Saturday, April 30, 2011

How to Housebreak a Dog

          Most people think one of the hardest things to do with a new dog or puppy is housebreaking them.  I have heard people say "if they go in the house, rub their noses in it and they won’t go in the house anymore."  This could not be further from the truth.  If your dog goes in the house and you get angry and rub their nose in the mess, all you are going to accomplish is to confuse the dog.  If you look at it from the dog’s point of view, they are going to know you’re mad, but will not be sure why you are mad.  Then you rub their nose in an area where they have just gone, your dog is going to think you are mad at the way they smell.  After all, marking is one way dogs communicate, and all you will be saying is I don't like you.  This is not a good message to send to your new dog or puppy.  Dogs are creatures of habit, and they also live by instinct.  If you take advantage of these things, housebreaking your new dog or puppy will be a breeze.  I am not going to tell you there won’t be a mess or two to clean up.  New puppies and dogs will mess in the house for all kinds of reasons.  Don't forget you are taking a dog and putting it in a new environment.  This could cause the dog to be scared and insecure, which will lead to a mess or two.
          I have covered this subject in another article of mine, "Puppies Need Care", however I felt this topic needed more than just a paragraphs worth of attention. If you have any questions feel free to make a comment or email me.  I will do my best to help you get your new puppy or dog housebroken

          The best way to housebreak a new dog or puppy is to confine them to a small space for the first few days you have them.  I know that may sound cruel, it is not.  What it does is take advantage of the basic instinct of a dog not to go to the bathroom where it sleeps.  Now you cannot just put your puppy or dog in a kennel and leave it there to mess in the area where it is confined.  You will need to take advantage of the fact that dogs are creatures of habit.  You will need to let your dog out at the same time every day, whether to go for a walk, or to play in the yard. When your dog does go to the bathroom outside, give it praises.  Let the dog know you are happy with what it just did.  The next time you take your dog outside bring it to the same spot where it went to the bathroom before.  The dog will smell the area and go there again.  Once the dog knows this is a good spot to go it will start to want to go there.   Be careful of the times you choose because this will set up a habit your dog will have for a very long time.  Once it knows it is to go outside at a certain time, it will want to go to out at that time for the rest of its life.   So if you decide 4 AM is the time it is to go out, you can expect to be putting the dog out a 4 AM for the duration of its time with you, and if you don't the dog will more than likely bug and harass you until you do let it out.

          If you already own a dog that is house broken, it will be much easier to housebreak a new dog.  As for having the new dog and your current dog meet and form a good relationship, that will be another article in and of itself.  Using the area where your current dog goes to the bathroom will make it that much easier for you to house break a new dog.  The same rules apply, confine the new dog to a small space for the first few days, but when it is time to go outside, take your new puppy or dog to an area where your current dog goes, the new dog will start to go there as well.  This will help you to housebreak the new dog much faster, and it will also help the new dog become equated with your current dog through all the scents your dog has left for the new one to find.  It is much like a greeting in dog language.  

          The sooner your dog is house broken, the sooner you will be able to let them explore your entire home.  Do not stop letting them out at the designated times however, if you do the puppy will start to go in the house.  You need to make the habit of going outside stick with the new dog.  Once the habit is truly formed your dog will start to remind you it’s time to go out if you forget.  Housebreaking a new dog is not that hard, it just takes patience and determination.  Housebreaking your new dog will help to ensure your dog is healthy and happy for a long time to come.  Thanks for reading, and once again, if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me.  I will do my best to help you with whatever doggie problem you may have.

