I remember those days! It can be very hard to see the end to the chewing or pottying on everything. Luckily these tips and tricks are here to help!
Feeding your new dog is probably one of the first obstacles to tackle. A lot of times the food that they were eating before coming home with you may not be the one you want to continue feeding them. I advise you to do your homework, there are all kinds of different blends out there. A lot of dogs have allergies to some of the ingredients in products. Our rat pack eats Fromm, small breed. If you are not familiar with Fromm, check them out. I highly recommend it!
Your veterinarian can help determine the right measurements for your pup. I recommend starting out feeding three meals a day. Then gradually lessen the amount for lunch till it is more like a snack than a meal. Free feeding is not a good choice. When free feeding it is hard to figure out when they need to go #2. Typically with in 30-60 minutes of eating, dogs any age will need to go out to do a #2. Unless your vet wants you to free feed for a medical reason I would not. Now lets talk about transitioning from the food that they were on prior to coming home with you. You do not want to do a cold switch of any animals food, it can cause stomach upsets and cause unwanted stress for you and your new baby. The best thing to do is a gradual switch by keeping the bags separate. Then add in the food they are currently on, and add a few kernels of the new food. Next, add in 3/4 or what they were on and add 1/4 of the new food. Continue adding in less of the old and more of the new, till he/she is on the new food. You also want to look out for any signs of allergies or issues in their stool. If at any point you notice any cause for concern, take away the new food to see if that is the cause. To help with their upset tummy you can give them some pumpkin. Look for the mashed pumpkin cans, not the pie filling.
There has also been a trend of people making their pets food. I do recommend when visiting the vet, asking them for recommendations for your babies diet, which to add or not add to your recipe. Here is one that we use if our rat pack has an upset tummy.
1 pkg of Chicken breast (baked and cut up)
2 cups of cooked white rice
1 can of drained Green Beans
1 cup of chicken broth
Mix it all together and serve cold or warm. My rat terriers get 1/2 cup per meal.
Now that you have your new pup(s) fed. Next thing to tackle is potty training! A lot of people like to bell train. Dogs will ring a bell that you place near a door or within their reach when they need to go potty. In theory this is a great idea, however, I do not recommend this form of training. It has been my experience that bells are rung whenever the dog wants to get your attention, to go outside to potty, or play or just that, to get your attention. Another thing to address here, DO NOT paper train! If you train a dog to go in the house, whether on paper or a pad you are letting them know it is okay to go in the house. The best thing to do to potty train your pups is the good ole schedule. It is best to get a calendar or print out a calendar that you can write on. Write what time they wake up, what time they will eat, etc, and leave spaces so you know what they did when you took them out.
As soon as you and your pup are awake in the morning, attach a leash to them. This is doing two things, you become aware of what they are doing at all times, and it is teaching them leash manners. Immediately take them out to potty, and talk about what you are doing with them. Believe me, they are listening. ‘We are going potty outside’ or ‘Go pp outside’ or even ‘name, is pottying outside’ When they do go potty, reward them with praise. I do not recommend rewarding them with a treat at this time. Then feed them breakfast, keep in mind as stated earlier anytime a dog eats it will need to go #2 shortly after. You also need to allow time for digestion. After eating allow 30 minutes of ‘quiet’ time. Then to get their system working this is a good time to take them out for a walk or play in the yard. Always praise them after pottying outside and talk aloud about what you want them to do. Also, remember to keep the leash attached at all times. Having the leash attached is great when you need to deter them from having an accident in the house.
Utilize the calendar you printed to write down everything, accidents, when they did #2 and eating times. Dogs prefer a schedule, so they know what to expect. It is okay to get help with caring for your animals. There are pet sitters that can help you during the day. Call them to set up a free consultation and you can show them what you expect in the care of your babies in your absence. Look for soon to come tips for having a pet sitter!
Usually, after a week or two, you can take off the leash in the house. Once you have their routine down pat and there are few accident attempts.
