Learning Tricks

Today, my human and I headed outside to review my tricks.  Here are a few tricks I did that my human managed to get pictures of:

Sit, which I am very good at.


Touch the tea bag.  My human throws it and I go touch it.  I haven’t quite figured out why.


Lay down, which I tend to confuse with “take a bow.”


Far away stay.  I’m getting better at sitting while my human goes back a little.


Jump up.  My favorite!!


Yum!  Those treats were tasty!


Puppy Training

Happy National Puppy Day!  To celebrate, Doggy Times will put out three posts on puppy tips, house-training, and puppy training.

What do you think of when someone says “puppy”?  A fluffy face?  Sweet puppy breath?  Perhaps you’ve had a puppy before and you immediately think, “Work!”  Yes, those sweet little furballs are a true workout!  Nipping, chewing, peeing, jumping, and barking are some of their favorite activities.  For most, though, the inconveniences and troubles of puppy raising are worth it a hundred times over.  I mean, really, look at that adorable face!puppy training newborn

Having a puppy is a whole lot easier if you take the time to train your puppy.  Pups with basic manners are more fun to live with, too.  If you train him, you will have more time to simply enjoy his short puppyhood.

Yes, I’m Listening…a Little

puppy training schnauzerYour puppy has a super short attention span.  He probably won’t want to train for 10-15 minutes like an adult dog, even if you have delicious treats.  Don’t force him to do long training sessions.  He will get bored and not cooperate, and you will wonder why you ended up with such a dumb pup.  Your puppy is very intelligent, but he has so much energy that he doesn’t like to focus and stay still.  5 minutes is good for some puppies, but others will need even less time.

Having a short training session doesn’t mean that training should be fast and furious.  Let your puppy take his time when he learns.  If you rush him, he will get confused and not like training with you.  Keep it fun!

Collar and Leash

Uh…you don’t have to teach your dog to wear a collar and leash, right?  Actually, you do. Some puppies will accept wearing a collar and leash more than others, but they still need to learn.  The minute your puppy gets home, you should put his collar on.  He might fuss a little, so distract him with a toy or treat.  Leashes, however, are a totally different thing.  Most puppies can’t stand having that tempting string-thing dangling by them.  Attack!!  If you introduce the leash positively, though, your pup will be happy to oblige.  Here’s how to do it:

puppy training leash
Introduce your puppy to the leash slowly

Attach your leash to your dog’s collar inside the house, but don’t pick it up yet.  Let your puppy drag it around for a few seconds, with you distracting him with treats.  Do this for however many days you think necessary, only don’t rush it.  Next, pick up the leash while inside.  Your puppy probably isn’t going to be happy about this!  To help him, show your puppy that you have a simply delicious treat in your hand.  Lead your puppy a few steps before giving it to him.  Continue this for a few days.  Now you can test it outside.  Still have a few treats in your pocket to lead your puppy.  However, he’ll probably be so thrilled at being outside without a fence that he won’t need it!  By the way, now’s a good time to discourage pulling.  Don’t let your puppy tug, because when he’s older, it won’t be so cute!

The Basic Commands

puppy labIf you don’t enroll your puppy in a puppy obedience class (a very good idea, by the way), you need to teach him some manners at home.  Start with sit.  It’s very simple and good for your puppy’s short attention span.  Next, work on the most important life skill, come.  This is such a vital command that I can’t stress it’s importance enough!  Once your smart pup has mastered these you can move onto some other fun ones like lay down, high five, drop it, and take a bow.

Always, always keep training super duper fun for your puppy.  Read the Tricks page to get a better idea of how to teach him and what supplies you’ll need.

Have fun with your puppy, and remember to keep training paw-sitive!

Puppy Raising Tips

puppy day white dogHappy National Puppy Day!  To celebrate, Doggy Times will put out three posts on puppy tips, house-training, and puppy training.

So, you are now officially the owner of a cute little puppy.  Are you happy?  Good!  However, to keep that happy feeling alive through these sometimes challenging months, you need to start puppy raising on the right foot – and, of course, paw.  Here are a few tips to help you out!

