Anyone Have Any Advice?---New Puppy

Lounge By mlynnb Updated 8 Feb 2009 , 2:07pm by Bijoudelanuit

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mlynnb Posted 26 Jan 2009 , 12:45pm
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Ok you guys, I'm looking for any advice/wisdom you all might have for me- I think I'm gonna need it! icon_lol.gif A few years ago, my DH promised my kids that when we built our house, they could have a dog. Fast forward to last summer when we are in afore-mentioned house. Kids start asking for their dog and DH realizes there is no way to get out of this! Anyway, we decided we wanted a small dog , so we are getting a Shih Tzu this weekend. He is absolutely adorable, and all-chocolate brown AKC certified dog. We have been visiting him since the day after he was born and my kids have named him Hobbes (we all love the cartoon 'Calvin and Hobbes'). Anyway, he has a great personality, and is already paper-trained thumbs_up.gif . So, I've never had a puppy, but I've been reading up on training them. And yes, I do realize that for the next few months, my life will be about this puppy, but i don't really mind. Heck, its winter, what else do I have to do? icon_wink.gif I know there are people on this site who have been through training a small dog before, so how about it? Advice anyone??

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SS385Monte Posted 26 Jan 2009 , 2:26pm
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I have a large dog, but I think this applies to ANY dog. Take him to obedience school. We've done a lot of training at home with Baxter, but getting him to behave around other dogs and people is a completely different story. Sure he can sit and stay in the kitchen, but out in public - forget it! Find a GOOD trainer and join their class once the puppy is old enough.

We took the dog to Petsmart and dropped out part way through. The instructor was convinced that squirting a Golden Retriever in the face with water was a good way to get "no" across. Umm, Golden's love water - goofy puppy thought it was a fun game! We then took Baxter to a small local pet store and the trainer there would give people general recommendations, but then point out to individuals that certain things based on the breed of the dog.

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kaat Posted 26 Jan 2009 , 3:54pm
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Any attention you give will enforce the behaviour. We see this quite a bit with small dogs in our clinic > the little guy will bark at strangers(ie vet staff) when being held and the owner will "comfort" the dog. The owner may be saying "It's ok they won't hurt you" but the dog "hears" "Yes, I'm scared too, keep barking and scare them away!"
Play with his ears and feet a lot! Look in his mouth. And reward him when you do! Get him used to being touched in these areas it will help later when you have to trim his nails or put ear drops in his ears. Obedience school is great but don't forget that the teachings apply to all family members too! The kids should be trained too! icon_biggrin.gif
Have fun!

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LisaR64 Posted 26 Jan 2009 , 6:35pm
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Excellent advice Kaat & SS385Monte. When we got our Chesapeake Bay Retriever, the breeder suggested we have a lot of physical contact with her, as her breed tends to be a little stand-offish when it comes to physical contact. Well it worked. She's 3 years old now. She's 85 pounds and absolutely convinced she's a lap dog. She loves to be petted and massaged and the vets absolutely love her because they can poke and prod her anywhere and she thinks it's just great. One of her siblings raised by another family is just the opposite, nobody but her master can touch her. I wish we would have socialized our dog a little more though. She's very shy around new people and other dogs, and she's terrified of loud noises of any kind.

Definitely try to find a good book or trainer who will help you train specific to your dog's breed and personality.

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rlowry03 Posted 26 Jan 2009 , 7:01pm
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I absolutely recommend crate training! It's sooo helpful when house breaking a puppy. We have done it with all but one of our dogs and it's been nothing but success! Especially when they are young, unless they are right with you they are in the crate. If they are with you, keep them right in eyesight and take them out frequently. They will pick it up very quickly.

Also, never punish a dog by hitting, rubbing their nose in messes, etc. They don't understand why they are being hit and will become afraid or continue the bad behavior but hide it from you. Firm but not mean works best.

Good luck!

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mlynnb Posted 26 Jan 2009 , 7:16pm
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Thanks for all of your replies! I'm actually excited about getting a dog since I'e never had one-even growing up, but I'm also a little nervous too.

rlowry03 said:


I absolutely recommend crate training! It's sooo helpful when house breaking a puppy. We have done it with all but one of our dogs and it's been nothing but success! Especially when they are young, unless they are right with you they are in the crate. If they are with you, keep them right in eyesight and take them out frequently. They will pick it up very quickly.

Are there any books out there you would recommend on crate training? I have a vague idea what it means to crate train, but I would love to have more detail.

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ziggytarheel Posted 26 Jan 2009 , 9:19pm
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I don't remember which book we used (I loaned it out and never got it back), but after we saw Matthew Margolis on PBS once, we were sold on his approach. Here is his website:

I would recommend getting one of his books now and read up before the puppy comes. I have to say that after the first 2 weeks, our dog NEVER had another accident in the house. I'm being completely serious. He is now 11 years old. We were absolutely, 100% consistent in the methods we tried. I think it is so much like children....good technique with consistency is the key.

I would love a new puppy....

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rlowry03 Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 2:17am
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I don't know of any books, I learned by taking one of the puppies to a puppy kindergarten class and then have just continued it on because it works so well! I'm sure you can find some great ones out there though.

The basic gyst of it is you get a crate for the dog and it becomes their safe place. So never force them in, use it for punishment, etc. Start by putting food and toys in it until they become comfortable going in and out. Then slowly start working into closing the door. Once they are not afraid, they should be in their crate any time you aren't home or can't be focused on them. The idea is they will not mess up their den. But you must take them outside immediately each time they come out.

When they are out with you, keep them very close. With one of mine, it meant keeping her on a leash beside me b/c she liked to wander and explore. Take them out often, and if they start to have an accident rush them outside telling them "potty outside" or whatever phrase you use. And LOTS of praise, silly voices, treats... when they do something right.

