Caring For Your Older Dog

Once your dog becomes older it is time to take some preventative steps in order for them remain healthy, happy, active, and to be able to enjoy as many years as possible. Have your vet examine your pet annually or more often, if necessary.

As in humans, keep your dogs weight within the proper or optimum range. Extra weight can do damage to joints and also cause more stress on vital organs. An overweight dog has far more health problems such as joint problems, arthritis, diabetes and liver or kidney malfunctions. Cut down on the amount of treats given to your older pet. It is sometimes hard to resist those eyes but always remember that it is for their own good. Feed your pet once a day or smaller amounts twice a day but remove the food if there is any left. If you have children, explain to them why they should not sneak food to the family pet especially table scraps.

As with dogs of any age, make sure there is always fresh, cool water available at all times. Some older dogs have problems getting to the water bowl so make the water easy for them to access. You can bring the water to them or place bowls of water in several different places so they do not have to go far for a drink.

If possible take your dog for a short walk daily. This helps the dog’s blood circulation and provides some new sights and smells to stimulate their minds and senses. Walking them or spending time with them gives you quality time to spend with your pet. They may be a bit older but still are very curious.

You may need to switch from dry food to a semi-moist or canned food as your dog ages. His teeth may not be able to handle the hardness of dry kibbles. Freeze dried can be a good option because it is very soft for them to eat and provides the essential nutrition still required. Looking after your older dog and taking him to the vet regularly helps keep your dog healthy and happy longer and allows you to enjoy as much time as possible with your best friend.

Dog Crate Training Guide

Why do Dogs Love Crates?

Dogs are, by nature, den animals and feel secure in small, enclosed spaces. Most dogs seek out a place in your home that will act similar to a den. You will often find them sleeping under a table or desk. Dog crates can make excellent dens and can serve as a safe haven, a hangout, and a bedroom for your canine buddy. It is very important that the dog crate is never used as punishment – the crate must always be regarded as a safe and special retreat for your animal. The most common misconception about a dog crate is that it is a cruel form of caging a pet. This is 100% false, and in fact, a dog will actually find a crate to be a secure and safe sanctuary in the same manner as a wolf enjoys the comfort of a den for resting and eating.

Why Dog Owners Love Crates?

Next to a collar and leash combo, the dog crate is a proven training tool recommended by professional dog trainers, groomers, and vets. Once accustomed to the dog crate, poor behavior such as house soiling, destructive chewing, digging, unnecessary barking/howling can be avoided. Crate training is also ideal to help ease separation anxiety. Since the dog’s habits are much easier to regulate by using the dog crate, discipline for misbehavior will be less necessary. This will allow a stronger dog/owner relationship. Crate-trained dogs travel easier since they feel more secure. This sense of security is also helpful if a dog needs to stay at a friend house, the vet, or groomer since the dog is already accustomed to being crated.Compared to the cost of replacing furniture, plants, carpet, and other personal items that may be destroyed when a dog is allowed to roam a household unsupervised, the expense of a crate is very economical.

How Can a Crate be Used to Avoid Accidents?

Crate training is proven to be the fastest, most cost effective method of instilling “good dog” behavior. A dog’s natural instinct is to keep the area in which she rests as clean as possible. Most dogs are very resistant to being near their own waste and therefore will make a strong effort to control their own elimination when confined to a crate. By the owner encouraging elimination in the proper place immediately after a dog is released from the crate, the pet quickly learns when and where to “take care of business.” This is a proven method of house training recommended by trainers.

How Can a Crate be Used to Solve Other Behavioral Problems?

Most behavior problems such as destructive chewing are due to the boredom of an unsupervised dog. If allowed to continue the behavior, it quickly becomes a habit that is difficult to change. Dogs naturally will want to please their owners and receive praise and love in return. If the dog knows exactly what is expected, they will gladly behave accordingly to benefit from it and know that will lead to being rewarded. By using a crate during the owner’s short term absences, the dog is simply not able to misbehave. Instead she will rest quietly in her crate. Dogs generally sleep 90% of the time the owners are away. It’s the other 10% that so many things can go wrong. By crating the dog, you are only asking for a small amount of change to the dog’s natural schedule.

How Can a Crate be Used to Ease Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is the number one behavioral problem with new puppies. It is caused by an increased fearfulness of the dog after the departure of the owner. This is often misunderstood causing loving pet owners to feel they have no other option than to find their dog another home. Dogs are naturally pack animals and are not prepared to cope with being isolated. They must be taught how to be alone and be assured that they will not be alone for long. Through crate training, the dog’s personal den can provide an increased sense of security, which often helps ease stress and stress-related behaviors.

When Can You Start Using a Crate?

