When Should I Start Basic Obedience?

When Should I Start Basic Obedience?
By Kimberly LeMaster

Puppies begin learning social behaviors when their eyes open! They learn to interact with their littermates and some manners from their mother, however a puppy must learn what is expected of him in a human world. What is okay to do with other dogs is definitely not okay with people, and that is where you take over where his mother left off!

Day One

The day your puppy comes under your care is the day basic obedience actually begins. While the most commonly known commands, such as sit, lie down, and stay, are indeed a part of basic obedience it is not the first step. Before you can start teaching your puppy commands, he first must learn how to learn in a human environment.

Basic obedience is everything from learning to walk on a leash to house training and coming when called, but your puppy’s first day with his new family begins small. As a baby, your little one is trying to figure out where he fits in with his new human pack and what is expected of him. His obedience training begins on day one in the simplest of ways!

Teaching your puppy how to learn can be best described in clicker training. Before any animal learns how to work with a clicker, the clicker first must be charged. This basically means that the dog learns what the clicker does and what happens after he hears it. You charge a clicker by sitting on the floor with a handful of yummy, small treats and your clicker. You don’t actually have to use any device for this, but instead can also use another sound like the click of your tongue or a word like “Yep!” Click or clicker, or other marker sound and provide a treat. Do this about ten to twelve times in a row, and you have just charged your clicker! Your puppy has learned that this sound means that a reward is on the way.

As you get further into training, your puppy will learn that the click, or marker sound, bridges the correct behavior to a reward. If he does not hear the sound, then he has not yet provided the correct behavior and will try again.

First Behaviors

Before you dive in to teaching your puppy to sit, stay or play dead it is important that you implement some rewarding calming behaviors. A calming behavior is anything other than jumping up, biting, barking or whining. Just like when you charged your clicker, sit on the floor at his level with some treats or bits of food and just wait for your puppy to be calm. He can sit, lie down or just stand. You are not asking him for anything, but mark the calm behavior and reward him with a treat! Doing so will make teaching basic commands much easier and fun for both of you!

Now that your puppy knows that jumping up and barking will not get him the treats he wants, it’s time to begin his obedience training! Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a qualified, professional trainer or attend puppy classes! Classes especially hold great benefits to both owners and puppies, can answer your questions, address concerns and get you started down the right path to a well adjusted and polite canine companion.

My Puppy & the Park

My Puppy & the Park
by Kimberly LeMaster

Socializing and exercising your puppy is a necessity, but heading to the local dog park may cause more harm than you think! Young puppies are more susceptible to diseases and injuries than their grown counterparts. Being aware of your puppy’s growth as well as his immune system development can help the two of you to have fun while staying safe!

Age of Carrying

Veterinarians and breeders will both agree that carrying very young and delicate puppies while outside of the home is must to prevent the infection of diseases, including parvovirus which is deadly to little ones. This can be called the age of carrying, because anytime your pup has to go to the vet, a stroll outside or anywhere that other animals could have contaminated, you need to be able to carry him through. This age will last until roughly 12 weeks old, when your pup’s immune system has had the chance to develop from the antibodies his mother’s milk and vaccinations provided.

The local park, and especially the local dog park, can be toxic to such a young puppy. Without the natural ability to prevent infections from viruses and bacteria that is shed from other dogs that visit, your puppy can become ill very quickly. Even a young puppy that has been vaccinated may not have the ability to defeat such diseases just yet. Booster shots are given at various periods in a young puppy’s life because there is no telling at what point the antibodies will actually develop. Exposing your furball to these dangers before his body has created antibodies from his vaccinations can lead to deadly results.

Parkless Playtime

Your puppy can still get the benefits of a dog park without the dangers by attending socialization classes at your local kennel club. These classes allow play time with puppies around the same age while being supervised by dog behavioral professionals as well as a number of other puppy owners. Such an opportunity will let your puppy interact and play while learning in a safe and controlled environment.

If you have an enclosed yard in which your puppy can be kept safe from the dangers of roads and other animals, you can bond more closely with your new best friend through play time together. Puppies learn while playing, so this is the perfect time to teach bite inhibition, recall and even fun games like fetch or hide and seek! Remember, training is nothing more than a fun game for canines, so don’t be afraid to incorporate it into a safe play session.

Puppy Daycare

Not everyone can take time off work or school to provide the exercise, socialization and fun that puppies need throughout the day. Doggie daycare is a popular option for many dog owners. Dropping their canine companion off at daycare in the morning before work and picking him up on the way home has brought peace in the home. Dogs come home tired and relaxed after a full day of playing and romping with other dogs of the same size.

