Choosing the Right Pet to Fit Your Lifestyle

man with cat, dogs

Nothing is more exciting than searching for the perfect pet. Getting to know and fall in love with a new, lovable companion and welcoming him or her into your life can be an extremely rewarding experience — one that will go smoother if you put some forethought into it. Adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment that requires us to seriously consider our needs, lifestyle, and resources.

When looking to adopt a pet, one of the first things we notice is their appearance. We might take into account their size, coat, and any obvious physical characteristics, but there are many other factors beneath the surface that can determine whether the pet will be a good match for us.

How do I know which pet is right for me?

When it comes to choosing the right pet for your lifestyle, it’s important to consider factors such as energy level, dietary needs, required training, common medical issues, and proper environment. These can all have an impact on your pet’s health and happiness, as well as your ability to properly care for them.

Energy level

A cat or dog’s energy level can be a critical determinant of whether or not your lifestyles will be compatible. Higher energy dogs are usually best suited for someone who lives an active lifestyle, or is able to take frequent walks. Lower energy dogs, however, typically do well under the care of a person who enjoys a lot of downtime, or a working professional who spends daytime hours away from home. Most dogs require 30 minutes to two hours of exercise per day, though this depends on the breed, age, and overall health of the dog. While cats can spend as much as 14 hours a day sleeping, engaging them in moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes per day is usually recommended.


Like people, all animals have unique personalities and temperaments that are displayed in their habits or behavior. While some dogs are more outgoing, social, and crave attention, others can be more laid back, calm, or even shy. It’s important that the pet feels comfortable in their new home, so consider what your needs are and what type of environment the pet will be living in. For example, dogs or cats that are more low maintenance, patient, friendly, and gentle will usually make good family pets. On the other hand, more active, sensitive or protective dogs usually do best living with one individual who understands and accepts their needs.

Special Needs: Dietary or Training Requirements

Also, consider special dietary requirements based on age, size, and breed, as well as any formal training requirements. While many common breeds of dogs and cats require minimal or basic training, some may require more advanced or specialized training. This is particularly true with hunting dogs, service dogs, or high-maintenance breeds that have an intrinsic desire to work.

Common Medical Issues

While there is no guarantee, certain breeds of dogs and cats tend to share a propensity for developing particular medical issues. When looking to adopt a pet, it will be important to research the types of medical problems, if any, that are common among the breed of dog you’re considering. You’ll also want to consider things like lifespan, cost of any related surgeries, ongoing care or preventative maintenance, or other unforeseen events that could arise as a result of medical troubles. Don’t just assume you can deal with a medical issue if and when it arrives—be prepared and proactive.

Be Honest

Ask yourself honestly how much time, money and energy you are ready to devote to your pet.

Being a responsible pet owner goes beyond love. It sometimes involves sacrifices or changes in lifestyle, and it is a lifetime commitment. Of course, sometimes there are factors beyond our control that may necessitate finding our pet a new home. In that case, organizations like Get Your Pet can help to find the perfect new home for your pet.

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Calling Your Dog

Getting your dog to come to you on cue is one of the nicest things you can do for your dog.  Knowing that your dog will return whenever you want her to allows you to give her freedom to play and go where she wants to — within reason.  The recall, along with a solid “emergency down” may save her life one day, so it’s worth putting some time into training her to respond quickly.

So how to build this solid recall?  First, choose a word for the cue.  If your dog is a puppy, you can choose whatever you want, just stick to it.  If your dog is a rescue, you might want to pick something out-of-the-ordinary as your cue.  She might have bad associations with “come” from her previous guardian.  Just test it out, and she’ll tell you.  If she ignores you, that’s okay.  If she runs away, that’s a sign you should use a different word.

Let’s assume that your recall cue is “come.”  You want this to be one of the best words your dog knows.  It means, “run to me, there’s a party over here!”  The idea is to never let your dog know that there is something better than coming to you.  So never say “come” when you think your dog may not do it.  The second thing to be sure that you do not do is doing something scary after your dog comes to you.  When your dog comes when you call her, do not do anything that she does not like.  That includes nail-clipping, putting the leash to leave the park, or yelling at her for pouncing on the neighbor’s cat.  The last thing she did was come to you — you don’t want to punish that, you should reward it!  You’ll have to be satisfied with telling her, in a nice, upbeat voice, what a rotten dog she is.  Finally, the last bit of negative advice is to never chase after your dog.  You do not want her to think that running away from you is a fun game.  Whether she has a sock, you need to take her out of the park, or you just think its fun, chasing is not the answer.

