Friday, September 6, 2013

Doggy Fun Facts

Being the documentary buff and dog lover that I am, I'm just fascinated with dogs. Their behavior, their understanding, their quirks and yes, even that milky puppy breath that I wish you could bottle. Below, I'll share some interesting facts that may change the way you think about your best friend. Despite the fact that I've raised many dogs in my life, a few of these fun facts were even new to me!

Is your dog just naughty? Does he have terrible manners? No. Your dog isn't naughty, he's just adopted the role of being the leader of the family. Why? Easy. Because you let him be. Think about it. Does he grab food out of your hand? Does he pull the leash when you walk him? Does he jump up and knock people down? If yes, it's because you haven't corrected him. And before you say, "I DO correct him, I yell at him and shove him down when he jumps on me."  Well, that won't work because the dog actually perceives that as play. Control is the number one way to correct/train your dog. YOU are always in control and YOU are the dog's leader. Not the other way around. You can spoil that dog until the cows come home, but it must be on YOUR terms, not when your dog demands attention (jumping, stealing food, etc.)  Once you have a firm understanding of that, it'll change the way you interact with your dog. Says the person who would sleep on the floor rather than move her dog off the bed.

Looking for some sort of "punishing" consequence for your pup? It's so easy, you'll be amazed. You ready for this? Take a few links of a chain or a few bent nails and place them inside a nylon pouch (or anything indestructible that he can't chew through) and when your dog is chewing, barking excessively, or any other undesirable behavior, toss the bag with the nails/chain link onto the floor beside him. My 80 lb dog is terrified of it. I've never hurt him or hit him with it, but I was told that the chain's clinking sound mimics the sound of a small dog's teeth and it scares the dog and causes him to stop in his tracks. I'm telling you, it works like a charm. If our puppy steals something and won't give it back (you know how fun it is to chase a puppy...not) all I have to do is jingle the "puppy pillow" and he immediately drops said contra ban. Genius!

Oldest myth in the book. Puppy has accident on floor. Owner gets mad and rubs his face in it. Nope. That doesn't work. All the puppy knows is that you're mad at him for some reason and now his face is being rubbed into his own mess. Dogs don't have the logical thought processing that a person has. Not to say a dog can't understand cause and effect, but it's a pretty far stretch to get from
"pee outside" to "smashing his face into a puddle."  More than anything, I understand frustration with a strong willed dog who simply won't housebreak. It's hard to keep your patience and anger in check. But, remember they're looking to you for guidance on how this whole housebreaking thing goes. Dogs don't come housebroken and they aren't cats who innately know how to use a litter box. They must be shown where to go. With all of this said, there is still a percentage of dogs that cannot be housebroken, despite all of your efforts. So often, owners will have no choice but to re-home their dog as to avoid ruining their home. If this is the case, there is help!! Check out www.thehousebreaker.com and read how you can COMPLETELY housebreak your dog in a matter of days. It's 100% guaranteed and I personally know of countless, countless dogs who went from hopeless to housebroken!

Happy Tails!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Calling All Dog Lovers

Not all dog lovers are able to freely love dogs in the comfort of their own homes. Often landlords, leases, allergies and finances won't allow the true gift of dog ownership. But, luckily that shouldn't keep you away from (wo)man's best friend!

Find a local animal shelter or Humane Society and ask how to get involved. Not only would you be doing a great service to a non-profit organization, but the animals are so appreciative of your time and affection. The fullness in your heart that you'll feel after volunteering your time will be worth the time.

Offer to be a buddy to a neighbor or friend's dog. The situation is an easy win/win. Your friend can rely on you to walk his pup while he's away and you get your dog fix. Plus, spending time with a dog is just plain good for the soul!

Looking for part time work? Find a veterinarian's office, a pet store, a kennel or a grooming facility and see if they're hiring. Although you need formal training to medically care for dogs, many of these businesses just need  a dog loving person to walk, bathe, feed and play with the animals. I visited a big-name pet supply store recently and noticed that they put in a glass encased room for the dogs to play while their parents were at work. A doggy day care?!?!  After 20 awkward minutes, the staff acknowledged me and also acknowledged the drool and mascara all over the glass because my face was eerily plastered up against it. They decided not to call security because I assured everyone that I was simply trying to figure out how I could squeeze being "a professional doggy play person" onto my already hectic work week. At any rate, if you've got some time to kill and if you're just looking to make some fun money, maybe check around to see if anyone needs another pair of hands to care for dogs.

