Useful Information

Critical Developmental Stages in a Dog's Life

0-7 Weeks

Puppy is with mother and littermates.  During this period, puppy learns about social interaction, plan, and inhibiting aggression from mother and littermates.  Puppies must stay with their mother and littermates during this critical period if possible.  Puppies learn the most important lesson in their lives - they learn to accept discipline

Neonatal, Transition,
Awareness, and Canine
Socialization

4-8 Months

Puppy may wander and ignore you.  It is very important that you keep the puppy on a leash at this time.  The way you handle the puppy at this time determines if the puppy will come to you when called.  At about 4-1/2 months, the puppy loses his milk teeth and get his adult teeth.  That's when puppy begins serious chewing.  A dog's teeth don't set in his jaw until between 6 and 10 months.  During this time, the puppy has a physical need to exercise his mouth by chewing.

Neonatal, Transition,
Awareness, and Canine
Socialization

7-12 Weeks

Puppy is with mother and littermates.  During this period, puppy learns about social interaction, plan, and inhibiting aggression from mother and littermates.  Puppies must stay with their mother and littermates during this critical period if possible.  Puppies learn the most important lesson in their lives - they learn to accept discipline

Human Socialization Period

6-14 Months

Dog again shows fear of new situations and even familiar situations.  Dog may be reluctant to approach someone or something new.   It is important that you are patient and act very matter of fact in these situations.  Never force the dog to face the situation.  Do not pet the frightened puppy or talk in soothing tones.  The puppy will interpret such responses as praise for being frightened.  Training will help improve the dog's confidence.

Neonatal, Transition,
Awareness, and Canine
Socialization

8-11 Weeks

Puppy is with mother and littermates.  During this period, puppy learns about social interaction, plan, and inhibiting aggression from mother and littermates.  Puppies must stay with their mother and littermates during this critical period if possible.  Puppies learn the most important lesson in their lives - they learn to accept discipline

Fear Imprint Period

1-4 Years

You may encounter increased aggression and renewed testing for dominance.  Continue to train your dog during this period.

Neonatal, Transition,
Awareness, and Canine
Socialization

13-16 Weeks

Puppy is with mother and littermates.  During this period, puppy learns about social interaction, plan, and inhibiting aggression from mother and littermates.  Puppies must stay with their mother and littermates during this critical period if possible.  Puppies learn the most important lesson in their lives - they learn to accept discipline.

Seniority Classification Period or

" The Age of Cutting "

Chew Control

Puppies chew on whatever they can get their mouths on for any number of reasons:  they're bored, they have a lot of energy, they're teething, or they're just curious.  Dogs learn through their mouths.   It's their tool, it's how they receive a great deal of information.  They are naturally inclined to use their mouths whenever they can.  fortunately, most destructive chewing behavior can be prevented or controlled.  To prevent problem chewing and to direct your pup's natural inclination to chew towards appropriate objects, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Puppy-proof the area - If possible, remove all items your puppy can chew on, including socks, shoes, furniture, plants, etc.  Tape over electrical outlets and make sure electrical cords are out of reach.

  • Always confine your puppy in a crate or puppy-proofed area when you are away -  Because puppies learn with their mouth, giving your teething puppy free rein in the house is asking for trouble.   Keep them confined, you don't want them to go to school on your expensive living room furniture.

 

  • Closely supervise your uncrated pup -  Not unlike caring for a toddler, you should always be aware of where your uncrated pup is and what he is doing.

 

  • Give your puppy a chew toy - The sole focus of your dog's chewing should be directed toward items you select.  There are a wide range of safe long-lasting chew toys that are made especially for teething puppies that will keep them occupied and content for hours.

 

  • Before you leave, add your scent to your dog's toy -  Rub the bone between your hands and give it to your pup as you leave.  Make departures low-key to avoid causing separation anxiety, which is often expressed through non-stop barking, whining, or destructive chewing.

 

  • Correct chewing of inappropriate objects -  If you catch your pup in the act of chewing anything but his chew toy, remove the object and replace it with an acceptable chew toy.  If your pup then chews on the new toy, praise him.  You always want to reinforce desired behavior with praise.