The major steps in teaching the recall are to introduce the cue and then practice in a huge number of different circumstances.  Vary how far away you are from the dog and how many distractions there are.  When you make one aspect harder, make the other one easier.  You might use a long line for safety or as a gentle reminder of your existence, but don’t use it to tug your dog to you.  If you need the line very often, you are pushing her too fast. Set your dog up for success.

  1. Introduce the cue to your dog.  Do this somewhere where you know the dog will come to you.  Have a treat handy, behind your back, for example. Have your dog about two or three feet away.  In a friendly voice (not a command or a question, but an invitation), say “Puppy, come” (the dog’s name here is Puppy). Then show her the treat and take a step backward.  Lean away from her, not into her.  Leaning in is doggish for “stop.”  Puppy runs over, gets clicked for showing up, and gets her treat.  Not just one treat, but several, one at a time (only one click).  Make it a real party. If she likes to be petted, now is a good time.  But be careful — she may often like petting, but maybe not all the time.  Watch what she does.  If she ducks away from your hand, now is not a good time. 
  2. Practice from further away. Do the same activity from 6 feet away. You say “Puppy, come,” then get her to come to you somehow.  She doesn’t fully know the cue yet, so you want to make sure that she comes to you. Legal moves on your part are: waving the food in front of her face and running away; making kissy noises; clucking with your tongue; clapping your hands, etc.  Illegal moves: walking over and grabbing her by the scruff of the neck or in some other way making “come” a scary word.
    You don’t have to have a party every time now, but at least twice a day, take a full 30 seconds to reward her for coming to you. Continue that procedure for a long time, at least a few months.  On times when you just give one treat, you can practice a few times in a row.  To get her to go away from you, throw a treat and make sure she sees it fly.  Then you can call her again. 
  3. Practice not luring her to you.  When your dog has a clue about what “come” means, start calling her without waving food around or making smoochy noises, from the same distance as before, or closer.  If she doesn’t start coming to you in a few seconds, make noise or get her attention and run away.  Toss the treat to make her leave you, then call her as soon as she’s gulped it down.
  4.  Practice as part of living.  Call her to you whenever you are about to do something good to her or for her.  Feeding time is a great example.  If you want to take her for a walk or let her out into the yard, those are good times, too.  If she knows sit, then call her to you, ask for a sit, then give her dinner, let her out, or clip on the leash.  Remember, only call her for the fun stuff, so don’t call her to give her a bath!
  5. Practice from even further away. Work up to ten feet, or fifteen, if she’ll do it.  All indoors, with low distractions.  Reward generously.
  6. Practice with distractions, closer in. Now make it harder for her by increasing the distraction level.  We don’t want to make it too hard, so have her closer to you, say 5 feet away.    

Keep increasing the level of distraction and the distance until you have the recall you want.   Make sure that any time you call her, you are willing to do what it takes to get her to come to you.  This may mean running away (one of my favorites) or running up to her, showing the treat, and then running away (safer method).  It may mean waiting her out, if she’s not entertaining herself by not coming.  When she doesn’t come when you call her, you are simply moving beyond what she is ready for.  Simply make it easier for her in some way and build reliability slowly.  

Here are a few examples of recall games that you can play with your dog:

(LOW distraction) Have a friend make noise to attract your dog over to him.  After she runs over, call your dog: “Puppy, come.”  The friend then shuts down and becomes the most boring human that Puppy knows, so she will eventually run over to you, the interesting one.

(HIGHER distraction) Have a friend make noise with a squeaky toy to attract your dog over to him.  After she runs over, call your dog: “Puppy, come.”  The friend then shuts down and holds the toy to his chest, again becoming the most boring human that Puppy knows, so she will eventually run over to you, the interesting one.  Then you give him a treat and run back over to the friend, who presents him with the toy and a fun game.

(possibly HIGHER distraction) Have a friend hold a container of extra-good treats and attract your dog over to him in some way.  After she runs over, call your dog: “Puppy, come.”  The friend then shuts down and holds the treats above dog level, yet again becoming the most boring human that Puppy knows, so she will eventually run over to you, the interesting one.  Then you give him a treat and run back over to the friend, who presents him with the even better treats.  Puppy learns that coming to you is the way to get what she wants.

(EVEN HIGHER distraction) When Puppy is playing with dogs, look for a break in the game and call her over to you.  Give her a yummy treat and send her back into the fray.

