Tag Archives: crate training

Keeping Your Dog Calm During 4th of July Fireworks

American Independence Day is a time of national pride and celebration alongside friends and family, including our furry friends. One of the classic ways of celebrating the 4th of July—with fireworks—can also be a startling experience for your pup pal. To a sensitive pooch, the popping of the fireworks sounds like major explosions, the flashes are blindingly bright and the smoke that comes with it is irritating at first whiff. For these reasons, it’s best to leave him at home if you’re planning to go see fireworks during this busy summer holiday. If you do decide to bring Fido along for the fun, make sure you’re well prepared so you can all enjoy the festivities together.

Put a Tag on It
Did you know that more pets run away on the Fourth of July than any other day? It’s true, and this fact alone should make you aware of how serious of an issue 4th of July safety is when it concerns your precious pup. In the event of a runaway case, make sure to equip your pup with updated ID tags and better yet, a microchip.

Give Off Good Vibes
You may not notice it, but your pup picks up on your emotions enough to know when you are stressed, excited, fearful, etc. Therefore, to keep your dog calm in a stressful situation, you must start by appearing calm yourself. Take a deep breath, slow down your movements and speak to your pup in a happy, relaxed tone. Your reaction to the situation will have an impact on your pup’s response to a slightly scary event.

Tire Him Out
Before the July 4th events, give your pup a nice, long walk to let out all his energy. By the time the festivities begin, he’ll be pooped, and therefore less likely to become excitable. If you’re lucky, he’ll nap right through the night!

Reduce Stimulation

If you and your pup are indoors for the night, which is recommended during 4th of July displays, but are still near enough the fireworks, your pup could still get startled. Reduce the noise level by closing all the doors and pulling down the blinds.

Provide Distractions

If the noise of the fireworks is loud enough to upset your pup, distract him from the sound by turning on the TV, playing some relaxing music or giving him his favorite toy. You may also be able to divert him with treats or a bone to chew on. Crate training your dog is also a helpful way to provide him comfort from a distressing situation in his own safe space.

Try a Thundershirt
Some people swear by Thundershirt to calm their agitated pup. By putting a Thundershirt on your dog before the fireworks start, he will feel greater peace of mind as the soft pressure from the vest helps to relax your pup. They also work great during thunderstorms, hence the product name.

As you celebrate America with patriotism this holiday, remember to keep the wellbeing of your precious pup in mind. With our tips at your disposal, both you and your pup can have a comfortable holiday celebration.

Training Your Dog for the Busy Holiday Season

As the smells and sights of Christmastime fill the air this time of year, so do emotions of excitement and anticipation. While the holidays are a time of joy for many, the busy schedules leading up to them can leave people overcome with stress and anxiety, and unfortunately our dogs often pick up on these feelings as well. To prevent your restless pup from ravaging the house and misbehaving when guests come over for the holidays, it is important to start preventative training beforehand. Here’s a guide to keeping an energetic or anxious pup in check so the holidays stay cheerful for both humans and our four-legged friends.

Call a Professional

If your dog is still a puppy who likes to play by her own rules, it may be a good idea to enroll her in obedience classes. This may be an especially viable option for those who fear aggressive behaviors from their pooch, which may be triggered when new family or friends come into the picture. If you don’t see yourself being able to train your pup before the holidays, it may be time to call a professional.

Invest in a Crate

A crate can be a very helpful tool in containing an overactive puppy. As soon as you sense your pup getting antsy around guests, it’s time to take a proactive approach by pulling her away from the situation and placing her in a crate. Even if your dog isn’t the type to bite others, new, stressful situations such as a busy holiday get-together may spark behavior you’ve never seen in her before. This is why it pays to have a crate handy, especially for younger dogs whose behavior can be unpredictable. And if you start crate training prior to your event, your dog will be comfortable going in her crate when you ask her to.

Utilize the “Sit” Command
The “sit” command is probably one of the first things you’ll teach your dog to do, and it’s also the foundation of proper obedience. With the right training, this simple command will come in handy to control a jumpy dog who pounces on every guest who enters the door. Now, your guests might not mind if there’s a tiny fur ball scraping at their ankles, but if it’s a larger, more menacing-looking breed who’s practically leaping atop their laps, it may be a cause of concern. Teach your dog to sit when she approaches you, and reward the behavior so she does the same in front of guests. This command also works for when your little beggar comes out during mealtime. Combined with a firm “stay” or “down,” the command can be especially effective. Yet, if you still find your pup pestering your guests for food, then it’s time to break out the crate.

Praise Good Behavior
Positive reinforcement is one of the fundamental techniques to encouraging desired behaviors from your dog. By rewarding her with treats and praise every time she behaves favorably, you can, in theory get your dog to do almost anything. Get your family involved, too! Invite willing guests to praise your dog for good behavior such as sitting and staying away. You can even give a small baggy of dog treats to each guest to use when your pup acts calmly around them. And finally, when you reward the positive, you, your furry best friend and everyone she meets will all benefit.

Puppy’s First Night Home: Tips for a Better Bedtime

Your puppy is officially home! It’s an exciting day full of cuddles, playtime and adorable photo opportunities. And now…it’s time to go to bed.