Check around your town or city. See if there's a dog park. Technically you don't need a dog to visit a dog park. You might get some strange looks when you start playing with someone else's dog, but hey...nothing that a quick explanation couldn't fix!

Whatever your outlet may be, spending time with animals is proven to enrich your life and warm your heart. So many dogs simply don't get the human contact that they need because their owners' lives get too darn busy. Be the person who can bring an otherwise lonely dog some attention and affection.

~Happy Tails!


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Let's Talk "Dog!"

The most valuable advice I've ever received regarding dog training was not to teach your dog YOUR language, but to try and better understand his. Sure, there are key words in your vocabulary that your dog can pick up on, but mostly it's the inflection and the tone of your voice that your dog responds to--not the actual words. It's best to get down to his level and communicate with him in a way that he can understand. You wouldn't bark at a baby, so you understand why yelling at a dog doesn't really work.

Here are some examples:

1.) Owner: My dog is so difficult on a leash. He pulls and pulls, so I bought him a choke chain and he still pulls!

Trainer: Do you know why he pulls? Because he can. You're physically allowing him to pull you. The discomfort of the choke chain is worth the excitement in the pull. Stop allowing him to pull you. When he pulls, snap the leash quickly one time and stop walking. The reinforcement is the actual walking. He'll catch on very quickly that in order to walk, he must walk at your pace, at your side.

Doesn't that make more sense than being dragged down the street and allowing your dog to do so?

2.) Owner: Our puppy steals toys from our kids and it takes us a half hour to catch her!

Trainer: Stop chasing her. It's a game and you're playing it.

Oh...

3.) Owner: Our dog pees all over the place when we get home. She's so excited to see us that she literally pees on us!

Trainer: Ignore your dog when you walk in the door. Completely turn your back and/or walk right past your dog. Don't make eye contact. Don't greet her, nothing. When she is calm, you may walk over to her and give her all the affection you want--but it must be on your terms. (ps. This one was the MOST difficult for me because I'm the person who runs in the door yelling, "Who's a good boy??? Oh, who's a good boy?  Ohmygoodness I missed you so much!!!")

4.) Owner: Help!! Our puppy only pees on the wee wee pads half the time! How do I get her to pee on the pads all the time?? 

Trainer: You can't. You can't allow your dog to pee inside some parts of your house, but not others. You're setting him up to fail. He isn't going to be able to differentiate between an expensive rug, hard wood floors, newspapers or a wee wee pad. You have to be consistent in your training and if you'll allow him to go on a wee wee pad, be prepared for him to occasionally go where he's supposed to and occasionally where he shouldn't.

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when training your dog is, "How is this working for us?"  If your answer is, "it isn't." then it's time to change your strategy.  In other words, if you say, "Our dog keeps jumping up on people! We shove her down, but she keeps doing it!" My immediate answer would be, "Then stop shoving her down. Because it's not working."  If you keep laying wee wee pads out, and she keeps going elsewhere, it's time to realize the wee wee pads aren't working. Dogs are very intelligent animals, but they aren't so intelligent that they understand sarcasm, language or impatience. They only learn to do what works for them, because they're animals. You can't not train your dog and then expect that he become a well trained, obedient pet. You have to teach him how you want him to behave because he only knows what's worked for him thus far. If the only way your puppy can get you to pay her attention is by peeing on your bed and jumping on you, guess how she's going to obtain your attention?

It makes so much more sense when you think in simplistic (dog) terms. Your dog isn't going to understand your language. You must communicate with him in a way that he absolutely understands. I always say, "Great dogs aren't born, they're trained." ......and that's what you sign up for when you take on a dog! It's hard work, but so, so worth it!

Don't forget to check out www.TheHousebreaker.com for awesome tips and helpful suggestions on housebreaking.

Happy Tails!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Relapse In Training?

Much like toddlers, puppies can and will often regress in their training. You know how young children like to test their boundaries and keep you on your toes? Yep, puppies will pull the same tricks, just to see what they can get away with.

You might notice that your (once housebroken) puppy is starting to have accidents again. For some reason, I see this a lot around the 6-10 month mark. The following incidents could trigger a relapse in house training.

An extended visit from another dog. Dogs often mimic each other's behavior, so if one dog has an accident, your dog might think, "Well, if he can pee in the house, I can too!"

You return from vacation to find that your well-behaved puppy is now back to chewing, biting and peeing in the house. Whoever was caring for your dog (a boarder or a friend) might not have implemented the same structure that you have and the result is a dog who now needs a refresher course in doggy 101.