(WAY HIGHER distraction) When Puppy is playing with dogs, call her over to you (the difference here is that she is actively playing). Give her a yummy treat and send her back into the fray.  Be careful not to go past what she is ready for.  You don’t want her learning that she can say “in a minute” and go back to playing.

(SUPER distraction) Squirrels.  You may never get to the level where Puppy will come running to you if you call her during a squirrel chase.  There is a possibility that you can teach her to drop on cue so well that she will do that during a chase.  Then you can get her to calm down and, after a minute, call her to you.  Consult a professional.

Chase — chase is fine, as long as you are the one running away.  Call your dog, then sprint away as fast as you can.  She will catch you.  Turn and run a different direction.  She’ll catch you again.  Ask for a sit and give her a treat.  You don’t necessarily have to treat this one — chase is rewarding in and of itself.

Hide-and-seek.  Hide in a closet in the house and call your dog.  You may have to make a noise so she can find you, but don’t make it too easy for her.  Give her a nice reward when she finds you, maybe even a 30-second party.  You can play this at the park, too, when she’s ready for it.

Two-dog recall.  If you have multiple dogs, give a treat to the first one who shows up.  This also helps speed up responses to other cues.  Treat the first one to sit, lie down, etc.
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Patient is Key when Training

You know most of us nowadays have WAY too much to do in life in general. I don’t know about you but it seems like if I get to sit down and do nothing for even just a little while it’s a luxury!

You have a job and/or a family or maybe you have another business or volunteer work or you are active in your community or church. Or maybe you just have an active social life.

Anyway sometimes you can be so busy that you wish the dog was just EASIER to deal with!  “I don’t have time for all of this right now!”

Have you ever said this? Maybe your dog is starting to “act up” or misbehave and you feel like, “I don’t need this right now!”

Once you start feeling or thinking this you need to go on high alert! You may be about to lose your patience!

A couple of things to remember: First, if your patience is thin, don’t even think about training your dog or trying to fix any behavior problems. Now is not the time to train!

Take a deep breath and get through the situation, whatever it is, without “losing it” and remember: Whatever is going on with your dog you can begin to make changes almost immediately but not if you’re pushed for time or impatient. Your dog will feel your tension and will also feel tense. This will make the situation worse!

Second, remember that one of the keys to getting your dog to behave is for you to be the leader. In the dog world the leader doesn’t “lose it”. The leader is calm and composed. 

When you get tired or impatient or pushed for time by your circumstances it’s easy to be frustrated when your dog doesn’t respond like you want.

So if you are having one of those frustrating moments or days when your dog is just not behaving well, don’t lose your patience. When you lose that then you’re not acting like a leader!

Get through the situation by reminding yourself that it can be fixed, but today is not the day. Wait until you have more time or your situation is more convenient to begin the training.

Be patient and be the leader!

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General Training Tips

Easy ways to teach your pooch some doggone manners

Few things will land you on your neighbor’s bad list faster than poor dog etiquette. The good news is that being a respectful dog owner boils down to two major things: Be conscientious and don’t be lazy. Proper dog etiquette can mean the difference between living peacefully amongst your neighbors and living a life fraught with conflict and turmoil. Here’s how to make sure you’re doing what you can to be on the right path.

Make sure your dog knows basic public etiquette

As a dog owner, you don’t have to teach your dog dozens of tricks. They don’t have to be able to balance a ball on their nose or be able to bark the numbers one through 10. All your dog has to do is be able to exhibit basic public etiquette, otherwise known as not being rude around other people.

First, this means they will need to know the basic commands. These are fairly easy to teach. If your dog knows how to sit, stay, come, and get down, you’re well on your way to having a dog that behaves well in public. Etiquette around dining situations is also crucial (think neighborhood BBQs!). Your dog should learn not to beg for food and to never be aggressive with any food item.

Avoid the temptation to forgo the leash

If you have a well-behaved dog whom you feel comfortable with, it’s tempting to just leave the leash inside when playing in the front yard or going on a quick walk around the block. Try to resist this urge. It’s okay to have your dog unleashed in a fenced-in area like your backyard or the dog park, but in all other scenarios it’s just good etiquette to keep them leashed up. A dog that’s simply being friendly can frighten or injure kids, for example. A leash just gives you ultimate control, and you’re better safe than sorry.  There are different leashes and collars that work better for certain dogs and situations. Another way to keep your dog safe is to invest in a GPS dog tracker. A high-quality GPS dog tracker can help you find your dog if he escapes your property.

