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rec.pets.dogs: Your New Puppy FAQ

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Archive-name: dogs-faq/new-puppy
Last-modified: 12 Aug 1999

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This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below. 
It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
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                                Your New Puppy

   Cindy Tittle Moore,
   Copyright 1992-99.
Table of Contents

     * Introduction
     * Age to Separate from Litter
     * Puppy-Proofing Your Home
     * Puppies and Small Children
     * Acclimatization and Socialization
     * Don't Be Surprised When...
     * Puppy Biting
     * Reinforcing Good Behavior
     * Crying at Night
     * Health: Vaccinations and Worms
     * Teething
     * Feeding Your Puppy
          + Feeding schedules
          + Dog food formulations
     * Housetraining
     * Preliminary Training
          + Obedience classes
          + Around the house

   A quick critical information list:
     * Never hit a young puppy.
     * Praise exuberantly.
     * Be consistent with your dog, rather than harsh.
     * Don't allow biting, but only correct after 14 weeks (yelp and
       replace hand with toy before that)
     * Never correct a dog after the fact.
     * Dogs need new experiences with other people, dogs and places, when
       very young to get socialized.
     * Praise exuberantly.
     * Dogs need successes and less correction before full maturity so
       they can develop confidence.
     * Train your dog in order to establish communication and give it
       purpose, and make it tolerable.
     * Dogs need to be in a dominance hierarchy with everyone; if you are
       not above your dog, you will be below it.
     * Praise exuberantly.
     * Dominance over a dog is achieved with leadership, never harshness.
   Some books that may help:
   Benjamin, Carol Lea. Mother Knows Best: The Natural Way To Train Your
   Dog. Howell Book House, New York. 1985. ISBN 0-87605-666-4. $15.95
     She uses praise, contact, play and toys to motivate puppies, but
     she does not recommend food training a young puppy. She does
     recommend crate training and she also recommends sleeping in the
     same room with the puppy. She provides methods to teach no, OK,
     good dog, bad dog, sit stay heel, come, down, stand, go, enough,
     over, out, cookie, speak, take it, wait and off to puppies. She
     talks about canine language and talks some about mental games you
     can play with your dog such as mirror games, and copying your dog
     and having him copy you, chase games and even playing rough with
     your puppy. Most training methods rely on the foundational
     relationship between an owner and his dog, and this book provides
     some ideas on establishing that relationship while the puppy is
     still young.
   Brahms, Ann and Paul. Puppy Ed.. Ballantine Books. 1981.
   ISBN:0-345-33512-0 (paperback).
     Describes how to start teaching your puppy commands. This is a
     thoughtful book that discusses in practical detail what you can and
     cannot expect to do with your puppy in training it. They stress
     that by expecting and improving good behavior from the start,
     later, more formal training goes much easier.
   Monks of New Skete, The. The Art of Raising a Puppy. Little, Brown and
   Company (1991). ISBN: 0-316-57839-8 (hardback).
     The monks of New Skete have put together an excellent book that
     discusses puppy development and the things that should be done at
     the appropriate stages and why. First they follow a newborn litter
     through its various stages of development and at each stage they
     discuss what is happening. They discuss testing puppies'
     temperaments and what you want to look for, under which
     circumstances. They discuss briefly dog breeds, and how to find
     reputable breeders. They then launch into a series of useful
     chapters: housebreaking, preliminary obedience, laying the
     foundations of training, understanding (reading) your dog, how to
     become the pack leader, basic training, discipline, and general
     care. A good bibliography is provided at the back.
   Randolph, Elizabeth. How to Help Your Puppy Grow Up to be a Wonderful
   Dog. ISBN 0-449-21503-2.
   The April 1993 edition of Dog Fancy is a "puppy primer" and it
   contains articles on how to choose a breeder, name your puppy, make
   housetraining easy, introduce grooming and solve basic puppy problems.
   It works well in conjunction with the Monk and Benjamin books.
Age to Separate from Litter

