2 lbs. ground turkey
2 eggs
2 cups cooked rice
8 oz. peas
3 carrots, diced
1 apple, diced
1 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well by hand. On baking sheet, form into the shape of a large dog bone. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool and serve. 

Written by: Marcia Murray-Stoof CPDT,CCB

The holidays are all about family, friends, fun and food - but sometimes it's easy to forget about holiday safety for your dog. We all want our dogs to be part of the celebration, but there are some important guidelines to follow. Keep your dog safe this holiday season - no one wants their holiday celebration to end up at the veterinary emergency clinic! 

No table scraps! Just because we humans like to indulge in the feast does not mean it is good for our dogs. Rich, fatty foods can seriously upset your dog's stomach and even be toxic. Most dogs love food and especially yearn for "people food". Dog experts have discouraged the feeding of table scraps to dogs for years because of the potentials for toxicity, obesity and general poor health. While healthy, well-balanced diets can be prepared for dogs using human food, it is essential to feed the right foods. Know what foods to avoid so you can prevent poisoning and keep your dog healthy. If you suspect your dog has ingested a toxic food, seek veterinary attention immediately. 

It is especially important to keep your dog away from the following dangerous foods: 

Grapes and Raisins can cause irreversible damage to the kidneys, possible resulting in death. 

· Ingesting as few as 4-5 grapes or raisins can be poisonous to a 20 pound dog, though the exact toxic dose is not established. 

· Signs of toxicity include vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, abdominal pain, decreased urine production (possibly leading to lack of urine production), weakness and drunken gait. 

· Onset of signs typically occurs within 24 hours (though they can start just a few hours after consumption) 

· Your vet may start by inducing vomiting, or the stomach might be pumped (gastric lavage). Treatment involves aggressive supportive care - particularly fluid therapy and medications 

· Onions can cause a form of hemolytic anemia called Heinz body anemia, a condition that causes the destruction of red blood cells. Kidney damage may follow. 
Toxicity may occur from similar foods such as garlic and chives. 
It is not clear what quantity of onions is poisonous, but the effects can be cumulative. Poisoning can result from raw, cooked and dehydrated forms. Avoid feeding table scraps and any foods cooked with onions (including some baby foods). Check your ingredients! 

Signs are secondary to anemia, such as pale gums, rapid heart rate, weakness and lethargy. Other signs include vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody urine. 
Treatment: blood transfusions and/or oxygen administration may be necessary, followed by specific fluid therapy. 

Chocolate and cocoa contain a chemical called theobromide that can adversely affect the heart, lungs, kidney and central nervous system. Pure baking chocolate is most toxic, while milk chocolate requires a higher quantity to cause harm. A 20 pound dog can be poisoned after consuming about 2 ounces of baking chocolate, but it would take nearly 20 ounces of milk chocolate to cause harm. Ingestion of cacao bean mulch can also be toxic. 
Signs include excitement, tremors, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rate/rhythm, drunken gait, hyperthermia and coma. 
Your vet may induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage. Treatment includes administration of activated charcoal and aggressive supportive care with fluid therapy and medications. 

Caffeine is quite similar to the toxic chemical in chocolate. It can damage the heart, lungs, kidney and central nervous system. 
Commons sources of toxicity include caffeine pills, coffee beans and coffee, large amounts of tea, and chocolate. 

Signs typically begin with restlessness, hyperactivity and vomiting. These can be followed by panting, weakness, drunken gait increased heart rate, muscle tremors and convulsions. 
Your vet may induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage. Treatment includes administration of activated charcoal and supportive care with fluid therapy and medications 

Macadamia nuts, while generally not considered fatal, can cause your dog to experience severe illness. 

The actually toxin is not know, nor is the mechanism of toxicity. 
Ingestion of just a handful of nuts can cause adverse effects in any dog. 
Signs include vomiting, weakness, depression, drunken gait, joint/muscle pain, and joint swelling. 

Onset of signs typically occurs within 6-24 hours. 
Dogs are typically treated symptomatically and recover within 24-48 hours. In-hospital supportive care may be recommend for dogs that become very sick. 
Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener most often found in chewing gum and candy. In dogs, it stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin, resulting in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Xylitol ingestion can also cause severe liver damage. 

