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The Best Christmas Puppy Surprise!

Look on youtube and you’ll find tons of videos showing children and adults opening the huge box with the puppy inside! There are screams and laughter and tears all around and it’s SO EXCITING!!!

…BUT they don’t show you what happens later that day or the next day or the next when the puppy is peeing on things, biting or even growling because it’s become terrified.

Now that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t give a puppy as a big gift. You can.

Just do it right so your child, parent or significant other AND the puppy get off to the best start possible and avoid causing any trauma.

First, make sure a dog is really going to be welcome and planned for in your home. Do you know what characteristics are important to you when choosing a dog? Do you have the time and energy that a puppy needs? Do you have experience raising or owning a dog?

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that a puppy can make a good idea for a gift…

…IF your loved one would have gotten the puppy anyway…

…AND if you give the puppy in the right way.

So if you think you might go for a puppy as a gift, watch the video below and watch for more videos coming up to help you choose that puppy or dog and for more specifics on what you need to have ready.

Watch the video here

Leave me a comment below if you think you’ll be getting a puppy at holiday time or if you know someone who might do it.

Puppy Biting: The 2 most common reasons for puppy biting!

When puppies bite, it hurts! Those teeth are sharp and with some puppies, they are relentless. They just won’t give up. As soon as you give them a toy to distract them, their teeth are right back on YOU or your pants or your hair…

Your kids might be so fed up that they say, “Mommy, I hate that puppy! He’s mean!” 

Sigh… this just starts a spiral downward and yet…

…it can be so easy to fix.

Most of the time, your puppy is biting for one of two reasons (and you may find this hard to believe!):

  1. Your puppy is hungry
  2. Your puppy is tired

Watch my youtube video where I explain these two problems further.

What about when it’s not one of these two reason? What if it’s teething or poor bite inhibition or even aggression?

For more on puppy biting, I have another video available and you can find that here: 

The Steps to Manage Puppy Biting So You Can Raise A Dog You Love And Trust

But start with the one on this page – these are the most common reasons that you might be overlooking and both are so easy to fix!

After you watch the video, add a LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to my channel! Then COMMENT below!

Right and Wrong Ways to Socialize Your Puppy

Puppies need to be exposed to a variety of things early to avoid a fear response later in life. That fear can be immobilizing and/or cause aggression.

But mistakes can be made and then instead of helping, you can make life worse for your puppy and you!

So what is the right way to expose and socialize your puppy? HOW you do it is KEY.

  1. Do as much as you can during:
    • the first 8-12 weeks of age.
    • Second best time is 12-16 weeks old
    • Third best time is before 3 years old
    • Your dog’s lifetime
  2. Go at your puppy’s pace. It’s important to avoid any trauma so if your puppy is showing concern, then that’s enough! Pay attention to your puppy’s body language and also check your own mood because it affects how your puppy responds. Don’t worry about how someone else’s puppy responds – all that matters is how YOUR puppy responds.
  3. CRITICAL: Know that dogs do NOT know that babies are going to grow up and be human like you! Babies smell, sound, move and look different than an adult human. They may as well be a cat! Likewise with toddlers and young children. These are all “separate animals” as far as your dog is concerned so all should be exposed. You may be young but may have children someday. You may be older but may have grandchildren so be prepared. Expose your puppy.
  4. Socialize To Generalize! I coined this phrase to help you remember that when you expose your puppy to, for example, a loud noise, that can generalize to other loud noises. If you can expose your puppy to 100 noises then great BUT it is not necessary. Again, as in #2, go at your puppy’s pace. Puppies need lots of rest so dont’t over do it. The number of things you expose your puppy too is not that important. It’s how that exposure goes.
  5. All 5 senses: Try to socialize for all 5 senses which are touch, sight, sound, taste and smell. Smell? For example to alcohol which is used at the veterinary hospital.
  6. Make exposures positive.
  7. Keep a list and expose more than once if you can.

Watch my youtube video where I explain further how to socialize your puppy.

