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Category: Dog Behavior

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

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.


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!

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