|More Tips from Iams, Purina, and Petco
|Puppies: Basic Obedience
A puppy can learn a great deal, even as early as 7 weeks of age, if learning is fun and presented in the form of gentle play.
Motivational methods work best for the tender young puppy soul. Reward desired behaviors by offering toys, food and
praise so the puppy wants to obey. Whenever possible, try to arrange the situation so he can't make a mistake. Never use
physical punishment on a young puppy as you may damage him both mentally and physically.
Most puppies, like young children, enjoy learning, but have short attention spans. The following exercises can be done
several times a day. They take just a few minutes, but will make a tremendous difference in your puppy's attitude. To
establish a positive rapport with your puppy and prevent many future problems, start training a few days after your puppy
We can only offer very brief explanations here, and trainers have many variations on these concepts. If you run into
problems, consult a professional trainer. A puppy can start more formal obedience training at about four to six months of age.
Move a toy or piece of food (the motivator) from a position in front of the puppy to a point up over his head and say "Sit".
The pup will probably raise his head to follow the motivator and in the process, lower his rear end to the floor. You may
gently help the pup at first by tucking his bottom under with your free hand. When he sits, praise the pup exuberantly and
give him the toy or treat as a reward.
Show the puppy a tantalizing piece of food or a toy to get his attention. Say "Down" and slowly lower the toy to the floor. If
needed, help him down with very slight pressure on his shoulders. (Don't put pressure on his back, or you can hurt him.)
Give him the toy when he lies down, even if just for a second. Reward profusely. Later you can extend the length of time he
must stay down before you give him the toy.
Starting with the puppy in the Down position, say "Stand" and raise a treat or toy forward and upward in front of the puppy.
Gently help position him with your other hand if needed. Have him hold the stand position for a second or two, then release,
reward and praise him exuberantly.
Have the puppy sit. Say "Wait" and back away from the puppy, one or two steps. Praise the puppy for staying. After just a
second or two, reward, praise, and release. Always reward the puppy when he's still waiting, not after he gets up, so he
associates the reward with waiting and not the release. If the puppy gets up too soon, simply repeat the exercise. Gradually
increase the time he waits.
Get your puppy's attention with a delectable treat at about his head level on your left-hand side. Say "Strut" or "Heel" or "Let's
go" (choose one and be consistent) and walk briskly forward. Let the puppy munch a bit as you walk. Go only a few steps
at first, then extend the range. Release the pup and praise him. As the puppy progresses, lift the food a little higher, but do
not reward the pup for jumping.
This game takes two people, and is a great way to get your puppy excited about coming to you. Person 1 holds the puppy
back while Person 2 tantalizes him by waving a treat or toy in his face, just out of reach. Then Person 2 runs away, calling
"Rover, Come!" in an excited tone of voice. Person 1 releases the pup, who comes running wildly after Person 2! Person 2
rewards the dog with lots of praise and gives Rover the toy or treat she was waving.
When teaching a young pup to come to you, call him several times throughout the day around the house and yard, even if
you don't want him to come for any particular reason. Each time he comes, praise and reward him. (You can keep some of
his regular dry dog kibble in your pocket and give him one whenever he comes if you don't want to overload him with fancy
fattening treats.) The puppy will think coming to you is terrific!
If you don't have an assistant handy, try this game. Have the puppy on a loose long line or flexi-lead. Show him a treat or
toy. Call his name and then say "Come!" in an energized tone of voice. If he comes to you, reward with a toy or a bit of food
and excited praise. If he doesn't come right away, tug gently on the leash and move backwards, away from the puppy. If
you run towards him, he may think you are playing a chase game and run away from you!
As your puppy gets a little older and more independent, the long line or flexi-lead will guarantee that he will always come
when you call. This is especially useful outside or at parks where he may find many new and interesting distractions. Always
reward him for coming. Never scold or punish the dog when he comes to you. (If you must punish the dog for some bad
behavior, just go get him.) Don't use the "Come" command outdoors unless your puppy is on a leash, so you can be sure he
will obey. Soon he will realize that he must come every time you call and that coming is fun!
Training your puppy is enjoyable and worthwhile. You will develop a rewarding bond with your puppy and an activity you
can do together even after the dog is grown. An untrained dog can be a pest, a problem and a even a danger. A well-trained
dog is a good friend and an asset to his family and community.
Puppies: Teaching Good Manners
"A dog should be a pleasure to all and a nuisance to none," says well-known dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse. Teach your
puppy the following commands in addition to basic obedience, and he will be much easier to live with. Practice these
commands a few times a day in very short play-training sessions.
To avoid unwanted aggression and guarding behavior later in life, train your dog to give you his prized possessions and even
his food. The best way is to offer an exchange. Say "Give" and offer your dog a treat for his toy. The food offering will
inspire most dogs to release the toy without struggle. Praise him heartily. Then give the toy back to him. Make it a fun game
that he wins most of the time.
Get it / Leave it (Don't Touch):
Dogs who know the command "Leave it" will let things alone when asked. To make learning fun, play a game with your pup.
Start the exercise with the dog sitting in front of you on a leash. With a handful of treats, offer him one at a time, saying,
"Get it!" After two or three "Get its", offer him a treat, as usual, but this time say, "Leave it!" Of course he is going to go for
it anyway because he doesn't know any better. When the puppy tries to grab the treat, give him a tiny bop on the nose with
the same hand that offered him the treat, and repeat, "Leave it". As soon as the dog leaves the treat alone, praise him, saying,
"Good Leave it!", then say, "OK. Get it!" and give it to him. Repeat the sequence four or five times in a row, saying "Get it"
much more often than you say "Leave it." The puppy will think this is great fun and will probably catch on very quickly,
learning to leave the treat alone when you say "Leave it".
Your cute little puppy may grow up to be a hundred pound powerhouse dragging you down the street if you don't train him
not to pull on the leash. To prevent physical damage to the dog, avoid excessive jerking on a puppy's neck until he is at least
four months old. Meanwhile, use a retractable leash, such as a Flexi-Leash(TM), so the pup can have some freedom, but
meets resistance when he pulls. If he lunges, simply turn around and walk the other way.
Many trainers are now using Halti(TM) Head Collars to train puppies not to pull. The Halti(TM) fits around the dog's head
and attaches to the leash. With the Halti(TM), the owner diverts the dog's head gently to the side if the dog tries to pull
forward. Dogs don't like to lunge in a direction they cannot see. The experience is unpleasant for the dog, but humane,
involving no pain.
No matter what they say, most people do not like it when a dog jumps all over them. Jumping up can even be dangerous
when a dog jumps on a small child. The simplest and safest way to teach a puppy not to jump up is to back up when you see
the pup coming and say "Off!" Reward and praise the puppy once all its feet are on the ground. You can also tell the dog to
"Sit" so he learns something positive to do when greeting strangers. When the puppy is older, more severe measures can be
used if necessary.
One warning: If you allow your dog to jump all over you, he may have trouble understanding why you don't allow him to
jump all over everyone else. Try to be consistent!
In Your Kennel:
A dog's kennel should be his safe place, his den, his refuge. Your dog can learn to go willingly into his kennel on command.
Tantalize your puppy with a treat or toy, then put it into the kennel and say "Kennel" or "Go to bed", or "In your Kennel"
(choose one and be consistent). The dog will probably go inside. At first, don't close the door. Just praise the dog for going
in. When he's used to going in, start closing the door, at first just for a few seconds. Give the puppy a little treat through the
bars when he's inside with the door closed. Extend the time he spends inside the kennel gradually. Never let him out when
he's crying as that only rewards crying. When you let the puppy out, don't make a big deal out of it. You don't want coming
out to seem better than going in!
Speak / Quiet:
When a person yells at his dog for barking, the dog thinks the human is barking too, joining the fun. "Quiet" is a difficult
concept for dogs. The most successful strategy we've found is to train the dog to bark on command before training the dog
what "Quiet" means.
Show the dog a treat, make a hand signal and say "Speak". You may have to bark a bit at your dog before he gets the idea,
but eventually he will probably give you a bark or two. Praise and reward immediately and with great fervor. Try again until
your puppy understands this entertaining game.
Once the dog knows how to bark on command, get him barking and then suddenly say "Quiet" and place your fingers to
your lips. This strange action will probably stun your dog into silence. Reward and praise excitedly! Repeat several times a
day for a few weeks until your dog knows it dependably. Later, when you yell "Quiet", the dog will know what you are
A dog with good manners is a pleasure to live with and to be around. Training your dog to behave in a socially acceptable
way is fun. Your family and guests will thank you, and you will be proud of your pet. Wouldn't it be nice to have a dog who
stops barking when you ask him to, who doesn't jump up on people, who doesn't pull you down the street and who will give
you even his most prized possessions without a grumble? It's all up to you...
Chewing: Puppies and Dogs
Tips for Dealing with Puppy and Adult Dogs That Chew
CHEWING: PUPPIES AND DOGS
Chewing is a very normal behavior for puppies and dogs. They use their mouths for grasping food, gaining information about
the environment, relieving boredom, and reducing tension.
Chewing appears to be great fun. However, chewing could become a major problem when valued objects are damaged.
WHY DO DOGS CHEW?
When you couple strong jaws with the curiosity and high energy of an exploring puppy, the result is an incredible chewing
machine! The speed at which puppies can wreak havoc in a house, and the extent of damage they can do, can really take you
by surprise. There are a variety of reasons why a puppy might chew.
SOME REASONS WHY DOGS AND PUPPIES CHEW
Noises behind a wall, such as a high pitched heater motor or the scurrying footsteps of a mouse, might trigger investigative
A delay in feeding time may send a hungry dog off chewing into cabinets as he searches for food.
Food spilled on a piece of furniture can cause a puppy to tear into it with his teeth in hopes of finding something tasty to eat.
Dogs make good pets because they have a very social nature and plenty of energy to share in activities with us. In return, we
need to provide enough exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction to avoid destructive behavior.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR PUPPY'S WORLD
Puppies usually pass time or break the boredom by using their mouths, which may result in destructive behavior. Household
destruction occurs because puppies are simply entertaining themselves.
Sometimes we unwittingly contribute to a puppy's problem by improper training. Puppies are unable to determine the
difference between old shoes and new shoes, or between stuffed toys and the corner of a stuffed couch.
Likewise, tug-of-war games can set the puppy up to fail. A puppy or dog entertained by tearing a towel is tempted to attack
curtains fluttering in a breeze.
WHAT ABOUT A SECOND PET?
It is usually not the best course of action to get a second pet to help correct a chewing problem. In some cases, a second pet
may serve to distract the destructive pet away from chewing. But it is just as likely that the problems could double, especially
if the second pet is another puppy.
A LITTLE GUIDANCE
The first step in correcting a chewing problem is to guide your puppy's chewing toward acceptable chew toys.
Choose a variety of good quality, safe products. When your puppy shows you what he likes, buy several more of the same
Hollow rubber toys work well since biscuits can be wedged inside for your puppy to pry out. This gives him a job to do and
helps keep his focus away from your possessions.
Another way of keeping your puppy focused on putting his mouth on the toys is to teach him to play fetch.
Never take proper chewing for granted. Take an active roll in rewarding desirable chewing with lots of encouragement and
Give your pet plenty of praise every time he chews on his toys. Occasionally give a small reward, such as Iams® Puppy
Formula Biscuits for Puppies, to strongly reinforce the behavior.
PROTECTING YOUR POSSESSIONS!
Until you can trust your puppy, he must be under constant supervision or confined to a safe area. During times when he is
with you, he might sneak off by himself to chew. Consider using a leash to keep him within eyesight. A crate, dog run, or
safe room will keep him out of trouble when he cannot be watched.
As your puppy is allowed more freedom, he can be taught to avoid forbidden objects if you make them taste bad. Choose an
effective, commercial, bitter- or hot-tasting spray to safeguard objects. If he has the habit of chewing specific items, such as
clothing, make sure that all clothing is out of reach except one or two items that are sprayed with a bad-tasting spray.
Every day, move the items to new positions around the house. In four or five days change the type of item. This teaches the
dog to leave your clothing alone because he associates them with a bad taste.