As few as two pieces of gum can be hypoglycemia to a 20 pound dog. A pack of gum can cause liver damage. 
Signs of toxicity can occur within 30-60 minutes and include weakness, drunken gait, collapse and seizures. 

Your vet may induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage. The affected dog will likely need to be treated intravenously with dextrose (sugar) and monitored closely for 1-2 days. Many dogs improve with supportive care if treated early enough, though liver damage can be permanent. 

Alcoholic beverages contain ethanol - a seriously toxic chemical compound that causes central nervous system and respiratory depression. 
Uncooked yeast doughs also produce ethanol. 
Even small amounts of ethanol can cause toxic effects. 
Signs include sedation, depression, lethargy, weakness, drunken gait and hypothermia (low body temperature). 

Ethanol is rapidly absorbed into the system, so it is important to seek medical attention quickly. It is not usually helpful to induce vomiting. Treatment includes aggressive supportive care with fluid therapy and medications. 
Under controlled circumstances, alcohol is used by veterinarians as an antidote for antifreeze (ethylene glycol) poisoning. 

Apple seeds, cherry pits, peach pits, and plum pits contain the toxin cyanide. 

· Signs of cyanide poisoning include vomiting, heavy breathing, apnea tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias, coma, skin irritation. 

· In some cases, antidotes are available. Other treatments include oxygen therapy, fluids and supportive care. 

· Also take note that the leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Also, the fat content is not healthy for dogs. 

Moldy or rotten foods can cause many problems for your dog, some more serious than others. Any food that seems "past its prime" should be kept out reach. Be especially careful to keep your dog away from trash cans. 

· Botulism, often from garbage, can cause paralysis, slow heart rate, constipation, and urine retention. An antitoxin is effective only if poisoning is caught early enough. 

· Rotten fruit produces ethanol, causing the same effects associated with alcohol or dough ingestion. 

· Moldy foods contain toxins that may cause muscle tremors, convulsions and drunkenness. 

· Therapy depends on the toxin. Your vet may induce vomiting. Sometimes, treatment includes activated charcoal. Supportive care with fluids and medications is often necessary. 

· Certain foods, while not considered toxic, can still be unhealthy for your dog. Avoid any foods that are high in fat, sugar or sodium. These foods can contribute to indigestion, obesity, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and more. Dairy products may be difficult for dogs to digest. Corn cobs and bones can cause GI obstruction. Cooked bones may splinter and break easily, risking GI damage. 

Like people, too much junk food can cause poor condition and decreased energy. 

Remember that your dog is smaller than you and may be sensitive. 
What seems like "just a bite" for you is more like a small meal for your dog. 
If you want to feed homemade food, seek advice from your vet. 
You may wish to meet with a nutritionist for diet recommendations.

Down (Lay Down) 
Down is an important command for a few reasons; going to the Veterinarians or the Groomers are a couple of examples. Also, down in the first step to teaching trickslike “Roll Over”, Crawl, “Play Dead”, to name a few. 

Loading the Marker The “marker” is what tells your dog “YES”, they have done the command correctly. A “marker”, can be the word “YES” or a single click with a clicker. 

1. Have about 10 small bite size treats in your left hand. 

2. Take 1 treat into your right hand 

3. Now in an excited voice say “Yes” 

4. Then reward your dog 

5. Repeat steps 2-4, from 7-10, times

1. Hold the lure(treat) between your thumb and index finger; hold your hand so the palm of your hand is facing the floor and fingers extended straight; see image below.

2. Put your dog in the “sit”, position. 

3. Hold the lure just under your dog’s nose. 

4. Say your dog’s “name” and “down” as you slowly move your hand from under your dog’s nose straight down towards the floor. 

5. Move the treat along the floor away from your dog. Your dog should follow the treat and naturally lay down. When your dog lays down mark, reward, release. 

(If your dog keeps standing up; try moving the treat towards him instead of away. Slide the treat towards him between his front legs.) 

6. Repeat steps 1-5, about five to seven times; increase the duration of time your dog has to stay down before you release him. Remember only increase your duration 1 to 2 seconds at a time. 