Next, I want to talk about crate training. I highly recommend supplying your baby with a safe place for them. Whether it is a crate or a room just someplace that is just for them. A crate is their safe place, never ever use this as a place for punishment, or a time out. Never leave anything they can choke on or potty on in the crate with them, while you are away. To get them used to the crate, leave the door open all the time. I started off giving a treat when they went in the crate. Whatever treat you give them, be sure that is the only time you are giving that type of treat. We use Charlee Bears, and I would say, ‘Good boy, you want a Charlee bear’ and I would reward him with one. I would close the door and sit for a few minutes, then open the door. Next time I would say, ‘Do you want a Charlee Bear?’ and I would get the bag and go to his crate. If they do not go in the crate, throw the treat in the crate. If you had to throw the treat in the crate for them to walk in sit down next to the crate for a few minutes, and repeat this step until they walk in without your throwing the treat. If they walked in the crate without you throwing the treat in the crate, shut the door to the crate. After sitting next to them for a few minutes get up and walk away from where they are. Wait 5 minutes and come back, praise them and open the crate door, and take them out. Repeat this step gradually adding on 5 minutes, until you are gone an hour then add in increments of 30 minutes. Be sure to not be gone longer than they can hold their bladder, and always take them out right after you get back, even if it was just a few moments. You are setting up a routine and letting them know what is expected of them. All we have to say to our Rat Pack is Charlee Bears and they go to their crate.
Leash training is very important and after being attached to them while potty training they should be already introduced to the leash. Here I want to talk about collars and harnesses. Review our other blog that talks about leashes and harnesses to learn the different types of harnesses and leashes and the best ones for you. I personally do not prefer to use a collar to attach the leash. I believe a collar is used for identification purposes, to be utilized if my dog is loose or when out in public. Many many times utilizing the leash attached to the collar the collar is pulled off if too loose. In some instances, you would need the collar very tight to not come off when you are trying to control your pooch. One thing that you will need to have taught your pup for this training is the sit command. This should be fairly easy and should only take a few times to get your pup prepared. Use a high utilized treat, something that has a strong smell. Ask your pooch to sit, if your pups bottom does not go down show him/her by helping put the bottom down. Then praise and give a treat. Repeat until you say sit and they sit. Be sure to use a stern voice, you are the leader, it may help by standing tall and putting your hands on your hips. Repeat practicing the sit command several times throughout several days. Then grab the harness, ask him/her to sit, praise, then put on the harness and give a treat. Clip on the leash, have them sit, praise and give a treat. Walk with a taut leash, anytime they pull or do something you do not like, turn around and start walking the other direction, pull them with you and say, ‘with me’, and praise. Do this several times over several different settings. To get the harness and leash off, do not just take off of them. Use the sit command again, tell them to sit, praise and take off the harness, and then give a treat. Once your pup has mastered the, ‘with me’ command and the sit command indoors you can take this outdoors. This typically takes a few days, don’t get discouraged if it is more than a week. Practice makes perfect!
One thing that you can not guarantee with the outdoors is others, and what your pup may react to. Remember you are the leader. Practice taking control of the situation, do not wait for something to happen. These are some encounters that I have experienced and how to manage and prepare for them.
A pedestrian with a dog coming towards you- use the, ‘with me’ command and walk across the street, walk into the yard you are about to pass, or the driveway, command your dog to sit and praise, give treat once the person has passed by. Practice avoidance, you do not know what the person or their dog will do in a situation, or how your dog will react to them. Too much is at stake to see what would happen. I also suggest as soon as you see a person walking towards you, to turn around, and say ‘with me’.
A person on a bike, roller skates, or skate board- Same thing as above, avoidance. It is typical for a dog to be afraid or have the instinct to chase moving things such as these mentioned.
Wild animals, (squirrels, rabbits, etc)- when you see the wild animals, turn around away from them, if it is unavoidable use the, ‘with me’ and sit commandgive them a treat and praise, then continue your outing once they have passed or out of view. If it is safer to only use the with me command and quickly get out of the view that is also an option.
Mail man, or other vehicles- Same concept practice avoidance, turn around to get out of the situation.
Persons wanting your dog’s attention, by petting or other- Tell them NO!, it doesn’t matter if it is an adult or a child, tell them he/she will bite, and to leave them alone, turn around, avoid the situation. Even if your dog loves children, other people. If there is something, or someone that your dog is used to that is outside, I still stress a distant hello.
Being outside for you and your dog can be very stressful, always keep in mind you are the leader and in control. Use the commands you have taught and carry rewarding treats. Once you have gained confidence and learned the tips here you can enjoy the glorious outdoors with your pup, maybe even go for a long hike!
We hope these tips help you and your pup have a well-balanced relationship and many years of happiness.
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