Take Me With You!

puppy day leashYour puppy is like a sponge, soaking up all of his experiences, good and bad.  This means that if he has a bad scare from a vacuum, he may continue to be frightened of it even as an adult dog.  If you don’t get your furry friend out in the world so he can experience new people, animals, smells, and places, he might grow up to be fearful or – even worse – aggressive of what he’s unfamiliar with.  Don’t start getting panicky, though!  It’s not that hard to help your pup adjust to the human world.  You simply need to expose your puppy to any situation he may encounter as an adult.  Here’s a short example list of people, animals, and places he should be exposed to before he hits 16 weeks:

puppy day kids and pup
Expose your puppy to many people, animals, and places before he turns 16 weeks

People with hats, umbrellas, shopping carts, canes, people in wheelchairs, screaming children, older people, babies (with supervision, of course), people in overcoats, people running, jogging, biking, skateboarding, etc.

Animals: large dogs, small dogs, cats, chickens, cows, sheep, horses, hamsters, etc.

Places: outdoor restaurants (check to make sure they allow dogs first), stores, homes other than yours, parks, places with big bodies of water, places with cars, etc.

Touch Me!

If you get your puppy used to being handled while he’s young, his adult life will be so much easier.  Here are a few things you can do with your puppy to help him get used to being touched: tickle his toes, rub his belly, touch his tail, open his mouth and touch his teeth, hold his feet for a few seconds, lift the flaps of his ears, stroke his snout, etc.

puppy day holding

Some puppies are very upset when you try to touch them on certain places.  If this is the case, you will have to proceed very slowly.  Have a special treat between your fingers and let your dog lick it.  While he is busy enjoying it, casually and gently touch the place.  Don’t do it so much that your puppy begins to wiggle or struggle uncomfortably.  If you do this about every day, your puppy will soon accept your touching that spot because he associates it with something good.

Play Gently!

You probably already know this, but here’s another reminder: never play rough with your puppy.  If you encourage* growling, snapping, jumping, or clawing during your play sessions, your puppy will continue acting that way for the rest of his life – even if he weighs 130 pounds.  And having a small Dachshund isn’t an excuse for this either.  He will end up biting an innocent child or even adult who starts to play with him.

puppy day tugTug-of-war with a rope toy is a fun game that many dogs enjoy.  However, it probably isn’t the best game to play with a puppy.  While you see tug as just a fun game, at the other end of the rope, your puppy sees it as a test of strength.  That means that, when he wins, he will think that he is better than you.  You are accidentally letting him challenge your role as pack leader!  If you choose to play tug with your pup, make sure you win as many times as he does.  However, it is a very good idea to let tug-of-war wait until your puppy is old enough to understand that it’s just a game and you’re still boss.

*Encourage doesn’t just mean saying, “Good dog, Rover!”   If you ooh and aah, laugh, or even let a smile sneak up on you, your puppy will think you are saying, “Good dog, Rover!  Snap, growl, jump!”  When your puppy starts acting up during play sessions, the game must stop immediately.

Enjoy this special time with your puppy, and please take the time to raise him right.puppy day bloodhound pup

House-training Your Puppy


puppy raising boxerHappy National Puppy Day!  To celebrate, Doggy Times will put out three posts on puppy tips, house-training, and trick training.

There have been hundreds of books written on house-training puppies.  Within these books are different methods of teaching a puppy where to go potty.  Don’t get overwhelmed!  House-training your puppy isn’t as difficult as it may seem.  It just takes time, patience, and encouraging words from you.

Set the Clock

puppy raising clockFrom the minute you bring that little bundle of love home, set a timer on your clock or phone that will ring about every 15-30 minutes.  If your puppy has an accident before the timer rings, you aren’t taking him out often enough.  Set the timer for less time.

Get a Cage

A crate helps your puppy not make messes at night or while you’re gone

It might seem cruel to lock your dog in a cage, but to him, it’s his own little cave, his special room where he can retreat from noise and have a nap.  Also, it means you can leave him alone in the house in his cage without having to worry about him chewing your shoes, peeing on the carpet, or attacking the leather couch.  With house-training, having a crate means that you can be reassured that your dog won’t go pee during the night or when you’re gone (as long as it is not for a long period of time; puppies do not have good bladder control).  Dogs don’t like to mess up their sleeping area, so this makes having a crate really handy.

puppy raising cage
Make sure that the cage you purchase will fit your dog as an adult

Remember, when you purchase a crate for your pup, get one that will fit his size when he’s a grown dog too.  Once you’re used to the luxury of a crate, you won’t want to go without!  Sometimes, if his cage is too big, though, he will pee in one corner and sleep in the other.  It might be a good idea to purchase a crate with a movable panel to make it smaller or larger.  Another option is simply putting a cardboard box with something heavy in it inside the cage to half the size.