Limit the Barking

Dogs bark. It’s just a fact of life. But there is a point in which the occasional bark turns into a full-fledged barking crisis – one that will make neighbors enemies really quickly. You can’t be a conscientious dog-owning neighbor if your dog is outside in the backyard incessantly barking. If your dog is alert barking at things outside, its best to keep him indoors. You can’t change this behavior if you’re not there to provide immediate feedback.

It’s fairly simple to curb a dog’s barking if he is barking for attention. Dogs bark to get attention and when you give them attention, they learn that barking works to get them what they want. If you don’t give them the attention they want, they will eventually stop trying that method. The moment your dog looks at you and starts barking for attention, simply say ‘bye’ and walk away. Your dog will learn that his barking makes you go away, which is the opposite of what he wants, and this should eliminate attention barking.

Finally, you should teach your dog to stop barking on command. This is done with positive reinforcement including giving out treats when they are nice and quiet.

Clean up

Does it need to be said? Well, you’ve stepped in a big pile before – so you answer that. Some (rude) dog owners must think that dog poop degrades quickly or something, because many owners fail to clean up their dog’s mess. This is dog-owner etiquette rule No. 1 – be a proactive pooper-scooper.

The overarching goal of being a good dog owner is to always remember that nobody loves your dog as much as you do. Your dog may not bother you when it does A, B, or C, but it bothers others. Think about ways to make you and your pet leave the smallest footprint on your neighborhood as possible and you’ll be well on your way to developing good ties (or mending broken ones) with your neighbors.

Photo by Samantha Scholl on Unsplash

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Why Your Pet Is So Important To Your Mental Health

Many people consider their pets an extension of their family. The love that owners have for their animals isn’t something that should be underestimated, and neither should the benefits of that bond. From better moods to lowered anxiety, pets can be absolutely vital to your mental health.

Lowered Stress

Stress can wreak havoc upon your mental health and sense of well-being. It can make everything seem much more dire than it really is, and leave you at an increased risk for things like depression and anxiety. It’s a serious issue to combat – and it turns out that pets can help lead the charge. According to the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, in a study conducted in conjunction with other similar associations, owning a pet can actually help diminish symptoms of stress on a long-term basis.

Relieves Anxiety

There are many different ways that a dog can serve as a great companion animal. For many, just petting or cuddling with a dog can help to fight anxiety disorders. Keith Humphreys, a professor of Psychology and Behavior Studies, admits, “Holding and stroking a dog is calming for many people, even those without anxiety problems.” No matter what the issue is that is keeping you down, cuddling with your pet is sure to help!

Better Sleep

Sleep is important to both physical and mental health, and it can be particularly difficult to achieve quality sleep when you’re not in the right headspace. Did you know that sleeping with your pet could help? Many people find that they feel more comforted and secure with their pet in room than they do without them. If you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, consider sharing some space with your pet to see if it helps. While it doesn’t prove effective for everyone, especially if you have a particularly rambunctious pup, owners are often surprised at how much their pet’s presence can help.

More Exercise

Living a healthy life is important to your physical health as well as your mental health, however it’s a particularly difficult goal to achieve sometimes. Pet owners are more likely than other people to get some form of exercise daily, especially walking, and generally live healthier lives that are less sedentary as a result. This, in turn, helps boost mental health and offer coping mechanisms to handle stress.

Owning a dog is a rewarding experience, but the confirmation that owning one can help with your mental health is relatively new. Make sure to give your pup a treat the next time you see them!

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We all want wonderfully behaved dogs, but it doesn’t happen on its own just because we wish it.  It takes time and effort to create the kind of dog and relationship you want. Here are some basic principles that can help you have a better behaved dog.

  • Have realistic expectations about your dog. No matter how good your dog is, things will get peed on, chewed or scratched/dug up. Barking / meowing, door dashing and/or pulling on the leash can happen with even the best animal.  Accept the fact that dogs are living beings and not china dolls to sit in the corner.  If you have a dog, some time during his/her life, you will loose something of value. 
  • To change behavior you have to be patient and persistent.  Change will not happen over night.  Sometimes it can take weeks or months to change behavior.  The more time you spend and the more often you work with your dog the quicker the change. Despite what some books say, most puppies can’t be housetrained in 7 days.
  • Recognize and meet your dog’s behavioral needs.  Dogs have needs for exercise, social contact with people and other animals and mental stimulation. Problem-solving toys, can provide mental stimulation. Games such as ‘find the hidden object’ and events such as agility can provide all three. 
  • Make it easy for your dog to do the right thing.  Arrange the environment so that the behavior you want is easily produced. The more often desirable behavior happens the stronger it becomes. For example, minimize distractions when you’re trying to teach your dog something new. Put scratching posts where they are easy for your cat to find and use. 
  • Make it difficult for your dog to do the wrong thing.  Arrange the environment so it is hard for your dog to make mistakes.  The more often unwanted behavior happens the harder it is to change.  Close the blinds to keep your dog from barking at those that pass by.  Scoop out your cats’ litter boxes every day.
  • Realize that animals don’t do things out of spite, for revenge or just to make your life miserable. They do what works – that is, what meets their behavioral needs, gets them rewards or allows them to escape or avoid bad things. They sometimes do some things because they are ill.  Dogs counter surf because they occasionally hit the jackpot of a sandwich or chicken leg.  Cats sometimes pee out of the box because they are sick even when they don’t act sick.
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The two most important things to remember are to always praise your dog when they come to you – and set yourself up for success.

