Teaching Your Puppy His Name

1. The foundation of everything you need to teach your puppy starts with him responding to his name. When your puppy hears his name, no matter where he is or what he’s doing, we want him to turn and look at you as if to ask, ‘what do you want’? If you teach your puppy nothing else, no matter where he is or what he’s doing or how far away you are, if you can say his name and he’ll turn to look at you, you’ll always be able to call him away from trouble or prevent from doing something you don’t want him to do.

2. Start by sitting on the floor next to your puppy in a quiet room with no distractions. Say his name in a happy voice. If there are no distractions, the sound of your voice should get him to turn his head. The second he does, say “Yes” and give him a treat. Repeat this a few times. Then say his name again. Praise him when he turns his head but put the treat near his nose and move it slowly up to your face to get eye contact. Say YES and give him the treat.

3. Make sure you say his name only once. Don’t repeat his name over and over if he’s not looking at you. If he doesn’t look at you, say his name, then immediately put the treat to his nose, wiggle it to get his attention, and then move it slowly up to your face so he does looks at you. Then say YES and give him the treat. Make sure to say YES the moment he looks at you. This helps him understand exactly what he did to earn the treat and it’s faster and easier than saying good boy or good girl.

4. Practice often so your puppy starts turning his head to you whenever you say his name. Then slowly start to add difficulty. Work in different rooms. Put a toy on the floor as a distraction. Have one person petting your puppy while you call his name. Then add some distance – say his name when you’re standing 3-4 feet away. Then add longer eye contact. Praise him as he’s looking at you and delay giving him the treat for a few seconds.

5. Next, start working outside. This is a lot harder for your puppy. You’ll probably need to use a food treat at his nose when you first try this outside. That’s ok. The key is to help your puppy understand what you want from him. Adding difficulty as you practice is like teaching the behavior from kindergarten to college. Add difficulty slowly while keeping your puppy successful.

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Teaching Your Dog to Ring a Bell

This is a useful way for your dog to tell you he has to go out to eliminate.

Begin by hanging a bell or bells over the door handle of the door your dog goes outside by.
Every time you take your dog or puppy outside to go to the toilet physically get him to nudge the bell with his nose or paw. To begin training make sure he is in a calm state and preferably in the sit position. You can gently take his paw and make him touch the bell or gently position him to nudge the bell with his nose. I say ‘gently’ because we don’t want any fear associated with this procedure. As soon as the bell rings say the words ‘Go Potty’ or whatever words you choose. Praise him lavishly or give him a small food reward and then go outside immediately.
For a young puppy take him outside once an hour or a couple of minutes after eating or waking. Stand with him but don’t distract him at all. Let him sniff around. If he goes to the bathroom while outside tell him what a good dog he is while he is actually peeing or pooping
It is important to choose a word or phrase for your dog’s elimination. You can call it what ever you want as long as you are consistent with it. For example: While he is peeing say, “Do a pee, good boy, well done” or “Go potty, great work, good dog’ By saying these words your puppy will then be able to learn these words and associate them with the the action. Say the same words when he rings the bell to go outside.
DO NOT let him ring the bell if you are going out for a walk or a game in the yard. This would be a recipe for disaster. You don’t want him ringing the bell every time he wants to go out to have fun.
Good luck with your door bell training. One thing to remember is be consistent and do it every single time your dog or puppy goes out to potty.

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Help for Barking Dogs

With the quality of lives our dogs are living today as full-fledged members of our families, it’s hard to figure what they have to bark about! But all barks are not equal, and you must diagnose the cause before you can have any hope of eliminating it. Here are some techniques for diagnosing and then modifying this troublesome behavior…

Demand Barking
It is in our nature to respond and comfort the cries of our babies, whether they be of the human or canine persuasion. Of course, cries of true distress should not be ignored, but demand behaviors are a different matter. Yips of protest when your dog is first left alone in the crate, or an attention-seeking pup demanding to be plucked up into your lap, should not get the desired result, or you will be beleaguered by these behaviors for life. Instead, ask your dog for a polite sit (the doggie equivalent of “please”) before petting her. Approach her crate only when she’s calm and quiet. If your puppy barks at you for attention or for food, turn your back to her, or put her food away and leave the kitchen. In so doing, you’re teaching her that these behaviors impede progress rather than hasten it.

Recreational Barking
Recreational barking is often misdiagnosed as separation anxiety because it frequently happens when the family is absent. When barking is the sole symptom, first investigate the possibility that it’s recreational. The act of barking is self-reinforcing so it is a behavior that is likely to intensify without modification. Increase exercise, particularly before leaving for long periods of time, so that your dog is tired and ready for a rest in your absence. Hire a dog walker to break up the time that he is left alone. Incorporate fun mental challenges like stuffed puzzle toys for your pup to work on in solitude. Leave some classical music playing: It can be relaxing and it can also dampen outside noises that might provoke your dog to bark. As a last resort, the use of a citronella bark collar can inhibit the behavior by establishing an unpleasant consequence.

Barking Due to Separation Distress
Separation distress-related barking (whether it be due to separation anxiety or simply hyper-attachment) usually happens immediately upon being left alone. In the case of separation anxiety, other indicative symptoms are destructive (or self-destructive) behavior, breaking of housetraining in a housetrained dog, or anorexic behavior.
You must treat the underlying cause of your dog’s barking by gradually building his tolerance to periods of separation. Most importantly, never use punishment in an attempt to decrease separation anxiety-related barking, as it will only increase the anxiety in an already anxious dog.
Fear-Driven Barking
Under-socialized dogs may bark when in the presence of certain people, other dogs, or unfamiliar circumstances. My dog Trista barked when she saw horses for the first time on Mackinac Island in Michigan. This was fairly problematic since Mackinac relies on horses and horse-drawn vehicles for the majority of its transport. Within ten minutes of her first contact with horses, Trista was able to sit quietly near horses and even go for a horse-drawn carriage ride with the family. By using desensitization and counter-conditioning the fear was treated and thus her barking was eliminated.
Punishing fear has the same unfortunate result as punishing anxiety – it only escalates the emotional trauma that the dog is experiencing. Treat the fear and the barking will resolve itself.

Communicative Barking
One of my clients has a darling English Bulldog named Bella. Bella is a happy girl and so she should be: She has an affectionate, attentive mom and lives a very good life. There are times, though, when Bella needs to speak up! – when her Tricky Treat Ball rolls out of her reach under the furniture or when she needs a potty break. Bella’s not pushy, though; she lets out a single yap and waits for the attention she requires. This is perfectly appropriate doggie behavior.
Gone are the days when dogs are to be seen and not heard. Communication is a necessary and essential part of our relationships with our canine family members and should not be squelched completely. So, rather than barking back at your dog, identify her grievance – whether it be one of an emotionally stressed dog or of a too-pampered pooch – and treat the cause.

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