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Category: Question of the Week

Be a Tree

Taking a bit of a break from the housebreaking topic to discuss something else today.  I seem to get the same questions in  waves, and this one has been at high tide for a while now.

It involves puppies and kids.  Two of my favorite things!  I always say, though, that the hardest thing is to have a puppy and a two year old because they both jump and squeal and you can’t reason with either one of them!

But!.  They should be best friends, right?  That’s why you got the puppy, wasn’t it?  Well, its not quite working out.  Kid runs and screams and waves his arms and that darn puppy tries to jump on him and mouth him!   Knocks him over!  Makes the kid either cry and be afraid or get more screamy and excited, which in turn gets puppy more excited which…well, its a never ending cycle that drives you insane!

First of all realize that This Too Shall Pass and in a few years, they WILL be best friends, but right now they are just little.  That’s right, just little, nothing ‘wrong’ with either one of them.

But ‘young’ is a great excuse! Between that and my cute self, I’m going to get away with everything!

BUT, it is not up to your toddler child to try and make the puppy behave.  That’s why kids come equipped with this handy thing called Parents.  Yup, its your job to teach them both.  So, the first thing you are going to do, is get the  kid away from the puppy and teach him to Be a Tree.

Be a Tree means he will stand still, bend his knees a little, give himself a hug, with fists tight against his body and shut his eyes.  And you practice this at random times, “Be a Tree!” until it comes automatically to kid.

THEN when you hear that familiar squeal and scream of ‘Puppy is getting me!’  You know its time to yell, “Be a Tree!”.   Now kid is calm, puppy is getting no attention – and attention and the excitment of it all is why he jumps and grabs – and will realize kid is now BORING.  As soon as you yell ‘be a tree’ you get up and go tell puppy to do something else.   Sit, come, chase your ball.

What this accomplishes is stopping what could be a bad habit of behavior and reaction before it gets ingrained in both of them.  It also gives kid a sense of something to do when he’s not yet old enough to be a firm commander of the puppy.

Try it, you’ll like it!

Check out the new post over on the website – www.longroadkennel.com


Baby its cold outside!

Do you WANT your dog to pee in the house?

Oh, come on, quit laughing.  Some people DO.   They live in an apartment with lots of stairs between here and down there.  They have a tiny dog who ‘doesn’t go much’.   They just want to paper train their dogs.  They use newspapers, potty pads, those new ‘pee here’ pieces of equipment.

Doesn’t matter.  It all works out the same.  IF you have a small dog and that’s what you want.  This doesn’t work for Huskeys.  Or Labs or rotties or…well – you wouldn’t have gotten a dog that worked with if you didn’t want it, right?


One – name your spot.  When you go outside, I call it…outside.  When in the house, I call it Papers.   Either way, you let your dog walk to the same spot all the time.  I’ve seen people with papers all over the house.  So the wherever the dog pees, we can catch it.  Good in theory.  Not so good in practice.  Once you pick up the papers by the end table – will he know to stop?

Don’t give your dogs that much credit for smarts.

One spot.  Confine your dog to that area.   Teach them the name “papers” or “pee” or whatever feels good to you.  Get his attention.  Throw a treat there – Papers!  So he runs to get the treat.  Its a Game!

Take him there on your schedule, saying the same words.   We want this dog thinking  he knows How to get there, and what to do once he does.   So we take him there on his schedule.  We hold him there with the leash and we tell him what we want “Hurry up” “Go potty”  whatever.   and if that happens we praise and reward with treats.

We also send him there on his own.  “Papers!”   “Potty!”  and throw a treat – send him.

This is the same thing you do for an outside peeing dog.  You think the same place, the same time, the same words, the treat for going, the same schedule.

I’ve had people act as if puppy pads or papers in the corner of one room was a bad thing.  Just like cat litter boxes, no.  Its Not bad.  You just have to clean up after them, teach them what you want and hey – you Might be the smart one.  Not standing outside when its zero and sleeting!


Yesterday I wrote about the importance of putting your dog on a schedule. taking them out on a schedule, letting them know when it was time to go and what to do when they got there.

Someone asked, but how do I know the timing?  How long is too long and how do I know when I can quit running him out every few minutes/half an hour?

And of course I’ll give you my professional advice. I dunno.

Just like with people, dogs are all different with different needs and bladder capacities and urges.   We all feed different food, at different times.  A nice lady once told me it would hurt her heart not to leave food down all the time for her tiny dogs.  After all, she could go to the kitchen any time she wanted and get food. It would be mean to deprive the dogs.  She’s going to have a lot more issues (and boy howdy did she!) with housebreaking than the equally nice lady with the lab who feeds her twice a day and picks it up between.

The idea of all food all the time sounds good to me!


There’s this stuff we used to use before computers and fancy phones called Paper.  Do you have any laying around?   Find some.  Hang it up somewhere or put it on a table or counter with a pencil beside it.  Now, every time the dog goes outside, write it down.   Its not that hard.  Takes less than three seconds.    Right beside the time , add a number.  Zero means I took the stubborn thing out and it did nothing.  One means he went pee, and you can guess what happened when you wrote down a two.

After a few days, you’ll be able to see a pattern.  “Dog poops half an hour after he eats in the morning and and an hour after he eats at night.”   “She can go two hours without peeing during the day.”  It won’t be an exact science but you will be able to manage your time better.

A more general rule – when they are up and active, two to four month old puppies need to go out about every hour unless crated.  Or asleep.   Older dogs, err on the side of caution.  Keep them close, and write it down.

How often do you take yours out?

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