"Booby traps" are successful since they punish your puppy during the act and do not require your presence. A stack of
empty beverage cans set up to fall over when something moves can be effective in safeguarding certain objects. Motion-
activated alarms are often effective in teaching a puppy to stay off furniture or out of plants.
WHAT NOT TO DO
Corrections and reprimands are rarely effective by themselves.
Under no circumstances should your puppy be spanked, slapped, kicked, or physically punished in any way. There is a risk
he will become hand shy or a fear-biter. Instead, offer a verbal reprimand followed by encouragement to chew on a proper
To be most effective, the reprimand must be given during or immediately after the misbehavior, and every time it occurs.
Reprimands can backfire by either teaching the dog to be sneaky about chewing, or by teaching him not to chew anything,
even toys, in your presence.
This information was provided by Wayne Hunthausen, DVM, Director of Animal Behavior Consultations in the Kansas City
Like children, puppies need a variety of positive experiences in order to become confident, well adjusted adults. As part of
their upbringing, puppies should learn to get along with other dogs, children, and other people, and to accept the many
strange sights, sounds, and experiences that are part of everyday life.)
Stages of Development:
Puppies pass through several developmental phases. Initial "dog socialization" begins in the litter. At seven to eight weeks,
puppies start to become more independent and ready to explore their environment. This is a very good age to bring your new
puppy home. Around eight to ten weeks, your puppy will probably enter a fear period. During this period, you will notice that
your puppy sticks close to you and is easily frightened. Avoid loud noises or surprises during this period, and keep new
experiences very non-threatening. Once the fear period passes, at around ten weeks of age, your puppy will enter the juvenile
phase. He will be more inquisitive and more wide ranging in his explorations. This is a very good time to introduce new
experiences! The juvenile period will last until your puppy becomes a young adult. Watch your puppy carefully, though;
some pups go through a second fear period around their fourth or fifth month.
When socializing your puppy, you must keep his health needs in mind. Until your dog's vaccinations are complete, he is at
risk of catching Parvo, a widespread and deadly disease. You should be extremely careful not to put your puppy down in
public places until his shots are complete. Consult your veterinarian for advice about what else may pose a health risk for
Getting Along With Other Dogs:
Dogs have a language of their own. Using body posture, facial expressions, and vocalization, they communicate fear, anger,
aggression, submission, playfulness, and more. A puppy who grows up among other dogs will learn canine language and be
able to communicate effectively. A puppy raised in isolation may misinterpret cues from other dogs, or inadvertently send
signals that may anger another animal.
Also, like children, puppies need to learn appropriate social behavior. When puppies play, an overly enthusiastic nip results in
a yelp from another puppy. Persistent jumping on "mom" may result in a growl or snap of rebuke. In these ways, puppies
learn the limits of play behavior.
A good way to give your puppy these important learning experiences is through "puppy socialization classes." Look under
Dog Trainers in your phone book, or ask your local dog club or veterinarian for recommendations. You may also be able to
get together with other new dog owners to form a puppy play group.
During socialization, puppies should be allowed free play time. Puppies should be supervised to make sure puppy play doesn't
become overly aggressive, especially if there's a big size difference among the dogs.
Puppy socialization with other dogs begins in the litter, and should continue (if possible) throughout the puppy and juvenile
growth stages. A well socialized puppy will probably mature into a dog who can be trusted to meet and play with other dogs.
Note that socialization is even more important for dog-aggressive or dominant breeds. However, if you find your puppy
becoming overly aggressive or overly afraid during play sessions, you should seek help from a professional dog trainer to
make sure the behavior is corrected before it becomes a problem.
Getting Along With Other Pets:
For many dogs, interaction with other types of pets can be much more of a problem than dealing with other dogs. This is
especially true with small animals that run away (behavior which can trigger "prey instincts" in the dog). It's best to not take
a chance on allowing dogs of any breed to play with small animals such as hamsters or rabbits. Although many dogs have
learned to get along with such pets, is it really worth the risk?
Cats and larger pets are usually less at risk. If you have these pets in your home, the puppy should be introduced to them at
an early age. Supervise the animals when they are together, and use praise or treats to reward your puppy for good behavior.
(Don't forget to make the experience pleasant for the other pet as well.)
Dogs of many breeds, when raised with cats or other pets, learn to accept them. However, for some breeds with strong
hunting instincts, there may always be a risk. It's safest to choose your dog breed carefully if you know you will have other
animals in the house.
Getting Along With People:
Since dogs must live in a human world, it's important for them to deal well with people. Early, positive exposure to lots of
strangers, with praise or rewards for good behavior, will help your puppy grow up to become a well-behaved dog.
Invite friends to your home to meet and play with your puppy. Ask adults to crouch down and avoid sudden movements
when meeting your puppy... from the pup's point of view, a human is HUGE. If you don't have young children of your own,
invite friends' or neighbors' children. (Be sure to instruct children in how to handle the puppy, and always supervise play!)
Puppies who are not raised around children can develop aggressive behavior toward children when they grow older. Small
children, who tend to run around and make high-pitched squealing noises, can trigger prey instincts in dogs who are not used
to them. Some breeds don't do well with children because of the strong prey instinct; other breeds are very good with
children. If you have small children in your home, this is a very important factor to consider when choosing a dog.
As soon as your puppy's shots are complete, begin taking him to public places such as parks, where he can meet lots of
friendly people. Also, make a point of introducing your dog to people of different ages and races, people in uniforms, and so
on; dogs may become very wary when confronted with people who seem "unusual" in any way.
It's important to remember that you are teaching your puppy to be comfortable with people, and to behave himself around
them. Behavior that seems cute in a puppy, such as nipping and jumping, is no longer cute when the dog is an eighty pound
adult! Whatever you don't want your dog to do as an adult, he should not be allowed to do as a puppy. Teach the puppy the
behavior you want, and discourage the behavior you don't want. Gently but firmly correct unwanted behavior right from the
start, and you'll have a well-behaved adult dog.
Your well-socialized dog can still be a good watchdog. Your dog is smart enough to distinguish between people who you
welcome into your home, and people who should not be there.
Dealing With New Experiences:
Everyday experiences can be very frightening for your new puppy. A pan dropped in the kitchen, a vacuum cleaner, or a ride
in the car can become traumatic events that the dog will try to avoid forever after.
To prevent this, introduce your dog to as many new experiences as you can think of. Use rewards and encouragement to
make the experiences positive, so your dog doesn't develop fears. (Remember to keep new experiences very non-threatening,
and avoid startling the puppy, during the fear period around eight to ten weeks.)
For example, to accustom your puppy to a vacuum cleaner, first allow him to explore and sniff it without turning it on.
Praise him or reward him as he explores. Then, when your puppy is a comfortable distance away, you may start up your
vacuum cleaner, stand near it, and call your puppy. If he approaches, encourage him and praise him, or give him a reward.
Gradually encourage the puppy to come closer to the vacuum. Repeat this experience several times, with lots of praise and
rewards, and your puppy will soon have no fear of the vacuum.
To get your puppy used to riding in a car, first get in the car with him and play with him, or give him a reward. On the next
"outing," drive a few yards while someone holds your puppy and praises him. Work up to drives of a few minutes; keep
them short so your puppy won't get sick. Afterwards, play with your puppy so he associates the car ride with a pleasant
Other experiences to work on with your puppy include getting into his crate or kennel, walking on a leash, walking on
different surfaces (such as tile, carpet, gravel, sand, grass, and snow), climbing steps, and hearing the doorbell and telephone
You can use the same approach to accustom your puppy to experiences that might otherwise be ordeals for both of you! Try
the reward approach when brushing your puppy, giving him a bath, and clipping his nails. You should also teach your puppy
to let you handle his paws, his ears, his tail, and even open his mouth without a struggle. (Remember, start with very short
sessions and use praise, play, or rewards to keep the experience fun.) This basic groundwork with your puppy will make life
much easier when your vet needs to examine him!
Keep new experiences upbeat and positive, and your dog will soon be a confident and happy companion.
Neil, David H. and Rutherford, Clarice. How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With. Alpine Publications, Loveland, Colorado,
The Monks of New Skete. The Art of Raising a Puppy. Little, Brown and Company, 1991.
Tips for Housetraining Puppies
As with most things in life, there are hard ways and there are easy ways to get things done. Rubbing a puppy's nose in a
mess is an inappropriate way to housetrain. Using ample amounts of supervision and positive reinforcement is the easy way.
Starting Off On the Right Track
The first course of action in housetraining is to promote the desired behavior. You need to:
Designate an appropriate elimination area outdoors
Frequently guide your dog there to do his business
Heartily praise him when he goes
By occasionally giving a food reward immediately after your dog finishes, you can encourage him to eliminate in the desired
area. The odor left from previous visits to that area will quickly mark it as the place for the pup to do his business.
Timing Is Important!
A six- to eight-week old puppy should be taken outdoors every one to three hours. Older puppies can generally wait longer
between outings. Most puppies should be taken out:
After waking in the morning
After playing or training
After being left alone
Immediately before being put to bed
Eliminating On Command
To avoid spending a lot of time waiting for your puppy to get the job done, you may want to teach him to eliminate on
command. Each time he is in the act of eliminating, simply repeat a unique command, such as "hurry up" or "potty", in an
upbeat tone of voice. After a few weeks of training, you will notice that when you say the command your puppy will begin
pre-elimination sniffing, circling, and then eliminate shortly after you give the command. Be sure to praise him for his
Most puppies will eliminate within an hour after eating. Once you take control of your puppy's feeding schedule, you will
have some control over when he needs to eliminate.
Schedule your puppy's dinner times so that you will be available to let him out after eating.
Avoid giving your puppy a large meal just prior to confining him or he may have to eliminate when you are not around to take
him out. Schedule feeding two to three times daily on a consistent schedule.
Have food available for only 30 to 40 minutes, then remove it.
The last feeding of the day should be completed several hours before he is confined for the night. By controlling the feeding
schedule, exercise sessions, confinement periods, and trips outdoors to the elimination area, your puppy will quickly develop
a reliable schedule for eliminating.
Expect Some Mistakes
Left on his own, the untrained puppy is very likely to make a mistake. Close supervision is a very important part of training.
Do not consider your puppy housetrained until he has gone at least four consecutive weeks without eliminating in the house.
For older dogs, this period should be even longer. Until then:
Your puppy should constantly be within eyesight
Baby gates can be helpful to control movement throughout the house and to aid supervision
Keep them in the crate when unsupervised.
When you are away from home, sleeping, or if you are just too busy to closely monitor your pet's activities, confine him to a
small, safe area in the home.
If your puppy squats and urinates when he greets you, he may have a problem called submissive urination. Dogs and puppies
that urinate during greetings are very sensitive and should never be scolded when they do this, since punishment inevitably
makes the problem worse.
Most young puppies will grow out of this behavior if you are calm, quiet, and avoid reaching toward the head during
greetings. Another helpful approach is to calmly ask your dog to sit for a very tasty treat each time someone greets him.
Direct Him Away from Problem Areas
Urine and fecal odor should be thoroughly removed to keep your dog from returning to areas of the home where he made a
Be sure to use a good commercial product manufactured specifically to clean up doggy odors. Follow the manufacturer's
recommendations for usage.
If a carpeted area has been soaked with urine, be sure to saturate it with the clean up product and not merely spray the
Rooms in the home where your dog has had frequent mistakes should be closed off for several months. He should only be
allowed to enter when accompanied by a family member.
Don't Make Things Worse
It is a rare dog or puppy that can be housetrained without making an occasional mess, so you need to be ready to handle the
Do not rely on harsh punishment to correct mistakes. This approach usually does not work, and may actually delay training.
An appropriate correction consists of simply providing a moderate, startling distraction. You should only do this when you
see your dog in the act of eliminating in the wrong place.
A sharp noise, such as a loud "No" or a quick stomp on the floor, is all that is usually needed to stop the behavior. Just do
not be too loud or your pet may learn to avoid eliminating in front of you, even outdoors.
Do not continue to scold or correct your dog after he has stopped soiling. When he stops, quickly take him outdoors so that
he will finish in the appropriate area and be praised.