Section Off the House

Your puppy will have less places to go potty in the house if you block his way to certain rooms. puppy raising house Bedroom, closet, and bathroom doors will need to remain closed from now on.  Also, if you have a hallway, a baby gate restricting your dog’s access to it would be a good idea.  You could also put up a small gate separating your kitchen from the living room.  This way, your puppy won’t sneak off while you’re cooking or watching TV to go potty in another room.  These gates will also help keep clothes and toys away from your puppy’s sharp teeth!

Keep Calm!

Whatever you do, don’t yell at your dog when he goes potty in the house, and please don’t hit him!  He is a baby and doesn’t know any better.  If you shout at your pup, swat him, or stick his nose in his mess you will ruin that beautiful bond that was just created.  Your puppy will think that you’re someone to be avoided and will try to hide his messes under chairs, on rugs, or in dark corners.  Don’t make house-training more difficult than it has to be!

puppy raising malteseYour dog has just had an accident in the house.  Take a deep breath!  Now, quickly clean up his mess with smell-removing cleanser (this way, he won’t smell his old mess and go again on that spot).  Don’t punish your puppy.  Set your timer for less time and look into your puppy’s licorice eyes, full of love for you.  You’re not irritated at that little pupsie-wupsie anymore, are you?

Potty Outside (Please!)

puppy raising grassWhen you take your pup outside to relieve himself, he probably won’t be interested.  He’ll sniff around, bark, and try to play with you.  Don’t punish him for this.  Your puppy has no idea what you really want, so disciplining him would be unfair.  Instead, enjoy some outdoor time with your new dog.  Take him on a short walk or run around the yard with him.  Hopefully, he will go potty once when he’s outside with you (if he doesn’t, take him inside and go back out again in a few minutes).  When he does go, praise him and give him a small treat.  Remember, there’s no such thing as too much praise for a puppy who has gone potty!

But He WON’T Go Potty Outside!

puppy raising big dog
This cute little Mastiff will soon be too large to carry outside

Remember to remain calm!  Now, when your dog has another accident in the house, soak up some of it with a newspaper.  Lay that icky paper in the yard where you want him to go potty.  This way, he will smell it and want to go there again.  Also, if your puppy is continuing to go potty in the house, you aren’t taking him out enough.

If your dog is going to be a large breed, don’t carry him outside if you think he’s about to go in the house.  Soon, he will be too large to just scoop up!  Hook a finger under his collar and gently show him outside while he is a puppy, encouraging him to follow you.  When your puppy has that growth spurt, he will already know to follow you outside.

Know the Signs

puppy raising sniffingCan you tell when your puppy needs to relieve himself?  Circling and sniffing are the main indicators.  Also, if your pup scratches, whines, or barks at the door, he obviously needs to go out!

puppy raising cuteYes, house-training is a lot of work, but look at that little baby looking up at you, ready to play.  In the long run, the cleaning, nighttime potty breaks, spoiled carpeting and rugs will be worth it.  You’ll end up with that beautiful dog of your dreams!  You can choose to make house-training fun for your little pup or you can spoil the beautiful relationship that has begun.  It’s up to you!

Puppy raising is full of trails and errors, but you’ll pull through better than ever with time, patience, and lots of paw-sitive reinforcement!


Happy Easter!

easter colored eggsEaster is a wonderful holiday.  Spring has sprung, and everything outside has turned to a lush green.  For many humans, Easter is a rush-rush time, filled with many activities.  After going to church, it’s time to see the family, eat a big dinner, and have some Easter candy.  It’s a very busy day, and it’s important to make sure your dog is not forgotten in all of the holiday bustle.  You dog doesn’t understand that it’s a holiday and may get scared and confused.

easter flowersSome people have parties on Easter, and your dog can be part of that, too.  If family is coming over to your house or you are bringing your dog to another house, make sure you follow these simple safety rules to keep your dog safe:

  • Put all purses and bags up on a counter, out of reach from your dog.
  • If any presents are unwrapped, throw away all trash.
  • Don’t give your dog any candy.  It could hurt him.
  • If your dog is stressed out from all of the hustle and bustle, let him nap in a quiet room with a few toys to keep him company.
  • Leash your dog when the company is at the door.  This way, your dog won’t bounce up and down on them.
  • Always make sure your dog is not underfoot; it’s no fun to be stepped on.  Ouch!


easter grassMany people, as an Easter tradition, will have an Easter egg hunt.  Plastic eggs filled with candy will be hidden outside or in the house for the excited children to find.  This is great, but just make sure your dog doesn’t find an Easter egg for himself and break into it.  Candy can make dogs very sick so it is best for us to stay away from it.

