Sunday, October 25, 2009

How to prepare a comfortable den for your dog

By now, you should have chosen the right place for your dog to live. In this article, I will discuss, how to create a comfortable den for your dog, that in later parts of house training will act as a safe place in your home.

Crate or no crate?

The most important decision you will make, while preparing your dogs den, is: "Should I use crate or not." This dilemma can be resolved very quickly, if you honestly answer the question: "Can I spend enough time with my dog, to make sure he is OK in an opened den?" Most of the people can't so it is natural they try to insure their pet is safe, by closing him in a crate. However if you choose not to close your dog in a crate, good idea is to create some kind of spot, you can tie your dog to, in case you have to leave him alone in your house.

How big should my dogs den be?

Dogs, in contrast to humans don't need a lot of space to live. In fact, if your dogs den will be too big, your pet can get confused and will think it is a prison. Of course, the size of dogs den largely depends on the breed of your dog. If you have a large dog, you need a larger den, but in most cases even biggest dogs, will feel comfortable in dens 8ft x 8ft. Anything larger then that is unnecessary.

Other things to remember...

One of the most obvious and important things, you should include inside your dogs den, is a bed. It can be anything from a box with some towels to more fancy, designer dog beds. No matter what you choose, make it comfortable and appropriate for your dogs size.

A crucial thing, that has to find place in your dogs den, are his toys. It is directly connected to the fact, your dog should associate his den with happy and warm living space, not a cold cage. That is exactly why you should often play with your dog, while he is inside his den, this will make him want to get back to it.

Last thing, you should keep in mind, applies only to puppies. Young dogs, have problems with controlling their bladders and bowel movements, simply because they haven't developed muscles allowing them to do it. That is why you should put paper on the floor of puppies den. This way you make sure he doesn't destroy anything by eliminating on your floor or carpet.

What not to include.

It is unnecessary, to put elimination box, inside your dogs den. Most of the dogs, that understand that their den is their home, won't eliminate there, unless they really need to. So the only reason to put it there, is when you leave him alone for long period of times.

Something that may help you to create a comfortable den for your dog, is putting yourself in his shoes. By asking yourself a question: "If I were a dog, would I like to live in such a place?" You can make sure you will create a real home for your pet.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Potty training your dog

Potty training or toilet training, is an important part of house training. If you will fail to complete this part of the process, your dog will eliminate wherever he wants and I don't think that is result you are after.

Establishing elimination spot.

You have to clearly determine where your dog will eliminate. This is the first thing you have to do, beginning his training before compleating this step is pointless.

The important thing is, once you choose the place, don't change it. Some of the dogs, may stay unaffected by such a change because they associate elimination with a litter box, but you don't want to risk confusing your dog. Make it as simple for him as you only can.

What kind of box to choose.

There is a wide range of dog elimination products. Anything from litter boxes, boxes with special paper or even boxes with real grass. You have an absolute freedom in choosing what kind of box you want. I personally like litter boxes, as special sand absorbs bad smells and is relativly easy to clean.

The one thing you have to keep in mind, especially with puppies, is that elimination boxes can create a life long surface preference. If you dog never eliminated on a grass, he may not be able to do it when it is needed. Same principle applies to paper and sand. That is why, you may want to get your puppy used to eliminating in various places. This way you make sure he won't get addicted to eliminating on one surface.

How to potty train your dog.

When you are prepared, you can start to potty train your dog. The most important part of potty training is establishing a routine you will follow. Every two hours or so, it depends on age of your dog, take your pet to elimination spot and use a voice command like: "do your business." This way, he will associate this command with eliminating and in future he will understand what you want from him.

You should stay completely emotionally detached from your dog while you are training him. Just take him to the spot, and say the command, if he wants to play or starts to bark, repeat the command using a firm voice. If you will play with your pupil during this times, he will get confused and won't know what you want him to do there.

Once your dog eliminates, you start to praise him. This creates a positive association between eliminating in this spot and positivity from you. You may also try using snacks, for even better results. After your dog eliminates just give him a snack and start to have fun with him.

The most important rule of potty training is, remaining consistent in your efforts. Even the most stubborn pets can learn they have to eliminate in designated spot. You just have to take advantage of power of repetition.

If you want to learn more about potty training your dog, I recommend reading another article connected to this topic called: What to do in case of an "accident." This text will teach you, how to behave when your dog doesn't follow your commands and how to avoid inresponsivness to your training.