Tag Archives: Training

Grooming With Two Dogs

One of the problems with having two dogs is grooming.   You wouldn’t think it would be an issue, but having two dogs definitely make this harder.

The breed of dog that you have will determine what kind of grooming you will need to do with them and we’ll cover some of the fun facts we’ve discovered about grooming a dog in another section.

Here we’re going to focus on the problems caused specifically by having two dogs.

In the good old days when it was grooming time, I got to sit in the boss’ lap and it was all about me… just the way I like it.    Then… Scout the puppy came to live with us.

The problem with having two dogs is that whenever the boss is doing something with one of us, two things happen:

  • The dog who is not included wants to help.
  • the dog who is not included wants attention too.

The result is chaos.   Apparently, that’s not a good thing because the boss isn’t very good at brushing one dog when the other dogs also insists on being involved.    Although… I think if she practiced a little more….

The Answer – Separation and Bribery

We solve the grooming problem that comes with having two dogs by getting treats.   I know… I think it’s a GREAT answer too!

When it’s grooming time, one of us gets hooked up to the banister with a small rawhide/bone, etc.    Of course, the other dog gets a treat too, otherwise we would only be interested in the treat instead of getting ready for grooming.

I always get to go first because I’m clearly the better dog!

Sit on the floor with the dog to be groomed in front of you.   Sit far enough away so the dog on the leash is in the same proximity (so they won’t freak out) but far enough that they can’t get involved and “help”.

Like everything else, start slow when you start brushing the dogs.   The whole brush thing is weird and we need a chance to get used to it.

This setup solves the grooming problems that come from having two dogs.   One dog is tied to the banister with a rawhide and the other dog has a smaller treat and gets all of the attention that comes along with grooming.    Everyone is happy.

When my grooming is done, we switch.   Then I get the bigger treat and get tied to the banister while the other dog gets brushed, etc.

Other Things To Know

This is a great way to get kids involved in helping with the dogs.   They can start by holding the dog as you start brushing her.

Another fun fact about puppies… sometimes (at least the one that lives with us) they aren’t very smart.   They sometimes think the tufts of hair that come off the other dog are treats.

Check here for more information about the problems and solutions related to Having Two Dogs.

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!

Getting Out Of The Car – Safely

First of all, you should take your dogs in the car with you aaaaaaaall of the time, and I don’t just think that because I’m a dog.   At least I don’t think so.

Although you shouldn’t take us when it’s too hot or too cold for us to stay in the car… or when you’re going to be gone for long periods of time.   OK, maybe we shouldn’t get to go ALL of the time, but we really, really, really like it when we get to go along. 

Having two dogs can actually cause a problem when you take us in the car if you don’t plan ahead a little.   Before you take multiple dogs in the car with you, make a plan on how you will get us out of the car.   If you don’t have a plan we will both jump out as soon as the door is open and it will be chaos.   We all know I should get to go first, but the darn new puppy doesn’t seem to understand that.

The problem is that getting to ride in the car is more exciting than just about anything, but getting out of the car is 10 times better.   We just get too excited to listen and do what you tell us to.   Having two dogs this excited definitely makes this a bigger issue.

There are a couple problems caused by having two dogs who both want to get out of the car at the same time:

  • In the chaos, we could get free and run to the next town (or worse… into the street)
  • We could stumble over each other and fall on the concrete (which I’m pretty sure would hurt)

Although… I‘m pretty sure we’re supposed to be (cue the schoolmarm voice) in a crate or a dog seatbelt when we‘re in the car.   We get to ride in the middle seat of our SUV.     Shhhh… don’t tell our vet but this is one way to solve this problem.    Don’t tell the boss either because I don’t want to ride in a crate.

    

The answer to this problem is the headrest for the front seat.

When you open the back car door to let us out, make sure you immediately step in front of the open door to block our exit.   You need to stand as close to the car as possible and close the door a bit if you can.   You may have to put your foot up on the section where your feet go in the car.   I was kind of impressed with the new puppy and how she was able to squeeze through any tiny little ray of light that she saw so be really careful to block the exit.

Here is the plan:

  • Open the car door and immediately block the exit.
  • Hook both dogs to their leash.   Don’t use a dual leash here, someone will get hurt. 
  • Decide who gets to go first.   (I think the old dog should always go first, but I may be biased.)
  • Wrap the leash of the second dog around the headrest for the front seat.   Hold the leash tight so they can’t jump out.
  • Tell the first dog to go – by name.   “Baylor-go”.
  • When the first dog is out of the car and away from the landing area, tell the second dog to Stay.
  • Unwrap their leash and make them “Stay” (for control).
  • Tell them to go – by name.

 Other Things To Know

I have to say that this isn’t easy to learn, but like everything else it can be done with patience, repetition and consistency.   It’s a lot better now that we’ve learned this.   I used to worry that the new dog was going to jump on me.   Now it seems pretty non eventful.  

Having two dogs is a good thing but there are things that could be an issue.   A little planning and training will go a long way toward making this particular issue a non-issue.

Check here for more information about the problems and solutions related to Having Two Dogs.

Do you know of other ways to make getting two dogs out of the car safely?

Training… For Humans

There are literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of dog books about this.   Since this website can’t be hundreds of pages long (because my paws would get really tired, really training a dog is outside of the scope of what we’re doing here.

We are big fans of the “Dummie” books.   This is where the boss started with me and we’ve always found that these books contain tons of really helpful information and they’re done in a really user friendly format.    

However, we can tell you a few things that the “experts” won’t tell you as well as a few things they will tell you that you won’t believe… until you don’t do it and then fail.

We’ve learned two things:

  • Training is more about the person than it is the dog.   (I knew it wasn’t really my fault!)
  • The “experts” are usually right.   There is a reason they’re experts… they kind of know what they’re doing.

Poor Training (That Means YOU)
Here’s the problem.   Most dog owners don’t know a thing about how to train us.   You all think if you get mad at the dog about something a few times that it automatically means we’ll stop doing it… even though the next few times it happens… we don’t get in trouble.

If there is food on the counter and I get in trouble for grabbing it the first four times but NOT the fifth… I’m thinking it might be worth it to grab it again and hope it will be one of the times you don’t want to get off the couch.   Or you just want to yell at me from across the room.

It’s not about the dog… it’s about the trainer…   and the consistency of the trainer.

Our vet once said (well, she said it more than once because the boss is a slow learner… and kind of lazy).   “Never give an order that you are not in a position to enforce.”

As a dog I’m not a big fan of that, but once I KNOW that I have to do what she says… then I give up and start doing it.   You have to correct the dog every single time they do what you don’t want them to.   Not most of the time… every single time.

Sometimes it’s helpful to “set us up” (although I’m not sure I really think that is fair)  🙂

For example if you’re having trouble keeping the dog off the counters, purposely put some food at the edge of the counter so it’s easily within the dog’s reach.   Then stay close and pay attention so you can make the correction instantly.

Have I mentioned that the trainer is more important in this equation than the dog?   If you pay attention and are consistent in what behavior correct, any dog can learn what you want them to.

Does your dog do something that they shouldn’t be doing?

Did you TEACH them that they shouldn’t do it?   Telling them doesn’t count, you have to teach them what is ok and what is not ok.   Oh… and you have to be consistent about it… did I mention that yet?   I know I said it already, but if you’re as slow as my boss is, I need to mention it more than once!!