7. When you see your dog starting to understand the “down” command, increase the distance from your hand to the floor. 

8. Continue to increase the distance until you are standing straight up and using the full hand signal.

Training - "Come When Called" Today I was teaching Miska, a 3 month old Alaskan Malamute, "come when called" See how well she progressed in less then 10 mins. Teaching your dog the "come" command could be one of the most important commands to teach your dog.  Having your dog "come" back to you the first time you call him could save his life. I teach the owners and dogs 1 time commands. This means you say the command one time and your dog should respond.  Repeating our commands lets our dogs decide when they are going to listen to us. Teaching your dog 1 time commands gives them no choice. 

Private In-Home Lessons Barrie, Ontario and the surrounding area. 

Click here  to visit my other blog, Puppy Time; full of dog treat recipes, training tips, health tips and much more. 
Dog Owner Training - Training the Owner First

Listed below I have created a list of common mistakes dog owners make

Dog Owner Training -101
Inconsistent training, is the number one reason for bad mannered dogs. If  a dog is not well trained it is the responsibility lies on you.  Some dogs and breeds will learn faster than others, love, patients and consistency are the most important tools you can use.

10 Common Mistakes New Pet Owners Make

1. No Training Classes: A lot of new dog owners think if they just repeat a word several times their puppy will just understand what you want and do it. When they don't do what we are asking, we get frustrated, angry and think we have a dumb dog.

It is highly recommended that you take a basic puppy/dog training class to learn basic manners for a well behaved dog. Click here for Diamond Dog Training, private in home training.

2. Poor Diet. Diet and exercise are just as important for your dogs as it is for people.
Feeding your dog a low quality food will lead to health problems down the line.  Most dog foods that are sold in your local grocery store are a low quality food. They are the equivalent of feeding your dog McDonald's everyday.

Common health issues related to poor diets are; diabetes, heart disease, overweight, hip dysplasia, tooth and gum disease and arthritis, just to name a few.

It's important to educated yourself before heading to the pet store. Do your research on the web, use Google to search "Best quality dog foods", read other pet owners opinion's are a few ways you can find out what is best for your dog.

3. Choosing the Wrong Breed.  A lot of people decide on a breed of dog just because of the way they look, how cute they are or by their impressive size. Choosing a dog on these reasons alone in 75% of the cases the dog will be surrendered to an animal shelter or given away.

DON'T EVER BUY A DOG ON IMPULSE! I cannot stress this point strong enough.

When you decide you want to get a puppy or rescue a dog from a shelter, first look at why you want a dog; is it for companionship, protection, a running partner or a loyal friend to be by your side. Research the breeds that fit your expectations and lifestyle. In other words if you very active and love to run and bike, do not get a Shih Tzu or Great Dane as these breeds are not big on exercise. A Husky, Lab or a German Pointer may be a better fit.

Do your research. Getting a puppy or dog is a big commitment and comes with a lot of responsibilities, be sure you are ready for this.

4. Lack of Exercise: 
Your lifestyle; if you work for 8-12 hours per day, 5 days a week, can you afford a dog sitter or dog walker. A puppy should never be crated longer then 2-4 as they cannot hold their bladders  hour for to long. Will you hire a dog walker or pet sitter? Dogs who are crated all day will be bored, anxious and do not get the exercise they need.

Again, depending on the breed of your dog will determine the type of exercising needed.  Small dogs do not need long walks or need to be run. However, larger dogs, working dogs, herding dogs, etc.. need  more vigorous exercising. Dog parks where they can run full out, jogging/biking with you, min 1 hour walks.

Not spending enough quality time with your dog. It’s so easy to please your dog. His needs are simple. Take the time to take him for a walk, throw him the ball, take him for a ride or just cuddle with him. It will do you both good.

Researching the breed will let you know what daily exercise is required for that breed.  A tired dog is a happy dog. Click here to read "Exercising Your Pet’s Body and Mind"

5. Yearly Visits to the Vets: When we get a puppy, we know they have to go to vet to get their required needles, de-worming, etc. However, a lot of us after the first year do not take our dogs to the Vets for yearly check-ups.  A lot of pet owners only take their dog to the Vets when something they are sick or injured.