After you watch the video, add a LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to my channel! Then COMMENT below!

Puppy Potty Training: “My puppy won’t go on the (grass, gravel, mulch, dirt, turf…)”

Puppies can develop a preference for substrates or surfaces – places and types of materials where they eliminate (potty or poop).

My corgi, Tobias, would only go in a “private” area. He wanted to be hidden in bushes, ground cover or at least off the trail.

When your puppy is young, it’s a great idea to expose them to new types of substrates so they don’t completely develop a preference. That way if they are boarding, traveling with you, going to a dog show, etc., you’ll avoid a problem where you dog will try to “hold it” for days!

At the same time, you don’t want your puppy to think they can go anywhere! So how do you teach your puppy where to go?

Make sure you don’t encourage your puppy to go on any surface that resembles the inside of your house.

For example, if you have wood floors, I’d be pretty cautious about allowing my puppy to go on a wood deck! I’d also avoid any outdoor mats because they are too much like rugs and carpets.

Where they go should be nothing like any surface in your house or you risk confusion.

Watch my youtube video where I explain how to get your puppy to potty on a new substrate.

After you watch the video, add a LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to my channel! Then COMMENT below!

Puppy Potty Training: The Biggest Lie You Might Be Telling Yourself!

Jenny had the kitchen gated off with the the crate inside and with easy access to a puppy pad. She was also trying to teach her puppy, Max, to go outside.

So why all the accidents? She was super frustrated.

To top it off, the puppy would grab it’s stool and take off!

This is a lot of energy to put into potty training, right? Put that same energy into supervising and you’ll come out ahead… quickly too.

Supervise? Jenny, like most puppy owners I see and students in my classes too… say “Of course I watch my puppy!” She knows to supervise.

But this is actually one of the Biggest Lies people tell themselves. 80%… 90% of the time is not supervision – not enough anyway. You need to supervise 100% of the time. I’ll say it again… 100%!

Yes, it’s a bit of a challenge but you can do it and it’s so worth it.

To learn more and find out a VERY SIMPLE INEXPENSIVE WAY to put this into practice, watch this video and I’ll explain exactly what I mean.

After you watch the video, add a LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to my channel! Then COMMENT below!

First Puppy? What to do FIRST!

Getting a new puppy is exciting!

Now what do you do? This will be a series of videos on what to do when you bring your puppy home so you can get started on the right foot.

See the video here:

But Why?

The first thing to do is to see your veterinarian:

  1. Even if you got your puppy from a breeder who gave “all the shots” and “wormed” your puppy AND even if you got your puppy from a rescue or a shelter – a good shelter. Here are the reasons:
    • “All the shots” may not be what your puppy needs and usually they need more. Breeders are not licensed professionals and while well-meaning, they are not legally authorized to give vaccinations. Right there, that tells you something is up unless they had their veterinarian take care of it. Even so, vaccine decisions depend on your lifestyle, your dog’s breed and any current or potential outbreaks so please, consult your veterinarian.
    • If the shelter has a veterinarian that took care of your puppies needs, there still could have been an oversight. Sometimes vets at shelters or for rescues have a heavy caseload and may be limited by funding so it’s best to invest and have your puppy checked. I bet that vet at the shelter would agree.
    • Your vet may find something that was missed, like… fleas!!! Get it taken care of asap.
  2. To establish a relationship with a veterinarian you trust and have a good rapport. If you don’t have one already, go see a couple and see who you like. Even if you went to 10 with the same expertise and the same charges, you would find one or more that you relate to best. Choose one that you can talk to and ask questions when your dog needs care and you may not be at your best.
  3. To establish a client/patient relationship. Your vet cannot advise you over the phone, even in an emergency, if you and your puppy haven’t ever met your vet! It’s not legal. So go in and meet so you can rely on them if something should come up. If your puppy eats a toy, for example, you can call and get some advice.
  4. To give your puppy the experience! To socialize your puppy to the vet hospital, the people and handling. Think of all the fawning, “ooh”s and “ahh”s with the vet and the staff! They love to see puppies. The puppy needs as many great visits for fun as you can fit in so they develop a trust and it’s easier then for your puppy to accept handling, routine care and treatment, when needed.