Call your local doggie daycare center to learn if they offer options strictly for young puppies only. Just like with puppy socialization classes, your little one will be supervised by round the clock professional care, kept clean and given the opportunity to play with other canines his age and size.

Safety First

Whether you decide to take the plunge and take your young puppy to the local dog park, daycare or socialization class, his safety should always be first and foremost. Ask questions of the employees that you speak with to find out vaccination requirements, size and age requirements, and what is expected of all puppy owners who use their services and facilities. Trust your gut, and if you feel that your puppy is not suited to one situation, move on to the next! A safe puppy will grow to be a healthy, happy forever best friend.

How to Potty Train a Puppy with the Pooch Potty Trainer!

How to Potty Train a Puppy with the Pooch Potty Trainer!

Potential pet parents cite the daunting task of potty training as a major reason for deciding against welcoming a new puppy into their homes. There are the messy accidents, the smelly puppy pads, the late night runs to the backyard, and of course, the heartbreaking cries from the crate. Learning how to potty train a puppy can be just as stressful as caring for a new infant! The patent pending Pooch Potty Trainer has burst onto the market to make this frustrating stage in your puppy’s life a whole lot easier!
More than just a potty training product, the Pooch Potty Trainer is a crate, a bed, a playpen and a training system all in one! This innovative product puts your puppy’s wants, needs and instincts above simple convenience. Consider the stress involved when a puppy is uprooted from its mother and siblings to be brought to a strange home where nothing is familiar. Puppies crave consistency, positive reinforcement and routine. They are extremely intuitive, and even if you don’t yell or punish them for having an accident, they pick up on your frustration. During their early development it is not uncommon for them to urinate as often as every hour. Meals, vigorous play and naps should always be followed by a visit to an approved potty spot. With the Pooch Potty Trainer you and your puppy can feel secure in knowing that an appropriate potty area is always available.
The technology behind the Pooch Potty Trainer is based on your puppy’s natural instinct to go potty on grass. The unit consists of two distinct areas: the cozy sleep zone and the slightly larger potty area made of soft artificial turf, a drainage grid and a collection tray. It is the natural behavior of dogs to move away from the area in which they sleep in order to relieve themselves. The Pooch Potty Trainer uses this natural instinct to prompt pups to choose the turf for potty purposes, eliminating the needless expense and inconvenience of training pads. When outside for training sessions, your puppy will recognize the lawn as the correct place to potty thanks to the similar look and feel of the doggy turf material in the Pooch Potty Trainer. Training pads bear no resemblance to the outside environment causing confusion for puppies trained with that method. Using the Pooch Potty Trainer’s turf system has the added benefit of preparing your pup to be exposed to similar artificial grass materials elsewhere. Dog parks, boarding and training facilities, and even airports are utilizing artificial turf on an increasingly frequent basis.
The Pooch Potty Trainer provides an answer to another aspect of the question of how to potty train a puppy: crate training. Teaching your pet to feel comfortable and relaxed in a crate is a huge part of the potty training process. Your Potty Trainer unit consists of a removable top portion that allows effective crate training, without the cruel element of forcing your pup to hold their waste until released from the crate. Puppies crave a warm, safe place to sleep much like they had with their mother and littermates. With the Pooch Potty Trainer, your puppy has that safe spot and so much more! They gain independence by utilizing the crate aspect overnight and when you cannot be home, and they gain confidence in knowing that they have an appropriate place to relieve themselves when they do not have access to the outdoors.
As your puppy grows and develops more bladder control, the top portion can be removed with increasing frequency. You now have the option to use the base as a potty solution when you aren’t available to bring your dog outside. With more and more city dwellers opening their homes to canine companions, the need for a high rise apartment potty solution is growing. The base of your Pooch Potty Trainer is an excellent option that can be placed in a bathroom, laundry room, even on a secure porch or balcony.
Suburban pup parents are in need of a potty solution, as well. Allowing a dog access to your yard through a doggy door can be very dangerous- even if you have a fence. Your dog could be injured, bitten by a snake or even stolen from a fenced yard while you are at work or out of the home. With the Pooch Potty Trainer you can rest assured that you will come home to a safe, happy pup and a clean house! Studies conducted by our team have shown that the majority of suburban pups trained with the Pooch Potty Trainer acclimate seamlessly to using the grass in their yards for potty purposes. Once fully developed, they naturally gravitate to the yard when it is time to relieve themselves, only using the indoor unit for emergencies.
Unlike traditional crates, the Pooch Potty Trainer opens from the top. This allows for easy cleaning. Simply remove the bed; the pet grass and drainage grid are connected and easy to lift out by the provided handles. After rinsing or cleansing, return the grass and grid to the base of the Pooch Potty Trainer. The collection tray can be slid out from the underside of the unit anytime a cleanup is necessary. Your puppy can remain happily inside while the collection tray is washed, making the process a snap!
When the unit is open and the bed is removed, the Potty Trainer can also function as a playpen for your pup. The playpen feature promotes your puppy’s sense of security and comfort, further building her confidence! Veterinarians, dog trainers and experienced puppy parents agree that positive reinforcement and confidence building are essential when learning how to potty train a puppy.
The Pooch Potty Trainer provides the answer to so many difficult training issues. No matter where you call home- the suburbs or the urban jungle, you can depend on the Pooch Potty Trainer to get your pup started off right. Whether you have decided to open your heart and home to a new puppy or a rescue dog, the methods you use to train your pet early on will shape your entire relationship. You want your dog to trust you, feel warm and safe in your home, and understand exactly what is expected of her. With just one product, you can provide your pup with a soft place to rest, a playtime pen, and a realistic potty zone that will set her up for training success. If you are wondering how to potty train a puppy, search no further than the Pooch Potty Trainer!