Never rub your dog's nose in a mess. There is absolutely no way this will help training, and may actually make him afraid of
The basic principles of housetraining are pretty simple, but a fair amount of patience is required. The most challenging part is
always keeping an eye on your active dog or puppy. If you maintain control, take your dog outdoors frequently, and
consistently praise the desirable behavior, soon you should have a house trained canine companion.
Training a puppy to be comfortable in a crate is a popular way to provide safe confinement during housetraining. The
majority of puppies will rapidly accept crate confinement when you make the introduction fun. Since it is important to
associate favorable things with the area where your puppy is confined, it is a good idea to play with him there, or simply
spend some time reading or watching television nearby as he relaxes with a favorite chew toy. If he is only in the area when
you leave, it becomes a social isolation area that he eventually may resist entering.
A good time to start crate training is at dinner time. Feed your puppy his dinner, one piece at a time, by tossing pieces of
kibble into the crate for him to chase and eat. This way, you can make a game out of training.
When you pick up his toys, store them in the crate so he will enter on his own to play. You may even want to occasionally
hide a biscuit in the crate as a nice surprise.
You should not use the crate for periods that exceed the length of time the pet can actually control the urge to urinate or
defecate. If you are gone for long periods each day, you will need to provide a larger confinement area. You may want to
consider using an exercise pen or small room.
Provide an area large enough so that if your puppy has to eliminate when you are gone, he can do it in a space that is
separate from his sleeping area. A 15- to 30-square foot area is adequate for most puppies. If he chooses a specific place to
eliminate, cover it with paper to make clean up easier.
Pets and Weather
Keeping Your Pet Safe in All Weather
No Place Like Home
No matter what the weather, the best way to ensure comfort and safety of your pet is to keep it where you are comfortable
and safe – in your house. Consider offering your pet unlimited access to your house during weather extremes such as the
hot, humid days of summer or the icy, cold days of winter.
As pets spend more time indoors, other issues may arise.
Many pets who aren’t used to being indoors may not know the rules and demonstrate normal, but destructive, behaviors
such as chewing and clawing. Therefore, make sure you keep house plants and valuables out of reach.
Pets with access to the outdoors during warm weather may also bring in unwanted guests – fleas. And a change in seasons
usually brings with it a change in coat. Regular brushing can reduce the amount of pet hair on your rugs and furniture.
Summer heat puts extra stress on your pet’s body. Because of this, it’s best to keep your pet inside where there is access to
shade, water and cool air whether from open windows or air conditioning.
If your pet is outside all day, make sure he has a shady area, preferably on grass since pavement tends to heat up in warm
weather. Check at different times to make sure the area is shaded all day.
You may need to provide extra water in summer. Try larger water containers, or special devices that attach to an easy to
reach faucet for unlimited access.
Most veterinarians don’t recommend shaving dogs or cats, since the hair helps them insulate against heat. Heavy-coated
breeds of dogs and cats are especially prone to heat illnesses, especially in hot, humid climates. Many heavy-coated dogs
appreciate a wading pool to loll in on extra hot days.
Other animals with an increased risk of overheating include senior pets, puppies and kittens, working pets, and flat-faced
breeds (Pugs, Bulldogs, Pekes, Persians).
If your dog or cat is used to running errands with you in your car, leave it home during hot summer days. Even with the
windows cracked, your car can reach 130 degrees inside in less than 30 minutes. Don’t risk giving your pet heat stroke!
The best way to treat overheating is prevention. However, if you notice that your pet has abnormally rapid breathing,
tremors, muscle weakness, vomiting, or fainting, your pet may have heat exhaustion.
Wet your pet with cool – not cold – water, place in an area with a breeze, and transport your pet to the veterinarian
Cold weather also brings special care requirements for your pets.
Again, the ideal place for your pets in cold weather is indoors where they have shelter from cold temperatures, drifting snow,
and ice. Outdoor pets require shelter with insulation, fresh food and water that doesn’t freeze. Consider an electric bowl
heater to keep water from freezing outdoors.
If you take your pet outside in snowy or icy weather, be sure to check its paws for cuts or ice balls. After walking on
pavement treated with salt or chemical snow removers, wipe your pet’s paws with a damp cloth.
Cover chilled pets with blankets and allow them to regain normal body temperature gradually.
Warm water baths – not hot baths – are another good way to gradually warm a chilled pet. Don’t use electric blankets or
heating pads as they can burn your pet’s skin.
If your pet is severely chilled or unresponsive, take him to your veterinarian immediately.
Other Winter Concerns
Antifreeze (containing ethylene glycol) poses a special danger to pets in winter. Both dogs and cats are attracted by the
sweet taste, and mere teaspoonfuls can cause kidney damage or death.
If you keep cars and pets in your garage, be sure your radiator does not leak. If you suspect your pet has ingested
antifreeze, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Treatment within two to four hours can save some pets.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is another potential problem for pets kept in the garage with vehicles during winter months.
Never start your car and let it warm up in the garage unless you remove your pet during this time.
Taking Care of Your Puppy's Health
Finding a Veterinarian
Just like you, your new puppy needs high-quality health care on a regular basis. Ask a number of friends and your local
humane society to recommend a veterinarian, then choose one with these factors in mind:
Education and experience. Find out how long the veterinarian has been practicing and if he or she is a graduate of a well-
regarded veterinary college.
Specialty. In urban areas, it may be possible to find veterinarians who deal exclusively with the special problems of dogs and
Location. This factor should not override the areas of education, experience and specialty, but should nevertheless be taken
into consideration. A drive across town during a medical emergency can be frustrating and delay needed treatment.
Schedule a visit and interview
Once you've narrowed down your choices, visit the veterinarian's office. Inspect the facility and talk to the veterinarian about
your new puppy. If you like what you see and hear, arrange a time to bring your puppy in for an initial examination. We
recommend a visit to the veterinarian within the first three days after you bring your puppy home to make sure he's in good
health. The veterinarian may want to check the following things:
Stool. A fecal exam will reveal the presence of internal parasites.
Body. A thorough physical exam includes inspecting your dog's coat and feeling his body for abnormalities, as well as
checking the eyes, ears, mouth and heart and examining the anus for signs of intestinal parasites.
Once an exam is completed, your veterinarian can schedule immunizations and vaccinations and advise you on the
importance of spaying and neutering.
Puppy Nutrition for Small-Breeds
The most rapid growth occurs in these first months of your puppy’s life. The immune system is developing. Bones are
growing. Muscles are getting stronger. This rate of growth requires just the right mix of nutrients. To make sure your puppy
is getting optimal nutrition to protect and maintain health and well-being, here are some key points to keep in mind.
Feeding Your Puppy
From the time your puppy’s weaned until 4 months of age, you should feed your puppy 2-3 meals a day based on the
guidelines of the food label. After 4 months of age, your puppy should be fed twice a day on a regular schedule. Always have
fresh water available.
More Energy, More Protein
Research shows that puppies need twice as much energy as adult dogs. Dramatic growth at this stage means your puppy
requires an energy-rich, nutrient-dense, complete and balanced diet. Puppies also require more protein than adult dogs. High-
quality, animal-based protein will help your puppy create new body tissue.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Not all puppies have the same nutritional needs. Small-breed puppies have higher metabolism rates per pound and reach their
mature adult weight faster than larger-breed puppies. And small-breed puppies need higher levels of protein, fat, calcium and
phosphorus to support growth and development of bones, muscles and other tissues. So giving your puppy a food specially
formulated for his breed size is the easiest way to make sure he’s getting the right balance of nutrients for his growth rate.
Small-breed puppies have another special feature: small mouths and stomachs. Make sure your puppy’s food has small kibble
for easy chewing. A nutrient-dense formula will help make sure he’s getting a complete and balanced diet even though his
stomach can only accommodate what seems like a small volume of food.
Aside from energy and protein, there are other important nutrients and ingredients vital to your puppy’s diet:
vitamin-rich fish oils to support overall health
essential vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system and help your puppy stay healthy during this critical stage
animal-based protein sources to help nourish growing muscles, vital organs and skin and coat
a fiber source that will help keep your puppy’s sensitive digestive system healthy, so more nutrition stays in your puppy
ideal levels of calcium and phosphorus to help your puppy develop strong teeth and bones
These are important building blocks of nutrition. Look for them when you choose dry or canned dog food and when you
The Switch to Adult Food
A small-breed puppy reaches adult weight by 9-12 months—faster than large breeds that aren’t fully mature until 24 months
of age. You can probably begin feeding adult dog food at 10 months. Your dog may not welcome the change at first, but don’
t worry. You can help ease the transition by gradually introducing the adult food. Try mixing 25% of the new food with 75%
of his puppy food then gradually change the proportions over the next three weeks until he’s eating 100% adult food.
Five sections of a dog food label reveal what is in the food you're buying. Here's what you need to know to understand the
information on a dog food label.
The name of the food
The name can tell you how much of an ingredient is in the food. Dog food names that have the animal protein source in the
title, such as beef formula, indicate that at least 25 percent of the diet is indeed the named ingredient. Names that contain the
word with (such as with chunky chicken) or flavor (such as turkey flavor) can contain as little as 3 percent of that
The ingredient panel
This section on the label lists all the ingredients that make up the product. The ingredients must be listed in descending order
according to weight before cooking. The first ingredient in dry food should be a source of high-quality animal-based
protein—chicken or lamb for example. Dogs thrive on animal proteins, but may not do as well on vegetable proteins such as
soybean meal. Manufacturers who use large amounts of vegetable proteins may be saving money at the expense of a dog's
overall well-being. Other ingredients to avoid are artificial colors and flavors, which offer no nutritional benefits.
The guaranteed analysis
Near the ingredient panel should be a chart of percentages called the "guaranteed analysis." These figures reveal the basic
nutrient make-up of the dog food's formula, including protein content. The minimum percentages of protein and fat and the
maximum percentages of fiber and moisture (water) should be listed.
Nutritional adequacy statement
If the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) statement says "animal feeding tests using AAFCO
procedures," the food was actually fed to dogs at that same life stage and found to be adequate. If the AAFCO statement
refers to "meeting nutrient profiles," the dog food may not have been tested with dogs. Instead, the food was analyzed in a
laboratory and the results were compared to recognized industry standards.
The manufacturer's name and address
This information must be on the label by law. A toll-free number may also be listed. Manufacturers, such as The Iams
Company, who list a phone number, generally have a high-quality product and welcome consumer calls and questions.
Beware of products that read packed for or distributed by. These foods aren't made by the store whose name may be on the
front label, but are from a manufacturer whose quality and consistency controls may not be monitored
When Is It an Emergency? Quiz
In an emergency situation, time is of the essence. But can you recognize the most common canine health crises? Following
are some common emergency scenarios. Circle those you think are most dangerous, then check your answers. Choose all
answers you think are correct; more than one may apply.
1. Your dog ate the pill you dropped. Which drugs could cause problems?
a. birth-control pills
c. ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin)
d. acetaminophen (Tylenol)
Correct answer: None or all.
A single dose of any of these drugs is unlikely to cause problems for most dogs, but multiple doses may be harmful. Seek
veterinary care if your dog consumes multiple doses.
2. A car hit your dog. He should be examined by a veterinarian if:
a. he can walk, but with a limp
b. you see no injuries
c. he seemed fine, but now is lethargic
d. he's panting
Correct answers: All.
Internal injuries aren't immediately obvious, and even a seemingly unhurt dog should be examined. Breathing difficulties are
especially critical. (Many injuries can be avoided by keeping your dog on a leash. Click here to learn tips on how to leash
train your dog.)
3. Your dog is bleeding. Seek emergency help if:
a. it's a deep cut, still oozing after a half-hour
b. you over-clipped a toenail; your dog is yelping
c. his gums are pale
d. you applied pressure and the bleeding stopped
Correct answers: a and c.
Pale gums can indicate excessive blood loss. Any injury that bleeds for more than five minutes requires immediate medical
attention. If a dog loses too much blood too soon, the results can be fatal.
4. Your dog was playing in the backyard and injured himself trying to jump a fence. It is serious if:
a. he won't walk on one leg now
b. he's walking with a limp
c. he limped briefly, then the limp disappeared
d. one leg is now at a funny angle
Correct answers: a and d.