Immediately! The sooner the better, and the younger the better. Ideally, it is best to introduce a puppy to a crate at an early age. In fact, many breeders will already have a puppy familiar with a crate before the puppy is introduced to a new home. This makes the transition much easier for both the dog and new owner. But a dog at any age can be introduced to crate training. Older dogs may view the crate as punishment in the beginning and may need extra encouragement and slower graduated confinement times. Start your training when you are able to be home with your dog.

Why a Wire Crate?

A wire crate is recommended to allow your dog better visibility of surroundings. Your dog will be most relaxed if it is sheltered but still able to view surroundings. She will rest longer and quieter. Wire crates are designed for proper ventilation. Illness with puppies can be caused with poor ventilation. Complete ventilation will prevent this and many other ailments that can be caused from low ventilation. Wire crates are easy to move and store, and can be cleaned with soap and water. With proper care, a wire crate will last the life of the dog, therefore are more economical than plastic travel kennels.

What Size of Crate Does Your Dog Need?

When selecting a crate for a puppy, get one that will fit the dog’s need when fully-grown. Most wire crates we sell will have dividers and allow you to adjust the size of the crate while the puppy is growing. The dog should be able to comfortably walk in, turn around and lay down in the crate. Your pet should not feel cramped, but do not use a crate that is too big, that will defeat the purpose of giving the dog the sense of having his own enclosed “den.” An over-sized crate will also defeat the dog’s natural instinct to keep her home clean and free of waste since she may use one end to rest and one end to “go.”

Where Should the Crate be Located?

The crate should be placed in an area that is easy to supervise. Since dogs are highly social animals the crate should be in an area of the household where the family spends most of their time. The crate should not be put in an isolated area away from tons of stimulation. At night, the bedroom is an ideal place for a crate so that the dog can feel the security of being near her owner. Dog owners that are familiar with crate training and its benefits often have two or more crates set up in the house. Wherever the crate is placed, it is important that it not be in a draft or direct heat. Some dogs feel more secure when a towel or blanket is draped over the top and sides of the crate.

It is especially important to keep the crate in the bedroom at night while puppies are being house-trained. For successful house-training, you must be able to hear your puppy when it needs to be let outside. Each individual dog varies but as a rule a puppy can control potty breaks through the night as early as three months of age. It is also important to regulate a puppy’s feeding schedule and taken into consideration as to when and how often they must be allowed to relieve themselves. The last meal of the day should come at least two hours before bedtime. It is important to establish a timely routine so that the dog’s body functions can adjust to when she will be released from the crate. As a dog gets older the amount of time she can stay in the crate can be extended but should never exceed more than six to eight hours total.

Introducing Your Dog to Her Crate.

It is always a good idea to remove both collar and tags prior to your dog entering their crate.

Allow your dog to explore the crate on her own. You can encourage your dog by tossing some favorite toys or treats inside. It also may help to show interest in the crate to encourage curiosity from your pet. Make sure to leave the door open to the crate during the introduction period. NEVER force your dog into the crate and ALWAYS praise them anytime she enters on her own even if encouraged by a treat.

If you stick to it soon your dog will enter and exit the crate willingly. At that time you should close the door for a few seconds and remain close to the crate praising your pet while they are inside. Then, let your dog out in a calm and quiet manor. You do not want the exit of the crate to be excitable. This will make your dog want out of her crate rather than enjoying the time inside. If she barks or cries while inside, reassure them and wait to settle down before allowing them out of the crate. You do not want your dog to associate negative behavior with being released from the crate.

Gradually you can extend the amount of time the dog is left in a crate. Your first few times left in the crate should be less than 30 minutes. Keep your departures and arrivals very low-key. Continue to crate your dog for a few minutes each day when you are home, so that crating does not become predictable letting them know that you are leaving. After a few attempts over two or three days most dogs will enter the crate willingly and quietly settle down for a nap. It is natural for your pet to bark or cry when getting used to her new den.

Some owners choose to offer food to their dog in the crate, although we recommend that the bowl be removed as soon as they finish eating. Sometimes this will help gain the dogs trust with a crate. Remember that puppies will need to eliminate immediately after a meal and adult dogs will need to eliminate within 30 minutes. Once the puppy or dog no longer has a habit of chewing, a crate pad or bedding can be put in the bottom of the crate for additional comfort.

It is very important that the use of a crate not be abused. Every dog needs plenty of exercise and allowed to socialize daily with their family.

Puppy Training Guide

Train Your Puppy Early

New puppies learn very quickly with correct instructions. Socialization and training are critically important during early puppy stages. This is by far the most critical time in your new dog’s development; before he/she is 3 months old, is the time that they are learning all about their environment and surroundings. How you treat, train, and socialize your pup will affect his/her behavior forever.