   Puppies should not be separated from their mother and littermates
   before 8 weeks of age. Many recommend 10 weeks minimum. This is
   related to physical considerations such as weaning and psychological
   considerations such as the puppy's readiness to leave the litter.
   Many breeders believe it is best to NOT have two puppies together.
   They tend to bond to each other and not to you and that can cause
   serious problems when it comes time to train them. Having two puppies
   needing housetraining at the same time can make that process go on for
   much longer. This implies that you would not introduce a second dog
   before the other six months old and properly trained.
   There are always exceptions, of course, and there are many happy dogs
   dogs that were littermates or otherwise puppies together out there.
Puppy-Proofing Your Home

   You should consider that a puppy has an absolute right to chew
   whatever they can get at in your absence. You must put the puppy where
   either it cannot do any damage, or you do not care about the possible
   damage. Puppies can eat kitchen cabinets, destroy furniture, chew on
   carpet, and damage a wide variety of other things. Besides the
   destruction, the puppy may well injure itself, even seriously.
   A good solution to this is a crate. A crate is any container, made of
   wire mesh or plastic, that will hold the puppy comfortably, with
   enough room to stand and curl up and sleep, but not too much that it
   can eliminate in one corner. See the section on housetraining below.
   Other solutions include fencing off part of the house, say the kitchen
   or garage or building an outside run. Be sure the area is
   Please put your pup in an environment it can't destroy. Puppies are
   too immature to handle temptations. Depending on the breed, most dogs
   begin to gain the maturity to handle short stints with mild
   temptations when they're about 6 months old. Consider the analogy with
   a baby, where you keep it in a crib, stroller, or pen if you are not
   holding it.
   It is essential to puppy-proof your home. You should think of it in
   the same way as child-proofing your house but be more thorough about
   it. Puppies are smaller and more active than babies and have sharp
   teeth and claws. Things of especial concern are electric wires. If you
   can get through the puppy stages without having your pup get a shock
   from chewing a wire you are doing a great job! When puppy proofing
   your home, get down on your hands and knees (or lower if possible) and
   consider things from this angle. What looks enticing, what is
   breakable, what is sharp, etc. The most important things are watching
   the puppy and, of course, crating it or otherwise restraining it when
   you can't watch it.
   Another step in puppy proofing is house proofing the puppy. Teach it
   what is and isn't chewable. The single most effective way to do this
   is by having a ready supply of chewable items on hand. When the puppy
   starts to chew on an unacceptable item (be it a chair, rug, or human
   hand), remove the item from the puppy's mouth with a stern, "NO!" and
   replace it with a chew toy and praise the puppy for playing with the
   toy. If you are consistent about this, the puppy will get the idea
   that only the things you give it are to be chewed on! Don't stint on
   the praise, and keep the "No!" to a single calm, sharp noise -- don't
   yell or scream the word.
   There are some products that can help make items unpalatable and thus
   aid in your training. Bitter Apple and Bitter Orange (available at
   most pet stores) impart a bitter taste to many things without
   staining, etc. You should not depend on these products to keep your
   puppy safe, but use them as a training aid.
   A short checklist:
     * Breakables up out of reach
     * All wiring and cords put out of reach behind furniture, or encased
       in hard plastic flexible tubing (available at hardware stores, can
       be cut to size) to slow puppy down
     * Anything small enough to be swallowed (pennies, bounce balls,
       shoelaces, bits of paper, socks, nuts, bolts, wire) removed from
       the floor
     * Block access behind furniture wherever possible
     * Put childrens toys and stuffed animals away
Puppies and Small Children

