At what age should I start training my puppy?
The sooner the better! Actually, very responsible breeders start training their pups as young as 5-6 weeks, so by the time they are placed in homes they already have a good start. Your puppy starts learning the moment he first sets foot in your house. You might as well make sure he learns the right things from day one.
Why should I crate train my puppy/dog?
The crate is an extremely valuable behavior management tool. It takes much of the pain out of puppy-raising by keeping your pup safely confined when you can't directly supervise her. Puppies are usually housetrained in a surprisingly short time with the use of a crate, and the crate gives you peace of mind, knowing that your dog isn't peeing and pooping all over the house, or chewing on electric cords and antique furniture when you're not there to watch her.
Are electronic (non-visible) fences good to use?
There are several reasons why I detest electronic shock fences. While I have certainly heard from people who have used them and are very pleased, I am also personally familiar with a number of electronic fence horror stories. I do not recommend them for my clients.
Why don't you use choke chains or prong collars in your training?
Choke chains and prong collars are tools of compulsion training, dependent on your willingness to force your dog to comply with your commands. At Peaceable Paws we use positive reinforcement training, meaning that we consistently reward the behaviors that we want from our dogs, and manage or ignore (when possible) the behaviors that we don't want.
How do I stop my puppy from biting me?
Biting is a natural puppy behavior. Puppies explore their world with their mouths, and they use their teeth extensively in play. Learning bite inhibition is an important part of a young puppy's education. If he bites his mom or his littermates too hard, they let him know. Mom may reprimand him roundly if his needle sharp puppy teeth close too hard during nursing, and his siblings may yipe and refuse to play with him if he bites too hard. One of the pitfalls of taking a puppy away from his littermates too soon is that he misses out on this important lesson. Pups should stay together with their litters and their moms until they are at least eight weeks of age.
Why should I spay or neuter my dog? I want to have puppies!
Approximately 6-8 million unwanted dogs, cats, kittens and puppies are euthanized in this country every year because there are not enough homes for them. If you breed your dog, you are a part of this problem, even if you find homes for every one of your puppies. (Overpopulation) Every home that adopts one of your pups is a home that could have taken a homeless dog or puppy instead - one that will end up dead on a shelter euthanasia room floor. In addition, you can avoid many health and behavior problems, such as mammary tumors (in females) and testosterone-generated aggression (in males) if you spay and neuter prior to the onset of puberty.
How do I keep my puppy from chewing on everything??!!
Manage, manage, manage. A pup who is still in the chewing stage should be under constant supervision, or confined to a safe secure puppy-proofed area. Provide him with plenty of irresistible toys. The best are interactive toys such as stuffed Kongs , Buster Cubes and Roll-A-Treat Balls . A cold, frozen Kong can be especially soothing to a teething pup's sore gums. Soft toys such as rope tugs and plush toys are also very inviting to puppy teeth. When he wants to chew on an inappropriate object, direct him toward an acceptable chew toy. If he insists on going back to the table leg, give him a cheerful "Oops! Time-out" and put him in his puppy-safe place.
What's the best way to housetrain my puppy?
Whether you are facing the challenge of housetraining a new puppy or retraining an adult dog with inappropriate bathroom behaviors, the approach is the same: manage the behavior to prevent mistakes from happening while you teach appropriate toilet habits. The differences are that while a puppy may not yet have the physical ability to control his need to eliminate for long periods, at least he probably hasn't learned to soil indoors and will have a very strong instinct to keep his den clean. The unfortunate exceptions are puppies raised in very dirty conditions (like many of the puppies raised in puppy mills and sold through pet stores), and those who have been forced to soil their crates repeatedly through improper confinement.
How long will it take to train my dog?
Her whole life! Seriously, this is an impossible question to answer. It depends on you, your dog, and your training goals. My 14-year-old terrier mix, Josie, is still learning new things. Every time you are with your dog, every day, one of you is training the other. If we stop training our dogs, we become the trainees - which doesn't usually bode well for the dog-owner relationship!