Your new puppy has been through a lot it has just been taken from his mother and litter mates; first thing they need most is a sense of security and routine. Read more on what they will need with our new puppy shopping check list. Not all these items need to be purchased at once, but it will be a helpful guideline for the items we recommend for the smoothest transition into a new home. Play with your puppy quietly and gently, for short periods at a time – don’t over due it with attention and activity. Now’s the time to begin his socialization and training, but young puppies need their sleep and they tire quickly-play hard sleep hard. It’s much better for you and your puppy to have frequent, very short play, socialization, and training periods. If your puppy looks sleepy during a visit, leave them alone and let them rest. Remember puppies play hard and then rest hard.

Training

It is never good to hit your puppy or give him harsh treatment; they truly don’t mean to misbehave they are just learning and has no idea what’s expected. They are only doing what comes naturally. Show clearly what kind of behavior you do want, and clearly what you don’t want. Dogs desire nothing more than to please you, so eventually they will choose the right behavior just as soon as he/she can figure out what is expected. If you yell or punish for bad behavior, they will progressively get more confused and frightened, making it impossible to figure out what the correct behavior is. Teach gently and clearly instead – it saves lots of time and plenty of heartache.

Puppies will naturally bite and chew that is what they do. Teach yours to only bite and chew on correctly given chew toys. Make sure to play with his/her toys interactively, making the experience fun and exciting. Make sure to praise and let them know how good they are being by chewing on the appropriate chew. When he/she chews on the incorrect items, firmly tell him, “No chew!” and immediately give one of their own toys, and encourage to play and chew it. Praise he/she when they do so. It’s important to only correct him when you catch them in the act – anything you try to teach later on will only confuse dog brains don’t work the same way ours do. The only way you can correct your puppy’s behavior (or your adult dog’s) is to be there while the bad behavior is happening. If your puppy has started peeing on the hardwood floor? You can’t be there 24/7 to catch him in the act, don’t let him have access to those places where they can get themselves into trouble. Read more information and learn with our helpful articles on house training and crate training.

The hardest part of having a new puppy is not spend all your time with them. Since they may be alone during the day or night on a regular basis it is time to get it used to a routine and they need to start getting used to it now. If you puppy wakes up from a nap and whines, or barks when you put him away for the night, resist the urge to comfort him. No matter how hard it is, you must resist the temptation. If you let an non trained puppy sleep in your bed it is guaranteed to wake up and pee. You must stick to the rules, and be firm toward him right away. Whatever you do, don’t let your puppy take advantage of you and get away with things just because he/she is adorable. Remember they are constantly learning everything that happens; what you’re teaching is that they can get away with things, so they will always try and test their boundaries. If you let your puppy get away with it now, it will only lead to confusion later when you’ve changed the rules.

Socialization

For your pup’s happiness and mental health, they need to get used to a variety of people, places, animals, noises and objects. The social skills you help him develop as a puppy will last throughout their lifetime.

Acquaint your puppy gradually and gently with his collar and leash; puppies always find them irritating at first. Introduce him slowly to unexpected sounds like a car starting, a hairdryer, a rustling plastic bag or a vacuum cleaner. If the sound is a loud one, let him hear it from far away at first; on the second or third time he hears it, he can be in the same room. Take each new introduction slowly and gently.

Start inviting friends and family over, one or two at a time, to meet your new pup. Include men, women and especially kids of every age. Then it is a good idea start to invite healthy, vaccinated pets of all kinds over to your house to meet and play with your new puppy. Once he’s had a few carefully supervised visits, take feel free to take him to other dogs homes for a short, careful play date or better yet met at the dog park so there is no dominance shown for familiar territory. If you know someone with a dog-friendly kitty cat, this would be an especially good to introduce them. There is nothing worse then a misbehaved dog especially when it comes to other animals, family and friends.

Take your little guy on short, frequent to dog parks, schoolyards, or to visit your friends at Sierra Fish & Pets where there are crowds of people and lots of unpredictable activity. Gradually start making little excursions with him so that he can experience the new and different activities and get used to socializing with people and pets.

It’s normal for your pup to show some signs of apprehension when confronting anything new and different. Remember never reward fearful behavior; when we attempt to sooth, encourage or calm the frightened puppy, we unintentionally reward their feelings of fear. It’s up to you to make sure in advance that each new situation he encounters will be safe, supervised and gentle at first. You must know, even if he doesn’t, that nothing bad will happen to in any new situation. Don’t force or rush into it; let your puppy explore at their own pace, and take steps to reassure and reward him with consistency and structure.

House Training Your Puppy

House Training Guide

House Training Your Puppy

House training isn’t always difficult, but it does take time and patience on your behalf. You need to be consistent with your routine in teaching your puppy not to poo or pee in the house. Dogs need to be taught that it’s not OK for them to go inside the house – we must understand they don’t know this automatically, and left on their own they’ll go whenever and wherever they need to.