   Keep puppies and very small children apart or under close supervision.
   Small children do not understand the need for keeping fingers out of
   puppies' eyes or refraining from pulling painfully on their tails,
   among other problems. So keep children 6 years or so and younger away
   from the puppy until it is grown, for the safety of the puppy.
   Teach your children how to approach a puppy or dog, to prevent being
   jumped on. They should understand that they should put out their hands
   below the pup's chin, to keep it from jumping at a hand above its
   head. They should not scream or run away, as the puppy will then chase
   the child.
   There are several books dealing with children and dogs. Try Jack and
   Collen McDaniel's Pooches and Small Fry, published by Doral
   Publishing, 800-633-5385. This book is full of good suggestions for
   teaching both children and dogs how to behave with one another.
Acclimatization and Socialization

   Accustom your puppy to many things at a young age. Baths, brushing,
   clipping nails, cleaning ears, having teeth examined, and so on.
   Taking the time to make these things matter of fact and pleasant for
   your puppy will save you a world of time and trouble later in its
   For example, every evening before the dog eats (but after you have put
   its bowl down), check its ears by peeking in the ear and touching it
   with your fingers. Do this every evening until the dog stops fussing
   about it. Continue to do it and you'll always know if your dog's ears
   are okay.
   Brushing is important, especially for double coated or long-haired
   dogs when they begin to shed. A little effort now to get your puppy to
   enjoy brushing will save you a lot of trouble later when it begins to
   shed and shed and shed...
   During your puppy's first year, it is very important that it be
   exposed to a variety of social situations. After the puppy has had all
   its shots, carefully expose it to the outside world. Take it to
   different places: parks, shopping centers, schools, different
   neighborhoods, dog shows, obedience classes--just about anywhere you
   can think of that would be different for a little puppy. If the puppy
   seems afraid, then let it explore by itself. Encourage the puppy, but
   be firm, not coaxing. If you want to take the pup in an elevator, let
   it try it on its own, but firmly insist that it have the experience.
   Your favorite dog food and supply store (unless it's a pet store) is a
   good place; dog shows are another. You want the pup to learn about the
   world so that it doesn't react fearfully to new situations when it is
   an adult. You also want it to learn that you will not ask it to do
   anything dangerous or harmful. Socializing your dog can be much fun
   for you and the dog!
   Do not commit the classic mistake made by many owners when their dogs
   exhibit fear or aggression on meeting strangers. DO NOT "soothe" them,
   or say things like "easy, boy/girl," "it's OK..." This serves as
   REINFORCEMENT and ENCOURAGES the fear or growling! Instead, say "no!"
   sharply and praise it WHEN IT STOPS. Praise it even more when it
   allows its head to be petted. If it starts growling or backing up
   again, say "no!" Be a little more gentle with the "no" if the dog
   exhibits fear, but do be firm. With a growling dog, be much more
   emphatic and stern with your "no!"
   If you are planning to attend a puppy class (and you should, they are
   not expensive) ask the instructor about her/his views before you sign
   up. If socialization is not part of the class, look elsewhere.
   The Art of Raising a Puppy has many valuable tips and interesting
   points on the subject of socializing puppies.
Don't Be Surprised When...

   Your puppy doesn't seem to pick up the idea of whining at or going to
   the door to tell you it needs to go to the bathroom. Many puppies do
   not begin this behavior until they are four or five months old.
   Your puppy does not seem to pick its name up quickly. Sometimes it
   takes several weeks before you consistently get a reaction when you
   say its name. (Be careful not to use its name in a negative sense!
   Clap or shout instead.)
   Your puppy does not seem to be particularly happy with verbal praise.
   You need to pair verbal praise with physical praise for a few months
   before your puppy understands and appreciates verbal praise.
   Your puppy falls asleep in the middle of some other activity. Puppies
   need lots of sleep but since they are easily distracted, they
   sometimes forget to go to sleep and so will fall asleep at bizarre
   times: while eating, chewing, or even running.
   Your puppy twitches while sleeping. This indicates healthy neural
   development. Twitching will be most pronounced for the first few
   months of the puppy's life, and slowly diminish thereafter. There are
   many adult dogs that continue some twitching. Expect muffled woofs and
   snuffling noises, too.
   Your puppy hiccups. Many puppies hiccup. The only thing to do is wait
   for them to pass. Don't worry about it, they will outgrow it.
Puppy Biting

