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Week-by-week: A fun filled first year with your dog

A mouthy puppy is completely normal. Puppies perceiving everything as a chew toy is a natural part of their development. It is their way of learning the world, similar to babies discovering objects by touching. You will see this behavior especially during playtime, which can include nibbling on hands, feet and clothing. Save your hands, shoes, furniture and clothing from unwanted puncture marks from the dreaded puppy mouthiness.

Tips to combat your puppy’s piranha teeth

Not every pup learns the same way but here are a few ways you can help them understand that your hands aren’t toys.

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Having trouble leaving your dog alone? Check out this post on tips to curb Separation Anxiety

Puppy mouthiness have you at your wits end? Meet with one of our trainers to guide you through this stage and beyond.

Managing Your Puppy’s Needs

The first year with your dog is a year filled with exciting firsts, as well as challenging milestones. You are probably wondering what sort of changes you will have to make to your lifestyle with a new puppy, i.e., will they need to be drastic, how much attention and training does my dog need, and where do I begin? Don’t worry, we’ve got you!

a black puppy lying down with a blue ball in her mouth
Pre-Puppy planning, breeder, rescue expectations, and beyond Three Weeks Prior:

Discuss what your breeder or rescue is currently doing for the care of your puppy, set proper expectations.

Two Weeks Prior:
  • Schedule a session with a Trainer to create a schedule and start puppy-proofing your home. You should expect to go over
    • How to create a “safe zone”
    • Creating a dog’s schedule
    • Creating a consistent language for the household
  • Set up a Zoom call with New York Veterinary Practice to discuss your dog’s Annual Wellness Plan.
Day of arrival – tips for success:
Entering Your Home:
  • Take your dog to their “safe zone,” setup during your puppy-proofing. Your dog should have access to go in and out of the crate. Put kibble or a treat in the crate so there is positive association with the area.
  • Based on the schedule established with the Trainer, put down food and water (do not leave these down for more than 30 minutes). This will help your dog feel more comfortable.
  • Introduce your dog to your family and household. Do not approach all at once as this can be overwhelming. Allow your dog to come to you.
  • Tour your dog around your home, avoid areas you do not want them to go.
  • Now is a good time to begin your brief period of solitary downtime in the playpen / crate
    • Solitary downtime, or crating, should be no more than one hour per month of age
    • Avoid exceeding nine to ten hours in a day (not including sleeping periods).
    • This development is important for bladder control, preventing chewing / destructive behavior, and independence. A one hour period of aerobic exercises should follow these sessions.
Your puppy is home, has their own space, and is comfortable – what next? Check out this week-by-week guide to check in your and your puppy’s progress!

Training Sessions VS Real World Application

By Tito Rivera, Senior Behavior Counselor – IACP
 

 

Hello and welcome to another Biscuits & Bath Blog! In this post, we are going to cover the topic of training sessions vs real life application. We’ll go over how to take the things you learn in puppy class and apply them to everyday situations.  Some of the questions we often answer in our training classes are “why does my dog have to sit all the time” or “why does my dog still pull on leash if he learned how to walk in class”. Not to worry as our training team is here to assist.

Let’s start with a training session; what does it entail, what is the goal and what does it accomplish. A training session is a time set aside to practice with your pup. During this time, we go to great lengths to control the environment and stimulation levels. We do this to encourage learning and to promote a more efficient success rate when working with your dog on desired behaviors. While working in a training session set up we give ourselves full control of when, where and how distractions and failure points are added to the training. This will ensure that we don’t lose your dog’s attention and can teach him/her without having outside stimulation detract from our work.

Next, we have real world situations, such as taking our dog for a walk outside or practicing our commands in a new place such as the park or even out on a calm street. The urban environment can not only be stressful and scary to a dog, but it can also be an overwhelming stimulus that can cause breakdowns in our training him/her. Situations like random skateboards, joggers, loud vehicles are all circumstances that can trigger reactions in your dog. Often times a dog has a hard time transitioning from a training session to just walking around the city. This can be caused by a few factors such as going directly from a distraction free environment to outside without first structuring the dog’s ability to work through distractions.

By now you are probably wondering what to do to climb this hill. The solution is simpler than you think. We’ll first start with our training sessions; this is one of our most important tools in helping your dog be able to function outside of the training area. We begin with no distractions and then build up by adding things a dog might see outside such as a bike or a skateboard (click here and check out Massimo’s first introduction to the skateboard). Playing city noises in the background can also help drastically as sounds in the city can be very intimidating to a young pup or an older dog that hasn’t been exposed to those sounds. Try to find new places to practice instead of trying to control all the factors around you. Take your pup somewhere new and start slowly. Keep sessions short and sweet to ensure success. Build on small successes with your dog as this is the most surefire way of building your pups confidence.