Different work/school hours. The dog can pick up on a change in their routine and they might show their displeasure by acting out/regressing.

Any type of injury, illness or infection. Recently, our dog needed surgery and he had to stay the night in the hospital while he recovered. Although he was completely housebroken, the 3 night hospital stay threw off his schedule and when we finally got him home, he peed everywhere! He was unsure of his new/old routine, so it took another day or so to get him back to our house rules. Or--if your dog gets a bladder infection and accidents are unavoidable, it's not uncommon for the behavior to continue after the infection has healed. You'll need to correct the behavior by offering him a crash course in housebreaking.

Lastly, a relapse in training for no reason whatsoever. Your dog might decide to forget everything you've ever taught them, quite simply because they can. Testing, testing, testing! It's up to YOU to help get them back on track. If you let them get away with naughty behavior once, they'll remember that and they'll try it again. Consistency is key!

Keep in mind, puppies are just like kids. Their first year is filled with experimenting, learning, teaching, testing and exploring. Be patient while they find their way. Expect for things to get chewed and accidents to happen. Remember, great dogs aren't born, they're trained. :)

Happy Tails!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Is this vet worthy??

Most people don't have pet insurance, despite it's availability. Pets' unforeseen illnesses, accidents or conditions can be concerning, especially if an unexpected trip to the vet doesn't fit into your budget. Many dog owners skip the vet due to the cost (and it CAN be costly). Unfortunately, unless you went to veterinarian school, you might have a hard time deciphering a life threatening condition or a minor set back. Luckily vets are animal lovers by nature and I can't imagine a veterinarian refusing to treat a sick animal just because the owner doesn't have the funds. So, when you're choosing a vet, make sure he/she offers flexible, affordable payment plans.

These are things that would likely necessitate a trip to your veterinarian.

A sudden and/or uncharacteristic lack of appetite. You know your animal better than anyone and only you if your dog is acting odd. Refusal to eat could indicate an illness.

Vomiting. Most dogs vomit from time to time. But if they don't bounce back afterward, or if the vomiting continues for several hours, you want to call your vet. At the very least, you'd need to address the possible dehydration. It could also indicate a blockage somewhere in their digestive tract.

An unusually swollen ear. It's called a hematoma and it is often uncomfortable, sometimes painful for the dog. Often caused by ear mites, the dog's aggressive scratching can break open capillaries in the ear. If left untreated, it can become infected or it could rupture which would lead to surgery to repair it. For the cost of antibiotics and an office visit, it's worth being seen by a vet.

Unusual frequency in urination, uncharacteristic accidents in the home, compulsive licking to the genitals. This could indicate a bladder or urinary tract infection. Again, only a vet can diagnose that and the condition can be easily cleared with antibiotics. If left untreated, the infection can travel to kidneys and cause further damage. It's also very uncomfortable, sometimes burning or painful to the dog. Unfortunately, a lot of times the undesirable behavior will continue after the infection has cleared up. It'll be up to you to offer a refresher course in housebreaking once your dog is infection-free. If training your dog is harder the 2nd time around, I would suggest visiting www.TheHousebreaker.com for helpful suggestions.

An apparent paralysis. If your dog can no longer move a specific extremity, lower extremities or a paralysis from the neck down, there could be a pinched nerve or a ruptured disk. From personal experience, it would be helpful to know up front if your vet has the capability of making house calls if you can't physically move your pet. Only an MRI could determine nerve damage.

Lethargy. If you notice that your typically active dog is particularly "mopey" or lethargic, there's often a reason. Again, you know your pet and you know what's normal and what isn't. In the summer months, dehydration or heat stroke could be the culprit.

Establish a good rapport with your veterinarian. If you develop a relationship with your dog's physician, he or she will be more likely to be honest with you when you call with a concern. If he or she doesn't know you or your dog at all, she'll be much more likely to tell you to bring in your dog at the first sign of trouble. If she knows your animal fairly well, perhaps she'll be more apt to offer you a phone consultation if there's an obvious solution.

Remember--YOU are your pet's only advocate. Be their voice so that they can receive the care that they so deserve.

Happy Tails!

Monday, July 29, 2013

What's Up With My Dog?

The good people at The Housebreaker have heard every question there is to ask about dog challenges, concerns and complaints. By far the most common is with regard to a sudden change in behavior.  My dog has been housebroken for 2 years and he's suddenly peeing on our carpet! Our laid back beagle is suddenly anxious and acting out! Our 6 year old bulldog seems depressed!