   Courtesy of Joel Walton,
   If you watch a litter of puppies playing, you will notice that they
   spend much of their time biting and grabbing each other with their
   mouths. This is normal puppy behavior. When you take a puppy from the
   litter and into your home, the puppy will play bite and mouth you.
   This is normal behavior, but needs to be modified so you and the puppy
   will be happy.
   The first thing to teach your new puppy is that human flesh is much
   more sensitive than other puppies and that it really hurts us when
   they bite. This is called bite inhibition. A puppy has very sharp
   teeth and a weak jaw. This means that the puppy can cause you to be
   uncomfortable when mouthing or puppy biting you, but can not cause
   severe damage. An adult dog has duller teeth and a powerful jaw. This
   means that an adult dog can cause significant damage when biting. ANY
   child falls on your adult dog and sticks a finger in the dog's eye,
   you should not be surprised if the dog bites. If you do a good job
   teaching your puppy bite inhibition, you should get a grab and release
   without damage. If you don't, you may get a hard bite with significant
   It is simple to teach a puppy bite inhibition. Every time the puppy
   touchs you with its teeth, say "OUCH!" in a harsh tone of voice. This
   will probably not stop the puppy from mouthing, but over time should
   result in softer and gentler puppy biting.
   The commands necessary to teach a puppy NOT to mouth, are easy and
   fun. Hold a small handful of the puppy's dry food, say "take it" in a
   sweet tone of voice, and give the puppy one piece of food. Then close
   the rest of the food in your hand and say "off" in that same sweet
   tone of voice. When the puppy has not touched your hand for 3 to 5
   seconds, say "take it" and give the puppy one piece of food. We are
   teaching the puppy that "off" means not to touch. You should do this
   with the puppy before every meal for at least 5 minutes.
   After a couple of weeks of the above training, here is how you are
   going to handle puppy biting or mouthing:
   Unexpected mouthing (you don't know the puppy is going to mouth, until
          you feel the puppy's teeth):
   Expected mouthing (you see the puppy getting ready to mouth you):
          You say "OFF" before the puppy can mouth you.
   The puppy is mouthing you because of a desire to play.
          You have to answer the question, "Do I have time to play with
          the puppy now ?" If you do, then do "sit", "down", "stand" or
          other positive 'lure and reward' training. If the answer is
          "No, I don't have time for the puppy, right now." then you need
          to do a time out (crate, or otherwise confine the puppy, so the
          puppy can't continue to mouth you and get in trouble.
   The above training methods have been modified from information that I
   learned from Dr Ian Dunbar in his puppy training seminars and from his
   excellent video 'Sirius Puppy Training' which is available by calling
Reinforcing Good Behavior

   Puppies want attention. They will do a lot to get that attention --
   even if it is negative! Thus, if you scold your puppy for doing things
   you don't want it to do, and ignore it when it is being good, you are
   reinforcing the wrong things. Ignore the bad things (or stop it
   without yelling or scolding) and enthusiastically praise it when its
   doing what you want, even if it's as simple as sitting and looking at
   you, or quietly chewing one of its toys. This can be difficult to do,
   as it is essentially reversing all your normal reactions. But it is
   very important: you will wind up with a puppy that pays attention to
   you and is happy to do what you want, if it understands you.
Crying at Night

