Housebreaking Your Puppy and Other Basic Training - Page 2

Helping You Get the Most From Your Hunting Dogs

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Dry the puppy after he has gone outside in the rain or snow. This can also be a time to give him extra praise and affection for eliminating properly. If outdoor training is impractical, it is possible to train a puppy (especially toy breeds) to relieve himself indoors on paper. However, this weakens the puppy's cleanliness instinct and establishes a habit. As a result, many dogs cannot be retrained to go outside.

New Experiences for Your Puppy
Plan ahead to introduce your puppy to his new home and to begin his socialization. Help him adjust to his surroundings, and then gradually introduce him to people - one or two at a time under circumstances you control. Do not let him become overwhelmed by a crowd of people. Take him for walks in the neighborhood. Show the neighborhood children how to pet him and talk to him. Introduce him to the postal carrier, the meter reader and other service people who visit your home regularly.

If you have another pet, keep the puppy and the pet separated but within sight of each other for the first few days. Reassure the other pet to help prevent jealousy. When you feel confident that they will accept each other, you can put them in the same area and they should become friends. However, it is important to continue to give the other pet extra attention.

Introduce your puppy to riding in the car. Too many times, puppies learn to associate riding in the car with trips to the veterinarian and become, at best, reluct2.nt travelers. Short rides soon (even if the ride is only around the block) become happy experiences for the puppy. When the veterinarian is the destination, the puppy arrives relaxed and is usually easier to manage during his examination. A puppy accustomed to riding in the car becomes a better traveling companion when it is necessary to include him in family travel plans.

For safer driving for you and your puppy, confine him in a carrier or use a restraining device.

Some puppies may experience motion sickness, but they usually outgrow it. Withholding food for at least three hours before traveling and conditioning the puppy with short drives usually minimizes this problem.

Correcting Bad Habits
The best way to correct bad habits is to avoid introducing them to your new puppy. Anticipating and taking action to prevent potential problems makes life easier for you and your puppy. Here are examples of how to help prevent problems before they start.

When the puppy first comes home, do not leave him alone for long periods of time. When he is left alone, he may become frightened or lonesome which may result in destructive behavior. Help him learn to accept being left alone. Begin by leaving him alone for short periods of time in his crate or in an area where he cannot do any damage. Be certain he has a chew bone and/or a favorite toy to help prevent boredom. Gradually increase the length of separation time until he is accustomed to being left alone.

Help your puppy adjust to loud noises. During a thunderstorm, fireworks or any other noisy situation, play with him as you normally do or hold him and in a soothing voice reassure him that "it's business as usual".

All puppies tend to chew, especially when they are teething (between 14 and 30 weeks of age). Help your puppy learn that his toys are for chewing. If he chews on anything else, grab him by the scruff of the neck, gently shake him and say "no" in a stern voice. Give him a chew toy, and as he starts chewing it, praise him to let him know this is acceptable behavior. Never give a puppy an old shoe or any other household item to chew. He will think that all shoes or other items are "fair game" for chewing.

Avoid playing tug-of-war with your puppy unless you want an adult dog that bites, pulls and tugs.

Biting can be encouraged by allowing a puppy to bite you during play time. Never wiggle your fingers or hand in a teasing way at a puppy to encourage him to attack you. Avoid letting him attack your arm or leg. Such "attack games" may seem cute when the puppy is little, but the end result is usually an adult dog that bites.

Puppies frequently get into wastebaskets and enjoy scattering and tearing up paper. Coming into the room after the puppy has had his fun with the wastebasket and scolding him is futile. You may feel better because you expressed your anger, but the puppy does not associate the scolding with the act. Until the puppy outgrows his wastebasket curiosity, it's easier to keep wastebaskets out of his reach.

At mealtime, a puppy can look very appealing and family members are sometimes tempted to give him food from the table as a treat. This may be the start of two bad habits: the making of a finicky eater who refuses to eat his regular diet and the begging dog that disrupts mealtime and may even try to take food from the table. Choose a good quality nutritionally complete food for your puppy such as Purina@ Puppy Chow@ brand puppy food or Purina@ Pro Plan@ Growth Formula and always have fresh drinking water in a clean dog bowl available.

When a puppy jumps on visitors or climbs all over people, this behavior is often dismissed as "cute" or friendly as a puppy." However, it does not remain cute or friendly as the puppy matures. Teach the dog to sit when someone enters the house. When the puppy sits, reward him with lots of praise.

Establish a command for each behavior problem such as "off' when the puppy jumps on furniture. Repeat this same command each time and you will soon break him of this bad habit.

If your puppy barks excessively while you are at home, he is probably not getting enough attention. Play with him, take him for walks and praise him for good behavior. Your love and attention will bring out the best in your puppy.

Begin Grooming Early
Early in life a puppy should learn that grooming can be a pleasant experience. Begin with short grooming sessions. If the puppy fusses, say "no" firmly. Reassure the puppy and praise him lavishly for good behavior. As you repeat the procedure daily, accustom your puppy to opening his mouth for inspection and to having his ears and paws handled.

Later on, when his teeth and ears need cleaning and his nails clipped, he won't resist this care and he will probably be more at ease when he is examined or treated by a veterinarian.

The grooming routine you establish will depend upon how much time your puppy spends outdoors, whether he is a longhaired or shorthaired breed and local weather conditions.

How often a puppy should be bathed depends upon his breed, coat type, living conditions and climate. Never let a wet puppy go outside or expose him to drafts. Use only a shampoo formulated for dogs.

Pet shops can advise you as to the appropriate grooming tools to effectively groom your puppy.

Being A Good Neighbor
While puppies enjoy exploring the great outdoors, certain precautions must be taken to protect them and to help make them welcome neighbors.

If you leave your puppy outdoors unattended, make sure he stays in his own yard. A fenced-in yard is ideal. However, to ensure safety after the puppy matures, make certain the fence is tall enough to prevent the dog from climbing or jumping over. The fence should fit tight to the ground or even be buried a few inches underneath it to prevent crawling or digging out under it. Also, be certain the spaces between the posts and gates do not allow room for the puppy to squeeze through.

If you do not have a fence, try a swivel stake or a tree-to-tree wire with a pulley for your pup's leash. Remember, not to leave him outside too long on very cold or very warm days.

If you walk your dog, it is your responsibility to clean up after him. Check with your police department or city hall about local pet ordinances.

Obedience School
Most experts agree that after a puppy is at least six months of age, attending obedience classes is a good idea. Even if your puppy is well-behaved, good behavior can be reinforced and expanded through obedience classes. If you are having training problems, professional trainers can help you gain greater control of your puppy as the first step toward solving these problems.

Most schools will take your puppy through the following training exercises: heel, sit-stay, down, down-stay, "come" or recall, and stand-for-exam which is very useful for home grooming and veterinary check-ups.

Obedience classes are offered by many organizations, such as the YMCA, humane societies, kennel clubs and community colleges. You can also ask your veterinarian to recommend an obedience school.

The classes are usually for a 10 to 12 week period, meeting once a week for no more than one hour. However, you should work with your puppy between classes. This "homework" reinforces what he has learned in the previous class. Remember that the training you and your puppy receive does not end when the class ends but should be continued and reinforced at home.
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