Another thought I had... I did clicker training with one of my dogs, and it worked really well. It's basically using a clicker and a treat to mark the exact moment they do what you want. Definitely find a good trainer nearby since you don't have experience with dogs. It's worth it!

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mlynnb Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 12:26pm
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Thanks for all of your replies. I am going to the library today to see if I can find any books that would be helpful and I'm going to check and see if there are any dog training places around. Wish me luck!!!

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sweetsbycheryl Posted 27 Jan 2009 , 1:22pm
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Good Luck with your new baby!! icon_biggrin.gif Shih-tzus are great little dogs- mine is 13 years old and is still the queen of the house. They are pretty good with kids, my dog and my daughter have grown up together. Definitely socialize him, as they can be a little yippy with strangers, and the crate training method worked wonders with mine- she was totally housebroken in about two weeks. They require alot of brushing if you don't keep them clipped, and they do tend to have ear and eye problems when they get older (mine has cataracts now and is about half deaf- my breeder warned me that these are issues with this breed). All in all they are very loving and sweet little dogs!! Good Luck!!

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Rose_N_Crantz Posted 29 Jan 2009 , 1:42am
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I have to go against almost everything I've read on here so far. I followed those methods when I got my dog. As he got older, he got very protective of his "crate". If we needed to take him someplace, bathe him, clip his nails, etc. he would run to his "den" and it was near impossible to get him out without getting bit. Because his "den" was HIS safe place. That developed into problems with strangers, kids, and other animals. When my husband and I got married, we started listening to what Cesar Milan had to say about training. Less than a year later, my dog has almost done a 180. He doesn't pull on his leash, he doesn't bark, he doesn't bite. Before, we wouldn't even think about taking him to Petsmart on a Saturday. We just did for the first time a couple weeks ago and he was a little angel. He didn't run up to any dogs, he didn't growl and never pulled on the leash. Even when other dogs would approach him (he's a Pomeranian btw) he would just sit there with his eyes straight forward or on me or my husband (waiting for our instructions). People complimented us on how well behaved he was.

So when you're checking out dog training books, be sure to check out Cesar. He's also got a show called The Dog Whisperer.

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-Tubbs Posted 29 Jan 2009 , 7:27pm
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Aww, puppies are so lovely - that puppy smell, and so soft!

My baby is now 4 and doesn't smell so great now! There are some good tips here, and I'm no expert, but I wanted to let you know about our experience.

Our dog Flossie was a sensitive puppy and would get very upset when she was left alone in the house. At first we tried to crate-train her but we'd come home to find she'd messed in it because of stress. She was the same if we left her out of the crate. It was awful because whenever we went out we'd never know what we'd come home to. Once we put in a dog door everything changed. We all LOVE it - Flossie loves it because she can go in and out whenever she feels like it, to pee, or to lie in the sun on a nice day, or just mooch around. We love it because we don't have to worry if we're a little late home, or out all day, or whatever. Also great for Sunday mornings when you don't have to get up at 6am to open the door!

It's really easy to teach a dog to use a door - even my sister's dog (known in the family as being the dumbest dog in the world!!) picked it up.

Enjoy the new member of your family!

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jammjenks Posted 29 Jan 2009 , 10:40pm
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I have nothing to add to this discussion, but I got this in an email today and thought you all would like it.

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mlynnb Posted 30 Jan 2009 , 12:16pm
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Um, that was the cutest thing ever! icon_smile.gif Thanks for sharing....we've had some delays and cancelations of school, so my DD wants to watch that like, every 5 minutes or so.... icon_lol.gif

Just 2 days till we get our puppy--that is if we can ever get out of our driveway! We got 11-12 inches of snow Wed. and the driveway keeps blowing shut. My poor DH has shoveled, snowblowed, plowed (yes, all three!) at least 6 times since Wed! Ugh, I'm ready for spring!!!

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tiggy2 Posted 30 Jan 2009 , 9:52pm
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We trained ours to ring bells, that hang on the back door, whenever he needs to go out. That was 7 years ago and he still does it faithfully.

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rlowry03 Posted 1 Feb 2009 , 4:29pm
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Rose - I can absolutely see how crate training doesn't work for every single dog. At one point I wouldn't have believed it, but my parents picked up a stray puppy that had probably been abused and she was the same way once she got older (and bigger). It worked great for housebreaking but she would run and hide in the crate and try to attack anyone who came near. Pretty scary when the dog is the size of a small horse! But lots of love and work cesar style and she is improving.

I've always had luck with the crate, but all dogs are different. And watching cesar is amazing! I wish I could do that!

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red0027 Posted 8 Feb 2009 , 7:55am
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Hi there! We have 4...yes, I said 4 Siberian Huskies. We made sure we crate trained them. They love their crates...we feed them there and always leave them open so they can go there whenever they want. We also put them in there when we leave the house. This is more for their protection so they don't get into anything that could potentially harm or kill them. When they were puppies, we did our best to keep them on a strict schedule for eating and going to the bathroom. Routine is great for them to include where you want them to do their business outside. We also took them to puppy training class. We would never let them off the leash intentionally, but they have never ran out the door as a lot of untrained dogs will do. We ensure they sit and stay and don't touch their food bowls until given the command. We are amazed at how great they are considering the breed can be very stubborn, but are extremely smart and willing to learn. And yes, they all feel like they are lap dogs.

I would also agreed to start touching them allover...get him used to brushing his teeth, playing with his ears and paws. This will also help you later because they you can find any abnormalities should any arise on his body. Hope this helps! We purchased books specifically for our breed to help us out.

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Bijoudelanuit Posted 8 Feb 2009 , 2:07pm
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I don't have any advice, but wanted to say Congratulations!!!!!! I'm so happy and excited for you!

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