A non-weight-bearing or abnormally positioned limb could be fractured or dislocated, and needs immediate care. A weight-
bearing, but painful limb, may be able to wait until morning as long as your dog is not whining or showing other obvious
signs of pain, such as not wanting to perform regular tasks like going outside to take care of business.
(Your backyard may be your pet’s playground, but in extreme weather, even this familiar territory can be dangerous to your
pet. Click here to learn important information on the dangers posed by extreme hot and cold weather.)
5. Uncle Ned gave your 10-pound dog some chocolate. It is only dangerous if it was:
a. 1 ounce of milk chocolate
b. 2 ounce of dark chocolate
c. three chocolate-covered almonds
d. four minutes after you told Uncle Ned not to feed your dog anything
Correct answer: b.
The rule: Darker equals more dangerous. For a 10-pound dog, it takes 10 ounces of milk chocolate, but only 1 ounce of
baking chocolate to be toxic. Some veterinarians recommend inducing vomiting immediately if your dog ingests chocolate.
Ask your veterinarian what to give your dog in this situation, and how much. (Many table foods, not just chocolate, can be
dangerous to your pet. Click here to learn how to teach your dog not to beg for table scraps.)
6. You're playing catch with your dog. You should panic if:
a. the baseball hit his head; he yelped but continued playing
b. the rubber ball is stuck in the back of his mouth
c. he catches better than you
Correct answer: b.
Soft rubber balls are the perfect size to lodge in the upper airway of medium-large dogs. An obstructed airway is a true
critical emergency; fortunately, it's highly uncommon. Dogs normally expel foreign bodies without help.
Finally, post the telephone numbers for your regular veterinarian and your local after-hours emergency veterinary hospital
nearby. A professional will be able to identify whether something is a true emergency or not.
From the Purina Company
Clicker Training Your Puppy
All puppies need to be trained. Regardless whether you keep a puppy to show or train for fieldwork or place him in a
companion home or with another canine enthusiast, a puppy needs to learn right from wrong.
“One of the most important aspects of getting off to a good start with a new puppy is training,” says Keith Benson, president
of Triple Crown Dog Academy in Hutto, Texas, near Austin. “Puppies are extremely impressionable, especially at 8 to 20
weeks of age, a time commonly referred to as the imprinting stage.”
During this time good habits can be developed and bad ones avoided through positive, motivational training. One of the best
ways to have fun training a puppy and see fast results is through clicker training, Benson says.
Clicker training uses a combination of scientific principles of classical conditioning from Ivan Pavlov and operant
conditioning from B.F. Skinner.
“Pavlov’s dogs salivated at the sound of a bell, and Skinner trained pigeons to perform series of movements in order to
receive their food reward,” he says. “Clicker training teaches your dog to associate an auditory signal, like the clicker, with a
pleasurable reward, like food. Through repetition, a dog learns that the clicker means that what he did at that moment was
correct and a reward is to come.”
So, what is clicker training and how does it work? The clicker is an effective tool because the sound is clear and consistent,
and it helps bridge the time between when you mark the correct behavior and when the reward is given, Benson says.
Because it is a reward-based method, the clicker can help a puppy become an active learner.
Timing and Motivation
Other aspects essential to training a puppy are timing and motivation. “Timing is important because dogs live in the present,
and there is only a second for a puppy to associate cause with effect,” Benson says. “This means your reward for a job well
done must be immediate for a puppy to make an accurate association with his action and the reward. Any lag in
communication can result in confusion for a puppy or inadvertently teach him something unexpected. The clicker can
actually help you mark the exact moment a puppy performs the correct behavior without a lag in communication time.”
“Motivation is finding something very appealing to a puppy for which he desires to work. Oftentimes food rewards are used
in training because dogs have an inborn willingness to work for food, but you can also use praise, petting or a special toy
reserved just for training sessions,” he says.
Remember that being patient and having fun are especially important when training a puppy, Benson says. “Training sessions
should be kept short — about 15 minutes per session — and upbeat to prevent a puppy from getting bored. Praise and
reward a puppy often when he performs an exercise well to help keep him motivated in your sessions.”
You should choose quiet locations free from distraction in which to hold training sessions so a puppy can focus his full
attention on you, Benson says. “Don’t push too hard and only move onto more difficult exercise when you feel a puppy is
ready. Along with basic obedience exercises, like sit, down and walking on a loose leash, you can also begin teaching a
puppy how you would like him to behave as an adult. These exercises can include sitting to greet people instead of jumping
up on them, staying off the furniture, and anything else that is important.”
Puppy Group Classes
Participating in group classes led by a professional trainer is a great way to teach a puppy essential obedience exercises,
Benson says. “One benefit of group classes is having the input of a trainer to guide you in the right direction for training your
puppy, as well as help with any problems or questions you may have.”
A puppy will also benefit by being able to socialize with other dogs and people, as well as learning to pay attention to you in
an environment with distractions, he says. “Look for a group class in your area geared toward the specific training needs of
puppies that offers positive motivation techniques like clicker training.”
“The first few months with a new puppy create a great opportunity to build the foundation of a lasting bond with a dog,”
Benson says. “The training you do now will help guide a puppy in the direction of a well-mannered canine companion for
Triple Crown Dog Academy located in Hutto, Texas, outside Austin, has offered training programs for dog trainers and
dogs, including puppy group classes, since 1998.
From Puppy Hood On…a Guide to Health Care for Your Dog Health Safeguards
Vaccinations. Safeguarding a dog's health against a number of diseases begins at the time of weaning. During the first one to
three days of its nursing period, a puppy receives antibodies in its mother's milk called colostrum. When the puppy is six to
eight weeks of age, this immunity begins to disappear. Consequently at eight to 20 weeks of age, a puppy becomes
susceptible to a number of diseases. At this time its immune system should be stimulated to provide its own antibodies. This
is why vaccination programs are initiated shortly after weaning. A vaccination program should be worked out by your
veterinarian. You will also want to discuss a timetable for booster shots to provide a lifetime of protection for your dog.
Vaccinations to help safeguard a puppy's health are available for the following common and serious diseases:
Rabies is a disease of the central nervous system, usually transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. All warmblooded
animals are susceptible to rabies and some may serve as natural reservoirs of the virus. Among these are the skunk, fox,
raccoon and bats. Bats are also found in urban areas.
On rare occasions the disease may be transmitted by the contact of virus-laden saliva with broken skin. Airborne infections
may also occur in confined areas such as bat caves.
Early symptoms may include fever, listlessness or altered behavior. Late in the course of the disease, paralysis, muscle
tremors, convulsion and death follow. Since rabies is usually fatal and can be transmitted to man, most states have laws
requiring dogs to be vaccinated for rabies.
The first rabies vaccination will protect your puppy for one year. Your veterinarian will then work out a timetable for booster
shots. You will receive a rabies certificate and a rabies tag to document the vaccination. Keep this certificate in a safe place in
case your puppy is exposed to rabies or is suspected of biting someone.
Parvovirus and Coronavirus can affect dogs of all ages, but they are particularly devastating to puppies. Immediate treatment
by a veterinarian for these diseases is essential.
Parvovirus is a common and deadly viral infection. Puppies under five months of age, older dogs and dogs stressed by other
medical and environmental problems are most severely affected, but death can occur in any age group. Fever, vomiting,
depression, severe diarrhea and dehydration can accompany the infection. In some instances, death can occur rapidly, at
times, in a matter of hours. In other cases, the course can be severe, but more protracted. A dog exhibiting any of the signs
of parvovirus should be examined by a veterinarian immediately. Fast action can increase a dog's chances for survival and
help prevent permanent damage to its intestines. Puppies who manage to survive may have permanently damaged hearts. As
a result, affected puppies may die weeks or even months after the infection has passed.
Important Parvovirus Warning
Because canine parvovirus can survive many weeks on contaminated surfaces, great caution should be taken in placing
puppies where parvovirus has oc-curred. It is advisable to introduce only puppies who have been vaccinated and then only
after thor-ough disinfection of the premises. Household bleach is an effective disinfectant.
Coronavirus is a highly contagious infection of the gastrointes-tinal tract. It is less severe than parvovirus. Symptoms include
vomiting, diarrhea, fever and dehydration.
These viruses are transmitted from dog to dog via contact with infected feces, or the viruses can be carried by shoes,
clothing, carriers, food and water bowls.
Follow your veterinarian's advice on a vaccination program for these diseases.
Canine distemper is a virus that affects the central nervous system. Early warning signs include fever, lack of appetite, mild
drainage from the eyes, lethargy or depression. They may be followed by a severe discharge from the eyes and nose, severe
diarrhea, pneumonia or convulsions.
The distemper virus can be carried from one dog to another or transmitted though contact from a contaminated environment.
Generally distemper virus spreads as an airborne infection. Vaccination is the only effective control.
Hepatitis is a virus that affects the liver. It is most severe with puppies, but dogs of all ages are susceptible. Early signs of
hepatitis are similar to those of distemper: fever, loss of appetite, depression, vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms include
a discharge from the eyes or nose, uncontrolled bleeding, skin bruises or pain when the abdomen is pressed. A vaccination
program planned by your veterinarian will control this disease.
Tracheobronchitis, popularly referred to as "kennel cough", primarily affects dogs living in close proximity, such as in a
kennel or shelter. It is highly contagious, attacks the respiratory system, causes mild or no fever, nasal discharge and a dry,
hack ing cough. In severe form, kennel cough can cause a loss of appetite, lethargy and a moist, persistent cough together
with nose and eye discharges. It can be treated with appropriate antibiotics.
Numerous organisms have been implicated as causes. It is pos-sible for your veterinarian to vaccinate for three of the
common components of this cough. The three vaccines are parainfluenza, canine bordetella, and adenovirus-2.
Leptospirosis is an acute infectious disease that spreads through contact with the saliva, urine or nasal secretions of infected
animals. The early symptoms include fever, muscle pain, dehy-dration, shock, loss of appetite and vomiting. Within a day or
two of the onset of the first symptoms, the temperature will drop sharply, breathing will be labored and stiffness, particularly
in the hind legs, may be observed. For control, a vaccination program must be followed.
Be aware of a hidden health threat. Most internal parasites, commonly called worms, live in the dog's intes-tines where they
feed and reproduce.
All puppies should be examined by a veterinarian for internal parasites. Your veterinarian can detect the presence of most
worms by examining your dog's feces.
Some parasites, such as hookworms and roundworms, can be transmitted from the mother to her puppies before birth or
Canine heartworm disease is among the most serious health hazards affecting dogs of all ages. Mosquitoes serve as an
intermediate host to carry the heartworm larvae from infected to uninfected dogs. The larvae invade a dog's body through a
mosquito bite and work their way to a dog's heart and nearby blood vessels.
At first, an affected dog shows few, if any signs of infection. Over a period of time, an affected dog will display less and
less tolerance for play and exercise. More obvious signs are a dry, chronic cough, shortness of breath, weakness,
nervousness, listlessness, and weight loss. Without treatment, death is the eventual result.
Heartworm is easy to prevent. In areas where dogs are exposed to mosquitoes year-round, preventive medicine must be
given year-round, on a daily or monthly basis, depending on the medication chosen. If the mosquito problem is seasonal,
medication should begin at the start of the mosquito season and continue well after the season. Even if the mosquito problem
is seasonal, veterinarians may recommend year-round treatment.
Spraying for mosquito control, draining mosquito breeding grounds, avoiding mosquito-infested areas and keeping dogs
screened from mosquitoes at night will also help reduce the threat of heartworm.
Hookworms are among the most dangerous of all the intestinal parasites, especially in puppies who can be infected from their
mother. Hookworms attach themselves to the intestinal wall of an infected dog and suck blood, causing severe anemia which
sometimes can be fatal. Puppies with heavy hookworm infec-tions can die from blood loss before they are three weeks of
age. Infected puppies may appear healthy the first week of life, but deteriorate rapidly the second and third week. They
exhibit pale gums and pass very dark feces, indicative of partially digested blood.
Adult dogs with mild infections show no symptoms, but those with severe hookworm infection may exhibit anemia,
dehydration, weakness and listlessness. Feces are dark red or black in color because of the presence of blood. Diarrhea may
also be present.
