Importance of Exercise:
Exercise is an essential part of your puppy and/or dogs day. It allows them to release built-up energy that, if not released, can lead to undesirable behaviors. This will also help to create trust and a strong bond between you and your pet. Take 15-20 minutes a day to play fetch with your pooch. Or, if you have a treadmill, you can train your pup to walk itself while you are getting ready for work. A well exercised dog is a calm and well behaved dog. Check out the attached videos to see my new pup in training.

One great way to exercise your pooch (that is, if you have one), is using a treadmill. They can walk on it while you are getting ready to leave and it allows them to exert that built-up energy that can, ultimately, lead to unwanted behaviors.

Biting and Chewing:
As a new puppy parent, most people find it very frustrating when their new puppy is chewing and biting on everything. However, this is one of the easiest behaviors to extinguish. 
First, start by giving your puppy lots of exercise so that they can release some of the hyper energy that they would use when biting your hand or chewing on your shoes. Make sure that you have adequate toys for your puppy to chew on because, just like a teething baby, their teeth and gums get very irritated and chewing on things such as a toy tire, rope and even ice cubes can help sooth their mouth. Also, make sure that you're not giving your puppy toys that resemble items you don't want them to chew on. For example, you don't want to give your pup a toy shoe if you don't want them chewing on your shoes. Or, don't offer your pooch a stuffed cat toy if you don't want them biting and chasing your feisty feline. 
Lastly, make sure to give your puppy lots of "calm" attention when they are chewing on the right items. Let them know that they are a good boy/girl with a scratch or gentle rub. 


Jumping for Joy!

When guests come to your home, your dog may show their excitement by jumping on them. Although this behavior is very annoying, the dog just wants to get to know them. However, this annoyance can lead to more aggressive behavior such as biting or knocking down children. If you are in this situation, the best thing to do is wait for your pooch to be calm before letting your guests into your home. This allows your dog to be in a calm, submissive state of mind, rather than inadvertently reinforcing them while they are excited. You may also want to pick a place or "imaginary line" for the dog to wait at, before letting your guests in. This makes it clear to your pet that they are not allowed to charge the door. To do this, when someone comes to your door, step in front of the dog and walk towards them. They will instinctively back up because they don't want you in their bubble. They may try to get around you, but do not let them. If they do, start over. Once you get your dog to the point where you want them to wait, you must wait for them to lay down and be relaxed and calm. Let your guest know before they come over that you are working on training your pet and it may be a few minutes before you can let them in. 
Once the dog is calm and laying down, you can then CONFIDENTLY turn and let your guests in the house. If your dog tries to follow you, turn around, back them up again to their spot and wait for them to lay down. Then, when your guests come into your home, tell them not to look, talk or touch the dog. Pretend that the dog does not exist. Have your guests come in and sit down. After a few minutes, your K-9 may come over to smell or solicit attention, and this is fine... as long as they are not excited, because this will then lead to them jumping on your guests. 

Walking on a Leash:

Do you walk your dog or does your dog walk you? If you can walk your dog without stressing out about the "what if's," then your pet has great respect for you. However, if you can't even think about taking your pooch outside without breaking into a cold sweat, you'll need to read on. 
It is so important that when you take your dog out the door, they must NOT be excited. This only allows them to transfer this energy into the walk but, it also reinforces the excited behavior. The best fix is to make sure that your pet is calm and submissive before going outside. Once the animal is laying down or in a calm sitting position, you can then open the door. If they lunge to run out the door, don't let them. They must calm down again and YOU must go out of the door first. This tells the animal that you are dominant and they must follow you. 
When dogs first meet another dog, they sniff the eyes, ears and nose. Then, they will walk around to the back side of the dog and sniff its butt. As gross as it is, this lets the "sniffee" know that the sniffer will follow them and they are in a sense, submitting to the new friend. 
It is also important to not allow your dog to walk ahead of you because again, this is the dog telling you that they are the pack leader. The dog should walk a little behind you or at your side. If they start to pull, stick your leg out, hold a stick out as to give them a visual barrier. Or, you can move the collar up around their neck, right under their ears. The most powerful part of a dog is their lower neck/shoulders, but if the collar is up high around the neck, by their ears it allows you to redirect them with a sharp tug of the leash. Either one you choose to use, make sure you don't stop walking. Otherwise, you just draw attention to the negative behavior.