You may be surprised to hear the welcome home party continue into the night. Shortly after putting puppy in his crate or bed, your little party animal doesn’t want to go to sleep, but rather makes his presence known with sounds of whining or even crying.  While the noise can sound heartbreaking, don’t panic. Consistent whining, howling or crying throughout your puppy’s first few nights at home is extremely common and to be expected. Puppy is experiencing separation anxiety from his biological family, which while upsetting, is a completely normal part of adjusting to his new home.

It helps to understand that these distressed sounds are a natural evolutionary expression. In the wild, a puppy separated from his family may get attacked or killed by predators. So, to discourage his mother from leaving him, the puppy cries to ensure survival.

thumbnail-surviving-first-nightSince night one in a brand new environment is a big transition for puppy (rest assured, he will get more and more comfortable in the coming days and weeks), it’s your job as his new parent to make him feel secure. To that end, do not put him in a room further away from you to drown out the noise – this could contribute further to the puppy’s anxiety and potentially cause behavioral problems at a later date. Instead, bring his crate or bed into your bedroom or just outside the door so he feels less isolated. You’ll also have the added benefit of being able to check on him regularly. Some sensitive new parents may be tempted to bring puppy into their own bed- but unless you want to make this a habit*, it’s important to resist the urge and keep puppy in his own sleeping space.  There is a difference between creating a sense of security and coddling.

Once creating a secure environment for puppy, it’s best to try and ignore puppy’s whines and cries as much as possible. Take a hot shower, turn on the TV, or play a game to try and take your mind off the noise. In these early nights, distractions are key to not only keeping yourself sane and patient, but also setting a healthy foundation and schedule for puppy. Plus, if puppy gets too much attention (or worse, is rewarded with food or treats) while exhibiting this behavior, he will quickly learn that barking or crying is the way to get what he wants.

If whining or crying seems excessive, it’s okay to gently take puppy by the scruff (back) of the neck and firmly say in a low tone without any frustration “NO. Go to sleep.” If repeated several times at night for many consecutive nights, he will learn to obey in the coming weeks.

Once you get through the night, pat yourself on the back….and then quickly take puppy outside for his much needed and well-deserved morning walk and bathroom break!

Remember to put yourself in puppy’s “paws” and have sympathy for how he must be feeling his first night in a new place. It’s most important for puppy to know that he’s loved and cared for – with this reassurance, he’ll attach to you, learn to trust you and become a loyal and affectionate dog.

It’s also important to embrace the hard first few days as all part of the exciting new adventure of raising a new puppy as your own. Before you know it, your puppy will be grown and you’ll long for the days of puppyhood – sleepless nights and all!

*PS places no judgement on families who want their dogs to sleep with them in the same bed. We recognize there are many benefits including but not limited to free snuggle sessions, extra warmth and emotional comfort.

Key House Training Principles to Implement Day One

Simply thinking about house training your puppy could have you feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Take a deep breath and don’t fear! As long as you stay committed and consistent in whichever method you choose, the process doesn’t have to be difficult. It can even be fun! Remember, the goal is to instill positive habits in your pet while simultaneously building a loving bond. Understand and expect there to be a lot of setbacks and “mistakes.” Do your best to curb your frustration (it can take up to 6 months to a year to get your puppy fully house trained), get back on the horse and try again. Following these core training principles as soon as puppy comes home will set a healthy foundation for the rest of your training.

  1. Confine Puppy to Defined Space

Whether you decide to crate train or keep your puppy in a gated area, limiting his space is important during this crucial learning stage – not just to save your valuables from getting ruined, but also to teach puppy that he needs to go outside to do his business. Until he develops his “den instinct” i.e., not wanting to go soil his own living space, he’ll need boundaries. Once he starts to understand and make progress, gradually give him more freedom around the house.

  1. Take Puppy Out Frequently

thumbnail-puppy-developmentYou should take your puppy outside first thing in the morning and then once every 30 minutes to an hour. You should also take him out after every meal, when he wakes from a nap and before he goes to sleep. When in doubt, take him out!

  1. Stay Attached at the Hip

Consider “puppy sitting” your full time job for the next several months. Spotting and acknowledging your puppy’s signs that he needs to go are key to the process. Whining, circling, sniffing or barking are all clear signs that he needs to be taken out right away. And make sure that once he’s out, you watch puppy do his business each time to ensure he’s making progress.

  1. Stick to a Feeding Schedule

Feed your puppy according to your veterinarian and breeder’s recommendations and take away the food in between meals to prevent accidents and get puppy used to eating at consistent times. Remember, what goes in regularly, will come out regularly! Leave the water though. Puppy needs to stay hydrated. Just monitor how much he drinks so you know when to take him out.

  1. X Marks the Spot

Take puppy to the same spot each time he eliminates. He will start to associate his scent with the spot and it will encourage him to go.

  1. Give Praise and Reward

When puppy eliminates outside, praise verbally and give him a treat. Choose a simple word like “outside” or a key phrase such as “Go potty!” and use it every time you take puppy out. Repetition and consistency are key. Puppy will soon start to associate the word with the act. A nice walk is another great reward.

  1. Discipline Correctly

Accidents are completely normal and punishing your puppy will only teach him to fear you. Puppies are not intellectually capable of associating anger with wrongdoing. If you catch puppy in the act, clap loudly to alert him it’s not acceptable. Then quickly take him outside by calling him or pulling him gently by the collar. If you find evidence after the act, don’t react angrily by yelling or rubbing the puppy’s nose in it.