These are all valid concerns and congratulations for being so in tune with your pet. We here at The Housebreaker love questions because that means you're making effort to help your pet and that makes us happy.

As people, we deal with stressors every single day. How do we deal with them? Yoga. Count to ten. Sip a glass of wine? Scream? Visit a psychiatrist? These can all alleviate stress. But dogs don't have the luxury of verbalizing their stress so theirs is a little harder to identify. Any change in behavior could be your dog's outward response to stress.

Any of the following situations could cause confusion, depression or stress in your dog

  • A new baby
  • A new home
  • The presence of another dog
  • Major changes to the owner (ie., health, death, etc.)
  • The absence of an owner (vacation, change in work schedule, etc.)
  • Depression of the owner. Dogs can absolutely sense this.
  • Absence of another dog companion (death or re-homing of one dog). The remaining dog will often look for his friend and/or express sadness at the sudden absence.

Any of the following behaviors could be interpreted as outward displays of stress

  • A regression in housebreaking
  • Excessive chewing or licking him/herself
  • Lethargy
  • Intolerance to affection
  • "Marking" specific spots inside your home
  • Lack of interest in favorite activities or favorite objects
  • Lack of appetite or decrease in food consumption
For housebreaking concerns in particular, no matter what the cause is, you'll need to correct the behavior before it becomes a full blown habit....and it will. I'd recommend anyone to check us out at www.thehousebreaker.com for any and all housebreaking remedies.
Dogs are amazing creatures. Although they can't verbalize their thoughts, they absolutely can communicate their needs, feelings and thoughts. You just have to know your dog.

Happy Tails!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Which Dog Is Right For You?

I always say that summer is the best time to bring home a new (4-legged) member of your family. Here's why. Regardless of whether you adopt a puppy or rescue an adult dog, there is going to be some adjustment for both the dog and you. Showing your new pet the lay of the land is SO MUCH easier in warm weather than in cold. New puppies can't hold their bladders for very long, so middle of the night trips outside are inevitable. Just like with a newborn baby (See? No one tells you these things and then you're shocked when). Standing outside at 4 AM with a curious puppy who is in NO HURRY to go potty---albeit, not fun--but way better in the summer than freezing in your slippers & bathrobe.

Another reason to choose a summer adoption over an winter one? Some dogs pick up housebreaking in a day, others take longer. If your dog happens to be a more difficult breed to train, imagine standing outside in the snow while trying to teach puppy to squat down in 3 inches of snow. Brrrrr.  He'll catch on very quickly that dipping his nether regions in the icy snow isn't a lot of fun. And speaking of snow, if you happen to choose a tiny breed, imagine trying to navigate through even just a few inches of snow. Talk about a shocker! So, yes--I am a big fan of taking on the arduous task of puppy training in the summer, because why take on the added stress of cold weather?

Ok, so once you've opened up the possibility of getting a dog, now you must decided which breed is right for you. There are several websites dedicated to finding the perfect breed based on your lifestyle. Simply type in "finding the perfect dog" or "which dog is right for me" and you'll be impressed with all the information available to you. Different types of questions that you'll need to consider are:

  • Do I have the time to dedicate to a pet?
  • What is this dog's purpose (guard dog, show dog, companion, running buddy...)
  • Will a shedding breed bother my allergies, if so, which breeds don't shed?
  • Will this be an inside dog or an outside dog? Consider your climate.
  • Are we a busy family who's always on the go? If so, perhaps a lazier, more relaxed breed is better for you.
  • Is this breed good with children? Or are they possessive of their owner?
These are very important things that must be thought through before making the 10+ year commitment of adopting a dog.

Just as parenthood isn't something to rush into, pet adoption isn't either. It isn't fair to the animal if he's brought into an environment where he doesn't fit in. If you lived in a fraternity house, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to raise a baby there. Just as a Bulldog wouldn't be a good choice if you're looking for a dog who'll accompany you on your daily 5 mile runs! Is your family one that enjoys lake living? Maybe a Chihuahua isn't the best choice? See what I'm getting at?

You can get as picky as you want. This is YOUR pet. I've even gone as far as choose the dog's hair color because the thought of black dog hair on my light floors & furniture was troublesome to me. The most responsible thing you can do is to carefully weigh your needs, wants and options. Do your homework so that there are no surprises later. The worst case scenario would be for the dog to bond with you and your family, then you give him away when his temperament doesn't fit into your life.

Finally, be patient. Puppies are very much like babies. They need to be nurtured, attended to and to be properly trained. Accidents are going to happen. Things will be chewed. That's the nature of puppyhood. Don't give up on your pet when he becomes inconvenient, help him to be the dog that you'd love for him to be.