Potty Training Woes:
Potty training a new pup can be very frustrating and, for some, may leave you feeling discouraged. It doesn't have to be. Potty training is all about staying diligent and consistent, all while creating a routine. The first step in potty training is to always keep a close eye on your new pup and watch for signs that they need to go outside. You might see them sniffing the floor or walking around in circles. If you have a slight feeling that they may need to go out, then its time. Remember to praise your pet for using the bathroom in the proper place and a treat is always good to have on hand. For those that work outside the home, you have an upper hand. When your dog is in a crate for the time you are at work, they learn to hold "it" longer. But, if you are the lucky one and you get to work from home, I've found that it is a good idea to crate your pet for a few hours at a time. This gets them in the habit of waiting for you to take them outside to go potty. 
If your pup does have an accident in the house, it is useless to rub their nose in it, because this only reinforces that behavior. Although its negative reinforcement, the pet still gets some sort of reinforcement and this only draws attention to the matter. Instead, take the dog outside and wait for them to go again. When they do, take this opportunity to reinforce that with positive reinforcement. It has been proven that animals respond better to positive reinforcement rather than negative reinforcement. 
When your puppy is about 13 weeks old they should start showing signs that they can hold "it" for longer periods of time. Also, it is always a good idea to pick up the water dish after 7:00pm. This will prevent them from whining and waking you up in the middle of the night. 


Crate Training:
Crate training can be an essential tool for training a new puppy or dog. It provides a safe place for your pup to stay while you are away or sleeping and it plays an important role in potty training. However, not all puppies prefer to be in their crate and they may refuse to go in and/or whine when inside it. Initially, when you start your crate training, make it comfortable. Supply your puppy with toys and a small blanket or towel to lay on. You may also want to reinforce them when they first go in with a treat or ice cube. Then, rather than closing the door and walking away, leave the door open, kneel down in front of it and claim your space. By this, I mean, do not let your puppy run out. Teach your puppy that he/she is not to come out of the crate unless you say it is okay. Each time they try to move forward to get out, push them back in. By doing this, you are establishing rules and giving your puppy boundaries and therefore, gaining their trust and respect.  Dogs can only focus on doing 1 thing at a time so by doing this we stop the thought process of trying to getting out of the crate and redirect it to being calm and submissive. We do NOT want to push them hard because we don't want to hurt them however, it needs to be firm enough that they stop. We are claiming our space and being assertive. Next, wait there (in front of the crate) until the dog becomes submissive or gives up and lays down. Once they lay down, you can give them a small treat, close the door and be on your way. 

When you return, apply the same rules. Do not open the door and let them run out wildly. Stand firm (but calm) and assertive and wait for them to submit. Once they have laid down, in a calm voice say "okay" or "come". You will start to notice that the dog will become more relaxed and won't make any vocalizations. This is because you have (psychologically) trained the dog to be calm and submissive in the crate and, in turn, they will be more relaxed. It will also create a better bond between you and your pup by teaching trust and respect 

Destructive Behaviors:
Has there been some concerns about your pooch destroying furniture? Often, the simplest solution is to give your dog more exercise so that they are releasing all that pent up energy. However, if you feel that you are giving them an adequate amount of exercise, then it is important to give them chew toys. If that isn't enough, then ask your self-
Am I allowing my pup on your furniture? If so, STOP! They need to know that it is NOT okay to be on your furniture when you don't ask them. 
And, are they chewing on my furniture when I am home? If so, watch them and don't let them rehearse this behavior. 
It is also a good idea to train a "place" behavior, where they learn to lay down in a specific spot, maybe on a dog bed. For training tips on training this behavior refer to Jumping for Joy. 

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