It is very important to take your dog to the Vets for a yearly check-up. Check-ups will ensure your dog is healthy and doing well.  Since our dogs cannot speak to us, at times there are serious health issues but we did not notice them until it was to late. Early detection of anything is so important and will save you thousands of dollars in the end.

Click here to read "Over-Vaccination - Dog Owners Beware"

6. Human Food: NEVER give you puppy or dog human food. Although, we think we are doing something nice for our dog, giving your dog human food will only lead to begging, stealing food, garbage and counter surfing and a host of other problems.  Also, remember a lot of human food is bad and sometimes dangerous and or fatal to your dogs. Click here to read a List of Dangerous Foods for Dogs.

7. No Pet Identification Tags: New pet owners think their dogs will always be with them, they don't let them out by themselves, why does my dog need a tag. This inexpensive thing can be the difference between your dog being returned to you safely or ending up in a shelter and adopted out to a new family. Don’t skip this step and make sure your dog’s tags are always up to date.

8. No Pet Health Insurance. It can be heartbreaking if you’re unable to give your dog medical treatment because of finances. Insurance can make sure your dog will always receive the care he needs without breaking your bank account.

9. Proper Grooming for your Breed: Good hygiene is just as important for your dog as it is for us. Even short hair dogs need attention. Make sure you bath them regularly, cut their nails, and check their ears and skin. Long haired dogs require far more grooming. If you are not able to do the daily and monthly grooming that is needed for long haired dogs, make sure you find a good and reputable Dog Groomer. If daily brushing and eye cleaning is not for you, consider a breed that does not require as much daily maintenance.  A matted dog is an unhappy dog. Click here to read "How to Groom Shih Tzu Dogs"

10. Not spaying or neutering: Thousands of pets are euthanized every day due to pet overpopulation. Spaying or neutering your dog can help prevent homelessness, cruelty, suffering and death.

Okay, your dog owner training is complete. Congratulations on being a responsible dog owner.

Remember, do your research, don't impulse buy and most important make sure you have the time.


Top 10 Puppy  Basics – All of these steps are important for a well adjusted puppy.

1. Start socializing your puppy early. As soon as he has had his second set of shots usually (after 10 weeks). Introduce your puppy to as many new environments, people and dogs as possible.  The critical socialization period for a puppy is (8-22 weeks).

2. Take your new puppy to the veterinarian with 72 hours of getting your puppy.  It's important to get to know your Vet and for your Vet to know you and you puppy, as this will likely be a long term relationship.

Use common sense when it comes to your Vet, if you are not comfortable with how they are handling your dog, or the Vet does not really listen to what you are saying. Shop around and find another Vet. Ask friends who have dogs for their recommendations,

3. Remember an 8 week old puppy is just a baby, play and handle him gently. Do not engage in rough play or encourage play with that involves biting your hands or clothes.  This behavior should be immediately corrected and give the puppy a toy or object he is allow to chew.

Puppies bite/chew and nip, it's our job to teach our puppies what they can and can't bite and what is appropriate play.  What is cute as puppy is not so cute in an 80 pound dog.

4. Introduce your puppy to new children and other puppies and dogs slowly.  You want every new experience for your do to be a positive one.  If your puppy has a negative experience at an early age it could effect his behavior for life, so make sure each new situation is short and positive. Give your puppy lots of praise.

5. Good quality puppy food is very important for the healthy growth of your puppy.  Poor quality food may lead to a lifetime of health issues.  Do your homework and make sure you are getting the best quality for your breed of dog. Click here for a list of homemade dog treat recipes you can make your dog, click the recipe name to take you to the full recipe.

6. Begin house training the first day you get home.  Decide a head of time how you want to potty train your puppy(using puppy pad, going directly outside, using a crate) and be prepared for when you bring your new addition home. 8week old puppies need to go to the bathroom approx every 1-2 hours. The rule of thumb is 1 hour for each month they are. Click here to read "Housebreaking -Training for Success"

7. Don’t inadvertently encourage bad dog behavior. Jumping up, biting, barking, begging for table food. It is so important to correct these behaviors right from the start.  It is much easier to teach your puppy the right things to do then it is to correct bad behaviors that he has been allowed to do for months.  Remember, what is cute and adorable when your puppy is 8 weeks old will be far from cute when they are grown.