This is precisely why I love our product The Housebreaker so much. It was designed specifically to give owners another option (short of getting rid of your dog) when housebreaking doesn't go as well as intended. Believe it or not, dogs are very, very smart. They aim to please their owners and no, they aren't peeing on your floor to be naughty. They just need a little extra component added to their training. All dogs learn at their own pace, just as every child becomes toilet trained in their own way. You wouldn't find a new home for your 3 year old if she was having accidents. Right? Try to think of your pet in that regard. It's frustrating, trying and often downright exhausting. But so, so worth it.

If your puppy or dog is taking his dear, sweet time picking up the basics of housebreaking, try checking out this amazing device at www.TheHousebreaker.com . It will change your (and your dog's) life.

Happy tails!


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Puppy Play!!

Have you ever heard the saying, "A bored child is a naughty child?"  The same is true for a puppy or a dog. When you've completely lost your patience with your dog because he's been on a destructive path all week, you have to consider the obvious. He's bored!

I have compiled a list of fun activities to do with your dog.

  • Freeze a chew toy inside a zippered freezer bag of half water, half chicken broth. When it's completely frozen, peel off the bag and send your dog outside to lick his way to the toy. It'll keep him busy for hours. Or in my dog's case, minutes.

  • Gather several Tupperware storage containers and several dog treats. Turn the containers upside down on top of various treats and get your dog engaged in a rousing game of "find the treats!"

  • Get a laser pointer. Bring your dog into a dimly lit room and make him "catch the spot."

  • Swimming. I realize some dogs are not swimmers, but I'd be hard pressed to find a dog who wouldn't be in heaven spending an afternoon at the lake. Whether they're looking for fish, chasing the geese or wading close to shore, the fresh air and sunshine will keep him occupied and content.

  • Don't have time for a walk? That's ok, just throw the ball down the stairs a couple 300 times. This game saved us this winter when we were cooped up with a very energetic puppy.

  • Nacho mama's play dates! Invite over a friend who has a dog and let them explore each other. Obviously, some temperaments are just not compatible, so have a back up plan if the play date flops. Same rings true for bringing a 10 week old puppy to play with a 15 year old dog.
If you're unable to dedicate this much interaction with your four legged friend, try visiting your local pet store. The available varieties of chew toys is absurd. You'll be able to find anything from a squeaky pig (my dog's obsession) to a 4 foot rawhide to a hollow Kong" where you fill the hole with a treat and he goes ballistic trying to get out the treat. Who doesn't love a kong? What else can you find at your local pet store?? Why, The Housebreaker, of course! For all of your housebreaking challenges, check us out online at www.TheHousebreaker.com.

Like people, your dog absolutely needs interaction for proper development. If none of these activities sound like a good time to you, perhaps a cat might better suit you. :) 

Happy tails!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Making & Breaking Habits

I have personally owned and raised six dogs throughout my life. Every single one of them came to me as a puppy and it was such a privilege to watch them grow from naughty puppy to deeply bonded companion. None of them were as hard to train as my current dog. By nature I am a dog lover to the core, but that all changed last summer when I acquired my (now) 13 month old yellow lab, Winston. I had a hard time bonding with him because, quite frankly he was a jerk! He terrorized us. He shredded our clothing, he stole my kids' toys. He peed everywhere...and I mean EVERYWHERE. I didn't get it. How did we so successfully train our other dogs? What is so different about Mr. Winston?

We took him to puppy obedience class. He was perfect. We beamed. We brought him home and his awful behavior would resume. Finally, after we were at our wit's end, my husband begrudgingly hired a personal dog trainer who would come to our home and work with Winston along with his defeated and embarrassed parents. Picture the dog whisper. This man saved us from the wrath of Winston. Instead of teaching Winston how to understand us, he taught us how to better understand the language of dogs. Every time our trainer leaves our home, my husband and I would look at each other and think "It's so basic, how did we not think of that?" Our trainer gave us a glimpse at how dogs learn, think, communicate and process. No wonder our dog was taking over, we gave him 100% of the power to do so.

The first thing we had to do was break OUR bad habits. Not Winston's. He pointed out that Winston was simply being a dog. How can we fault him for doing what he knows how to do? Good point. Also noteworthy, this is the first dog we've gotten since become parents. Our other dogs had our full, undivided attention. Although we said we dedicated the same amount of time with his puppy training as we did our other dogs, it reality we probably didn't.