Regular fecal examinations for the parasite by your veterinarian minimizes the risk of infection.
Roundworms are probably the most common parasite among young dogs. Puppies are infected by way of the placenta
before birth. After birth, puppies can become infected by larvae in the mother's milk. In the small intestine, roundworms
compete with the puppy for nutrients, resulting in stunted growth and poor health. Roundworms often make a puppy look
"potbellied." Other signs include diarrhea, poor haircoat, listlessness and poor growth.
Microscopic examination of fecal matter is needed to diagnose roundworms as well as hookworms. Your veterinarian can
prescribe appropriate medication and a schedule to follow to prevent reinfection.
Whipworm infection can become severe before any noticeable symptoms appear. As the infection progresses, symptoms in-
clude diarrhea, abdominal pain, nervousness, weight loss and anemia. Usually these problems are seen in puppies over three
months of age. Untreated severe whipworms may occasionally be fatal.
Whipworms pass directly from one dog to another when a dog consumes food, feces or water contaminated with infective
eggs. Your veterinarian can diagnose whipworm infection by microscopic examination of fecal matter and can prescribe
Tapeworms can be transmitted by fleas, rodents or rabbits which may be eaten by dogs. A mild tapeworm infection may go
unnoticed. Signs of a more severe tapeworm infection include abdominal discomfort, lethargy and diarrhea alternating with
There are numerous species of tapeworm. Different tapeworm species require different medications. Consequently, a
veterinarian's diagnosis and instructions for administering any wormer are important.
Giardia is one of the most common of the protozoa that can infect dogs. It can be acquired by direct contact with fecal
matter containing the parasite as well as from parasite-contaminated food and water. Symptoms, which can be intermittent
or con-tinuous, include foul-smelling feces, which may contain mucus, loss of appetite and weight loss. Routine methods of
examination usually do not reveal the presence of giardia. Your veterinarian can perform fecal examinations designed to
reveal this type of parasites. Once diagnosed, specific treatment is available.
Coccidia are common parasites of dogs, especially puppies. Eggs passed in the feces of the infected dogs become infective
to other dogs within one to several days.
The most common symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, dehydration, weight and appetite loss. However, coccidia
may be present with no symptoms.
Veterinary diagnosis is made by examining the feces using the same methods as for the detection of hookworms and round-
worms. Several medicines are reported to help control coccidia, but the general health of the dog and the function of its
immune system appear to be important.
More About Internal Parasites
Usually signs of internal parasites are slow and subtle and may be overlooked by the dog owner or confused with other
General signs of parasitic infection include weakness, poor appearance, emaciation, distended abdomen ("potbelly"), rough
haircoat and paleness of membranes of the mouth and, in some cases, frequent digestive upsets and diarrhea. Affected dogs
may eat well and their temperature remains normal, but there is a loss of energy.
Consult your veterinarian as to the timing and methods of fecal examination and treat affected dogs precisely as directed.
Be aware that products that work well on dogs may be hazardous to cats and other animals. Some products are hazardous
when improperly combined.
Important preventive measures are proper nutrition achieved through feeding a nutritionally complete and balanced dog food
and maintaining strict sanitary conditions in the dog's environment.
Combatting Discomfort and Disease. Dogs are subject to attack by a number of external parasites who live on a dog's skin.
They not only cause irritation, but sometimes carry diseases. As you groom your dog, examine its haircoat for any evidence
Fleas are tiny insects that feed on the blood of animals and create mild to severe discomfort. They cause chronic scratching
and, if swallowed by a dog, can also transmit tapeworms.
Flea bite allergy is the most common allergy affecting dogs. It occurs when a dog is exposed to flea saliva as the flea bites.
The saliva acts as an allergen and can cause intense itching. Hair loss and skin infections are other signs of flea allergy.
Controlling fleas is essential in managing this type of allergy.
Fleas can hatch in a dog's bedding, carpets, furniture and out-door areas. To control fleas, the dog's environment as well as
the dog must be treated.
Keeping the environment flea-free involves dealing with all stages of the flea life cycle. Fleas live on host animals and move
readily from dog to dog, man to man, or from man to dog or other animals. Eggs are laid loose in the dog's haircoat and
usually fall off soon afterwards and are generally hatched in four to seven days. Animals passing through an infested area
pick up these newly hatched and developing fleas.
Special attention should be paid to the dog's sleeping area. It should be kept clean and the bedding should be washed
frequently. In the house, thoroughly vacuum all carpets and crevices, under cushions, rugs and in the corners of upholstered
furniture. Discard the vacuum bag because it may harbor fleas. Some flea control in the yard is possible through spraying.
Thorough cleaning and vacuuming help, but a professional exterminator may be needed to control heavy infestations.
Multiple treatments may be needed to needed to remove fleas from the household environment.
Fleas are diagnosed by finding either the parasites themselves or black specks called "flea dirt" (flea excrement) on the dog's
Many preparations are available to aid in flea control. A once-a- month tablet for flea control is available through
veterinarians. This tablet kills the flea eggs deposited on a dog. Adult fleas can still bite the dog and deposit eggs. Dogs can
get an allergic reaction from the flea bites as well as tapeworms if a flea is ingested. Products to control fleas in the house
and yard are also needed in a complete flea control program, especially in the case of moderate to severe infestations. Be
certain the label on any product you use states the product is safe for dogs and follow label directions. Your veterinarian can
also provide advice about products that will be effective in your particular situation.
Ticks are bloodsucking parasites and one of the most difficult to control. Because ticks suck many times their weight in
blood, a heavy infestation on a dog can cause moderate to severe anemia. This condition can result in the death of puppies.
The bites also cause irritation to the skin and secondary infection of tick bites is common.
The two most common kinds of ticks infecting dogs are the brown dog tick and the American dog tick. The brown dog tick
is known to carry a parasite of the red blood cells as well as other infectious diseases. The American dog tick carries a
number of diseases including Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.
Lyme disease is an infectious disease transmitted by the deer tick. It is being diagnosed with increasing frequency in the
After walking your dog in a wooded area or field, always check for ticks. If you remove individual ticks, extract them
manually and be certain that the mouthpiece does not remain in the puppy's skin. Remove the entire head and its mouth parts
with tweezers or by the fingers protected with a paper towel, tissue or rubber gloves. Pull upward with a steady, even
pressure. Do not twist. Wash hands thoroughly and disinfect the bite site.
As with fleas, proper treatment of the premises is essential to control ticks. Use a pesticide designated for ticks according to
Remove your dog from any area to be treated. Indoors spray its sleeping area and along baseboards, door frames and other
cracks and crevices. Repeat the treatment as needed.
In tick-infested areas, keep grass and weeds cut short. Spray pesticides according to label directions. Shrubbery should be
sprayed up to a height of two to three feet.
Lice are generally not common on healthy dogs. Serious infection usually occurs on poorly nourished and poorly managed
dogs. Lice are classified by their feeding habits as either biting or sucking. Sucking lice injure their host by drawing blood
which can result in anemia. This blood loss is especially dangerous to puppies. The bites may be very irritating to the dog's
skin, leading to self-injury.
Biting lice feed by chewing on dry skin, scales and scabs. This can cause skin irritations, often preventing sleep and may also
cause diarrhea and appetite loss.
Infected dogs should be isolated and treated with any of a number of commercial products in the form of dips, sprays or
Mange is a general term for parasitic diseases caused by any of several microscopic mites. A veterinarian should diagnose
and treat a mange infestation as soon as possible.
Demodectic, or red mange, is seen primarily in young dogs and does not appear to be transmitted to other dogs or humans.
However, young puppies may acquire the parasite from their mother while they are nursing. It is usually a mild, localized
infection, found in small patches around the eyes and on the face, neck and limbs. Symptoms include hair loss, mild redness
and some scaling of the skin. Serious secondary infection may result and treatment can be difficult.
Sarcoptic mange, or scabies, is highly contagious and can be transmitted to humans as well as other dogs. The mites burrow
into the skin, causing irritation which leads to intense itching by the infected dog. The typical pattern of distribution includes
the ears, chest, limbs and abdomen. Serious self-injury from scratching and biting and secondary infections are likely to
occur if the infection is not treated.
Ear mites cause a thick, dark reddish-brown material to exude from the ears of the dogs. A foul odor to the external ear may
also be present. Affected dogs make shake their heads and scratch around their ears, causing considerable self-injury.
Because ear mites can be transmitted by direct contact, all animals in contact with the infected animal should be treated. For
all mite infections, your veterinarian can provide diagnosis and effective treatment.
Important Pesticide Precautions
· When using pesticides the importance of reading the product information on the label cannot be overemphasized. It is
equally critical to follow all instructions on the label exactly.
· Remove all animals from the area to be treated.
· Do not reapply more often than recommended to avoid overexposure to the pesticide. .Protect yourself by wearing
rubber gloves and protective clothing.
· Watch for allergic reactions by animals and people.
· Store pesticides in their original or clearly labeled containers where they are out of the reach of children and pets.
· Do not allow dogs and other animals into the treated area until it is thoroughly dry.
Despite Its Name, Ringworm Is Not A Worm. It is a highly contagious fungus infection of the skin that can be transmitted to
your dog by other infected animals, by humans or by contacts with the soil. Puppies and young dogs as well as children are
most susceptible. Ringworm lesion is a rapidly spreading, circular, hairless, scaly area edged in red. It may be accompanied
by mild itching. Because ringworm can be transmitted to other animals and humans, the infected dog must be isolated and
treated by a veterinarian. The dog's bedding should be destroyed. Carpets and upholstered furniture must be thoroughly
vacuumed and the vacuum bag discarded.
Spaying and Neutering
Be A Responsible Dog Owner. Lack of information or misinformation about neutering and spaying are a primary cause of
millions of puppies and dogs being euthanized or abandoned each year. Some dog owners are fearful that the procedure
might be painful or cruel or that it will result in a personality change.
Separating myth from reality should reassure dog owners that neutering/spaying not only helps solve the problem of
unwanted dogs but also contributes to their health and well-being.
Myth: Neutering/spaying changes a dog's personality.
Reality: While this procedure may decrease aggressiveness, the dog's genetic makeup and the attention and training it receives
are factors that shape its personality.
Neutering is usually performed just as a dog is approaching puberty. The changes in a dog's playfulness and sleeping habits
that normally develop at puberty are sometimes attributed to this procedure.
Myth: Females have a sweeter, gentler personality if allowed to have one litter before being spayed.
Reality: No evidence from behavioral research or from clinical observations supports this belief. Some animal behaviorists
suggest that this is "the placebo effect." The owner expects that breeding will bring about a behavior change and this leads to
the assumption that behavior has improved.
Myth: Neutered/spayed pets become obese.
Reality: Neutering/spaying are often associated with obesity because reduced activity and metabolic changes may result. This
problem can generally be avoided by close monitoring of the dog's diet (eliminating table scraps and, if necessary, reducing
the amount of dog food offered). In addition to diet management, regular exercise and play periods should also help prevent
As in any surgery, neutering or spaying may have possible complications which you can discuss with your veterinarian.
However, the benefits of neutering and spaying outweigh most complications.
Health Benefits of Neutering and Spaying
Spaying a female before her first heat cycle protects against mammary tumors. However, if this surgery is done late in her
life it does not provide this benefit. Early spaying also helps prevent the development or progression of several reproductive
Females come into heat at fairly regular intervals. With each heat cycle may come the unwelcome presence of unaltered male
dogs. Spaying prevents this annoying problem.
Solid medical evidence supports the advantages of neutering the male dog. The risk for testicular cancer as well as other
testicular diseases is eliminated. The desire to roam and aggression toward other dogs usually diminish. A neutered male
usually becomes a contented stay-at-home companion. Consequently, the threat of his wandering into the path of an
automobile or being killed or injured in fights with other dogs is reduced. Urine marking is also reduced.
Don't Neglect the Teeth. The kind of dental care a dog receives over the years has a great impact on its health and longevity.
Dogs can develop many of the same dental problems experienced by people.
Dog owners are realizing that regular dental care helps promote good health in dogs. Although dogs usually do not need the
extensive dental treatments many people require, they do need dental care on a regular basis, especially as they grow older.