   Your puppy wants to be with the rest of the "pack" at bedtime. This
   behavior is highly adaptive from the standpoint of dog behavior. When
   a puppy becomes separated from its pack it will whine, thereby
   allowing it to be found and returned to the rest of the group. This is
   why so many books on puppies and dog behavior strongly recommend that
   you allow your puppy/dog to sleep with you in your room to reduce the
   liklihood of crying at night.
   Try moving the crate into your bedroom. If your puppy whines, first
   make sure it doesn't have to go outside to eliminate. This means
   getting up and taking it outside. If it whines again, or doesn't need
   to go outside, bang your hand on the crate door and say something like
   "NO, SLEEP" or "NO, QUIET". If the puppy continues to whine, try
   giving it a toy or chew toy and then simply ignore any continued
   whining. If you don't reinforce the whining by comforting it (other
   than to take it outside -- which is OK), it will eventually learn to
   settle down. Also, be sure to have a vigorous play session JUST BEFORE
   you are going to go to bed. This should poop it out and it will sleep
   much more soundly.
   Alternatively, you can designate a spot for your puppy on the bedroom
   floor. Keep the door closed or put a leash on it to keep it close to
   the bed. When it whines or moves about, take it out to eliminate.
   Otherwise, as above, say "NO, SLEEP."
   Puppies that cannot sleep in the bedroom for whatever reason may be
   comforted by a ticking clock nearby, and a t-shirt of yours from the
Health: Vaccinations and Worms

   Newborn puppies receive immunization against diseases from colostrum
   contained in their mothers milk while nursing (assuming the bitch was
   properly vaccinated shortly before the breeding took place).
   Initially, during their first 24 hours of life, maternal antigens
   (passive immunity) are absorbed through the pups intestines which are
   very, very thin during those first few hours (this is why it is so
   important that puppies nurse from the mother during that critical
   time). After the colostrum ceases (a day or so later), the maternal
   antigens decline steadily.
   During this time, puppies cannot build up their own natural immunity
   because the passive immunity gets in the way. As the passive immunity
   gradually declines, the pup's immune system takes over. At this time,
   the pups should be given their first immunization shots so they can
   build up their own antibodies against them. However, there is no way
   to tell when passive immunity is gone. This is why pups should be
   given a shot every few weeks (2 - 3 weeks apart and a series of at
   LEAST three shots).
   Picture a plot of antibody level versus time. Maternal antibody is
   steadily declining. You just don't know the rate. At some level, say
   X, protection from parvo is sufficient. Below X, protection may be
   less than effective against an infection. In general, vaccine antigen
   cannot stimulate the puppy's own immune system until the maternal
   antibody level is below X. Let's say it is .7*X. Here's the rub. The
   antibody level spends some time dropping from X to .7X. During this
   time, even if you vaccinated every day, you would (in this theoretical
   discussion) not be able to stimulate immunity. Yet you are below that
   level of maternal protection at which infection can be effectively
   fought off.
   Thus the importance of giving several vaccinations at 2-4 week
   intervals until around 16-18 weeks. One maximizes the chance of
   catching the puppy's immune system as soon as it is ready to respond,
   minimizing the amount of time the puppy may be susceptible to
   IMPORTANT: The last shot should be given AFTER 16 weeks of age (4
   months) to be SURE that dam's antibodies have not gotten in the way of
   the pup building up its own immunity (read the label of the vaccine!).
   Up until 8 weeks or so, the shots should consist of Distemper,
   Measles, and CPI. After that, it should be DHLPP (Distemper,
   Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus). This is at
   minimum: you may need to add other vaccinations appropriate to your
   area, such as Lyme, Heartworm (actually a preventive medicine), Rabies
   (most places), and so on.
   You should keep your puppy away from all strange dogs. If you know
   that a particular dog is current on its shots and not carrying
   disease, then go ahead and let your puppy socialize. The same holds
   true for people. Ask them to wash their hands before they play with
   your puppy. It can't hurt and it could save you a great deal of grief.
   As your puppy gets its shots, you can slowly add more and more
   exposure to its life. But keep in mind this is an infant and needs
   gentle care!
   Worms can present a serious problem to puppy health. There is no good
   way to prevent puppies from having worms, for a variety of reasons.
   You should take your puppy in regularly for worm-testing. Worms can
   interfere with the puppy's growth if left unchecked. Since it is very
   common for puppies (even from the best breeder) to have worms from the
   dam's dormant worms, you must take care to have your puppy checked
   regularly when young.

