorb the bad stuff better.

Then we ran the carpet cleaner on the pee’d on areas once a week until the puppy finally learned not to pee in the house.   It took forever because she’s really not that smart… but I’m not supposed to say that out loud.

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The more often you take them outside so they can successfully pee where they’re supposed to, the faster your carpet will be safe!

You can see some of the products designed to make the clean up process easier here.

Did you forget how much of a pain puppies are before you got yours?

Your Old Dog Needs Her Own Space

I wasn’t all that happy when the boss brought home a new puppy about a year ago.   I had to start sharing stuff that I’ve never had to share before… tennis balls, attention from the boss, lap time, water dish, etc).

It’s been about a year now and I guess I’ve started to get used to it a little, but it doesn’t mean I like the evil new dog.   Check out the picture at the top, she does look evil, don’t you think?

The boss is kind of a slow learner and she usually does a lot of stuff wrong before she can figure out how to do it right.   (I thought people were supposed to be smarter than animals, but I guess that’s not always true.)

However, in this case she actually did something right but I’m pretty sure it was only because our vet told her too.

When the evil new puppy came home, there were different rules for me and for the puppy.

Before the new dog came, I had the run of the house.   I could go anywhere I wanted and do anything I wanted… as long as it didn’t get me in trouble.   Yes, I even got to be on the furniture.   (shhhh…. Don’t tell the boss that some people actually don’t let their dogs on the couch!)

When the new dog came, I still got to be on the furniture, but the new dog didn’t.   There were also places in the house where I could still go without the new dog tagging along.   (She tried to follow me EVERYWHERE.)

After all, it was “my” house, right?    Having different rules made it still feel like “my house”.   It also gave me a few “safe” places to go where the annoying new guy couldn’t bother me.   Don’t tell anyone, but she was sometimes fun to play with, but she neeeeeeever stopped.    When I got tired of her biting my legs, I could get on the couch so she had to stop.

It was  traumatic learning to live with the puppy (and share stuff with her), but having places in the house that were still “mine” made me feel better and made the adjustment easier.

Do you have any other tricks to make the introduction of (an evil) new 2nd dog easier for your old dog?

Puppies – The Key To Training Them Faster

The biggest key to training a puppy (or any dog really) is catching them “in the act” of whatever bad thing they’re doing… because they are going to do bad things. 

Trying to correct their behavior after the bad thing happened doesn’t work.   Most of the time they have no idea that they did something bad.

Just because they look guilty doesn’t mean they know what they did wrong.   Usually they are just reacting because they can tell you are not happy about something.  

Did She Do Something Bad… Or Not?

 

How do you actually catch them being bad?   You have to watch them ALL THE TIME.

People usually play with the puppy for a bit, then get busy doing something else and then notice 10 minutes later they pee’d on the floor or chewed on something bad. 

If you try to correct the puppy AFTER something happened, they have no idea what they did wrong.   It may make you feel better to yell at them, but they have absolutely no idea why they’re getting yelled at except that you’re mean and you might not like them 

Yes… it’s easier to block them off in the kitchen when you’re too busy to watch them, but that only means they’re free to do bad stuff and you’re not going to see them do it.  

It’s hard, but if you watch them ALL THE TIME while they are blocked off in the kitchen you can actually see them when they pee on the floor or eat the sock (one of Scout’s favorite tricks) or chew on the drawer, or do any of the other 300 bad things they will do while they are puppies. 

If you catch them in the act every single time they do it… and correct their behavior every single time they do it… they will turn into the perfectly trained dog (like me!!) you’ve always wanted much, much faster

You have a decision to make.   Do you want to expend more effort (to constantly watch them) now when they are just starting to learn right from wrong or do you want to expend more effort as they continue to grow and still haven’t learned the rules yet? 

More effort for a shorter period of time -or-  less effort over a longer period of time? 

Puppies – Because I Have To

OK… I’m not happy about it but I’ve been told I have to talk about bringing new puppies home.  If you missed the reason I don’t want to talk about them, check out The Real Story.

I guess she’s not as bad now as when she first came, but I still think pretty fondly of the “BS” days.   (Before Scout)  The new dog’s name is Scout by the way.   Apparently it’s not nice to say “the other dog” all the time.

Scout - the bad puppy...

Anyway… puppies are a pain.   Everyone forgets this because they’re sometimes kind of cute, but puppies are a pain.    I personally think cute is a little overrated.

There is all the normal stuff “they” tell you:

  • Use a kennel.
  • Teach them to be comfortable in their kennel.
  • Watch them all the time when they’re out.
  • Say “potty” when you take them outside.
  • Give them stuff to chew on, etc.

There are whole books dedicated to training puppies and frankly my paws get tired too quickly to type a whole book’s worth of information here.

We think the “Dummie” books are a great reference for just about anything and we used the puppy one for me.   (Well… the boss thinks they’re a great reference.   They don’t do much for me because I can’t read.   Hmmm… yet somehow… I seem to be able to type…)

We’re going to try and share with you some of the stuff the experts don’t tell you.   Or stuff they tell you but you don’t believe.

Check out the Related Posts below or the Puppies category to the right and we’ll tell you everything you need to know!

Puppy Help – You Have To Train Them When They’re Small

puppiesOne big thing my boss realized waaaay too late is that the earlier you train a dog, the better.

This is especially true of a dog who will grow to be a “big” dog, like me.   It’s much easier to teach a 15 pound puppy how to walk on a leash, not to jump, etc. than it is to teach a 50 pound dog.

Imagine for a moment walking with a 10 pound dog who is pulling on the leash.   They don’t know how to walk on a leash yet so they will probably pull (and need to be corrected) a lot.  They will pull on the leash frequently, but they only weigh 10 pounds so they won’t pull very hard.

Now imagine the strength of a 50 pound dog.   If you haven’t trained the dog by then, you’re risking the health of your shoulder.   At this point they are bigger, more strong willed and a lot stronger.

Isn’t it worth a little extra effort when they are a puppy to save your shoulder later?

The same thing applies to dogs jumping.   While a 10 pound dog jumping on your knee isn’t that annoying, if you don’t train them they will turn into a 50 pound dog jumping on you… and knocking you (or your visitors) over.   Not cool.

You would think that the boss would have remembered this from when I was young and I jumped on her when she was carrying a bowl of tomato soup over to the blue and WHITE couch… but she apparently forgot about this by the time our new evil puppy Scout came around.   I guess people aren’t as smart as dogs.

Hopefully you can learn from her mistakes and teach your dogs proper behavior BEFORE they get too big to easily handle.

 

There are many more posts that talk about dealing with the dreaded puppies.

What do you think about training dogs while they’re still little?