Dogs have 28 deciduous (temporary) teeth and 42 permanent teeth. Deciduous teeth (sometimes described as "milk teeth")
begin to appear when a puppy is about four weeks of age.
Shedding of deciduous teeth in favor of permanent teeth is a gradual process occurring between 14 and 30 weeks of age.
During the time puppies are losing their teeth, they may eat slightly less and may tend to chew more. Hard rubber or rawhide
toys made especially for dogs are a good investment to help prevent household damage during this time.
Occasionally a puppy retains some deciduous teeth after the permanent teeth have appeared. This retention may result in
damage to the soft tissues of the mouth and may even accelerate wear of permanent teeth. A veterinarian should be consulted
to determine whether or not removal is necessary.
The most common dental problems dogs experience result from plaque and calculus buildup. Food material, bacteria and
saliva may accumulate and adhere to the tooth surface, forming a soft plaque. If plaque buildup continues, solutions of chalk-
like materials form a hardened dental calculus on the tooth surface.
Calculus is seen more frequently in older pets fed large quantities of soft foods. If left unchecked, plaque and calculus
buildup can eventually cause inflammation of both the gums (gingivitis) and the membrane lining of the tooth socket
Without proper treatment, the teeth may become infected and fall out. The infection resulting from these conditions may
spread to other parts of the body such as the kidneys or heart valves.
Unfortunately, signs of dental problems are often subtle and may go undetected for months or even years. Consequently,
they are far advanced before being discovered. Unpleasant breath and salivation are signs of a dental problem.
Regular dental examinations by a veterinarian are recommended. A good opportunity for this dental checkup is during the
dog's yearly physical examination when vaccinations are given. Regular cleaning and scaling under anesthesia, done by a
veterinarian, aids in preventing or minimizing dental problems.
Dry crunchy foods such as Purina ® Puppy Chow ® brand puppy food and Purina ® Dog Chow ® brand dog food can be
helpful in keeping teeth cleaner. The dog's chewing action while eating a dry food acts like a toothbrush as particles scrape
against the teeth to help remove plaque. However, there is no substitute for regular dental care.
If possible, accustom a young puppy to having its teeth cleaned on a regular basis at home. Use a mixture of baking soda
with a little water added to form a paste or a toothpaste formulated specifically for dogs. Apply with a soft toothbrush or a
piece of gauze wrapped around the finger. Do not use toothpaste formulated for humans because dogs swallow, rather than
spit out such a preparation, which may cause a digestive upset.
A Question About Age
How does a dog's years of age compare to those of people?
No single rule is universally accepted. One rule of thumb suggests that the dog's first year is roughly equivalent to 14 human
years. After that, each year is approximately equivalent to five years for people. Like people, dogs mature at different rates.
Several factors influence a dog's longevity:
· The dog's genetic makeup.
· A lifetime of complete and balanced nutrition appropriate for a dog's lifestage.
· Regular veterinary care.
· Proper daily care including clean, comfortable, draft-free housing.
Evaluating Your Dog's Health
Your Dog Cannot Tell You How It Feels. Consequently, it can become quite ill before the signs of illness become apparent.
Unless your dog is unconscious, bleeding or otherwise visibly demonstrating its distress, how can you know if your dog is ill?
Know your dog. Be aware of its usual behavior and appearance to provide a basis for evaluating its health on a day-to-day
Contentment and alertness are two signs of a healthy dog. Contented dogs usually stretch on rising and look relaxed and
unworried when resting. Healthy dogs are alert and respond to the activity around them. Observe your dog for any signs of
illness which include:
· Loss of appetite - it is normal for a dog to go "off feed" for a day or two, but if loss of appetite persists, consult your
· Lack of interest in what is going on
· Hiding in dark places
· Persistent coughing
· Scratching or chewing at feet, skin or haircoat
· Discharge from the eyes and nose
· Red, inflamed or cloudy eyes
· Persistent head shaking, scratching ears
· Strong odor, tenderness and swelling around the ears
· Unpleasant breath odor and /or swollen gums
· Haircoat with a harsh feel or dull texture
· Dull and flaky skin
· Potbelly or thinness
Other Warning Signs:
· Blood in the urine
· Mucus or blood visible in the stools
· Repeated vomiting over several days
· Unusual lumps under the skin
An Important Caution
Obesity is the number one nutritional disorder among dogs. Studies suggest that over 30 percent of the dogs presented to
veterinary clinics are overweight.
The same health problems obesity causes for humans can also affect overweight pets. Cardiovascular and respiratory
systems and other major organs can adversely be affected. A veterinarian may find it difficult to assess a dog's physical
condition because excess body weight can mask symptoms or aggravate existing abnormalities. Dogs weighing 20 percent or
more over ideal body weight may be obese. Your veterinarian can advise you as to your dog's body condition.
Among dogs the incidence of obesity increases with age, with a low of 12 to 20 percent at one to four years of age to about
40 percent over 12 years.
The following guidelines for dogs who are overweight or have the tendency to become overweight are presented as
suggestions. They are not intended to replace the advice of a veterinarian.
· Reduce the dog's calorie intake by feeding less. A reduction of not more than one-fourth the previous caloric intake is
· Omit feeding food from the table.
· Switch to a lower calorie dog food such as Purina ® Fit & Trim ® brand dog food formulated for adult dogs in need
of a weight reduction or weight maintenance program.
· Do not feed high calorie treats.
· Avoid diets high in fat.
· Enlist the cooperation of all family members to help ensure a successful weight reduction program.
· Two or three small daily feedings help prevent the dog from feeling hungry and keep it from begging.
· Combine exercising your dog with diet management.
· Make certain plenty of fresh drinking water in a clean bowl is available at all times.
The A, B, C' s of Health Care for Your Dog
Always feed a nutritionally complete and balanced dog food appropriate for your dog's life stage and activity level.
Bring your dog to your veterinarian regularly for its vaccinations, internal and external parasite check and physical
Consider your dog's environment - keep it clean and comfortable
Inappropriate Chewing and Separation Anxiety
Training a pet takes time, understanding, patience and consistency. Here are a few of the more common training
challenges dog owners face, and some suggestions for working with them.
How training works
Dogs are pack animals, and as such are only comfortable when their role within the pack has been established.
An established role allows the dog to predict the reactions and needs of the rest of his pack. Without a confirmed,
consistent role, the dog never knows when punishment or rewards will occur, and will spend most of the time
anxious and worried.
Basic obedience helps to establish the owner in role of pack leader, and lays down clear behavior guidelines that
the pack can follow. The lack of a clear pack leader will cause anxiety, since only a strong and definite pack
leader can protect the pack and provide it with whatever is needed. If none of the humans take this role, the dog
is force to attempt to assume it himself, since the pack must have a leader. The pack leader controls where the
pack goes, when and what the pack eats and how the pack behaves toward one another. Having these clear
guidelines allows the dog to relax, since he knows what behaviors earn what types of attention.
Most trainers follow the 3 second rule in training. Dogs will attribute positive or negative attention to whatever was
happening within the 3 seconds immediately before the attention was given. Be careful to only give your dog
attention when appropriate, when current behavior, not past, deserves it. If your dog is growling at strangers,
don’t reward the behavior by attempting to calm him. This merely reinforces that there must be something scary
happening. Instead, a gentle “no”, and a friendly greeting of the stranger on your part will be more reassuring to
the dog than your calming attempts.
All dogs love to chew. It is as natural as barking or digging. Puppies, like young children,
explore the world with their mouths. Dogs between six months and one year old are getting
their adult teeth, and chew to relieve teething pain and itching gums. Adults dogs chew for a
variety of reasons: out of boredom, loneliness, or just because it's fun.
Teaching your dog to gnaw on appropriate items, while preventing him from inflicting serious
damage on your home, can protect both your dog and your possessions.
When you catch your pooch in the act, take the item away. Teach him to bring things to you
and reward him for that. If you yell and chase him, it will become a game of keep-away. Give
him something he's allowed to chew on instead. Praise when he starts to chew on the proper
He may chew out of anxiety while you are gone, choosing something with your scent on it, like
the couch. When you leave, put something with your scent on it, like a t-shirt you’ve slept in,
on the floor or in his crate for him to lie on. Crate him when you aren't able to supervise his
activity. Have special chew treats he only gets when he is in his crate.
There is no point in punishing the dog once the damage is done. He may have done it hours
ago, and have no idea what you are so upset about. He'll learn that when you come home you
are mad, and he'll start cowering and looking guilty even when he hasn't done anything wrong.
Be sure your dog gets adequate exercise every day, and plenty of time with you, even if it is
just lying at your feet. Boredom, loneliness, and excess energy often trigger destructive
chewing. Keep a regular routine. Try to come home at the same time every evening, feed near
the same time, etc. The stress of hunger or not knowing when you'll be back can trigger
Bitter apple, pepper juice, or lemon juice sprayed on inappropriate plants or other chewable
items will deter his urge to chew them. Provide him with lots of acceptable chew toys. Try
rotating his chew toys, to keep interest high.
Does your dog hate to be left alone? Is he frantic to get to you when left outside? Are you
unable to leave him alone in another room? In the car? Separation anxiety is an emotional
disturbance where the dog is frantic when left alone, even for short periods.
Owners sometimes accidentally train their pet to be anxious. They over-nurture him with
constant physical contact and conversation until he is unable to stand being alone. A dog that
gets constant attention is unable to cope when you leave to go to work or the store.
Start to wean your dog from constant attention by limiting physical contact. Don't sit and
absentmindedly pet him. Make him earn your attention. Don't let him lie on your feet or lean on
you. Gradually teach him to sit happily across the room from you. You may have to tie him to
a doorknob initially The first few minutes will be the worst, so try to keep him busy with a
favorite chew toy or treat.
Teach him to relax alone. Put him in a room where he is comfortable. If he starts to whine or
scratch, throw a bean bag at the closed door to startle him. You don’t want him to associate
the noise with you, so be quiet. When he is quiet for a few seconds, let him out and ignore him
for the first minute or two. Repeat the exercise, gradually working up from a few seconds to
Is the dog sleeping in your bed? Teach him to sleep on the floor by tying his leash to a dresser
leg. You are still right there, just not touching him every second. As he gets used to this, put
up a pet gate, and let him sleep just outside the doorway. As he gets used to less physical
contact he will become more self-reliant.
Crate train your dog so he will be in a safe confined place while you are gone. He won't feel
responsible for the entire house and can relax. Start by teaching him to be in the crate while
you are there, while you come and go from the room many times.
When you leave or come home, don't make a big fuss over your dog. Ignore him until he
calms down, then a quiet hello and a brief pat will do. When you leave, just go, no good-bye or
anything. Practice going through your getting-ready-to-leave routine without going anywhere.
Pick up your keys, your purse, your jacket, etc., and ignore the dog. Walk to the door and then
turn and come right back in, ignoring him. Soon those visual cues will not have meaning and
he will not react to them.
Leave on a TV or radio so the house doesn't seem so empty. A recording with your voice on it
sometimes helps, too. Canine education classes will also improve your dog’s confidence.
If all else fails, ask your veterinarian about medicating your dog while he gets used to
spending time alone. Sometimes just one tranquilizer one time is all it takes. Or your dog may
have to take calming medication for several months. There are several drugs available that
specifically treat anxiety in dogs.
Give the solutions presented here plenty of time to work. It takes several weeks for a dog to
learn a new behavior pattern and make it a habit. A few weeks invested in training will result in
many happy years with your well-adjusted companion!
How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With by Clarice Rutherford & David H. Neil
Choosing a Dog for Life by Andrew De Prisco, et al
Dog Training in 10 Minutes by Carol Lea Benjamin
Dog and Child Safety
The relationship between a dog and a child can be magical, but it’s not automatic. Prevent upsetting or tragic
situations by teaching your children and your dog how to behave together.
How Dogs Think
Dogs are pack animals, meaning they live in a group with a strict social structure. When a dog
joins your household, he needs to learn his position within your family “pack.” He is always
testing to see if he can move up in rank. For safety and comfort, everyone in the family needs
to be higher in the pack order than the dog.