  • Teach your dog that ‘Come’ means – run to me, there’s a party over here!
  • Never say ‘Come’ when you think your dog may not do it
  • Only call your dog to come when you KNOW you can make them, not hope that they will
  • Always balance distance and distractions for level of difficulty – ie, work at a level where your dog can be successful.  If there are distractions, work at a short distance away.  If there are no distractions, you can be farther away
  • Do not call your dog to ‘Come’ for anything she doesn’t like
  • Never call your dog in anger
  • Call your dog only once – and then make her come or walk away
  • Always praise and reward your dog for coming to you- make sure you reward and praise a lot!! (a full 20 seconds of petting for example)
  • Never punish your dog for coming to you – even if it takes awhile for him to get there.
  • Never chase after your dog
  • Get your dog to chase you if you don’t have control
  • Practice first indoors with no distractions
  • Use a food lure at dog’s nose and walk backwards to start the behavior
  • Practice “Find It” and “Hide and Seek” to train the recall
  • Practice calling ‘Come’ for mealtimes and for walks
  • Practice 10 times on each outdoor leash walk (intersperse walking backwards and calling your dog)
  • Gradually add distractions and different locations
  • Practice outside on a long line –first with no distractions, then add distractions
  • Use high value food rewards when practicing outside
  • Don’t expect to get from kindergarten to graduate school quickly – this takes time!!
  • Practice “Gotcha” so your dog is used to having its collar grabbed
  • Say name first, make sure you have attention, and then call Come
  • Praise your dog as they come to you
  • Do NOT repeat the command
  • If your dog does not come, go get him, show him the treat he missed out on and eat it yourself (make sure it is edible by you), making a huge deal over how good it was.  Repeat if necessary but this should work for independent dogs.
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Puppy Biting and Nipping

1. Puppies explore with their mouths just like babies explore with their hands.  Puppies have sharp teeth and weak jaws – so this is the time to teach them to bite gently – and then not at all – before they develop the strong jaws of an adolescent dog. It is important to teach your puppy to reduce both the force and frequency of his biting.

2.  To do this, play with your puppy.  Sit on the floor and purposely put your hands near your puppy’s mouth.  If you feel a hard bite, say Ouch! And stop playing. If your puppy stops biting, lure him into a sit and reward and start playing again. If your puppy ignores the ‘ouch’, and continues to bite, say OOOWWW and leave the room.  Come back after a 20 second time out and do a little sit/down training before starting to play again.

3. An excellent way to practice this is to tether your puppy in an area where he can’t have any fun except with you.  Sit on the floor and play with your puppy and when you feel hard bite, say Ouch! Then get up and leave the area for 20 seconds.  Repeat this 10 times in a row twice a day.  You should be able to play longer and longer between hard bites. Then start reacting to the softer bites as well.  If you have children, each person should practice this exercise separately, starting with the adults.

4. Another way to teach your puppy to have a ‘gentle mouth’ is to hand feed him.  Your puppy only gets the food when being gentle – and not grabby. If your puppy likes to bite and grab pant legs, stop moving immediately and interrupt him.  Call his name and then ask him to do something else such as Sit.

5. Be aware that when your puppy is excited, he’ll be more mouthy and bitey.  So first practice when he’s calm.  When he is calm, you can do a lot of gentle petting and give him a nice belly rub.  If he bites, then all petting stops for 20 seconds.  Another consequence to biting is 30 second time out in his crate.  Don’t do this in anger – it’s just a neutral consequence to his biting – “Oops – time out – in your crate.”

If you don’t see an improvement in reduced biting, consult a Certified Professional Dog Trainer in your area.