Keep all chocolate away from your dog.  Chocolate is poison to dogs.  Please place all Easter goodies up high and out of reach of your furry companion.  If your dog tangles with any chocolate, call your veterinarian right away.  If your dog eats too much chocolate (especially dark chocolate), it could kill him.

As an Easter treat, you could bake your dog some homemade doggy biscuits.  Your dog will love you for it!  You could even put some dog biscuits into baggies and tie them up with pretty ribbon to give away to all of your dog’s friends.

Have a tail-wagging Easter!easter lab

Are You Ready For a Puppy?

Golden_Retriever_Welpen,_4._Woche_(10576684256)To celebrate the upcoming National Puppy Day, here is a post to help you decide if you’re up for the challenge of raising a puppy.  It’s hard, yes, but also very rewarding!

Are you thinking about getting a puppy?  That’s great!  However, I won’t tell you that having a puppy is always a happy-happy experience.  It can be very hard to keep that ball of energy calm and tolerate his rowdy behavior.  You need to have patience, a good attitude, and a sense of humor.

Are You Ready For a Puppy?

Sometimes, the time just isn’t right to get a puppy.  Are you gone at school or work most of the day?  Is nobody at home to watch the puppy?  This probably isn’t the best time to introduce a puppy into your life if this is the case.

Do you have time to exercise and train a puppy?

Do you have time to devote to training and exercising your puppy?  Exercising will vary from puppy to puppy, but you should set aside at least 30 minutes to vigorously play/walk with your puppy.  Remember, this time doesn’t include petting or just hanging out with your new pal, bonding with him.  Training is also vital to having a well behaved adult in the near future.  Your puppy is like a blank sheet of paper, waiting to be drawn on.  You can neatly do this yourself by teaching him polite commands like Sit and Lay Down or let your puppy scribble on it himself.  If you choose the latter, you will end up with a big mess!

What about potty training?  Do you have three weeks or more to devote to teaching your puppy the appropriate place to go?  He will have to be taken outside about every thirty minutes, maybe more.  And to top it off, you will have to clean up your puppy’s messes several times a day that he does in the house will maintaining a good attitude.  After all, he’s just a baby.


Do you enjoy keeping your house spotless?  Do you have lots of breakable things and nice carpet and rugs?  If so, your puppy will quickly damage or ruin them!  They get their muddy paw-prints all over your house, chew the fringes of carpets, knock over statues and whatnot, and go potty on your carpet.  I’m not going to lie and tell you that puppies are little angels.  They can be very destructive!

Duke_0204Are you prepared to deal with teething?  Teething is when a puppy looses his baby teeth and the big ones grow in.  It can be very painful and uncomfortable for your furry friend and make him want to chew EVERYTHING.  Shoes, wires (extremely dangerous!  You dog could get an electrical shock!), the kids’ toys, furniture, and anything else within chewing reach will be a victim of your pup’s sharp teeth.  You will have to supervise your puppy and accept that some things will be chewed up and destroyed.  Love that new coffee table?  Prepare for little teeth marks along the edges!  One good thing about having a puppy, though, is that you will be forced to keep your house a lot cleaner!

Holidays are not good times to get a puppy.  Everyone is busy and has other things to attend to like baking, decorating, or entertaining guests.  Your new puppy, still lonely for its mother and litter mates, will feel forgotten and scared.  It’s easy to forget such a little thing as a puppy, and it can happen to the best of us.  Frightening your dog in such a way will lead to unwanted behaviors in the future.  Please wait until after any holidays to get a new puppy!

The Commitment

800px-Gauge_1When you get a new puppy, you are making a promise to him.  You’re promising to take good care of and love him for the rest of his life.  Are you up for the commitment?  Please think of the future before you get a dog!  Are you going to move to a house or apartment where they do not allow dogs?  Obviously, don’t go out and buy a puppy!  Also, you need to think long and hard about the breed of dog you want and decide if it fits your lifestyle.  You dog could live for ten years or more, and you want to make absolutely sure that this is the kind of dog you want to spend that time with.

Can’t Handle a Rowdy Pup?  Get an Adult!