Taking your puppy to the vet asap is a win-win!

So watch the video, add a LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to my channel! Then COMMENT below!

Lake House Series Video 8: Practice With the Emergency Down

Lake House Series Video 8: Practice With the Emergency Down

This is Dr. Carolyn Lincoln with Play to Behave and I’m here at the Cleveland All-Breed Training Club. It’s an AKC club. I’m here with my dog, Rae, she’s two-year-old Australian shepherd. I’m just going to show you the next piece of the emergency down which I mentioned in another video before. If you missed that you can go back and see it here!

Also, I wanted to tell you that on Tuesday mornings at 10:00 if you live in the Cleveland area, and you’re interested in agility, we’re going to be doing some beginning agility during that time. It’ll be sort of a drop in, I just have to clear everything with the club so I’ll let you know, and I’ll let you know the cost and all that. Just ask me if you’re interested.

Now, back to the emergency down. The first piece I told you to teach your dog is to go out, so they go away from you and then you can teach them to sit and up lie down at a distance. I have that with her, and so I’m going to ask her to come to me, and as she’s coming I’m going to ask her to lie down in the process. I want her moving and running, and as she’s coming I’ll ask her to down now.

We did this a long time ago, probably a year ago and she was good at it, but now I really need this for the lake house so I’m going to practice it more often. I did this one session with her on the other live, so you didn’t see that, so she’s a little better now, but she was coming to about maybe two feet from me in lying down. Of course, I want her farther out, I want her to lie down as soon as I say it, but we can’t expect to have the finished behavior immediately. This is just the process, so you’re going to be able to see that.

Right now I’m going to send her out and I’m going to ask her to lie down, if she doesn’t, and then I’m going to call her to me. As she’s coming, I’m going to say down, and I always use the hand signal always, always, always, because they might not be able to hear you wherever they are. As soon as she goes down, tell her, “Good girl”, and she gets rewarded for frisbee. I’m not using treats today, I’m just using a frisbee, this is her favorite thing and she’ll do it for that. As time goes on I’ll have her farther and farther away.

I’m going to go behind me right now, I’m going to ask her to go out, I’m going to call her to me, ask her to down, and then reward her with a frisbee. “Ready? Lie down. Free. Down. Yes, good girl.” That’s pretty good because she was about two feet away. What I did wrong is I threw the frisbee really high, and I don’t want to do that because they can get hurt coming down and she actually did last week.

“Low. Out. Down. Free. Down. Good girl.” If you saw before, I only did about 10 repetitions and she was coming much closer, now she’s farther. It doesn’t take that long to teach your dog this.

“Go. Good girl. Lie down.” Notice, always use a hand signal. “Free. Down. Good girl. Go get it.” I have a release word which is free. I could use the word come and have her come to me, because I didn’t actually asked her to stay. “Down. Free. Down. Good girl.”

So you see, over time she’s going to get better and better at this, and no matter what she’s doing she should lie down. “Rae, come, lie down, stay.” I’ll be able to use this out at the lake house, but of course I have to practice it out there too out in the grass. I’ve done a little bit of that, but not a whole lot.

How long did that take me? I mean this video is taking a little time, but actual training that I just did takes almost no time at all, so you can definitely fit this into your day. Doing it a couple times a day, you’d be amazed at how quickly they learn and how fast they change.

This is Rae, and she’s signing off. I’m Dr Carolyn Lincoln with Play to Behave. Again, I’m at the Cleveland All-Breed Training Club. It’s an AKC Club. I teach here, I actually do it on a volunteer basis. We have lots of great classes, so if you are interested whether it’s tracking, obedience, rally, agility, whatever, the AKC club in your area, if not this one, should have a lot of variety and you might want to get involved.