Nick Carreno

Friday, April 15, 2011

Food Aggression, a Serious Problem

            If you have a dog that is food aggressive, it is no laughing matter.  This is one of the most common ways people find themselves on the receiving end of a very nasty bite.  When a dog is near food, or even a toy, and it exhibits aggressive behavior, such as bearing its teeth, growling, lunging, it is a dangerous situation.  If you back off, your dog will take that as a sign that he has intimidated you and will continue to do so in the future, if you stand your ground or try to correct the behavior you may end up being bitten.  I know this seems like a lose lose situation.  I am not going to sugar coat this and say the problem is not a bad one, but I am also not going to say there is no hope.  There is always hope if we understand the dogs way of thinking along with its instincts.   Solving this problem is going to take time and patience as it would with any other type of training; the difference here is this is not an option.  If you have a food aggressive dog, you must fix this problem. If you don’t fix the problem someone is going to get bitten, and that is never a good thing.

            As I said before this is not a hopeless situation, I am going to offer a few tips in this article that might help, if they don’t you will need to seek the help of a trainer.  There are dog training classes everywhere and one should not be too hard to find.    All you need do is look.  Before you go spending your hard earned money on a professional, you may want to try some of these tips.  The first thing you must realize is why your dog is behaving this way.  There are all kinds of reasons for this type of behavior, but the most common is trust.  If your dog thinks you may take away its food or toy it will go into a protection mode.  That is to say the dog’s brain kicks in to a protective state and no longer views you as a provider, it views you as a threat.  If you know anything about dogs it is never good to be thought of as a threat.  It really doesn’t matter how this situation evolved, or if it’s a trust issue, what matters as that you understand your dog thinks you are going to take something it needs away from it, and therefore you are a threat.  Once you realize this you can start to formulate a plan as to how to become the trusted provider in your dog’s eyes.

            This method should be a good way to abruptly halt the snarling and growling at feeding time.  You will need to keep the food bowl up off the floor.  Keep it on a shelf out of the reach of your dog, but not out of sight.  When it is feeding time take the bowl, make sure your dog sees you do all of this, pour the food into the bowl but do not put it on the ground for your dog to eat as you normally would.  Instead, hold the bowl.  Lower the bowl low enough for your dog to eat, but do not put it on the floor.  If your dog does not eat, be patient, try feeding your dog from your hand with one or two bits of food.  Once your dog has started to eat slowly lift the bowl away from them.  Make the dog understand you are the one giving the food, and without you, there is no food.  If you do this at every feeding time you should be able to lower the bowl a little further each time until you are able to put the food on the floor.  If your dog starts to growl, put the food away, and try again in an hour or so.  Eventually it should click that you are the one providing the food, and the aggression should stop.  Along with this method you can try to hand feed your dog treats, put the treat in the bowl, lower the bowl and let your dog have its treat that way.  This is the best way I know of to break a dog from food aggression.  If you do this right, you should be able to put your hand in the dog’s food bowl while it is eating with no reaction.  If you don’t get this result it may be time to bring in a trainer.  Food aggression is not good for you or your dog, so break them of this bad habit; it will ensure your dog stays healthy and happy for many years to come.

Nick Carreno

Saturday, April 9, 2011


          It is once again time to feature a dog that is in need of a home.  The dog we have chosen is one of our Most Wanted Flower Pets in the month of April; this is a program the Delco SPCA has to help find homes for a few special dogs that have been there for a while, during the month of April.  From the moment I met Lola I was taken by her good nature.  As you can see from the pictures she is a young dog that enjoys lots of affection.
           If you are interested in adopting Lola you can visit the Delaware County SPCA and ask for her by name or you can give her ID number which is 40826. If you have any questions feel free to call them at 610-566-1370.  You can also check out their web site  I really hope one of you out there can find it in your heart to give this truly deserving dog a home.  Since Lola is one of the Most Wanted Flower Pets, the fee for adoption is dramatically reduced to $20.11 through the month of April.

          I got the chance to have a little play time with Lola and she was so willing to please, and such a lovable dog it is hard for me to understand why she has been there so long.  Lola has been without a loving home for far too long.  I hope someone out there can find it in their hearts to adopt Lola and give her a home, where she can be given the chance she deserves.  Can you be the one to help this loving dog stay healthy and happy for many years to come?
Nick Carreno