pooch potty trainer

Where is the Best Place for the Pooch Potty Trainer?

Where is the Best Place for the Pooch Potty Trainer?
By Kimberly LeMaster

We all want a happy, healthy puppy with minimal accidents on the carpet. Using the puppy potty trainer can bring both convenience and reliability in your puppy’s potty behaviors when used correctly. The placements of your puppy’s trainer can make or break your puppy’s correct elimination choices, which means setting him up for success is entirely in your hands!

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

It may be tempting to place your trainer in an area that is seldom used, such as a guest bedroom or utility room. While this may keep it out of the way for you, it can actually hamper your puppy’s ability to potty train correctly. This happens for two reasons; one is that your puppy needs to be within eye sight of his family to remain comfortable enough to learn. The second reason is that you will not be able to adequately praise your little one when he eliminates in the grass potty area.

When puppies are fearful, they experience anxiety just like any other living creature. Consider when you yourself have been scared. Your ability to clearly think and learn is dampened by fear, and your perceptions may be skewed. The same happens with your puppy! Being separated from his family, or pack, a puppy instinctively gets scared. The dog’s ancestors, wolves, would be in grave danger when separated or left behind. That instinct carried into our domestic canine family members. Keep your puppy feeling safe and happy by not exiling him into the lonely guest bedroom!

Puppies learn through trial and error. They test what is right or wrong through acting on impulses and the consequences that follow them. Clicker training has become a widely used method of positively reinforcing correct behaviors, and ignoring unwanted ones due to the natural ways in which dogs learn! When your puppy eliminates in his trainer and you are capable of praising him when he’s finished, he will be more likely to repeat this behavior in the future because it has a positive consequence! If the trainer is in a place in which you are not able to view him eliminating and, thus, cannot praise him when it happens, then he will not know that this is the behavior you are expecting of him!

Where can I put the trainer, then?

You know your home and family better than anyone. Choose an area that is regularly frequented by yourself and family members so that your puppy never feels alone and isolated. This may be a family room, kitchen or recreation room.

When choosing a spot, keep windows and ventilation in mind. You don’t want the trainer in direct sunlight where your puppy can become uncomfortable. Direct sunlight can actually damage your dog’s eyes if he is exposed for too long. It can also make him too warm to remain comfortable while he is enclosed within the trainer for periods of time.

Vents throughout your home can create a draft that could chill your puppy. Small breed puppies are especially susceptible to getting too cold quickly when left near a vent when your air conditioner is on during warmer months. Likewise, being stuck next to or under a vent when your furnace is on can actually cause your dog to overheat just as if he were left in the sun during summer! Keep temperature in mind when choosing the perfect place for your trainer.

Tips and Tricks

Once you have found the ideal spot for your puppy’s trainer where the family frequents and in a comfortable position, it is time to consider the accessories that you should keep nearby. Poop pick up bags should be kept handy near the trainer so that you can pick up your puppy’s mess as soon as you notice he has defecated. Keeping the trainer clean will encourage your little one to continue going potty in the right spot!