If you’re interested in a class coming up, let me know for the summer. Okay, signing off, have a great day.

Lake House Series Video 7: Your Dog and Strangers in the Home

Lake House Series Video 7: Your Dog and Strangers in the Home

Hi, good morning! I am at our lake house and I just wanted to check in with you because we’re having some windows put in today. It’s somewhat heavy construction. Two guys showed up with a huge truck. Here’s the way I managed this and the way you can do this with your dog. First, I got her here before they got here. I had her in a crate, in the car. Then she heard me talking to them, she heard the truck come up, she heard all of that. Then they started carrying things in while I started getting things set up too.

So, all this time she’s listening, hearing their voices, smelling them and getting a feel for what our interaction is going to be like, so that helps calm her down. Or keep her calm I should say.

I want her to be protective. I should mention, I’m talking about Rae, my young dog. She’s two year old Australian Shepard. She’s very excitable and protective and I want to make sure that she welcomes people into this house. So, I’m working on some of her behavior as we move to this new house.

I brought her a bone and she just found it. So that’s going to keep her busy today. We’re going to be in a side room and I’m going to be working on some business work for the online class that’s coming up, or membership that I’m going to be doing. And she’s going to be in this room with me.

So this is Dr. Carolyn Lincoln with Play to Behave and you can find out more about me at playtobehave.com. Basically, this is part of series called the Lake House Video series that is just sharing with you how I’m moving to a new place and how I want to get the dogs used to the new neighbors and new people around. This series should help you if you’re doing some of the same things or you’re trying to get your dogs used to strangers and so forth.

So, one of the best ways to help your dog adjust if you have people coming in your house is to go ahead and let them get used to the sounds and the smells of the people that they don’t know. Then have them in a separate room, if possible, for a period of time until they relax and then they can go out and meet these new people.

Now, since this is just construction that’s going on, I’m probably not going to have her go out and meet them. Maybe at the end… I don’t know, we’ll see. For the most part she’ll be on a leash if we go out and she’s just going to be in this room with me or I’ll put her in a crate. I can always bring a crate in this room if I need to, but it’s a really small room and I’ve just got the door closed. So, that’s where we are right now. She’s going to have a bone to keep her happy and she has barked which, as I’ve said before, is great because I want her to be protective, but I don’t want her going crazy and barking all the time and being obnoxious. I think it really helps if you let your dog get used to listening to people’s voices and smelling them before they’re ever introduced. Especially if they’re confined in a safe area where they feel like they don’t have to necessarily do anything.

She’s been great. She’s really been great. They’re out there working so I’ll take the phone out there and show it to you a little later, but right now all they’re doing is putting up plastic and starting to take the molding off the windows. So we’ll get some new windows! I’m really excited about it.

Alright, you guys all have a great day and I’ll check back with you and let you know how things are going. And if you have any questions about your dog getting used to people coming into your home, let me know.

This is Dr. Carolyn Lincoln with Play to Behave. See you soon.

Lake House Series Video 6: Lying Down on Command in Emergency Settings

Lake House Series Video 6: Lying Down on Command in Emergency Settings

Hi! One thing I really want with my dogs is an Emergency Down. That is when my dog drops into a down no matter where they are or how fast they’re running if I command them to do so or if I ask them to do so. I also want to be able to do it with a hand signal, so I want to be able to raise my hand, lower it, and as long as they’re looking at me, they should go into a down. I call it an emergency down because that’s when you usually would need to use it. So, if I’m out at the lake house and somebody’s coming to say hello to me when I’m not expecting them and my dog’s outside, she starts barking and running towards me or towards the person. In this case, I can ask her to lie down. Same thing if she’s chasing something. She sees a goose or a coyote or something like that, I can ask her to lie down and she should lie down right there. I want to show you today how to teach your dog that behavior.