First and foremost, praise the good behavior and completely ignore the bad behavior. Sounds easy enough. But it wasn't. It was really hard! Even when Winston is naughty and when I talk to him in the same shameful voice that I would speak to my kids, he still considers that a reinforcement because he was given attention for doing it. If he stole a toy from the kids, we'd chase him around the house for 20 minutes trying to get it back. We would get mad and yell, meanwhile he's having the time of his life because we've now made it a game. Oh, don't we feel stupid? He jumps up on us and we say, "Oh, well Hello Mr. Winston! No Jumping!" He continues to jump up, quite simply because he can. Instead, we're to completely ignore him by either turning your back or walking away. WHAT??  "That's barbaric!" we cried. How can we not give attention to this adorable dog who just wants to greet us?  And then it clicked. Ohhhh...  I get it now. We're actually the ones encouraging the bad behavior. Well, shoot.

I hear it over and over, the dog owners who are so frustrated with their pets for not conforming to their household standards. It's not the dog's fault. It's whoever did (or more often didn't) train him properly. The dog is just being a dog. Keep that in mind if you ever find yourself losing patience with your pup. It's practically the same theory as child rearing. You can't let your child eat with his hands for 4 years, then take him to a restaurant and yell at him for not using utensils. It's the same thing, except children are easier because they speak our language. See?

In addition to the chewing and biting, I think we would all agree that potty training is among the most challenging and most frustrating of all. Mainly because it's 24/7 and whenever you turn your back, you'll find yourself having to clean up the 16th spot of the day. It's gross, it's tiresome and it can do some serious damage to carpets, floors etc. That's why I'm such a huge advocate of The Housebreaker. It alleviates the mess WHILE it trains the dog. My favorite aspect of The Housebreaker is that the results are fast and effective. No one wants to do the arduous task of house breaking a pet, but with The Housebreaker, it makes it bearable. Dare I say easy??  If housebreaking is at the top of your priority list, check us out at www.thehousebreaker.com to see how can effortlessly potty train your dog. I wish I'd have heard about this a year ago. There's 2 months worth of carpet scrubbing that I'll never get back.

If you're going to bring home a puppy or rescue a dog, know what you're getting into. YOU determine whether you'll have a well behaved companion or an out of control pet. Put the time in, I promise it'll be well worth the effort. I could have used some advice like this last summer as I sat in the corner, rocking back and forth over what I thought was a demon dog. Turns out, he just needed some tough love. :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Dog Days of Summer

Whew....it's hot! If you're hot, chances are your dog is hot as well. Be mindful of what he is exposed to during the day. If he's an outside dog, make sure he has shade as well as fresh water---and a lot of it! By nature, dogs' internal temperatures are hotter than ours (100-102 Fahrenheit), so this is another reason to do your best to keep him cool. Dogs can easily get heat stroke, just like people.

With an increase in water consumption, you'll notice an access of um, well---water output as well. Normally with hard to train dogs, I'll recommend removing their water around 7:00 P.M. to ensure a dry, comfortable night. However, I would definitely not recommend this if your dog has had a particularly active or strenuous afternoon. Give him an adequate amount of water after playing/exercising, etc. You do not want to let it get to the point where your dog is dehydrated. With that said, you might want to take into account the excess water consumption and take him outside to relieve himself a few more times than usual before bed.

If you're noticing accidents around your home--and if this is definitely new behavior for your dog, try to consider how much water he's taken in. Perhaps that is the culprit.

Occasionally, newly trained dogs will regress in their house training progress. If this is happening, you can always try The Housebreaker! It's RISK FREE! Satisfaction GUARANTEED! Check us out at www.TheHousebreaker.com

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Physiological or Behavioral??

Physiological or behavioral? That is the question...and it's a tough question to answer. Pet owners often confuse the two issues which can cause undue stress on the dog as well as his owners. Unlike our children, dogs can't tell you when they aren't feeling well. Their symptoms will show themselves by way of behavioral changes and this is precisely when the owner receives mixed signals. If you've had your dog for any length of time, and/or if you are somewhat tuned in to your dog's normal behavior, you should know if he's acting "off."

If you notice your dog acting listless during the day, you might assume it's laziness. If this is uncharacteristic for your pet, you might need to wonder if he's dehydrated or maybe it's heat stroke.

If your friendly and gentle natured dog is exhibiting signs of aggression toward anyone who comes near him, you have to wonder if he's in pain, perhaps a bad tooth? You have to learn to read signs that aren't vocalized. Most importantly you'll need to be an advocate of your dog because if you aren't, who is? You took on his wellness when you invited him to join your family.