Remember, we’re here for you if you need us. Ask us if you’re not sure how to approach a situation.

 

Crate Training

By Tito Rivera, Senior Behavior Counselor – IACP


In this week’s blog, we’ll be covering the topic of crate training in the city and how to overcome some of the difficulties associated with owning a dog in the city.

Crate training can be a daunting task to even the most experienced dog owner. Crate training in the urban environment can be downright overwhelming. The urban landscape offers a variety of challenges not seen in more suburban or rural settings. A few of these factors include higher congestion of dogs, people and other distractions occurring at a much higher frequency and duration than would often be experienced in a rural setting. Crate training goes hand in hand with house training. Yes, they are in fact two different things! Crate training is the process of teaching our dog to accept a dog crate as a familiar and safe location (pretty obvious I know!) without crying or howling, as well as not having accidents in the crate. So, with all these obstacles in the way, what is a new dog owner to do?! Have no fear, we are here to help you with just that problem.

Planning ahead of your pup’s arrival at home is the first step you will take on as a new dog owner. Before your pup comes home you should have already invested in some good quality equipment such as a collar, leash, food/water bowls, toys/ chews, bed and of course a crate! Many people often ask “Is a crate important?” or “do I have to crate my dog?” and to these questions we say yes, crate training is very important. While your dog may not spend time in his/ her crate at home, there are certain times that may pop up that are beyond our control which means our dog will inevitably be in a crate for one reason or another. If you are still not convinced then ask yourself if you are planning on taking your dog to a groomer, vet, or trip via airplane or ship. If you answered yes to any of these questions, then crate training is definitely important for you and your pup. Teaching your dog to be calm and relaxed in a crate can help minimize tense in stressful situations.

Now that we know that crate training is going to help our dogs enjoy more aspects of their lives comes the next question; “where do I start?”. The first thing you’ll want to do is notify your neighbors before your pup arrives at home. Let them know that your pup might cry or bark but you are doing training to stop the behavior and appreciate their understanding. It has been our experience that just letting your neighbors know that you have a new puppy, that he/she might cry but you are working on it makes for much more tolerant neighbors. This goes a long way to lower your stress levels and allow you to work with your pup without fear of upsetting the other tenants around you.

The second step you’ll need to take is to pick out a crate. Some people wait until they get their pup to shop for a crate. That is OK, however, I recommend having everything set up before your pup joins your household and have one less thing to worry about. Crate sizing is central as well. Too small a crate and your pup will quickly outgrow it and will not be very comfortable in it. Too large and you run the risk of your pup eliminating in the crate if you don’t get them outside soon enough. Your crate needs to be large enough for your pup to sit, stand, lay down and turn around comfortably. You will also need to decide whether you want a wire crate or plastic. The choice here is typically based on preference as both options do well enough.

Third step is understanding what happens during crate training. Most puppies will cry or whine when put into a crate. This is normal behavior since a pup doesn’t understand what is going on. Some pups will accept the crate pretty easily after a few minutes of whining and will usually settle down and relax. Often times people will put their pup in the crate and allow him/her to “cry it out”. This technique while it works for some dogs, isn’t the best way to go about it. The first reason we don’t recommend using this method is the close proximity of neighbors who may not take well to the noise. The second and far more important issue is that we haven’t taught our dog to be comfortable in their crate yet, which leads to step four.

The fourth step we are going to take is teaching our pup to accept the crate. As an expert team of trainers that have worked with many dogs in the city, we have now taken a more active approach to crate training rather than just relying on a dog’s crate submission. There are several things you can do to create a positive association to the crate. The first thing you can do is feed your dog’s meals in the crate itself. With this technique, you can break meal times into training sessions by placing a few pieces of kibble in the back of your pup’s crate and allowing him/her to go for it. Depending on your pup’s comfort level you can try closing the door of the crate after a few times he/she goes in for food. Ideally, you want your pup to be stepping all the way into the crate. DO NOT try to force your dog into the crate while they are reaching for the food inside as this will cause your dog to lose trust in you and will then make attempts to snatch the food and back out before the door closes. Build your dogs comfort with this exercise before closing him/her in the crate while slowly extending the amount of time your pup is expected to remain calm inside. The key here is in getting successes regardless of the amount of attempts we do. Another tip to try is reserving your dogs favorite kong, or chew for the crate only. Your dog will quickly realize they get their favorite treat in the crate and will usually run in for it.

Using these techniques, will help you build a strong foundation to set your pup up for success. While it can seem overwhelming, remember to keep things simple and consistent. Some last points to touch on before we go;

  1. Training should be fun for handler and dog
  2. As a rule of thumb, a pup can hold their bladder for an hour per month of life (3-month pup = 3 hours)
  3. Crates are not inhumane when used correctly, dogs are den animals
  4. Adult dogs can be crated longer than pups but should not be pushed too long
  5. Crates help teach bladder control and strengthens their bladder

Following these key rules to crate training has proven successful for our training team time and again. Take your time and build on successes, if at any point you are unsure of what you are doing you should reach out to a professional trainer that will guide you and your pup on your road to success.