   Around 4 to 5 months of age, puppies will start to get their permanent
   teeth. There are several things you can do, both to ease the pain and
   control the chewing.
     * Make some chicken soup (low sodium variety or make it yourself)
       ice cubes and give them to the puppy.
     * Soak a clean rag in water, wring it out and then freeze it
       (rolling it up helps) and give it to your puppy to chew on.
     * Soften the kibble a bit with water.
     * Discourage biting on your arm or hand for comfort.
   Puppies lose their teeth in a distinct pattern: first the small front
   teeth come out. Then the premolars just behind the canines. Then the
   molars in the back come out (and you'll see adult molars behind those
   erupting as well). Finally the canine teeth come out. Sometimes the
   adult canines erupt before the baby canines have come all the way out.
   During this time, some discomfort, including bleeding gums is to be
   expected. Your puppy will want to chew more during this period of
   time, but it may also be too painful to do so (hence the suggestions
   above). You will probably find few if any of the teeth your puppy
   loses, as puppies typically swallow them.
Feeding Your Puppy

   Premium pet food tends to have higher nutritional value. In
   particular, foods such as Science Diet, Eukanuba, Nature's Recipe.
   This means you can generally feed your dog a smaller amount of food.
   Also, they tend to be highly digestible which means that there is less
   waste to clean up in the yard. For these two reasons, many people feed
   their pets premium foods over grocery store foods. But the decision is
   yours and many healthy, happy dogs have been raised on plain Purina
   Dog Chow.
  Feeding schedules
   There are two methods you can use to feed your puppy: free feeding and
   scheduled feeding. Free feeding is when dry food is left out all day
   and the dog eats as it wishes. Scheduled feeding gives the dog food at
   set times of the day, and then takes it away after a period of time,
   such as a half hour. In most cases, you are best off feeding your
   puppy on a schedule. This better controls elimination when trying to
   housetrain. In addition, many dogs will overeat and become overweight
   on a free-feed schedule. But for other dogs, such as dogs with gastric
   problems or older dogs, frequent small meals may be better for them.
   If you are unsure, you may want to discuss your particular situation
   with your vet.
  Dog food formulations
   Read your labels, know your dog food products. There are different
   kinds of dog food out there. Some are formulated very precisely for
   different periods in a dog's life, and what is appropriate at one
   stage is not appropriate at another. Others are generically formulated
   and are supposed to be OK for any dog under any conditions. This means
   that they are formulated up to the growing puppy level. There is
   nothing wrong with either approach, unless the generically formulated
   dog food comes out with a "puppy food" version. These are packed even
   higher with extra nutrition, etc, than the puppy really needs, since
   the original formulation was already sufficient for the puppy.
   If you are using the latter type of puppy food, many veterinarians and
   breeders (particularly of larger breeds) recommend that you NOT feed
   it for the first year as is recommended on the bags of food. They
   recommend that you feed puppy food ONLY for the first two months that
   you have the puppy at home and then switch to adult food. A good "rule
   of thumb" is to switch to adult food when the puppy has attained 90%
   of its growth (exactly when this is reached varies by breed and size).
   The nutritional formulation (especially the extra protein and calcium)
   can actually cause problems in puppy development. The problem tends to
   be with growth of bones vs. growth of tendons, ligaments, and muscle.
   The growth rates are not the same and so the connections are strained
   and if the dog jumps wrong or is playing too hard, the connections can
   be torn. This typically happens in the front shoulder and requires
   surgery and several months of confinement to repair. The added calcium
   in puppy food may deposit on puppies' bones causing limping.
   This is not a problem with the more closely formulated foods that have
   adult foods that are specifically labelled as unsuitable for puppies
   or lactating bitches.

