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Category: Training Tips

The first thing?

I’m often asked what is the first thing I should teach my puppy, or my older dog, when they arrive home for the first time.   And to me, the most important thing you can teach your puppy (or older dog) is to come when they are called.

Why?  Couple reason.  One, it can literally save their lives.   Heading to the road?  Come!   Slip out of the collar on a walk?  Come!  See a mean big bad dog/person heading your way?  Come!

Another reason, is that it is so very frustrating to chase your puppy around the yard, or even around the living room.   They have twice as many legs as you do, and love a good game of Chase The Puppy!   You need to go to work!  Puppy wants to play!  Argh!

And if you are ever stopped by a Bad Man who says your puppy is his and the policeman says ‘see who he comes to, call him by his name’  No Worries!  Puppy will come!  What, you don’t watch Annie?  It happens!

My first rule of come, is that it should be a party.  Every single time puppy comes to you, good things should happen.  You should never call them to come and immediately do something bad, like scold or crate pop.  Come is for good things!  Pets and kisses and treats and ball play!  Yay!!!   You want coming to you to be the best thing that ever happened to them!

Come?  I will never leave his side!

Come? I will never leave his side!

Say their name to get their attention, then add the word “Come!”   “Chandler?! Come!”   One word.  Plus their name.   Bend over, squat down, hold out a treat, a ball, whatever.   When they arrive, Party on!

If you have a tiny or a shy one, face them, closely, take one step back as you say come.   Often they will just follow you.  Yay!

I like my dogs under what I call ‘voice control’ and come is the easiest best way to get that goal  accomplished.

Check out the Chinese Cresteds at www.longroadkennel.com

Beat the heat!

Someone told me it was hot outside.  Oh, wait, maybe that was me when I went outside.   MAN, its warm out there and in this part of the world, we don’t get that wimpy old ‘dry heat’.  No, here, we proudly wear the weather, as our weatherguy says.   Walk out and you feel it it, all damp and warm immediately.   But luckily, soon, its wet and hot!

So how are your dogs beating the heat?DSCF1022

Here’s how mine endure.  Yes, life is hard for them.   Air conditioning,  cool floor, soft beds.  Spoiled things.

But if yours are outside – a few tips to help them keep cool.  One – SHADE.   All day.   Hopefully yours aren’t on a chain but loose in the fenced yard.  Access to shade is crucial.   And shade moves.

Two, water.   And ice.   Got a small bucket – ice cream bucket, plastic container?   Fill it with water, pop it in the freezer  and make a giant ice cube.   If you want to be amazing, and face it, who doesn’t?   When it gets slushy, take a couple chewies and a rubber toy and sink them in  to freeze.  Then as the ice melts, dog has something to do!   To get the ice out, simple rinse the outside with warm water and turn it upside down.

Three – give the dog dirt.   Yes, dirt is cool, and if allowed to, they will lay in dirt over grass anytime its hot. Roll in it, dig in it.    Oh, its just dirt, deal.   They probably want a cool bath later, anyway!

Four – wading pool.  If you don’t have a real pool, like me, or think the dog’s hair clogs it, like a friend of mine, then get a wading pool.  Ten bucks, few inches of water, put it in the shade, and then lead dog into it a few times, so he knows its there.   Yeah, he’ll probably end up drinking it, but usually dogs don’t pee in their wading pool. unlike kids, so all’s good.

Five – think basement.   I watched a collie for a while and her favorite place was the laundry room in the basement.  So cool, so nice!

Dogs get hot too, so they will appreciate anything you do to help.

And of course, you know, never never never leave your dog in the car – not even to run inside for ‘just a minute’ .  Leave them home.  They will thank you and so will I.

Keep them close, but walk them around

Today’s quick housebreaking tip – keep them close.

When you are housebreaking your new rescue dog or brand new puppy, don’t start out thinking that you are Housebreaking.

Try instead to think of it as ‘room breaking’.  One room at a time.  One area.

I like this area.



Your dog doesn’t realize that just because he isn’t supposed to pee in the kitchen, he also isn’t supposed to not pee in the bedroom.   (How many negatives was that?  I lost count.  But I think you get the idea.)   He just doesn’t know, can’t realize.  His brain doesn’t work that way.


One trick I’ve found, when you start letting them explore more, to break out of the kitchen – in the den – watch tv with the family!  Is to put them on the leash and keep them close.   I worked with a cocker puppy a while back who had it in his head, he ran to the basement room and peed every time he got loose.   Driving the mom nuts with frustration.   I told her to put the dog on the leash several times a day and walk the dog TO the basement, instead of trying to keep him out!  He needed to realize this was part of his usual house, not the outside, or the bathroom or whatever he was thinking.

Because until we explain it to them in a way they understand, they don’t understand.

So during your housebreaking time, think small.   Housebreak them in This room first.  Then one more room.  But walk them around the house, on the leash, let them know its all part of where they live.  Its not the outside, their place to pee.   It will take them a while to figure it out, but they will.

As an aside – my attempts to make sweet potato treats over on www.longroadkennel.com today.   Check it out, give me some better ideas if you have them?  Thanks.

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