House Training your puppy

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House Training your puppy

house training my dog BoomerMy Greek friend Anna is e-mailing me much more often since she has Argiro. The most difficult for her at the moment is preventing the dog from peeing in the house!

When we got Boomer, he was not house trained, but because of his age – 4 months – he learned it much more quickly than Anna’s pup, which was approximately ten weeks old when she found him. I mailed her what I knew about it:

A pup will not understand that you don’t want him to pee in the house, unless you teach him. On his very first day in your house, lay down some old newspapers on the floor, on several spots. The most important spots are near the front- and/or back-door. Now pay good attention when your dog is going to pee or have a bowel movement. You can recognize this when the dog is nosing for a while or by turning around in circles on the same spot. Most of the time your dog will do such a thing after he has been playing, eating or sleeping.

When you recognize these moments, calmly take your pup up and put him outside on a spot where you want him to do his thing. Wait till he has done what he has to do and reward him, saying “good boy/girl!” If the dog should forget outside what we had planned to do inside, don’t start playing – otherwise he will surprise you when inside again! Teach the dog that there are several places to relieve him, as long as it is not inside the house!

Of course your dog will not be house-trained after one success. And of course in the beginning you will be just too late to take him outside in time, but it certainly is not a good idea to leave him in his own dirt or angrily pushing his nose in his poop.

The best way to be successful in house training is taking your pup out in the garden or for a short walk every two, three hours (only in the beginning – you will soon find out what ‘the bathroom rhythm’ of your dog is!). Practising + rewarding will make him house trained quicker!

Last week Anna mailed me that her husband Leon is making a wooden shelter in the yard; because the pet shop man said that a shelter feels like a safe area for a dog, in case he should have to stay outside for a while.

“Give him a bone for chewing and a blanket to lie on as well and he will be happy,” the man said. “Besides”, he added, “for a dog, living outside is stressful; outside he sees and hears all kinds of activity which he cannot take part in, so he starts barking!”

The same I heard at the dog training course: Dogs left alone for long periods of time often get bored, lonely and frustrated, and may demonstrate fearful, aggressive or overactive behaviour. There is no dog that likes to be alone! Neither when they are pups, nor when they are grown up dogs. A dog that spends time with his owners, feels attached to them, will protect them. He likes to do what you want him to do because he sees you as his leader.

This mail about the shelter reminded me of the day that I saw a dog kept in a barrel, when I was on Crete. He did not have any food, just a little dirty water. I asked Anna why people treat dogs that way. She answered that many dogs were kept in Greece like this, supposed to ‘protect’ a property. But tied on a chain…?!

I know that some people, in any country, believe that dogs should be outdoor pets. To these people I would like to say: a dog loves to have the company of a human being. This will help him stay safe, healthy, and happy!


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