     If the dog makes a mess in the house - slap YOURSELF. You didn't do
     your job, and that's in no way the dog's fault. You let him down.
     If you can't keep supervise him without help, tether him to you.
     That way he can't "wander off". 
                                                             --Mary Healy
   The idea is to take advantage of a rule of dog behavior: a dog will
   not generally eliminate where it sleeps. Exceptions to this rule are:
     * Dogs that are in crates that are too large (so the dog can
       eliminate at one end and sleep at the other end).
     * Dogs that have lived in small cages in pet stores during critical
       phases of development and have had to learn to eliminate in the
     * Dogs that have blankets or other soft, absorbent items in the
       crate with them.
     * Dogs that are left for too long in the crate and cannot hold it
       any longer.
   If the crate is too big (because you got an adult size one), you can
   partition the crate off with pegboard wired to the sides to make the
   crate the correct size, and move it back as your puppy grows. RC
   Steele also sells crate dividers.
   To house train a dog using a crate, establish a schedule where the dog
   is either outside or in its crate when it feels the need to eliminate.
   Using a mild correction (saying "No" in a firm, even tone) when the
   dog eliminates inside and exuberant, wild praise when the dog
   eliminates outside will eventually teach the dog that it is better to
   go outside than in. Some owners correct more severely inside, but this
   is extremely detrimental to the character of puppies. To make the dog
   notice the difference between eliminating inside and outside, you must
   praise more outside rather than correcting more inside.
   The crate is crucial because the dog will "hold it" while in the
   crate, so it is likely to have to eliminate when it is taken out.
   Since you know when your dog has to eliminate, you take it out and it
   eliminates immediately, and is praised immediately. Doing this
   consistently is ideal reinforcement for the behavior of going out to
   eliminate. In addition, the dog is always supervised in the house, so
   the dog is always corrected for eliminating indoors. This strengthens
   the inhibition against eliminating inside.
   In general, consistency is MUCH more important than severe corrections
   when training a dog. Before a dog understands what you want, severe
   corrections are not useful and can be quite DETRIMENTAL. Crating
   allows the owner to have total control over the dog in order to
   achieve consistency. Hopefully, this will prevent the need (and the
   desire) to use more severe corrections.
   Housetraining is relatively simple with puppies. The most important
   thing to understand is that it takes time. Young puppies cannot wait
   to go to the bathroom. When they have to go, they have to go NOW.
   Therefore, until they are about four or five months old, you can only
   encourage good behavior and try to prevent bad behavior. This is
   accomplished by the following regime.
     * First rule of housetraining: puppies have to go to the bathroom
       immediately upon waking up.
     * Second rule of housetraining: puppies have to go to the bathroom
       immediately after eating.
   With these two rules goes the indisputable fact that until a puppy is
   housetrained, you MUST confine them or watch them to prevent
   This means that the puppy should have a place to sleep where it cannot
   get out. Understand that a puppy cannot go all night without
   eliminating, so when it cries in the night, you must get up and take
   it out and wait until it goes. Then enthusiastically praise it and put
   it back to bed. In the morning, take it out again and let it do its
   stuff and praise it. After it is fed and after it wakes up at any
   point, take it out to eliminate.
   Make it aware that this is not play time, but understand that puppies
   get pretty excited about things like grass and snails and leaves and
   forget what they came outside to do! Use the same spot each time if
   you can, the smell will help the puppy remember what it is to do,
   especially after 12 weeks of age.
   To make life easier for you later on, use a key phrase just when the
   puppy starts to eliminate. Try "hurry up," "do it," or some similar
   phrase (pick one and use it). The puppy will begin to eliminate on
   command, and this can be especially useful later, such as making sure
   the dog eliminates before a car ride or a walk in the park.
   Don't let the puppy loose in the house unless it has just gone
   outside, and/or you are watching it extremely closely for signs that
   it has to go. The key to housetraining is preventing accidents. If no
   accidents occur (ha!), then the dog never learns it has an option
   other than going outside. When you are at home, rather than leave the
   pup in the crate, you can "tether" the puppy to you -- use a six foot
   long leash and tie it to your belt. That way he can't get out of your
   site in the house and go in the wrong place.
   For an idea of what this can involve, here is a hypothetical
   situation, assuming that you work and it takes you about 1/2 hour to
   get home from work:
     * 03:00 Let dog out, go to bathroom, return to crate
     * 07:00 Let dog out, go to bathroom
     * 07:15 Feed dog in crate, leave dog in crate
     * 08:00 Let dog out, go to bathroom, return to crate
     * 08:15 Owner goes to work
     * 11:30 Owner returns, lets dog out
     * 11:45 return dog to crate, owner returns to work
     * 17:00 Owner returns, lets dog out, go to bathroom, play (use
       tether if necessary)
     * 19:00 Feed dog in crate, leave in crate
     * 19:45 Let dog out, go to bathroom, play
     * 23:00 Let dog out, put dog in crate, go to bed.
   For a comprehensive discussion on housetraining dogs, see
   Evans, Job Michael. The Evan's Guide for Housetraining Your Dog. ISBN:
     Evans was a monk at New Skete for some years. He discusses all
     aspects of housetraining puppies and dogs, giving many constructive
     solutions for all kinds of specific problems.
   Benjamin's Mother Knows Best discusses paper training in more detail
   than is covered here.
Preliminary Training