Treats are also mandatory to have near the trainer. This is so that you can properly praise and reward your furry friend when he makes the right choice of eliminating in the fake grass section of the trainer. Remember not to interrupt him while he is doing his business, but instead wait until he is finished. Then don’t hesitate to make a big deal and fuss over how good of a boy (or girl) they are for going potty in the right spot!

Setting your puppy up for success with these few basic tips are sure to create a reliably house trained dog with your guidance and love!

How Do I Socialize My Puppy?

By How Do I Socialize My Puppy?
Kimberly LeMaster

Time and time again puppy owners are told that socialization is just as important, if not more important, as basic obedience training. Veterinarians say it, rescues and breeders say it, and of course your trainer will say it; socialize that puppy! A simple trip to the dog park or local pet store, however, may not cut it!

Ingredients for Puppy Socialization

If you think about all the parts that make up your ideal canine companion, many of those aspects come from positive socialization experiences, i.e., dogs that are happy and respectful when meeting new people and other dogs. Dogs that do not scare easily are always more trustworthy.

Socializing your puppy is more than allowing him to sniff other dogs or jump up on people for a slobbery puppy kiss. Socialization involves objects, sounds, textures and even movements! Letting a puppy have an experience with what could be seen as scary or strange, such as people wearing hats, opening umbrellas or even walking on gravel can change their perception of the objects and situations. However, simply exposing your pup to these things won’t help him get over or prevent any fear. The situations must be fully controlled by you, and must be kept positive for your pup. He has to learn that these things are nothing to fear, and in doing so, he will approach new situations throughout the rest of his life in a calm and inquisitive manner!

Fear Stages

While dogs continue to learn socialization behaviors for their entire lives, a puppy is especially open to these learning experiences. Fear stages are two periods in a puppy’s growth that help to shape his reactions and emotions towards strange, unknown and scary things. It also is the time in which a puppy learns the most in how to communicate with other dogs and humans!

The first fear period starts around 4 weeks of age while puppy is still with his mother and siblings. He is still dependent on her milk and guidance, and the majority of his social canine behaviors are learned through interacting with her and his litter mates. This first period will last until your pup reaches about 12 weeks of age. Aside from weaning from his mother’s milk around 8 weeks old, he is also at the best age to bond with and learn the structures of a new human household. During the first few weeks with your puppy your interactions, such as play times and training, are crucial to his development.

The second fear period can be tricky to pin point, unlike the first. Each puppy is different, and it can strike at 7 or 8 months of age and only lasts about 2 weeks. You may see a slight change in personality and behavior during this time, but don’t worry! The fear periods got named so because puppies will have a heightened sensitivity to fearful emotions during these times. It is normal, and also why it is so important to work on socialization specifically during fear periods as well as in between and after!

It Takes No Time!

While a trip to the dog park for an hour to romp and play with other canines can be fun, socialization takes on mere moments for your puppy to develop emotions and have a positive experience. Exposing your pup to a scary, opened umbrella on the ground with a handful of treats or a kind voice may only take 5 minutes!

Socialization is incredibly important and will continue as your furball grows into an adult canine companion. Stressing about it or overdoing it, though, will not help you or your pooch! Instead, treat it just like you do play time. Make it fun. Make it rewarding. Make it brief!

Pooch Potty Trainer For Small Breed Rescued Dogs

Pooch Potty Trainer For Small Breed Rescued Dogs
by Kimberly LeMaster

The smell of urine, the stained carpet and an upset human are tale tell signs of a dog who was not properly potty trained. Small breed dogs are notoriously difficult for the average owner to potty train effectively. In the end, the dog is surrendered to a shelter or rescue in the hopes that he is adopted by someone who can train him.

Most rescues, however, begin working on training their rescued dogs on basic manners and potty habits before heading to their forever home. This not only greatly increases the dog’s chances at getting adopted, but it can also make his transition to his new home far smoother on both the adoptee and adopter! The Pooch Potty Trainer can help make it happen!

Crates, Housebreaking, and Little Dogs

The number one reason for small dogs to develop unwanted potty habits is an owner who trusts the dog too soon. Before a dog can be trusted to roam a home freely unsupervised, he must be completely, unquestionably trained. Typically, this is cause for use of a crate, a schedule and the devotion of an owner who may need to take up to 2 weeks off from work or school for dog training. Human society just has no room for such a feat, until now.