 

  • Teach your pup to ignore non-toy objects if he consistently chews on the wrong things -  Place tempting objects on the floor along with your pup's chew toy and pretend not to pay any attention to him.  If (and usually when) he starts to put his mouth over one of the forbidden objects, correct him with a firm 'NO" and point out his bone.  Once he learns he can only have the toy when you're in the room, it's time to leave the room for short intervals.  If he chews on forbidden objects after you leave the room, your quick return will catch him in the act - the only time when corrective actin should be taken.   Again, give him the bone, and praise if it is accepted.  If he is chewing forbidden objects but you don't catch him, he should be crated when unsupervised until he learns what is and is not acceptable to chew on,  The obvious purpose of this training is to prepare your puppy for the day when he can be trusted to be alone in the house and not confined.

 

  • Give your puppy plenty of exercise to relieve boredom and burn off energy - significant factors contributing to destructive chewing.

House Training Basics

  • Buy a crate - and during the first few weeks, keep your puppy in it whenever you are not playing, holding, or watching him explore his new surroundings.  Spend as much time as you can with your new pet, but when you can't watch him, crating him can prevent mistakes from occurring.  In addition to providing the safe, secure refuge your dog needs and wants, crates are critical to house training because as den animals, dogs are naturally inclined to not soil their bed.  The most important thing learned by house training dogs in a crate is that they can control their urge to eliminate until the proper time and situation.

  • Establish a schedule - The "when" and "how" you house train needs to be consistent so make sure all family members follow the same guidelines.   Pick a soiling spot in your yard and take your pup there on a lead when it is time to eliminate.  The odor from previous visits to this spot will stimulate the urge to defecate and/or urinate.

  • Be patient -  Dogs may urinate or defecate more than once in an outing, and not always right away.   Don't distract your pup from the job at hand.  This is a business trip, not a social time.

  • Praise them - When the job is done but don't overdo it.  Just patting them across their shoulders a few times will do the trick.  In a dog's language, that means more than constant rubbing across the head or repeating "Good Dog".  Some people prefer to use a consistent phrase to encourage the pup to eliminate, such as "Go Potty".  The pup soon learns this is a signal to eliminate, which is very useful when traveling or when time is short.

  • Don't mix business with pleasure -  When your pup has finished, take him back inside, even just for a minute or two.  When you come back inside, spend some time with you pup.  You know there is little chance the pup will have to eliminate for a while so play with him and have a good time. The more time you spend with the pup, the better. Remember, they are still young and need to act like a pup, developing and learning about their new situation and environment.  When you're finished, take one more trip outside and then place the pup back in it's cage or crate.  After every meal and playtime, remember to take them outside before placing them back in the crate.

  • The key to house training is you -  Spend as much time with your puppy as possible during the first two to three weeks your puppy is home.  Be consistent, patient, and praise when appropriate.  Also, be willing, for however long it takes, to invest the time and energy necessary to make this important training time a success.  The effort you put forth now will be well worth it for the lifetime of your pet. 

  • Establishing a schedule is important -  Dogs are creatures of habit; they like to eat, sleep and relieve themselves on a regular schedule.  Establishing and maintaining a schedule is easy to do and gets easier as your puppy grows.

  • Pay attention - Watch your dogs behavior so you can develop a schedule that works for both of you.  First learn when your dog naturally defecates - in the morning, at night, 30 minutes after eating, etc.  Look at your schedule and determine what compromises need to be made to make this workable for everyone.  If you catch your puppy in the act of having an accident, tell him "No!" forcefully and pick him up and take him outside.   If you don't catch him, simply clean up the mess and scold yourself for not being available.  Do not scold the puppy.

  • Until your pup is 14 weeks old - Take him outside frequently and watch him very closely when he is in or out of his crate.  As soon as you see him pacing, sniffing around, turning around in circles, or trying to sneak away (if he's out of his crate), take him outside.  These are telltale signs that he needs to relieve himself.  Say "outside" each time you take your puppy out so you can develop communication and understanding between you and your pet.