I’m Dr. Carolyn Lincoln with Play To Behave, and you can find out more about me at playtobehave.com. Now, I’ve taught this skill to Rae before so she does know it. Hopefully she will be a good demo dog today on camera because it’s been a while. But also, I need to do this regularly so that it becomes an automatic behavior for her. It sort of was before, but I didn’t push it that hard.

So, to get your dog to have an automatic behavior … What I mean by that is that you want to do it so many times that your dog no longer thinks, they just do it. It gets taken over from the thinking part of the brain, or the frontal lobe of the brain, into the more primitive part of your brain where you do things automatically. So, you know how you can drive to the store and sing at the same time? That’s because you’ve done it so many times that it’s become automatic behavior, and your brain is able to do more than one thing at a time. So, I want them to do the behavior first and ask questions later. Does that make sense? Anyways, you just do it enough times, repeat, repeat, repeat, then you will get the behavior to be reliable.

Okay, the first thing I need to do with her is to show her that being away from me is going to be valuable. So, that’s all I’ll show you today. I’m just gonna be throwing treats at a distance, and after a while she should figure out, well, there’s no point in coming back to her because all the treats are always out here. Even if I come back to her, I have to go back out there to get the treats. And I’m just throwing them. I’m not asking for any special behavior at all. I just want her to be away from me. And that’s the first thing. As I’m throwing it, I’m gonna be using my hand with a signal to say, “Out,” which means I want you to go away from me. Now, I will use that in agility. You don’t necessarily need that, but it’ll help you when you wanna practice and teach them the emergency down. So, as I throw the treat, I’m pushing my hand out and saying, “Out.” All she’s learning is to go away from me. Later, I’m gonna teach her while you’re out there, I need you to sit and lie down.

Now this assumes that your dog already knows how to sit and how to lie down, and if they know those, they’re gonna be more than happy to do it far away from you if they’re already getting treats far away from you. We’ll see how she does. I’m gonna turn the camera on her. As I said, it’s been a while since we’ve done this, but I think she will remember it.

“Rae, out. Out. Out. Out.” Do you see? I’m just keeping her out there away from me and using the word “Out.” Out. “Good girl.” And this is what the finished behavior will look like as I can usually tell her to sit down. “Come. Good girl.” So you can work on your recall as well. “Rae, out. Good girl. There you go. Sit. Yes. Down. Yes. Good girl.” And I can just toss the treat out there. I didn’t ask her to stay, so that’s okay, she got up. “Out. Good girl.” See why you need to use a light colored treat on the dark floor? “Good girl. Rae, sit. Yes. Good girl. Catch.”

Okay, so all you’re gonna do is start using small treats and … “Rae, come. Good girl. Here.” And you’re going to ask them to go out and put your hand out. “Out.” And just keep throwing the treats to keep the out there, and pretty soon they’ll learn that they should stay away. Now this is in a controlled area in a small house, area in my house. It’s different than doing it outside. So once I know I have this really good inside, and you can see that I do have it pretty good, we’ll be taking it outside here at the house where she’s more familiar, and then we’ll take it to the other house inside, and then we’ll take it outside there. So that’s the plan. “Good girl. Very, very good girl. Sit. Yes. Good job.”

Just to summarize that one more time, when you want to get started with your dog this way, you want to get a bunch of little treats. Just have them handy. You might only do 10 or 20. And once or twice a day, or at least three times a week, let’s say, you’re going to throw that treat and at the same time push your hand out, say the word “Out” so that your dog learns, “I’m gonna go away from you.” And you’ll find that your dog will figure this out and they won’t come back to you. Now, make it easy on them. Don’t throw it too far. Use a treat that’s easy to see on whatever flooring you have. So if you have a dark floor, use a light treat, if you have a light floor, use a dark treat. Okay? Have fun with it! If you have any questions or comments, go ahead and email me. And again, this is Dr. Carolyn Lincoln with Play To Behave, and you can find out more about me at playtobehave.com. Happy training.