8. Never use food rewards for correcting behaviors.  Food rewards should only be used when teaching your dog his commands(sit, come, stay, down, etc....).

If you correct your puppy for jumping up and he goes down, you give him a food reward, you have just encouraged your dog to perform bad in order to get a reward.

Remember, only give food rewards when your dog has done work like sit, stay or come.  Only give love as his reward for correcting bad behaviors.

9. When correcting your puppy's behavior, NEVER do anything that will hurt, harm, embarrass, humiliate or loss of dignity.  Puppies need love, patience and consistency are your best tools.

10.  Have a variety of toys for your puppy, a soft one, a chewy one, a tug toy.  See which type of toys your puppy likes to play with more and get him the toys he like rather then spending lots of money on toys they never play with.

Puppies also need a variety of toys for teething, some toys offer more comfort for those teething times.

I highly recommend taking a Puppy Training lessons. It is so important for you to learn how to teach your puppy the right way.

This is a long commitment you have made, it's your responsibility to learn how to do things the right way.  If you spend your puppy's first year working hard and training, you will have the next 10-16 years of having that awesome dog.

Note: Make sure your new puppy has identification in the event that he gets lost. It’s a good idea to identify your dog with an ID tag as well as a dog tattoo or microchip.

If you have any questions about your new puppy, please post it on the comments and I will respond ASAP.

Puppy Milestones:
Puppy is ready to take home 8 weeks
Housebreaking  6-8 weeks
Bathing 7-8 weeks
Obedience training 8-10 weeks
Socialization 8-22 weeks
Heartworm prevention  3 months
Spay or neuter 6-9 months
When is a puppy full grown 1- 1½ years

by: Marcia Murray-Stoof CPDT,CCB

Collars should be introduced to your puppy right away. Do not be concerned if he initially scratches at it or shakes his head. Though he may resist wearing a collar, soon he will not even notice it is on. There are four basic types of collars: buckle collars, choke collars, halter collars, and prong collars. Buckle collars are the only collars recommended for puppies younger than four months of age, and the only collar that is safe to leave on any dog while unsupervised. Stronger dogs over four months old that pull hard on leads may need a choke collar, or in extreme cases, a prong collar...still, only when on a lead. Better yet, use a halter-type collar which gives you much more control and is less likely to irritate or damage the throat and neck area.

Your puppy will accept a lead (leash) much more readily if you introduce it gradually. Under your supervision, begin by letting your puppy drag the lead around the yard to get him used to the feel of minor pressure on his neck. As he walks around, follow him, then gently pick up the lead and walk with him. Keep the lead held high and speak in a friendly, encouraging manner as you walk.

At this early stage, do not look for the disciplined precision of a formal heel. Your goal is simply to get your pup comfortable with the leash and to walk with you without resistance. If he starts to pull out in front, gently reverse your direction and make a noise to distract your pup. No verbal commands should be used during this introduction. You are simply helping your puppy become accustomed to the weight and feel of the lead.

Taking the time to properly introduce your puppy to the collar and lead sets the stage for teaching your puppy the basic elements of obedience. The goal is to have your puppy accept a collar and lead calmly, without resisting.

For puppies, collars and leads with lighter hardware (buckles, snaps, and rings) are best. When grown, you can replace with heavy-duty hardware if appropriate for your breed. Be sure to check your puppy's collar size frequently and loosen it as your puppy's neck grows.

This detailed overview of the different types and designs of collars, leads, and leashes will help you choose the right style and material for your particular dog.

Different Types of Collars
Cotton Web: Cotton web collars are a lightweight, inexpensive choice used primarily for puppies in training. Not as strong as other choices, they tend to show wear more quickly than other material.

Nylon: Nylon collars are available in single-ply or double-ply thickness in a wide choice of colors. An excellent choice for most dogs, they are strong and have a long life. Choose a wider width and thicker styles for larger, stronger dogs.

Leather: Leather collars are very strong, attractive, and last many years. Leather retains its good looks and even improves with age.

Center Cord: The nylon cord is wrapped in either rolled leather or fabric. Also used in retractable leads with excellent strength characteristics.

