Tips to Sucessfully Add a New Member to your Family

Housetraining

Many dogs that come from the shelter are not housetrained. Even if they were at one time in their lives, spending time in the shelter can “re-train” them as they are in kennls or runs and usually don’t get outside with the amount of frequency needed and they learn that they must defecate and urinate in their kennels.

However, housetraining can be easier than you imagine with absolute consistency and the use of a crate, your dog can be housetrained or “re-housetrained” in no time. Most dogs that come from a foster home are already started with their crate training. This is an important component in housetraining, as they will usually not soil where they sleep. Choose a crate that is large enough for doghavetogonobackgroundyour dog to lie and sleep comfortably, but not large enough for them to be able to isolate a corner to go to the bathroom in. The crate teaches your dog that when it has the urge to go to the bathroom, it can hold it. It also helps to teach your dog to vocalize the need to go outside. If left loose in the house, your dog will find a spot and go to the bathroom. If in a crate, your dog doesn’t want to soil where it sleeps, so it will whine or bark to let you know it needs to go out. It is very important that you take the dog straight outside when they ask. There are several advantages to walking your dog as opposed to turning them out in the yard. Walking encourages your dog to go to the bathroom. It also allows you to interact with your dog more effectively. When your dog does go to the bathroom, let them know that they did what you want, and give them lots of praise and/or a treat. You can also give them a command to go, be mindful that the entire family uses the same command every time.

A consistent feeding schedule also can make housetraining much easier. Keep in mind that your dog will need to go out shortly after they eat. They will also need to go out right when they wake in the morning, and the last thing before they go to bed at night. Again, walks on a leash are the most effective way to housetrain and bond with your dog. The rule of thumb with puppies is to take their age in months and add one, and that is the number of hours the puppy can go between potty breaks. (i.e. A 4 month old puppy can be expected to go for up to five hours between potty breaks.

If you are housetraining a puppy, picking up the water dish about 2 hours before bedtime will help your puppy sleep through the night. If your dog or puppy does wake you up in the night, don’t make a big deal of it and talk or play with them. Take them out to do their business, turning on as few lights as possible, and put them back to bed. Don’t play with them or make a fuss or they will continue to wake you.

If you catch your dog eliminating in the house, correct them and immediately take them outside to finish. If they have an accident and you don’t catch them, don’t punish them as they do not understand what they are being punished for and it will only slow down your progress as they will have a negative association with going to the bathroom. Consistency, a crate and praise will assure you many wonderful years sharing your home with your dog.Introductions. How you introduce your new dog can make all the difference in the success of the relationship between your dog and the new dog. Taking both dogs for a walk can be a good way for the dogs to get used to each other on neutral ground. Also, make sure you give your dog lots of attention and don’t make a fuss over the new dog. This will help your dog to not feel insecure and threatened. Sometimes it can be effective to put the new dog in a wire crate and let your dog sniff and check them out first. Dogs have many different temperments and personalities and different situations will work with different dogs. Above all, just take it slow and give them time to adjust to the change.

Crate Training
Housetraining can be made much easier when your dog is crate trained. Many dogs who are adopted from rescues are already crate trained as many foster homes crate dogs while they are in their foster home. Crate training allows your dog to learn to be comfortable in a doginjainobackgroundcrate. If you have a puppy, this can help you get your puppy through the “chewing” stage with minimal damage. Make sure that you dog has plenty of things to chew and there are many interactive toys available now that help keep your dog’s mind busy. One standby is the Kong- this is a “beehive” shaped rubber toy that is hollow in the middle. You can fill the inside with peanut butter or soft dog food, then freeze it, and your dog will be busy for quite awhile getting all of their goodies out of the Kong. There are also several other types of Kongs that most dogs love. Many have places to hide treats that take some time and work for your dog to get their treat. Use common sense about how long your dog is able to stay in their crate. Many working breeds and high energy dogs find it very difficult to be contained for hours at a time. How long your dog should stay in their crate at one time depends on their age and personality. Giving your dog a treat to go into their crate is a great way to make their crate experience positive. Never put a dog in a crate to punish them.
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Introductions
How you introduce your new dog can make all the difference in the success of the relationship between your dog and the new dog. Taking both dogs for a walk can be a good way for the dogs to get used to each other on neutral ground. Also, make sure you give your dog lots of attention and don’t make a fuss over the new dog. This will help your dog to not feel insecure and threatened. Sometimes it can be effective to put the new dog in a wire crate and let your dog sniff and check them out first. Dogs have many different temperments and personalities and different situations will work with different dogs. Above all, just take it slow and give them time to adjust to the change.

Training Classes
There are many types of dog training classes available. Even if you consider yourself an experienced dog handler, there is always something more to learn. There are many new an innovative ways to communicate with our furry companions, and a training class might just open your eyes to something new that you never thought of before. It can also head off small problems before they become large problems. The goal is always to make the relationship between dog and family harmonious and fulfilling for everyone.

Petsmart and Petco both have trainers and classes available. There are also many other specialized trainers that are more knowledgable about one breed of dog or another. Choosing to broaden your horizons and learn more about why your dog does what they do and how to modify their behavior effectively can be interesting and fun for the whole family.

Marking
A totally seperate issue with dogs urinating in the house that occurs is marking. This is most commonly seen with male dogs. It is mostly associated with male dogs that are dominant, but can also occur with the opposite type of dog, an insecure dog. Marking can be easily corrected with the use of a crate, a belly band and consistency.  Neutering a dog can significantly reduce their tendency    to mark. BellyBandA “belly band” can also help with training a dog not to mark. This is a fabric band that you can make yourself that looks something like this:   You can use a  piece of fleece (the kind that   doesn’t fray) and  cut it into this shape,  sizing correctly for your dog. Then, place a pantyliner inside and if your dog urinates inappropriately with the band on, he will  urinate into the pantyliner. The band goes around the dogs belly and ties on top of his back.  These bands can also be purchased from pet stores such as Petco or Petsmart.  You must take the band off when you let him outside, then immediately put it back on when he returns in the house. This band will prevent any urine from escaping, and allow you to see if your dog is,  in fact  urinating inappropriately. A firm correction is in order if you catch your dog in the act. Whatever noise you use for correcting your dog should be used  consistently- either a firm “no” or “ssst”.

Forever Home

If you are adopting a rescue dog, they have been homeless at least once in their lives. Life throws us all curves, and sometimes it can be a wild ride. Please remember that adopting an animal makes that creature part of your family. Their safety and their security is in your hands alone. If you have issues, try using whatever methods are at your disposal for working through them. Shelters all over the country hear the same reasons to surrender pets every day. “We had a baby”, “We have to move and can’t take him with us”, We don’t have time for him, and it isn’t ‘fair to him”. Please remember, your pet loves you and wants to be with you. That’s a huge expectation to live up to, but well worth it.

A cure for barking.  A great article and website with training tips!  Victoria Stilwell has some great advice for separation anxiety.