 

The Marvelous Crate

Any wild canine will secure a small snugly fitting space to call it's own.  This space represents security to the dog.  If it's in its den, it cannot be attacked or bothered, so it is able to relax fully.  This instinctive desire for a secure den is the basis of the psychology behind using a crate as a training aid.  Once the pet owner has overcome his own prejudice against "caging a pet" and accepted the sound reasoning behind crate training, he and his dog can begin to enjoy the benefits of the marvelous crate.

 

To accustom your dog to it's new crate, prop open the door and allow the dog to explore the confines of the crate.  Placing food or a favorite object inside will encourage it to step in.  When the dog is comfortable, close the door and keep it confined for about 5 or 10 min.  When you let the dog out, do it unceremoniously.  Releasing the dog should not be a major production.

 

Each time you put the dog in the crate, increase the time it is confined.  Eventually the dog can be confined for up to several hours at a time.  If the crate also serves as the dog's bed, it can be left crated throughout the night.  Don't overuse the crate though.  Both you and your dog should think of it as a safe haven, not as a prison.

 

Many dogs will learn to go directly to their crates when they are ready to call it a day.  Often the use of the crate will convince a restless dog to stop howling at the moon or barking at every little sound, allowing their owners to sleep through the night undisturbed.

 

Many dogs receive their meals in their crates.   Finicky eaters are made to concentrate on the food that is offered and, as a result, overcome their eating problems.  For the owners of more than one dog, the crate serves as a way to regulate the food intake of each dog.  If dogs in the same household have different diets, crate feeding is almost essential.  It can also make mealtimes less stressful if you have a dominant dog that tries to keep the others in the household away from the food bowls.

 

Housebreaking is made easier when the wise owner relies on the help of the crate.  Until the dog is dependably housetrained, it should not be given the opportunity to make a mistake.  A healthy dog normally will not soil it's den - the place where it sleeps.  If the crate is the right size for your dog, allowing just enough room to stand up and turn around, it will not soil it's crate.  If you purchase a crate for a puppy based on the size of the mature dog, you may need to block off one end to keep the puppy from sleeping in one corner and using the other for elimination.

 

Any time you cannot keep a close watch on the puppy, kindly place it in it's crate.  When the dog eliminates at the proper time, reward it.  With the assistance of a crate, house training can be almost painless for you and your puppy.

 

The crate is a safety seat for a traveling dog.   You may know that shipping a dog requires a crate, but do you realize that the crate in your car serves as a seatbelt would to protect your dog in the event of an accident?  A dog thrown out of the car through a windshield has little chance of surviving.  Also, in the event you or a passenger need medical care during an accident, a crate will keep the dog from "protecting" or "guarding" you from paramedics.

 

If you need to ship your dog by air, the task will be much easier if the dog is already accustomed to it's crate.  A crate-trained dog is relaxed and less likely to need sedation for traveling.  Avoiding sedatives removes one of the major risks of air travel for dogs, and your dog will be alert and happy when it lands.

 

When you travel and have to leave your dog behind, the caretaker will have a much easier time caring for a crate-trained dog and she might appreciate being able to confine the dog for rest periods.  Your dog will also enjoy being able to take it's crate (and a little bit of home) with it if it must spend time in a strange place.

 

No untrained dog should be given the run of the house while it's owner is away.  This is not only foolhardy from the standpoint of protecting your belongings but also from the standpoint of protecting the dog.  An untrained dog could chew through an electrical cord, get trapped under a piece of furniture, or be poisoned or choked by a piece of trash.  Use a crate to protect the untrained dog from itself.  Of course, this means you will have to limit your time away from home.  A puppy must be taken out at regular intervals to exercise and take care of business.

 

If you dog becomes ill or needs surgery, confinement in a crate means better care for your dog.  It reinforces consistency in training.  It helps the dog feel more secure.  It makes having strangers in the house less hectic.  It makes travel safer and more comfortable.  It makes bringing up a puppy as easy as can be.  Once you have experienced the benefits of create-training your dog, you will question how you ever lived without The Marvelous Crate.