Hardware: Solid brass is very strong and retains its attractive gold finish forever. Nickel-plated steel are for pet owners who prefer silver color, or choose brass plated. Swivel snap clasps on leads and turn with pets to reduce tangling. Collars -- Choose Traditional Buckle Collars with D-Ring in front, which allows hardware to hang freely under neck, or O-Ring in back for quick attachment. Lightweight yet strong, Quick-Klip Collars offer easy on/off convenience for pet owners who frequently take collars on and off.

Leads (Leashes)
All pet owners should have a 6-foot lead for training and restraining that matches collar style. Almost all proper training is centered around having control of your dog. Leads are the only way to maintain in-close control.

Retractable Leads: are an excellent product for play time or come training as they allow up to 26 feet of freedom to roam and investigate smells, yet still keep the owner in control. Simple, push-button control lets you extend distance, lock desired length in place, and rewind slack.

There are many styles of collars to choose from depending on your dog's size and disposition, and your training need. For the majority of dogs, a traditional nylon or leather collar is sufficient. Other collars for specific situations are described below. This discussion does not include remote training collars.

Traditional Collars: Traditional collars are available in a variety of styles, colors, and widths and should ride high on your pet's neck, not loose so that it slides down near the top of his shoulder blades. Use a tape measure to measure your pet's neck, then add on two inches.

Collars should be snug with enough room to fit two fingers between your dog's neck and his collar. For your dog's safety, the collar should not be loose enough to slip over the pet's head. In addition to the risk of losing a pet that gets away, loose collars are more easily snagged on objects, and many pets die every year from accidental hanging. For this reason, collars should not be worn in wire cages. Collars should also not be so tight as to restrict breathing or cause coughing. Check collar size frequently on growing puppies.

Choose collar and lead width with hardware that matches pet's size. Smaller, lightweight choices are for small dogs and puppies, and wider, more durable styles are for bigger, stronger pets.

Every collar you own should have a current name tag attached to it at all times.

Harnesses: Harnesses, which go around the neck and around the shoulders behind the front legs, are recommended for dogs who have upper respiratory disease or diseases of the throat or trachea, such as a collapsed trachea. If a dog with an incorrectly fitted collar pulls on the leash, it places pressure on the throat and trachea, causing irritation and coughing. Harnesses relieve that pressure. However as all dogs pull with their chest, harness allow the dog to pull easily.

Martingale Collar: A martingale collar is made with two loops. The large loop is placed around the dogs neck and adjusted to fit loosely. The leash is then clipped to the D ring on the small loop. When the dog tries to pull their head out of the collar, the tension on the leash pulls the small loop taunt, which makes the large loop smaller and tighter on the neck-- preventing escape. When adjusted properly the dog is never choked, but the collar stays snug around the dog's neck (just behind the ears) until the pressure is released.

Halter-type Collars: will give you the best control over your dog. They give you control of your dog's head and when you have control of the dog's head, you have control of the dog. There are several brands of these halter-type collars including Halti collar and Gentle Leader. These collars look more like a horse's halter, with a band going around the back of the head, and another around the nose. The leash snaps onto the collar under the chin. When you pull on the leash, the dog's head will either be pulled down or to the side - this makes it virtually impossible for the dog to move ahead or pull you forward.

Incorrect use of this type of collar can cause, whip lash type injuries and in some cases have actually broken a dogs neck. Proper fitting and handling is required for these type of collars. Some people are hesitant to use the collar since they feel it looks more like a muzzle than a collar.

Chain-slip Collars: Chain-slip collars, also called check chain or 'choke collars,' provide effective training and retraining tools when used correctly and on appropriate dogs. These collars are most often used for dogs that are strong-willed, pull when on a lead, or those that do not respond to training when wearing traditional collars.

If you plan to use a choke collar on your dog, have a trainer show you how to use it correctly. Correct usage involves a quick 'tug-and-release' action (as opposed to a steady pulling) that tells the pet a different behaviour is desired. These collars should only be worn during training sessions, never in a crate, and avoided in pets with delicate tracheas, such as Yorkshire Terriers.

For correct sizing, measure your pet's neck and add half that measure again". There is a right and wrong way to put a slip collar on a dog. To correctly place a collar on a dog, the top ring on a properly-looped collar forms a letter P when you stand in front of the dog and pull it snug. If it forms the number 9, it is on backward and may not release immediately as designed, which may cause discomfort or gagging.