Even a puppy that’s already house-trained before you get him may be unfamiliar with his new surroundings that he may have a few ‘accidents’ before he understands the rules. The most important thing to remember during this house training process is that punishment for indoor accidents will only teach your puppy not to eliminate around you. It won’t stop him from doing it indoors when you’re not around. Your young puppy does not understand why you’re upset, and any display of anger or impatience will only confuse him, and frighten him. This will set the whole house training process back drastically.

Unless you can monitor young pup 24/7, expect a few accidents to happen along the way it is virtually impossible to think that a young puppy learning its new surroundings will not have a few accidents. The entire house training process will usually last until the pup is at least 6 months old. Puppies are eating-playing-sleeping-pooping machines. That is what they do when they are young. They haven’t yet developed bowel and bladder control, making them unable to ‘hold it’ as long as adult dogs can. Puppy can only “hold it” a couple of hours whereas an adult dog can hold it upwards of 6-8 hours with proper training.

It is a good idea to pee pad train your puppy for the times when you’re not home, and outdoor train him for the times when you are around. First step is to give young Fido his own small, fully padded room – ideally a tiled bathroom or laundry room is the best choice. The next thing is to take control of his feeding schedule, and choose a designated spot outdoors where you’ll want him to eliminate.

Set up a feeding schedule

You’ll never be able to predict exactly your puppy’s “got to go” times if you’re not controlling the feeding times and portions. Dogs usually need to go after meals, after vigorous play/exercise, and after sleep. Food should be offered only at set mealtimes each day and should not be left available for grazing all day and night. If puppy hasn’t eaten his food within 20 minutes, pick up the dish and don’t put more food out until the next scheduled feeding time. You’ll always need to allow him access to water, but remember that this means you can never be 100% sure when he might need to go pee.

As soon as you get up and let Fido out of his crate take him out on a leash first thing each morning. Take him to the same elimination spot every time and wait there with him until you see him go. Once he’s finished, praise him for being such a good puppy and then take him back inside for breakfast. After your morning feeding, take a few minutes to play and socialize with your pup and after about 30-45 minutes take him back outside on his leash, to his same designated elimination area as before.

When you’re home to supervise

After you’ve taken him outside for after-breakfast break, the puppy should remain in the same room or near you, so that you can watch for signs that he needs to go again. Every 30 minutes bring your pup to his indoor pads in his designated little room. Stay with your pup here if it seems that he needs to go. If you’re busy and you can’t actively supervise him at all times, it is a good idea to confine him in this room. Have his favorite chews/toys and his bed in the room with him. Typically they will then just rest puppies sleep most of the time but remember once he wakes up it is time to go outside again.

Every 2 hours make sure to go outside again. Once outside, make sure to not let him off his leash and never combine these trips with walks, games, or playing. If you confuse him with play time he’ll beg you for constant trips outside. During initial training, make sure to bring him directly to his designated spot, wait there til he’s finished his business and then take him back inside the house. Always serve praise to him and even offer a reward treat whenever he eliminates at the right time and place – the more you show him love the sooner he’ll be able to master the concept and become fully house trained. After you come back inside, don’t let your puppy wander freely inside the house – keep him as close to you as possible.

At night, keep your young pup confined in your small room or crate. In the morning when you wake up take him directly outside you may want to carry him outside (as opposed to letting him walk) so he won’t accidentally pee as he walks outside.

When you’re away during the day

Until little Fido is completely house trained or never goes inside the house, the pup should never have the run of the house. When you’re not home with him, confine him to his little room with his pee pad covered floors or better yet his crate. When crate training a puppy you can never leave them more then 2 hours. They will not be able to hold it any longer then a couple or hours so you will need to let him out to go frequently throughout the day. It is not always a good idea to use pee pads in the crate as they may associate the pads with peeing in their crate and may think of it as a chew and shred it up anyways.

As time goes on, your puppy will show a preferred spot in his room for “doing his business”. When this place is established and the rest of the room remains clean all day, you can gradually reduce the amount of pee pads you lay down until you’re only leaving a few down. If he ever misses the pee pad, then you’ve made his area too small and add a few more pads. Be patient with your pup it is the single most important factor in potty training. They will eventually figure it out but it will take some time and consistency. Put fresh pee pads down daily, and as soon as you get home you should immediately leash young Fido and take him outside to eliminate. Make sure to have plenty of pee pads on hand. If is also suggested to use a housebreaking aid which encourages elimination in particular areas. Lastly it is always suggested to have stain and odor removers such as Nature’s Miracle or Urine Off to help clean up when Fido has a few accidents cause it will surely happen.

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