In this session of Puppy 101, we’ll discuss one of the most important (if not the most) aspect of your puppy’s development: training!

Many people train their dogs on their own (with plenty of help from blogs and Youtube), but find that they have difficulty maintaining the trained behaviors. Working with a personal dog trainer is the ideal option for any pup: they’re familiar with your case, can adjust training according to your lifestyle, and can answer any specific questions you may have.

Arranging a meet-and-greet with your trainer as early on as possible will help you and puppy immeasurably: you’ll both be comfortable and secure with your trainer’s tips, tactics, and methodology, streamlining training and making it an enjoyable experience for everyone involved!

Here are some key points to keep in mind when beginning your puppy’s training process:

  1. Keep training consistent and structured for optimal (and long-lasting) results.
  2. Regular enforcement is critical to success! Skipping a day only hurts your pup’s development.
  3. Devoting 10-15 minutes per day working on basic commands further strengthens your relationship: don’t miss out!
  4. Engaging with their owners and surroundings curbs puppy boredom! Keep your buddy entertained!
  5. Training is a great way to keep your dog social. Socialization is critical for any dog, especially in NYC!
  6. Training is also great for introducing your dog to new environments, teaching them to acclimate well in new situations.

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Training your puppy is an incredibly rewarding experience-don’t miss out on this integral part of your bonding! Stay tuned for more training tips on the Biscuits and Bath blog, and thanks for joining us for Puppy 101!

Biscuits and Bath offers training classes, private lessons, train-and-play sessions, and home phone consultations with our trainers. Classes include Puppy Kindergarten, Basic Obedience, and Agility.

Hi there!
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You’re about to em”bark” (see what we did there?) on an amazing journey with the newest member of your family: your puppy! Taking care of pups in these formative months can seem like a huge undertaking. After all, puppies require the same ( if not more) attention and care as the average human newborn!

Puppies are delightfully playful, adorably mischievous, and wonderfully affectionate. Bonding and training at this time is what lays the groundwork for your incredible relationship, so It’s important to seek guidance and do your research to ensure a happy, healthy puppy that grows into a strong, behaved, and loving “man’s best friend”.

And that’s the motivation behind our new blog series, Puppy 101. We’re giving you a free guide to your first months as a proud puppy owner. Development in the first 8-16 weeks of a puppy’s life is critical. We’re here to make rearing easy with guidelines for training, hygiene, playtime, and more!

Don’t get overwhelmed by the wonderful process that is puppy rearing. The experience is incredibly rewarding, and something you-and your puppy-will never forget! So stay tuned for all the info we’re about to throw at you- and feel free to email, call, or stop by one of our locations to ask any and all questions you may have!
Have any dog care and puppy-rearing questions? Ask us in the comments below!

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While initially potty training your puppy may seem like a daunting task, even the most stubborn pup can master a new bathroom routine with persistence, consistency, and love. While it is easiest to prevent pups from forming problem behavior as soon as possible, no dog, despite age or situation is a lost cause. Keep these things in mind during puppy training exercises.

Be Positive: It is essential to remember, as with all dog and puppy training, to abstain from negative reinforcement.

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If your pup has an accident, distracting them and moving them outside is a vastly preferred option than yelling, screaming or rubbing their nose in it.  Your dog will not associate their location (inside/outside) with any punishment you dish out; they will actually associate the act of using the bathroom with punishment. This negative reinforcement teaches your pup to hide all bathroom activities from you and will severely set your dog training back.

Restrict access: Until your dog has routinely displayed a mastery of proper bathroom habits, restricting their access to the home helps prevent accidents by keeping them in a smaller environment.

Don’t be so boring: Keep your pup supervised and busy! Mischievous younger dogs often sneak off to have accidents.

Don’t leave them alone: Join them outside! If you can’t see your pup doing their business outside, they might just be playing around rather than relieving themselves.

Give praise: Always praise your dog for proper bathroom behavior. If you catch a mistake in process, just distract them and take them were it is ok. Avoid negative association.

Don’t eat and pee in the same place: If your pup seems to enjoy using a constant part of your home, try moving their eating area over to the problem spot. While this will prevent your dog from using the same spot, be careful that a new negative pattern does not develop elsewhere.

A time for crate: Consider making use of a crate or pen when your dog is unattended. Don’t let your absence undo all of your hard work.

Keep it consistent: If you want your pup to do their business outside, never use puppy pads or indoor aids. Don’t mix signals, choose indoor or outdoor and stick to it.

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Positivity and consistency at work with a well-controlled environment are key to successful puppy training and the happiness of everyone involved!

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