Pronged Collars: Pronged Collars, also called pinch collars, contain blunt prongs that protrude inward from the links. Designed for only the most stubborn pullers, they are temporary training tools used to change behaviour on dogs that do not respond to any other collar. Halter-type collars give you more control and are much less likely to harm your dog.

We have found that owners who know how to correctly train dogs rarely need these types of collars. Rather, they learned they were training their pet incorrectly, and were able to successfully train their dog using other collars after learning proper methods.

A lot of dog owners feel that crate training puppies is cruel. This thinking is wrong and it prevents them from taking advantage of the best house training  tool - a crate.

If you can avoid some common crate training mistakes, your puppy will enjoythe time he spends in his crate.

You see, just like wolves, dogs are den animals. A crate provides them withthe same sense of security that a den would have provided them in the wild.

The tricky part about crate training puppies lies in the fact that unlessyou use a crate correctly, you will not achieve the desired result.

What follows are some tips and suggestions you can use right away. Furtherdown, there is a page where I talk more about crate training your puppy.

So, without wasting any more time, let's review some...

The first step in crate training puppies is to decide where to place the crate. Because puppies are social animals, it's best to keep the crate in an area where your family spends a lot of time, but avoid placing it next to air vents or in direct sunlight.

Put a soft blanket inside the crate. To make your puppy feel more secure, put the crate next to a wall and cover the sides with a towel. Or get a Crate wear Pet Dreams 3-Piece Complete Crate Bed Set that includes a mattress, padded bumpers and a crate cover.

Though buckle collars are generally safe, it's not a good idea to use them when crate training puppies. Why? Because even a flat collar can get stuck between metal bars and injure your puppy.
The best time for crate training is when your puppy is hungry, bored, or... both.

Never force your pet to enter the crate. If he needs some encouragement, put some of his favourite toys or food inside the crate (from my experience, food works better than toys). Initially, leave them near the door and leave the crate door open. As your pet becomes more comfortable, you may move the toys further inside his crate.

If the above doesn't work, try another approach... Some puppies get anxious when encouraged to enter the crate but will venture inside on their own if there is an incentive.

One of the most difficult parts of crate training puppies is locking your pet in his crate for the first (and second, and third, and... times). Here is a trick I learned a long time ago. With my dog inside the crate and eating, I lock the door, but only for the duration of his meal. Even if he notices that I locked the door, most likely, he will be too busy eating to express his displeasure. As soon as he finishes eating, I open the door. As you repeat this exercise, keep the door locked a little longer each time.
Always praise your puppy for doing things right. Did he just enter his crate for the first time? Or maybe he didn't cry when you locked the door? I am sure you'll agree these milestones deserve some praise and a treat or two!

Don't try to accomplish too much too soon. As you begin crate training your puppy, keep the sessions short and gradually increase the training time when your puppy is ready.
A crate is the most valuable tool for training puppies. But to get the most benefits out of crate training, your puppy can't associate his crate with anything negative. So, never use it for punishment.

Housebreaking your new puppy is going to take patience. You shouldbegin to housebreak as soon as you bring your new puppy home. Puppies need torelieve themselves approximately six times a day. A puppy should be taken outimmediately after each meal since a full stomach puts pressure on the colon and bladder.

A puppy is not physically able to control the muscle that allows him to "hold it" until he is about 12weeks of age. Before this time, good housebreaking routines should be practiced to avoid having your puppy urinate and defecate all over your house. Watch for signs of urination or defecation, such as turning in circles. Take your puppy out often. Using a crate or confining your puppy to a small part of the house that has easy clean up floors are some ways to ensure your puppy does noturinate all over your house. It is much harder to housebreak a puppy if he smells is urine in places you do not wish him to relief himself.

There are many different methods in which you can housebreak your pet, however I find Crate training the most effective. Whichever way you choose, it is important to understand your puppy. Dogs want to please; the trick is to make them understand what it is you want from them.

Dogs do not think the way humans do. When you are unhappy with your dog, it assumes that whatever it is doing at the exact moment you show disapproval - is the thing that is upsetting you. 