Finally, in all my experiences with dogs, this one has been the hardest to identify. A regression in house breaking. Your dog has been house broken for months or years and suddenly he's having accidents in the house. Or maybe he hasn't lost complete control, but you've noticed his need to go outside has increased. It's up to you to determine whether there is a bladder/urinary tract infection or if it's behavioral. And more difficult to identify yet, is when it started as a physiological problem then it became behavioral. 

With our lab puppy, he had UTI's for the first 2 months that we had him. It went undiagnosed because he wasn't housebroken yet and there was a very fuzzy line between a puppy who was in training and "Is it just me or is he peeing at an unusually frequent rate?" Through our battle with this, we learned that frequent "sensations" to pee, but little output is a good indicator that there's an infection brewing.  If you are noticing this, you can simply collect a tiny urine sample (just sneak a clean bowl under him/her mid stream, then suck it up in a syringe or pour it into a zippered baggie) then take it into your vet for a quick urine analysis. They can tell you in a matter of minutes if there's a presence of blood or white blood cells. Antibiotics are prescribed and the infection should clear up with a few days.

Now for the tricky part. Once your dog is cleared from having an infection (or perhaps they never had one), now you're left dealing with the behavioral aftermath. There's a chance that your dog might need a refresher in house breaking. If you have a strong-willed dog like we were cursed with blessed with, you might have to take your puppy training up a notch. I recommend The Housebreaker! I cannot say enough good things about The Housebreaker. It'll stop the undesirable behavior of frequent accidents and it's not shameful or traumatic for your dog. Check us out at www.TheHousebreaker.com to find out how to order your very own Housebreaker. It's 100% satisfaction guaranteed. No risks, just results!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Struggles with Housebreaking

It's the oldest story in the book. Family adopts adorable puppy. Puppy requires attention and training. Family loses interest in puppy. Puppy's habits get inconvenient. Family blames puppy or worse, gives up their new family member. You have to know that going into puppy-hood, you're going to have to put in the work. Just like you would a child or a garden. But, the good news is that a little bit of work in the beginning can offer a lifetime of reward.

Don't have unrealistic expectations of your puppy. In addition to being taken away from their litter mates and the only mother they know, they're also learning where they fit into their new families. You wouldn't scold a baby for crying or soiling their diaper, just and you shouldn't scold a puppy for having an accident.

During a puppy obedience class earlier this year I specifically remember one very important aspect of house training your dog. If your dog has free reign in your home and if you turn your back and become distracted, later you'll likely find a puddle or a pile somewhere in your house. When this occurs, the instructor suggested that we get a newspaper or a magazine. Roll it up really tight. And hit yourself in the head with it, because it's actually your fault that the pup had an accident. You can't ignore the puppy and not expect that he isn't going to make mistakes. I listened closely to this particular training tip because like a lot of dog owners, we REALLY struggled to house train our dog. After following all of the necessary components to house training, our dog was still having accidents. It was suggested that we bring out the big guns. We had to leash our dog inside our home and hang onto the end of the leash at all times. This was to ensure we'd catch him in the act before he had an accident.  I hated doing it. It seemed excessive and quite frankly, it was cumbersome. By the end of that L-O-N-G week, we were finally able to break my dog of his habits.

This could have all been avoided if I'd known about The Housebreaker. It would have produced the same results without the hassle of keeping my dog at my side for a week. At least if my pup regresses, I'll have a much better alternative. The Housebreaker is much more convenient and in my opinion produces quicker results, without punishing or shaming your animal. This naughty dog of mine wasn't my first and won't be my last, so I welcome any future dogs of mine to have housebreaking issues. With the help of The Housebreaker, I could house break even the most stubborn doggies. Bring it on!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

5 Reasons Your Dog Pees in the House

We have all experienced it at one point in our lives - either you catch Fido with his leg hiked towards the ceiling or you step in a wet puddle in the middle of the night - but what follows is always the same...you are on your hands and knees with a slew of cleaning supplies dreading the day you fell in love with those adorable puppy eyes.

Regardless of how it ends, there are 5 reasons your dog does "the diddle" in your humble home. In no particular order - lets examine Spot's rationale...

#5 - Fear or Excitement 

This is most common in female dogs. When your furry friend gets scared or excited, yellow fluid seems to sneak out of it's body. The mess can range from a few small dribbles to a full-on puddle flood. The only way to combat this mess is to have your friend wear an absorbant garment and to find ways to be more calm or less scary (depending on what is causing your pup to leak). Try to enter the house with less enthusiasm - this can do wonders over time.

#4 - Incontinence

As humans, we've all known an elderly family member who had to start wearing Depends underpants because they couldn't keep everything inside like they could when they were younger. Dogs are no different. As they get older, the hormones that control bladder function and the underlying muscle structure weaken. There are some medicines that will help your pet have a little more control but, ultimately, as your pet ages you will need some type of absorbant undergarments for him or her. There are reasonably priced and comfortable ones available at your local Pet Store or online at stores.

Another cause for incontinence is when your pet has a bladder infection or a urinary tract infection. Have your vet check for one of these types of underlying causes. Who knows - maybe your pet is not permanently incontinent.

#3 - Territory Marking

If you examine your dog's bloodline - you will find that their ancestors were wolves (as hard as it is to look at a Yorkie and imagine this - it is true). Some dogs are farther removed from their ancestry than others but they all have an internal instinct we are working against as their owners. We want our pets to coexist within out immaculate living spaces and their instinct is to "claim" this fantastic "den" as theirs.

One way to qualm your dog's desire to hike up his or her leg on your favorite couch is to get him neutered or her spayed early (ask your vet for the best time frame as they do not all agree on this and I am not a vet).  Most vets agree that there is a time frame that is optimal to "fix" your dog that will curb its natural hormonal instincts to procreate and to mark in the house. However, this is not a perfect fix for most dogs... but it does help.

Another trick is to keep constant supervision on your dog and "catch" your dog "in the act". If you prefer to skip cleaning up messes and want to have a life that doesn't not involve constantly stalking your pet around the house - try a gadget that does both of these things for you like The Housebreaker Kit. It prevents the pee from getting in the house and sets off an alarm to train your dog and alert you of the crime.

#2 - Your Dog is Trying to Impress You

If you are thinking about now "Impress me?! I am pretty sure the last time I came home to a flooded yellow carpet and my head exploded - my dog was cowering in the corner in fear..." then you are correct. However, many many many well-intended (lazy? yes but well-intended I believe) pet owners set up a Wee-Wee pad in the house. The very instant that dog went to the bathroom on the Wee-Wee pad there was an entire audience of cheers and hoards of snacks and everyone was so very happy. Yah!! The dog just learned to go to the bathroom in the house and its owner celebrated!

Imagine the confusion that Lassie had when he attempted to be even more impressive and decorate the white rug in the living room only to be met with an angry owner. Humans can be so confusing! "Why are you not impressed?" Lassie wonders.

Solution: if you haven't used a Wee-Wee pad yet - don't start. If you are using Wee-Wee pads now - get rid of them. Many people are so afraid to take their puppies outside in bad weather or before all the puppy shots are administered that they use these pads - try to find a clean area outside if at all possible to avoid this confusion.

#1 - Your Dog Really Doesn't Know Any Better

How is this even possible? You may be asking yourself this very question. Yet, this is probably at the top of the reasons that a dog will drench your home with urine. So many of us are inundated by all the different things in or lives that it is very difficult to train a dog early and correctly. If the dog is from a shelter or is rescued, it will need to be retrained just like a puppy at first until you are certain that the pup knows the House Rule #1 - Do Not Pee inside these Walls!

In the wild, a den would be minuscule compared to even the smallest apartment us humans live in. A dog needs to learn the boundaries of what is considered his or her new den when they first enter a home. If there are odors from other pets soiling the place - these need to be removed or your dog will be fighting an uphill battle to figure out the territory. (Ever wonder why dogs seem to soil the same areas over and over again? You guessed it - they dog's nose can find the tell-tale odor that screams "pee here - I am the toilet" even if those odors are actually hidden under a carpet in the den.)

If your dog isn't ill, isn't too old to "hold it", has been neutered or spayed, and doesn't leak submissively out of fear or excitement - odds are your dog just doesn't "get it". Time to start at ground zero and retrain that pup like an 8-week old on his first day on the job. If you want to make your life a little easier - two key tools to do this with are a crate and The Housebreaker Kit.

Good luck with that if he is a 190 pound Mastiff, by the way.  Which, I imagine, it wouldn't take many 190 pound Mastiff puddles to convince an owner to get serious about housetraining - stat!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Pet Elite Magazine Named The Housebreaker an Editor's Pick

The Housebreaker has been named an Editor's Pick by The Pet Elite Magazine in their Winter 2012 print. We are honored to be recognized by a premier pet industry leader. Check us out: