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Raising Your New Dog - Basic Tips For Success

I have always been incredibly lucky, in that all my dogs that I have adopted, have all been house trained before I got them. I never have had to go through it. I have, however, taken all my dogs through obedience classes the very same week I accepted them into my home. 
I have found that working together with my new dog for 7 weeks in a class is a great bonding experience for both of us, and we learn how to work together under the eye of a trained professional. 

Once you get home though, you are on your own! I thought the following article was very helpful and had great advice for people who just gotten thier first dog or puppy.


Dog Training: Success Tips
By Michael Russell

A well-mannered dog is a pleasure to be with and a terrific companion. You can literally set yourself up to be successful in raising a puppy that will be obedient. Throughout the first year of your dog's life with you, take the time and effort to plan your dog's training and exercise patience and persistence. Here are some strategies to get you started on the right path.

Plan the physical space that your puppy will be living in. Consider safety issues such as a fenced-in yard or a crate or gated space inside where your puppy can be kept when you cannot actively monitor it. Puppy-proof your living space to ensure that dangerous items like household cleaners and electrical cords are secured. Close off areas that you do not want your dog to enter. Keep your tables and countertops clear of food so that your pet doesn't develop a counter surfing habit.

Crates should be used when you cannot watch your puppy or when you and/or your puppy just simply need a break. The crate should be a place where your puppy feels safe and comfortable. Remember that dogs like den-like places and the crate will serve this purpose. Crates are very useful for house-breaking dogs.

Choose a crate that your puppy can grow into. Dogs will never eliminate where they sleep so make sure that when your puppy is small that they aren't urinating in one area of the crate and sleeping in another. If this happens, block off part of the crate and make the area inhabited by your puppy too small for them to find a place to go to the bathroom.

If you are crating your puppy at night, make sure that he is tired and well exercised before putting him in. Dogs are social animals and don't like to be alone at night so place the crate near your bed at night. When placing your puppy in the crate, if he whines or cries, ignore it. You must wait them out or it will just get worse.

It is a good idea to make your puppy feel comfortable in the crate by putting some of his favourite toys inside. Here is a great trick: show your puppy a special treat and place it inside the crate and shut the door. Your puppy will literally be dying top get inside and have his treat. When you let him in to get it, gently close the door behind him and praise him.

Dogs must become accustomed to being left on their own. This way they will not suffer stress when left alone and then engage in destructive behaviour. Again, it is imperative to leave them in a safe and comfortable environment. To help them be alone do not fuss over them before you leave. Just be casual and even ignore them when you leave and return. This keeps these times unemotional for you and your dog.

It is a great idea to exercise your dog to tucker him out before you are going to leave him for a long period of time. You should also leave your dog with something to keep him busy. Chew toys, Kongs stuffed with treats, marrow bones and so on work very well here. Leave your stereo on with some relaxing classical music to keep your dog company while you are out.

Good management on your part is required for effective house training. It is important to know that puppies under four months have little bladder control but they can often hold it through the night as their metabolism slows down. A dogs' instinct is to move away from their sleeping area to go and the difference between inside and outside must be taught to them.

A regular feeding and sleeping schedule is vital to house training. Make sure to take your puppy outside after meals and upon awakening from sleeping. If they don't go right away, keep an eye on them. Encourage them to go and while they are going say something like "do your business" so that they associate that phrase with eliminating. Soon you can use phrases such as "do your business" almost as commands and your dog will follow your direction. Remember to praise your dog lavishly after they go where you want them to.

Set yourself up for success by being attentive to all the things you can do to provide an optimal environment for your puppy to learn and grow. Combine this with daily exercise, discipline and affection and you will have a fabulous companion.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Dog Training
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