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Playing with Your Puppy!


Playing regularly with your puppy will help you form a strong bond.  The purpose of play is to develop skills that will be useful throughout their lives, such as impulse control.  The more games you play with your puppy, the more he will consider you to be the most interesting thing in his world. Encouraging puppies to play with toys provides a good outlet for their physical and mental energies.

You puppy should have two sets of toys:  toys that he can play with by himself and ‘interactive toys’ that he can only play with you.  Keep the interactive toys put away so you initiate play and keep you and the toys interesting to your puppy. 

Developing interest in the toy

Rather than just offer your puppy a new toy, take it out, play with it yourself, or play catch with another family member and act like you are having fun.  Then put the toy away.  Repeat this until your puppy is chomping at the bit to join in the play.  Keep toy moving/wiggling along the ground. Then select your special toys that you will put away after every play session.

Enthusiasm first, control later

Build enthusiasm for play first, then put in controls like sit and wait later.  Keep the games fun!!

Types of Games

Fetch – often preferred by herding dogs, retrievers and hounds

Tug – often preferred by guard dogs and bull breeds

Shake and Kill- often preferred by terriers

Rules of the Games

Invite your puppy to play with you often

With Tug of War, win more often than you lose

Do not play too roughly

Teach him to “Drop It” on command – stop tugging and trade for treat

Stop before your puppy gets bored – play several short sessions per day

Stop playing immediately if you feel any teeth to skin

Stop playing if your puppy begins to growl or gets over-excited

Always put the toy away after the game

Teaching impulse control

Teaching your puppy control during games will help your adult dog maintain control, even in times of stress or excitement.  After your puppy has developed great enthusiasm for the games, practice sits/waits, downs/waits and recalls before and during play.

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Housetraining 101

1. The best way to house-train your puppy is to consistently and generously reward him for going in the right place and prevent him from going in the wrong place.

2. You want to teach your puppy the ‘rewarding’ place to go and to give him plenty of opportunities to eliminate there.  This means pro-actively taking him out every hour or so when he’s awake, after naps, after eating and after playing, as well as first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  Stay pro-active about bringing your puppy outside – don’t expect him to let you know he has to go.  As you build up a consistent reward history for him going in the right spot, he will be more motivated to go there.

3. Make sure you bring your puppy out on leash so you can control where he walks and sniffs. Go to the elimination area and just stand there and let him walk around and sniff a bit but keep him in the general area.  Be aware that any distractions will interrupt his peeing or pooping – cars, people, squirrels, etc.  Watch for signs that he is about to go so you recognize them over time.  A small puppy may only pause briefly to pee so you need to be very observant. 

4. As soon as your puppy finishes, verbally praise him and give him 5-6 tiny treats in a row.  If he doesn’t go, bring him back and take him out 5 minutes later.  Watch him carefully when you do go back in because that may be where he is more comfortable going.  Continue to go out every 5-10 minutes until your puppy goes and then lavishly praise and reward him with high value treats. Make sure you’re with him when he goes so A) you know that he went and B) to teach him that it is rewarding to ‘go’ when he is next to you.

5.  Next, you want to start tracking your puppy’s elimination schedule so you can anticipate when you need to take him out.  When inside, watch for sniffing or circling as a sign that he needs to go and ‘when in doubt, take him out’.  If he does have an accident inside, calmly clean it up with a proper odor eliminator and take note of when and where the accident happened so you can be more diligent about preventing it next time.

6. Punishing your puppy after the fact does no good –he won’t understand why you’re yelling at him so don’t it.  Just be more observant next time. The first few weeks of owning a puppy are some of the hardest and most important. Spending extra time and effort now will pay off in a big way. If your puppy has an accident inside, take a newspaper, roll it up and hit yourself in the head with it!

7. Once he’s going regularly in his spot, start putting this behavior on command- use whatever phrase you want but be consistent:  “Hurry up”, “Do your Business”, “Do Potty”, “Potty time”, whatever.  Start saying the command as your puppy starts to go.  Don’t say it when you’re not sure – we want him to associate the command with the correct behavior.  Eventually start saying the command earlier and it will be his cue to go.  This will come in very handy on a rainy or cold night when you want him to go quickly so you can get back inside.

8. Finally and the most important, the only way for you to prevent your puppy from going in the wrong place is by using 100% management and supervision.  This means that when you can’t watch your puppy, he’s in his crate and when he is out of his crate, he’s never out of your sight.  You’ll need to gate off a small area of your kitchen or family room or have your puppy on a leash attached to your belt. 

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