   It is essential for every dog, no matter how big, or small, or whether
   you want to show, or work, or just play with, to have basic obedience
   training. If you want to go beyond the basics, that's great. But at
   least do the basics. One way to think of it is that without basic
   obedience, you and the dog don't speak the same language so how can
   you communicate? But with basic obedience, you can tell the dog what
   you want it to do and it will understand you and do it. Another way to
   think of it is getting your dog to be a Good Citizen: it doesn't jump
   on people, or run off, or indulge in other obnoxious behaviors --
   because it knows what you expect of it.
  Obedience classes
   Find a good class and attend it. Many places have puppy kindergarten
   classes; this also helps socialize your puppy. Do 10 minute training
   sessions every day. And if you like it, keep going. You'd be amazed at
   all the activities you can do with your dog once you and the dog learn
   the basics! Training is fun and simple if approached that way. Enjoy
  Around the house
   Puppies can be started far earlier than many people believe. In fact,
   waiting until your pup is 6 months old to start training it is VERY
   late, and will be the cause of a LOT of problems. Start right away
   with basic behavior: use simple, sharp "no's" to discourage chewing
   hands or fingers, jumping on people, and many other behaviors that are
   cute in puppies but annoying when full grown. Don't be severe about
   it, and praise the puppy *immediately* when it stops. Tie the puppy
   down in sight of people eating dinner to prevent begging and nosing
   for food (if you put it in another room, it will feel ostracized and
   begin to cry). If your puppy bites and scratches you when playing,
   give it a toy instead. Give a good, loud *yelp* or *ouch* when the
   puppy bites you. This is how the other puppies in the litter let each
   other know when they have crossed the line, and it is a good way to
   get the puppy's attention and let it know that biting is not
   The other side of the coin is immediate praise when your puppy stops
   after a "no". You may feel like this is engaging in wild mood swings
   (and you may well get odd looks from other people); that's all right.
   You're making your wishes crystal clear to the puppy. It also needs
   positive as well as negative reinforcement: how would you respond if
   people only ever yelled at you when you did something wrong?
   Introduce things in a fun way without "corrections" just to lay a
   foundation for formal training later on. Formal training, demanding or
   exact, is not appropriate at this stage. Instead, concentrate on
   general behavior, getting its attention, introducing things that will
   be important later in a fun way, and some other preliminary things,
   such as discouraging it from lagging or forging on the leash (but not
   making it heel!). In sum, lay a good foundation for its future
   development and behavior.
    Your New Puppy FAQ
    Cindy Tittle Moore,
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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM