BeauJax Boutique News / New Dog
You recently added a furry family member to your home that was a puppy mill survivor. You may have even been advised that training your new dog could be a little tricky, but you didn't realize what details "tricky" entailed. Could you use a little more insight on to how best to approach training your new and very special fur child?
We came across an article from Cesar's Way that we thought could be very useful in your training. With consistency, patience, and a lot of love, you can create the peaceful, balanced, healthy home both you and your dog desires in your fresh, new life together!
Rehabilitating a puppy mill dog
So you have a new dog or cat and you're ambitious in your efforts to be the best pet parent, ever. We found a great article to share with you from PetMD.
Preparation, consistency, good health care and lots of love are key ingredients to a successful, happy and rewarding family life with your new fur child. Enjoy!
1. PET-PROOF YOUR HOME
Dogs and cats love to explore new places in a variety of ways — smelling, licking, eating, jumping, scratching, etc. “Most people don’t consider the prep work they’ll need to do before picking out an animal,” says Kristen Collins, a behaviorist with the ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team.
As a new pet parent, your job is to make sure items like chemicals, cleaning agents, clothes and shoes are either out of the house or out of reach for your furry friend. Keep your countertops and floors clear, cabinets locked, and electrical cords and wires out of sight or secure to walls. Make sure your pet has plenty of dog and cat essentials to play with, such as dog chew toys and cat scratching posts.
2. LEARN HOW TO CREATE A PET-FRIENDLY SCHEDULE
Schedules and set routines are an excellent way to encourage desired behavior. Pets are similar to children in this way. They need a regular routine, especially one that begins as soon as they are introduced to you and your new home. Here are a few of the more important schedules to enact:
Hopefully your new pet has been potty-trained (aka “housebroken”). If not, it will be helpful to initiate a bathroom schedule during the first few days/weeks in your home, especially for dogs. How often the bathroom breaks occur will mostly depend on the age of your new pet. Puppies and kittens (a few months old and younger) will urinate more often due to their small bladders and may need some assistance and encouragement. If an “accident” should occur, don’t fret. Simply clean the spot and show the animal where their “potty” is located (e.g., outside for dogs and litter boxes for cats). Accidents should occur less and less as your new pet becomes acclimated to the bathroom schedule, especially if you encourage the animal (e.g., praise, treats) when they use the potty correctly.
Over 50% of dogs and cats in America are overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. One factor for this extra weight is lack of playtime and exercise. Playtime can begin at any age and pets should be encouraged to participate daily, ideally 10-15 minutes a few times a day.
For an exercise routine, consult with a veterinarian. Many animals should not participate in rigorous exercise until about 12 months of age, and some dogs and cats may have special requirements during exercise due to underlying genetic or health concerns (e.g., brachycephalic, or flat-faced, dogs like the pug or bulldog may tire and overheat more easily). In most cases a regular exercise routine of walking or jogging 2-3 times a week for 15-30 minutes is recommended for dogs. Cats often prefer chasing/pouncing games rather than walking on a leash, but not every cat is the same.
Measure out a portion of food at each meal, if possible, as this will limit the amount of calories your pet is eating at one time. You can meal feed or leave it for your pet to eat at his or her own pace. Consult with your veterinarian regarding the amount of food your new pet is to be given on a daily basis.
3. CHOOSE A QUALITY DIET
Feeding pets a complete and balanced diet is a vital part of keeping them happy and healthy for years to come. Nutritional needs will vary depending on the pet’s life stage. For instance, the nutritional needs of a growing puppy or kitten are much different than those of a sedentary adult. A pet’s nutritional needs may change during his or her senior years. Consult your veterinarian to see what diet is best for your pet's specific life stage and lifestyle.
4. FOCUS ON POSITIVE TRAINING/WATCH FOR BEHAVIOR ISSUES
Be consistent with training from the beginning, but keep it positive. “There should be no need for yelling or physical punishment,” says Collins. “Set yourself up as a leader by asking for good behavior when doing even the simplest things, like preparing to go outside or eat dinner.”
If you encounter any behavioral issues, consult a veterinarian. He or she can help identify if it’s related to an underlying health issue and, if not, may have good recommendations for local pet trainers or behaviorists who can help you resolve the issue.
One common problem you may be able to prevent early on is separation anxiety. Many new pet parents unknowingly encourage such behavior by adopting a pet over the weekend, spending every moment with the animal and then leaving the dog or cat locked up once their “normal” Monday-Friday schedule begins. You can help prevent this anxiety by leaving your new pet alone with a fun toy for a few minutes every day and gradually increasing their “alone time.” Begin this routine on the first day you bring your pet home.
5. MAKE A VETERINARIAN YOUR #1 HEALTH/CARE RESOURCE
In many ways the veterinarian will be your most trusted advisor and the person you'll rely on the most when you have questions. Need advice on dog or cat food? See your vet. Not sure if you should neuter or vaccinate your pet? See your vet. Is your pet vomiting or scratching? See your vet. Veterinarians have a wealth of knowledge and experience taking care of animals, and they truly care about the wellbeing of your pet. So be sure and visit on a regular basis — once a year for the annual checkup, at a minimum.
So you have a new dog and you need to teach them, whether puppy or senior, basic commands. We found a great article from the Humane Society of the United States that will get you and your new fur child on your way to consistency, safety and happiness in your home!
How to Teach Your Dog Basic Commands
Good manners are as necessary for dogs as they are for people. A dog who jumps, pulls, barks or lacks self-control often finds himself left out of family activities.
An untrained dog may also put your housing situation at risk if you’re a renter or belong to a home or condominium owners' association.
Teach your dog a few basic obedience commands (such as sit, down, come and stay) using positive training methods, and you will be rewarded with a well-behaved dog who can handle most everyday social situations.
In dog training, timing is everything
Timing is very important. You must mark your dog's behavior the instant she complies with the command. Saying a single word such as "Yes!" or using a clicker is a good way to mark a correct behavior. It lets your dog know immediately that she's been successful.
Rewards work better than bribes
Rewarding your dog's good behavior with a treat is an excellent training tool, but if rewards are overused, they can become bribes.
To avoid the treat becoming a bribe, stop luring your dog with the treat as soon as he begins to catch on to what you're asking him to do. Ask him to "sit," wait two or three seconds for him to comply, then give him the treat if he sits. Your goal is to teach him to follow a verbal command alone; this will help during those moments when you may not have a treat handy but need him to be on his best behavior.
Give your dog life-rewards
Food is the easiest reward to use when you are just learning to train your dog, but it is not the only reward you can use. A toy, a game of fetch or going for a ride in the car can work, too.
For example, let's say you want to train your dog not to run out the door when you open it. Try this:
- Tell your dog to sit-stay by the front door of your house.
- If she complies, praise her, open the door and let her go outside. Going outside is the reward.
- If she gets up as you open the door, close the door and try again.
- Repeat the process until she stays in position while you open the door. Only then does she get the reward of going outside.
- Use the same technique for opening the car door so your dog can go for a ride. If she remains in position, she is rewarded by getting into the car and going for a ride. (Reminder: Never leave your dog unattended in the car).
When dog training, mind your Ps and cues
Your posture and body cues tell your dog a lot. Your dog learns to read your body language much as you learn to read his.
- Stand up when you give your dog a command. If you only give commands while sitting or squatting on the floor, your dog will learn to respond only when you're in that position.
- Keep your hands out of your pockets. If his treats are in your pockets, hands in the pockets becomes the cue that he will get a treat if he does what you ask. You want your command to be the cue, not the hand in the pocket. If your hands are always in view, you can keep him guessing.
- Similarly, don't hold a bag of treats in your hand while training. Your dog will learn he only needs to comply with commands if he sees the treat bag, not every time you ask him.
- Train your dog everywhere, not just in one room of your house. If you only practice in the kitchen, your dog will learn he only needs to do a command in the kitchen.
- As your dog learns to do a command reliably in one location, move to other rooms of the house and the yard. Practice wherever you can, even on your daily walks.