WestieWithBowPuppies aren’t for everyone.  They’re super (SUPER!!) cute, yes, but they are also a lot of trouble.  If you think that you can’t handle a boisterous puppy but still want a canine companion, get an adult.  There are many friendly adult dogs in shelters or rescues just waiting for a home.  They’ve passed the teething stage and most of them are already potty trained.  Also, by adopting an adult dog, you’re giving him a second chance.  Check out your local shelter or Petfinder.com for dogs looking for homes in your area.




What Dogs Give Us

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

– Leo Buscaglia


Hiking With Your Dog

sissy hiking smilingRecently, I went on a hike with my humans.  I was very worried on the ride to the trail as I thought I was going to the vet’s, but I soon calmed down once we passed that building.  I had a great time following the path with my excellent sniffer, and I saw something I had never seen before: a big body of water.  Some of my humans went to throw pebbles in the sparkling water, so I had to come too.  First, I carefully sniffed to make sure so much water wouldn’t be dangerous.  Then, I dipped my paw in.  It was cold!  I was so thrilled at the wet sensation that I probably would have jumped right in if I hadn’t had a leash on.  I was ready to go back to my roots and retrieve like my ancestors!

Hiking with your dog can be a whole lot of fun, even when all of the trees and grass are dead.  We found that we had a lovely view because all of the leaves were gone!  Before you give this fun activity a try, however, there are a few safety tips you should keep in mind:

Are Your Dog’s Paws Tough Enough?

hiking rocksSometimes, rough terrains can wreak havoc on your dog’s feet.  Rocks, branches, and gravel can bruise or cut his paws.  What do you usually walk your dog on?  A smooth sidewalk, gravel, or grass?  If your dog walks on smooth and soft surfaces like grass and sidewalks most of the time, his paws are not tough enough to take hiking.  Slowly build up to increase the durability of his paws by walking on gravel for a few minutes during your walks.  Increase the amount of time you spend on rougher surfaces every week, and soon your dog will be up for the challenge of hiking!  Obviously, never walk where there might be glass or any other sharp objects.  This will not help make your dog’s paws tougher and might seriously damage them!

Fitness Check

How fit is your dog?  I run often, so even though my humans were tired after our hike, I felt like going on for much longer.  If your dog is only used to leisurely strolls, however, you need to build up the time you walk him to get him fit enough to hike.435px-Enrico-lombardi

Remember, puppies and older dogs do not have the stamina middle-aged dogs do.  A puppy’s joints are still growing, so too much jumping, running, or walking could harm them.  And older dogs, because of aging joints, cannot walk as long or far either.  Consult your veterinarian before your take a puppy or older dog on a hike.

Don’t Jump!

If your dog is a puppy or senior, don’t allow him to jump off of steps or rocks while on hikes.  If he’s small enough, you can just pick him up and carry him.  You won’t be able to this with some dogs, though!  If Fido weighs more than you can handle, choose a different hiking trail that doesn’t have stairs or rocks you have to jump or climb.hiking stairsWhile on my hike, my humans had to carry me up some steep wooden stairs (pictured above).  I wanted so badly to jump, but they thought it would be too much on my older joints.

Take Advantage of Benches!

Even if your dog looks fresh, take some breathers while on your hike.  Dogs can be very secretive and don’t like to admit when they’re tired.  Plus, you’ll find that resting on a bench or rock will give you time to admire the scenery.  My humans stopped at two benches to rest, and, even though I wanted to go on, I sat on them too.

Bring Water

Always, always bring water for your dog in the car for after the hike.  If your dog gets really hot and thirsty, bring a water bottle with you and let your dog lap it up.  If you don’t like sharing a bottle of water with your doggy, you can buy a collapsible dog dish that fits easily in a pocket.  There are these nifty bowls on Amazon.com here and here.

Stay on Leash

AarnikanmakiNaturally, don’t let your dog take a hike off-leash.  There are several good reasons for this.  First of all, it could be harmful to other people taking walks.  A small child might get scared of a large dog (or even a small one) coming towards him.  It doesn’t matter if your dog likes little kids and other people.  Most people have no way of knowing that and don’t want to be jumped on and kissed by your dog.  A person who doesn’t like dogs or who has been bitten by one before might take this as a threat.  Another important reason is your dog’s safety.  Without a leash, he could run off the path, fall down an overhanging rock, tangle with some small wildlife, etc.  Plus, what if your dog decides not to come when he’s called?  That good smelling stick will be seen as more impelling than your repeated calls.  Please be considerate of other people and a responsible dog owner and leash your dog!