For example:
If your puppy relieves himself on your floor and you show yourdisapproval five minutes after he has committed the act, the puppy will thinkthat the mess on the floor is bad. He will not relate to the fact that it wasthe act of relieving himself on your floor that you disapprove of. The dog willeliminate, see the mess and get worried; you are now going to be unhappy. Thisis the reason so many dogs will relieve themselves in inappropriate places andlook really guilty about it, yet they continue to do it. Dogs want to please,right?

Some owners start to think that their dog is being sneaky whenreally it does not fully understand what it is doing wrong. It knows the messupsets you but does not understand that it should stop "making" themess. To your dog, these two things: "the mess" and "the act" areunrelated. 

The trick is to catch your dog in the act and make him understand.You do not need to hit your dog. The tone of your voice is enough to make thedog see you are unhappy. 

A firm "Eh! Or other correction sound. You are not allowed to go in the house. “Eh!”or other correction sound is all that is needed. 

Immediately take your dog outside to the appropriate place. Wait for your dog to go again and when and if he does, praise him.Important: Always praise your dog after he eliminates in the appropriate place. 

Crate Training Caution: 
Before you crate train, please be aware: a dog that is left in a crate all day long, gets let out in the evening after work for a few hours and put back in the crate for the night canbecome neurotic, destructive, unhappy and noisy. 

If you work all day, it is recommended that you find someone who can take your dog out for a long walk in the afternoon. If this is not possible only use the crate at night. 

If you must leave your dog all day long every day and you have nobody to let the dog out during the day, you should find a room without a rug, put down Pooch Pads ReusableHousebreaking Pads, food, water and toys. 

You should set up the room so that the bed and food are at one end and the pee pads at the other. Spread the toys in the center of the room. Dogs are not fish. They need to find something to occupy their mind, so give your dog plenty of toys. It is said that dogs are den animals and like the crate, but even a den animal would go crazy if it was lock up all day long.

You must be willing to invest time and energy for just a few shortweeks in housetraining. The effort you put in now will last for the rest ofyour pet's life.

The crate training method is as follows. Buy a crate and for the first 3 to 4 weeks keep your puppy in it when you are not with him. Make sure the crate is not too big. It should be large enough for the puppy's bed, but no larger. Dogs do not want to soil their bed and the use of a crate teaches them to control their urge to eliminate. 

You must maintain an eagle eye at all times. As soon as you see himpacing, sniffing around, and turning in circles, immediately take him outside.He is telling you "I am going to go pee pee somewhere, and this carpet looks like as good a place as any." NO, you do not have time to put on your shoes, just go.

Be patient and do not rush the little guy. He may have to go several times in one "pit stop." Give him about 10 minutes before taking him back inside. Do not play with him while you are on this mission. Let him know this is a business trip.

Make sure you take him out after every meal and play session BEFOREyou put him back in his crate. Be consistent and establish a schedule. Payattention to your puppy's behaviour so you can develop a schedule that worksfor you and the pup. When does your puppy naturally defecate? In the morning?10 minutes after eating? Around bedtime? You may have to make some compromises.

Be fair to your puppy. He cannot be expected to stay alone in his crate for endless hours and not relieve himself. During your work days, you will need to have someone go to your home at least once (lunch time is good) to let the puppy out. Take him for a long walk. Your dog is not a fish and he needs something to occupy his mind.

Make sure everyone who is involved in the housebreaking process isusing the same spot in the yard and the same word. Everyone should agree on theplace they will take the puppy. The odour from the previous visits will causethe puppy to want to go in that spot. 

Use a simple word like "Potty/Weewees" when taking your puppy to the chosen spot. Use this word consistently and later this word will help build communication between the family and the dog. When you notice him going toward the door and you say "Potty" he can say "Yup, that’s where I need to go," or, "Forget it. I am getting back up on the couch for some shut eye."

Until your puppy is about 5 months old you will need to take him out frequently and keep that eagle eye on him. But before you know it, you are going to be able to trust and communicatewith your new pet. And he will learn that when he pleases you by going out to do his business, he gets more freedom in the house.

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    Professional dog trainer and former breeder of Shih Tzu puppies 


    October 2012
    September 2012


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