The Pooch Potty Trainer provides both a crate and a faux grass unit in which the dog or puppy can eliminate in. Urine flows through to the washable or disposable pad beneath, preventing the dog from stepping in his own waste. For small dogs, this can graduate into a permanent indoor elimination option instead of the carpet or furniture. Likewise, it can help them to develop the habit of doing their business in one place as you can transition them to going outdoors only.

What Does This Mean For Rescued Dogs?

Small breeds are targets often by puppy mills, and some are lucky to find themselves in the caring arms of rescuers. Others still are surrendered directly from owners or pulled from kill shelters. These dogs have lived through trauma, and with training, love the comfort of a crate. Now, adopted rescue dogs or those in foster care can have that comfort while the owners or foster family enjoy the convenience of the trainer.

The rescued small dog will not feel the intimidation of learning a new backyard, home, family and schedule. With the ability to potty on his own terms in the correct space, he will have more opportunities for positive reinforcement as he routinely makes the right choice for elimination. In addition, the Potty Trainer will also give peace of mind and ease of training on the humans. If they cannot make it home in time for the potty schedule, the foster or adopter does not need to stress as the rescued dog can potty all on his own.

Getting Started

Foster homes and adoptive homes can be encouraged to use the Pooch Potty Trainer to make the transition easier, fun, and successful. If the dog is a puppy mill rescue, then using the trainer is going to be exceptionally easy. The dog already is accustomed to cage living, but now he is given a clean and separate place to rest so he can stay clean. This makes moving to going potty outdoors far easier than papers, pads, or other potty training products. If the dog is not accustomed to the crate, help him learn to love it using positive associations. These steps can be found within the training guide that accompanies the Potty Trainer, so the human can be fully prepared and help rescued dogs find comfort, love and a stress free home!

Puppy Potty Solutions Servicing Service Dogs And Their Families!

Puppy Potty Solutions Servicing Service Dogs And Their Families!
By Kimberly LeMaster

Let’s be honest, being disabled is not an easy thing to deal with! Service dogs are life lines for their disabled handlers and make life a bit easier and more enjoyable. A trained service dog can alert their diabetic handler of low blood sugar before it becomes a major problem or open doors and turn off lights if a wheel chair user cannot reach it. The tasks these working dogs are trained to do provide independence and safety, giving a higher quality of life to a person with a disability. However, caring for the dog is a task that the human must do, and the Pooch Potty Trainer can be an exceptionally helpful tool in that regard!

Outdoor Limitations

Individuals with mobility difficulties may find that getting outdoors is troublesome, especially during harsh weather. A blizzard can keep a wheelchair, even a motorized one, from going further than the front door. Those with mental or emotional disabilities can struggle with simple tasks, including taking their service dog out to potty multiple times a day. This can be a problem for service dogs when they really need to eliminate. The grass potty station in the Pooch Potty Trainer can provide dogs an indoor elimination spot so they can relieve themselves while giving their owner peace of mind!

With the ability to potty on the easy to clean faux grass, either inside the crate system or standing alone, the canine helper can take himself to do his business even when the disabled handler is unable to or struggling to do so. Using a poop pick up bag, your service dog’s number two is easy to discard. Urine flows straight through the grass so the dog can comfortably walk across his potty place without tracking his waste across your carpet! His number one will absorb into the disposable or washable pads underneath. This system brings convenience to a new level for those who are differently-abled at any time, day or night!

Growing System for Service Dogs of All Sizes

You do not have to own a tiny Yorkie or other small breed to use this handy and accommodating dog care tool. The crate and grass come in sizes from small to extra-extra large! While service dogs can be any breed and any size, many large breeds are chosen due to their mobility and balance tasks they can offer their handler. Your large breed working dog can use one, too.

If you are raising a puppy for a service dog program, or raising your own puppy to train as a service dog for yourself or someone else, then you will love this. Starting a service dog candidate as a puppy on this system prepares him to reliably use the faux grass as an adult, making caring for him easier for the disabled handler. You can start a puppy with a smaller crate and grass potty station, then graduate him to a larger one as he grows. You can also simply get the size he will require as an adult and let him continue to use the same one for life. A puppy started on this system will not pick this as his one and only option to potty, but will also be happy to go outside if you praise him when he does eliminate outdoors. He will still choose his Pooch Potty Trainer to do his business when going outdoors is not available.

Service Dogs and the Puppy Potty Solution!

While any dog can really benefit from an indoor potty option, service dog handlers understand the difficulties in basic care. Some days it is hard just to take care of yourself, and that is when the Pooch Potty Trainer helps you and your service dog!