Pack leaders eat first and walk ahead of other pack members. Pack leaders defend the pack
and make the rules. The leader, or alpha dog, disciplines the lower pack members by nipping
or growling to remind them he is in charge. A dog that knows his pack has a strong leader and
is secure in his position in the pack feels secure, accepts the pack rules, and lives happily.
Children often have a more difficult time establishing and holding their position in the pack, at
least in the dog’s eyes. A dog is often eye level with a toddler, and this can be frightening to
both him and the child. Or, he may view the child as a littermate, equal to him in height and
social position. He may feel he has the right to discipline the child when he or she tries to take
his food or toy, or plays too rough. Training both the dog and the child is essential to ensure
safety and happiness.
Children and the Family Dog
Teach your children to respect the dog and realize that he is not a stuffed toy. He is a live
animal that feels pain when hurt, has emotions, and has physical needs that must be met.
Kids may unknowingly tease a dog by waving a toy around and snatching it away. Hitting with
a stick or pinching an ear may cause a dog to snap, even though the child didn't intend to hurt.
As a rule of thumb, don’t allow children to do to a dog what you would not allow done to a
At the same time, the dog must learn his manners and not play too rough, put his mouth on an
arm, jump up, or knock kids over. Avoid games of tug of war and keep-away. Good games for
children and dogs are fetch, learning tricks, practicing obedience.
Put the dog in his crate for a short while if he starts to get out of control. Protect the dog from
children who do not treat him gently or follow your rules. He should be allowed some time out
to rest when he has had enough. Make sure that children understand that the crate is his
private area. Do not allow children to play in or on your dog’s crate, and never allow a child to
crawl into the crate with the dog. This could cause the dog to feel trapped, and snap out of
Teach children to always speak to a sleeping dog before touching him. He might bite to
defend himself before he realizes who you are.
Children can help feed and clean up, but don't expect them to take sole responsibility for the
dog's care. Dogs are family pets, and everyone should be involved in his care.
Children and New Dogs
Establish the house rules and enforce them from the day your new dog or puppy arrives. Be
sure the entire family is consistent and uses the same rules (PETCO offers Care Sheets
regarding this topic). Eventually, even little kids should be able to give obedience commands
and have the dog obey. A small child should never be left alone with any dog. Allow them
to get used to each other from across the room or yard. Your children may act differently than
other children have acted with them. Allow him to keep his distance until he is comfortable
rather than letting kids corner him or force him to be petted or hugged.
If you are going to have a toddler in your life, prepare your dog now. When children are not
present, take some treats and practice handling your dog. Gently hold your dog’s tail for a
moment, then as you release praise and give the dog treat. Hold a paw or an ear the same
way. This way the dog will associate such actions with good things.
Don't relax your supervision because things are going well. Your new pet will go through a
adjustment period of several weeks. He will be on his best behavior while he tries to figure out
the rules. Once he settles in, he may get tired of a child's poking or pulling, and might nip to
discipline. This is the way a dog would discipline another dog that has gotten too pushy. It is
natural canine behavior, but unacceptable in a human family. In situations like this, the dog
always loses, often being given up at the nearest shelter.
Be careful not to make your children jealous by giving the new dog too much time and
attention. They may retaliate by punishing the dog when you're not there.
Children and Unknown Dogs
The majority of dogs are friendly, wanting petting and interaction. But not all dogs are friendly,
and it’s important for your child’s safety to know what they should do when encountering a dog
of unknown temperament.
Prepare your children for an encounter with a strange dog. Talk about and act out different
situations. Teach your children how to approach and pet a dog. Use a stuffed toy and guide
their hands at first.
Introduce yourself to owner and dog:
When they meet a dog they don't know, have them ask the owner, "May I please pet your
dog?" If the owner says yes, it is often better to scratch the dog’s chest rather than patting the
top of his head.
If a dog seems afraid or backs away, leave him alone. Let him approach you, and don't force
him to be petted. Don't allow kids to put their face right in front of any dog's face. Never try to
kiss a dog!
Know what an angry dog looks like:
Barking, growling, snarling with teeth showing, ears laid flat, legs stiff, tail up, and hair
standing up on its back. When you see a dog like this, keep your hands in your pockets and
slowly walk away sideways. Don't look in the dog's eyes, and don't run. Screaming and
waving your arms around (a natural response for a child) will cause the dog to chase. If a dog
attacks, curl up in a ball on the ground and protect your face with your hands.
Know when to stay away:
Keep a safe distance from a dog that is eating or chewing on a bone. Some dogs will snap if
you get too close because they are afraid you will take their food away.
Don't go near a mother dog with puppies. She will try to protect them from strangers, and even
a normally friendly dog could bite.
Stay away from a dog that is chained or in a fenced yard. The dog may bite to protect himself
because he can't get away. He doesn't know you won't hurt him. Don't shout, run around, or
reach at dogs through open fences or windows.
Never try to break up a dogfight. Teach your children to stay away from the fight and find an
adult to help.
Know what to do when bitten:
If bitten, your child needs to tell an adult right away. Try to remember what the dog looked like,
if it had a collar on, and where it went. Wash the wound with soap and water. Take your child
to a doctor. Bite wounds easily get infected.
Your dog is a trusting animal by nature. It does cross her mind that something could be dangerous. As her
owner it is your responsibility to make sure her environment in the house is free from harm.
How to Recognize Danger
When you look around your house you may think that everything looks perfectly safe. But you
and your dog may have very different views on what could be a toy or a tasty snack. When
you dog proof your house, try to see it in your dog’s perspective. Hunker down to the height
of your dog’s line of sight and take a look at what your dog sees. Look around for any hidden
dangers that your dog may get herself into. Simply use common sense and take the same
precautions as you would with a child.
Common Chemical Dangers
Most of us have homes with many different types of toxic chemicals used for cleaning.
Chemical poisoning most commonly occurs when dogs:
Drink a tainted substance
Clean a toxic substance from their fur
Eat a poisoned pest
Some items to watch out for include:
Antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol has a sweet taste that attracts animals but is
deadly if consumed.
Chemicals used on lawns and gardens, such as fertilizer and plant food.
Rodent poisons and insecticides are one of the most common sources of poisoning.
De-icing salts used to melt snow and ice are paw irritants that can be poisonous if
Common Food Dangers
A dog’s body is quite different from humans. Food items that are beneficial to a human can
be toxic to dogs. It is best to not feed your dog table scraps. A few items of note to keep in
Chocolate, grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs.
Human medication such as painkillers, cold medicines, vitamins, diet pills and other
medication can all be toxic to animals.
Leftovers such as chicken bones easily shatter and can stab or choke a dog.
Rawhide doggie chews may have larger pieces that break off and be swallowed.
Always purchase chews that are sized appropriately for your pet and supervise while
Common Household Item Dangers
Objects that seem harmless can become a danger to your dog if used improperly, or
accidentally ingested. Some common items that can be hazardous include:
String, yarn, rubber bands, coins and even dental floss are easy to swallow and can
cause intestinal blockages or strangulations.
Toys with removable parts (squeaky toys, or stuffed animals with plastic eyes, and
ribbons) can pose a choking hazard to your dog. As a rule, always use toys no
smaller than a ping-pong ball as a dog toy to avoid choking.
Balls can be deadly if they are too small for the dog that is playing them. Balls with
slippery outer coatings (racquet balls, golf balls) can be an especially potent choking
Stuffed toys, if ripped apart can be dangerous.
Tug toys are fine if your dog is gentle, but if your dog is more aggressive, tug games
can make your dog more aggressive and cause problems.
Ornamental plants that are poisonous to animals.
Protect Your Dog from Common Household Dangers
Basic Canine Education
2 of 2 SKU 983608 © 2004, PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc. All rights reserved. (0815)
Household Safety Checklist
Inside the home, make sure to:
1. Yes ( ) No ( ) Make sure all doors, including patio entrances, are closed?
2. Yes ( ) No ( ) Make sure any pet door is the right size and closes properly?
3. Yes ( ) No ( ) Keep any dangerous food, such as chocolate, out of range of your dog?
4. Yes ( ) No ( ) Keep medication, dietary supplements and antibiotics high and safe?
5. Yes ( ) No ( ) Make sure all the garbage in the house is secure and inaccessible?
6. Yes ( ) No ( ) Check that all cleaning supplies are out of reach?
7. Yes ( ) No ( ) Keep all dangerous objects off the floor and out of reach?
8. Yes ( ) No ( ) Close the lid on the toilet bowl and stop using any sanitizing flush
9. Yes ( ) No ( ) Put away all sharp objects that might cut your dog's paws or mouth?
10. Yes ( ) No ( ) Put childproof latches on all cabinets containing hazardous substances
so your dog can't 'slip' the latch?
11. Yes ( ) No ( ) Dog-proof any poisonous plants or place them where your dog can't get
12. Yes ( ) No ( ) Pick up any toys, such as string, that could be dangerous if swallowed?
13. Yes ( ) No ( ) Place any pesticides out of reach or be doubly sure to replace them with
14. Yes ( ) No ( ) Make sure to keep your dog away from litter boxes used by other pets?
15. Yes ( ) No ( ) Make sure your dog has some toys to chew on so she doesn't try to
chew electric wiring or other dangerous objects?
What to do if Your Dog is Poisoned
Keep a good dog emergency handbook and a first-aid kit in your home. Know how much your
dog weighs, since treatments are often measured in proportion to the animal’s weight.
If you think your dog has consumed any dangerous products, the first thing you must do is
determine what substance is responsible. Read the product’s label for the list of ingredients
and for any instructions on accidental ingestion. Call your vet immediately. If your pet needs
to make a trip to the vet, remember to take the product container in question with you to give
your vet a better idea of what your pet may have ingested. You can also call the National
Animal Poison Control Center.
Observe your dog’s symptoms carefully. If she is vomiting or has diarrhea, you may want to
take samples to the vet to help with diagnosis. The treatment will vary according to the
poison, and whether it has been ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin.
Jumping and Barking
Jumping up on people
While that puppy may be absolutely darling as it hops up and down on your leg, trying to get
your attention, the same behavior in the 70-pound adult could not only be scary, but downright
dangerous to small children and frail adults. Habits developed in puppyhood can be difficult to
correct. Start young, and don’t allow the puppy to jump up on you.
Jumping up on you is a perfectly natural behavior, stemming from the dog’s desire to sniff your
breath and lick your face in greeting and submission. Because this is a natural and instinctive
reaction, it is best to replace it with another behavior, rather than simply try to stop it all
Try teaching your dog to sit when greeted. "Sit" works well because if he's sitting, he can't
jump! Follow through. If you can't enforce the sit, don't ask for it. He knows when he can
ignore you. Keep treats handy while he's learning, to reward correct responses. Teach him to
sit any time and any place you ask him to, not just at the front door.
Try folding your arms across your chest and don't look at the dog; turn away from him, ignore
him, and walk away. If walking away just revs him up more, stand your ground and wait until
he quits jumping (eventually!). Then praise him. Don't touch your dog or look him in the eyes,
because he'll jump right back up.
A quick squirt in the mouth from a water bottle will surprise your dog and interrupt his jump.
You may want to add a tablespoon of vinegar to make it more unpleasant. Aim for his mouth,
not his eyes. Praise him ("Good off!") when he quits jumping.
Another correction for jumping is to grab his front paws and hold them while pinching his toes.
He will be uncomfortable and struggle to get down. Be sure not to look him in the eyes or talk
to him: both are rewards for jumping up. Tell him "Off" and release him. Praise him when he
has four feet on the floor. Say "Off" (as in "get off of me") instead of "Down" (meaning "lay
down") so you won't confuse him.
Practice in different places and with lots of different people. Have your dog on a leash so you
can enforce your commands. Teach him to sit-to-greet in many social situations. Practice
asking him to sit-to-greet while you are in a chair, while you are laying down, in the backyard,
at the park, etc.
Barking is so self-rewarding that your dog can easily slip into the habit. Owners often
accidentally train their dogs to bark, by rewarding the dog with attention (even negative
attention) when he is barking.
Figure out why and when your dog barks. If your fence is see-through he may react to every
person, car or bird going by and runs the fence line barking. He thinks he has successfully
chased them away! All that stimulation with no interaction causes frustration and result in
more barking. A solid fence that blocks his view may cut the noise somewhat, but a better
solution might be to bring the dog inside or build a separate dog run away from the action.