Lake House Series Video 5: How Exercise Can Lead to Good Behavior

Lake House Series Video 5: How Exercise Can Lead to Good Behavior

Hi! This is a new video in my series on moving to our new beach house. We have very high-energy, driven, Australian Shepherds that are also quite protective. That being said, I want to make sure this is a good experience for everybody.

At the new house, our neighbors are going to be closer by, and there will be more animals and activity because of the beach. So, I’m doing things ahead of time to try to make this transition easier. I thought you would enjoy these tips and possibly be able to use them for your own dogs. Especially if you have a dog that’s protective, if you’re moving to a new area, or going places where there might be new experiences.

One of the things that will really help you with behavior is to exercise your dogs before they’re around new people, new scenarios, or a new environment. Therefore, I wanted to see what parks were in the area, and have a good experience there. I’d like to let them off leash, and I thought the park I was going to today was going to give me that option, but I’m not sure that will be the case. The trails are really wide, so that’s wonderful. It’s a cold day. It is a weekend, so there will usually be more people, but because of the cold, there were less. I’d say we ran across people every 10-15 minutes. There were couples, people with dogs, people with strollers, bicyclists, so we were exposed to a lot of interesting things; and Rae did really well!

This is Dr. Carolyn Lincoln with Play to Behave and if you want to know more about me, you can visit playtobehave.com.

Rae is pretty good on a leash, but at the beginning of a walk (like many dogs) she gets really excited and starts to pull. I employ a few different strategies to try to prevent that. We can go over those in a different video, but I just wanted to let you know that walks usually start out that way, but I’m patient and I use the strategies. Moving forward, as she calms down, I have to do less and less of that. When we did see people, I was prepared because I had some treats with me that were of very high value, which was dog food made out of kangaroo. Rae absolutely loves it and it’s pretty good for her. I can’t even remember the last time she got that, so she was pretty excited.

When I see somebody coming, I tell her to look at the dog. I say, “Look, doggie!” or “Look, there’s a person!” Then she looks that way and she gets rewarded for looking at them, then I let the person know that I have a dog that may or may not be friendly, so I’m going to put her at the side of the trail. I don’t know what there dog is going to be like or if they’re going to get along, so I don’t want to take that chance, especially the first time I’m at a park or the first few times. Again, I want this to be a good experience. I want her to feel relaxed when she comes to this park. The first few times are not a good time for her to be exposed to other dogs, at least, not at a close proximity. So, I take her to the side, have her sit, and give her a reward. When they pass, instead of just releasing her and letting her charge forward a little bit because she’s excited and she’s been holding it in. Instead, I go ahead and drop some treats on the ground, so she pays attention to those, and then we’re on our merry way.

That’s what I did today. I just made sure that we were walking by people. What was really interesting is when we were leaving, there was a really big guy by his truck. Normally, Rae might bark at something like that because she would be worried. We weren’t that close, for one thing, but he’s staring at us and that makes her nervous sometimes. For whatever reason, she was fine. I would say it’s because she had some exercise, so you can see that can really help their behavior.

I said to him, “Hello,” and “she’s not always friendly,” and he said, “That’s okay, the reason I’m standing here is because I have three pups in my car and I’m going to wait until you get in your car to let them out.”

I thought, that is really polite on his part. It was really nice for him to think about how we would feel and how his dogs would feel. I just think that’s awesome. It turned out, they were three, huge German Shepherds. Two of them had to be at least 100 pounds, and one of them might have been 80 pounds. They were beautiful dogs. He walked them off leash and, (this was really cool), I got to see where he went. He took a different trail that I hadn’t even noticed. So, it’s possible that when I come back I can use that same trail to take my dog off leash. That’s pretty exciting news!

I just want to encourage you, if you have dogs with some behavior issues, if you’re moving to a new place, or if you don’t have behavior issues but you want to get them used to something, one of the things you can do is to exercise them before exposing them to new things. If you do that, you will get better behavior out of them.

I hope this video helped you. This has been Carolyn Lincoln with Play to Behave and you can find out more about me at playtobehave.com. Happy training!