A similar scenario happens when someone comes to your front door. The visitor leaves, and
the dog believes he has successfully chased him away. To stop this, recruit a friend to come
to the door repeatedly. Praise the dog for barking a warning then take over, asserting your
pack leader role in his eyes. Keep a leash by the front door, and ask him to sit while you open
the door. Usually by third try, the dog starts to understand, and sits much more quickly. Make
it a game, rewarding him with a treat before he gets up.
Does your dog bark at you? When he was a puppy you may have teased him with a toy, and
thrown it for him when he started barking at you. You’ve trained him to get what he wants by
barking! He can recognize from your body language that you are fixing dinner (or leaving the
house, or getting ready for a walk). Desensitize him to those actions. Go through all the
motions of fixing his food, and then walk away without giving it to him. Don’t return to feed him
until he stops barking. Use similar methods to reduce or end barking at other activities, such
as going for a walk, leaving for work, etc. Make sure not to reward his barking, especially by
yelling at him. That’s just barking back to him as far as your dog is concerned.
If the dog barks while you are at work try leaving him indoors in a crate while you are gone.
He will learn to relax and go to sleep instead of feeling like he has to protect his territory. Once
reliable indoors (meaning he is housetrained and won't chew from anxiety) you can leave him
in one room or loose in the house. Leave the TV or radio on, or even a recording of your
voice, to comfort him and mask outside noises. Close the curtains to block his view.
Have an exercise session before you leave, and leave him with a wonderful chew bone or toy
to occupy him while you are gone. Start by leaving for short periods, gradually lengthening
them as he gets used to being alone.
Citronella or battery controlled anti-barking collars work well with some dogs. Citronella squirts
the dog with a strongly scented, sour flavored juice. Battery operated collars give the dog a
correction or emit an ultrasonic sound that hurts his ears. Don't just put the collar on him and
leave the first time you use it. Make sure the dog understands where the correction is coming
from and how to make it stop before you leave the dog alone.
Sources How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With by Clarice Rutherford & David H. Neil
Choosing a Dog for Life by Andrew De Prisco, et al
Dog Training in 10 Minutes by Carol Lea Benjamin
Long walks with your dog are a great exercise, and a great way to increase your bond with your dog. But
sometimes it can be hard to tell who’s walking whom! Teaching your dog to walk politely on a leash is the first
step in creating a lifetime of good exercise and fun.
Buckle collar: Will not control dogs that are untrained; best for leaving on dog to hold ID tags and licenses.
Chain collar: Also called training collar or choke chain; only tightens when you give a correction; should be
draped over neck so it hangs loosely; do not haul the dog around with this type of collar; give short, sharp
corrections to get attention, then quickly release; the thicker the chain, the milder the correction; never leave
on dog unless attached to a leash; never use for tying out.
Prong collar: Gives equal correction by pinching, around the dog's neck, and is easier on the trachea than a
chain collar. These collars can be harmful and are only for professionals and should not be used without
professional supervision. Never leave on your dog unsupervised; never use for tying out.
Head halter: Wraps over nose and behind ears; works like a horse halter; controlling the head controls the
body; works on dog’s submission instincts; dog must be trained to accept the halter and not to paw at it or try
to rub it off; especially good for dogs that are strong pullers; not for use on extremely short-muzzled breeds.
Harness: Not recommended with strong pullers; may increase pulling tendencies; transfers all of dog’s
pulling power to leash.
No-pull harness: Must be used with care; can cause injury to legs and shoulders if used improperly.
Leather or cotton: Easy to grip; check with each usage for signs of wear or strain.
Nylon: Can color coordinate with dog's collar: check with each usage for signs of wear or strain.
Chain: Does not wear easily; cannot be chewed; never wrap around your hand as injury can occur if your
dog suddenly attempts to bolt.
Flexi leashes: Extendable leads ranging from 16 – 28 feet in length; good for trained dogs only.
Training treats should be small, easily eaten, and exciting. Treats are great ways to encourage your dog’s
happy participation in the training process.
Instructors recommend six-foot leashes so you can teach your dog commands from a short distance away. But
when walking, if you give your dog six full feet, he'll pull out to the end and be much harder to control. If you get a
long leash, coil it in your hands and only let out enough so your dog can walk comfortably at your side.
Basic Pointers A good canine instructor can help you get started if you are not an experienced trainer.
Dedicate your daily walk time to training sessions for a few weeks. Be consistent. Your dog
should not be allowed to walk while pulling on you.
If a dog has been tied out on a chain, he is likely to pull because he is used to pulling on a
chain. A leash is just another chain to him and must be introduced to him correctly.
A dog that charges out the front door and then drags you down the road thinks he's in charge.
Ask your dog to sit before you open the door, have your dog remain sitting until you let him go
out, and then make him walk out. You go out first, since you are the leader of the household.
Use a lightweight buckle collar for a puppy. Start by letting him drag the leash around the
house for a few minutes. He'll get used to the weight of the clip and leash putting a little
pressure on his neck. Occasionally pick up the end of the leash and just hold it. He'll discover
that pulling doesn't release the pressure, but 'giving' to the leash does. Be there to supervise
so he doesn't get tangled in furniture and get scared. A five-minute session is about all a
puppy can handle.
The first time you hold the leash, puppies may get upset and thrash around. Don't pull or try to
comfort them. They will adjust quickly. Praise them when they calm down. (If you comfort
puppies, you are just confirming in their minds that the leash is a bad thing) Tell them this is a
fun game, and soon they’ll be wagging their tails and ready for more.
Take advantage of the fact that pups will follow you everywhere. Up until about four months
they'll want to be right at your side. After that, they start to test you and explore a little more.
Start early and build a good foundation of training for when he becomes a teenager!
When you are ready to actually lead your puppy, start with a pocket full of treats and take just
a few steps. She will probably balk and hang back. Encourage him, and crouch down to his
level if you need to. You can be pretty big and scary to such a little pup. Stop and praise him
whenever he is by your side on a loose leash.
When he pulls out in front, just stop until he turns to see why you aren't following him. Call him
to you in a happy voice, praise him for coming, and start walking a few steps again. Pretty
soon he'll figure out that he gets lots of treats and praise when he's at your side. Remember,
no more than about five minutes, then quit. Make the training session as fun as play time.
Training Adult Dogs
An adult dog with a history of pulling will require more time to learn not to pull. It takes about 6
weeks to form a new habit and extinguish the old one. At about 4-5 weeks in the training
cycle, it’s common for him to forget everything you've been working on. Just keep practicing.
Behaviorists feel this 'learning plateau' is when learning transfers from short-term memory into
Remember that consistency is the key. Enrolling in a canine education class will give you a
very good place to start, but if lessons learned in class are not reinforced or carried through at
home, then very little will actually be learned.
Keep training sessions upbeat and fun. Treats and praise create better, quicker results than
shouts or punishments. Do not constantly drill in the same pattern or on the same problem.
Change directions, speeds, and focus frequently to keep your dog interested and listening.
Sources How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With by Clarice Rutherford & David H. Neil
Choosing a Dog for Life by Andrew De Prisco, et al
Dog Training in 10 Minutes by Carol Lea Benjamin
Dogs love to be outside, especially if you are out there with them. Keep your dog safe by following a few simple
guidelines, and make outdoor time fun for both of you.
Before They Go Out
Just like you, your dog should always have some form of identification with her whenever she goes out. Options
1) Identification tags – Dogs wearing ID tags are immediately recognized as owned by someone, rather
than thought of as strays. Dogs should wear a flat, buckle collar at all times with ID tag, city license, and
rabies tag attached. Petco carries several types of ID tags, including tags that can be engraved.
2) Microchip – A tiny “chip,” the size and shape of a grain of rice, is injected under your dog’s skin between
the shoulder blades. The number carried by the chip is then registered with the manufacturer, local
animal control, a nation-wide registry, or all three agencies. A chip cannot be lost like a collar. Shelters
and vets have scanners that read the number on the chip, and then call the registry or manufacturer to
get the name and number of the owner. Be sure to change your registration information if you move.
3) Tattoo – Not used as often since the development of microchips, your dog can also be tattooed and
registered. Guide Dogs for the Blind puts a tattoo in each ear of their dogs. Tattoos can also be placed on
the inside of the dog's rear leg. The drawback to this identification method is that shelter workers or
strangers are unlikely to roll the dog over or examine her closely for fear of being bitten. Different
registries use various types of numbering systems and often don't cross register. Numbering systems
include: the dog's AKC registration number, owner’s social security number, a phone number, or a
number given by the registry.
The Fenced Yard
A securely fenced yard is the best option for outside confinement. Walk along your fence line
and look at it through a dog's eyes. Attach wire mesh fencing to the bottom of the fence if
there are spaces where she will be tempted to dig out. Burying wire mesh fencing several
inches deep will help discourage digging. Repair any loose boards or chain link sections.
Move doghouses or storage sheds out from the fence, to prevent escape by climbing.
Use a clip on gate latches to remind others to secure the gate when they leave. Attach a small
reminder. Some dogs even learn how to flip up a latch on their own.
Do you have a swimming pool? Either fence the dog away from the pool, or teach her how to
get out. Go in the pool with her and teach her where the steps are, and be sure she can get
out on her own. If you have a pool cover, a dog can get trapped underneath it and drown.
Is there shade? Hot summer days can cause heatstroke in dogs as well as people. Be sure to
leave lots of water in a cool place.
Pick up the kids' toys to prevent destruction and chewing. Smaller toys can be swallowed and
cause intestinal obstruction requiring surgery. If your dog is likely to chew, remove garden
hoses and protect wiring from the air conditioner or heater. Remove garden tools and always
lock up chemicals.
A dog door so she can go in and out as she pleases offers the best of all worlds when you
can't be home. Your dog won’t feel so isolated when she can come inside and sleep in her
Before you leave a new dog in the back yard all day, leave her out there alone for an hour or
so, and see what she does. Some dogs are used to being alone while their owners are at
work, others are stressed in a new situation, and need to be introduced to the back yard
Other Confinement Options
DOG RUN: A chain link kennel with a roof or shade screen on it is a good alternative when
you can't have a fence, or if the dog is a fence jumper. It also is a good solution if you have a
pool. Be sure the kennel has shade, water, and protection from rain and snow. Get your dog
used to it gradually, and be sure she isn't sitting out there barking all day while you are gone.
Don't leave a dog in a run 24 hours a day, she needs company, exercise, and mental
stimulation that she can't get in a dog run.
TIE-OUT: This is recommended as a temporary containment method only. Leaving a dog tied
out promotes barking and aggression. She sees everything happening around her , yet she
can't join in. she also can't escape, and if threatened, may bite to protect herself from real or
imagined danger. Dogs that are tied out can learn to pull on the leash when walked. They are
used to the tension of the chain and pull against it. A chain might get tangled and prevent your
dog from getting to water or shade. She could also get tangled in the chain and be injured.
ELECTRONIC FENCE: This is a wire buried underground. Your dog wears a collar that gives
her a mild correction if she goes over the wire boundary. If your dog is properly trained to
understand the boundaries and why she is getting corrected, this method can work very well.
The downside is that you MUST be sure the batteries in the collar don't go dead, and that the
underground wire connection is working. Other animals can still get onto your property, which
means your dog isn't protected from intruders, including possible dog thieves.
GARAGE: A dog run in the garage with a pet door to the outside provides shelter and access
for your dog to relieve herself. BUT, leaving your dog in the garage can be a fatal decision.
Dogs are attracted to the smell of anti-freeze and some poisons (both are often stored in the
garage), and may even knock over shelves to get to it. Dog-proofing your garage is a big job,
but necessary. Aerosol cans, fertilizers, tools, and chemicals are all potential dangers.
Also, summer temperatures can go well over 100 degrees in an airless, closed-up garage.
The heat can be worse than outdoors because there is no air circulation. Check the
temperature in your garage at midday on a hot day before leaving your dog shut inside.
Note: The information on this Care Sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional
information, please refer to the above sources or contact your veterinarian as appropriate.