First of all, I want to say CONGRATULATIONS! The fact that you are reading this article probably means that you have a little one coming soon. Having a baby is probably the most joyous experience a parent can have. The purpose of this article is to help make sure your dog can share in your joy by welcoming the new member of the family.
Before you bring the baby home:
Adjust your dog’s schedule to the schedule he will be following when the baby comes home. If he goes out at 7 am now, but will be going out at 5 am when the baby comes home his schedule should change before the arrival. All aspects of his eventual scheduling changes should be adjusted well in advance.
Your dog should be used to the baby’s belongings. Changes to the baby’s room such as painting and new furnishings should be brought in sooner and not later.
Try to have household scents in the room. With a new paint job and new furnishings, the room can have a lesser “pack” feel to it. A well-used blanket or favorite recliner can bring draw this back. Try to spend time in the room in the weeks to come to the future.
Start bringing the baby’s scent home after childbirth. Soiled clothes and blankets should be brought home as soon as possible and before the baby’s arrival in the house. However, you must prevent situations where you will have to correct your dog over these articles. If you don’t want him too close to these things, then keep them out of reach. You don’t want him to connect bad things with the new baby!
Reduce the attention your dog normally gets a week or more before your new baby’s arrival. Reduce the attention far lower than he will receive after the baby comes home so he won’t feel he is competing for attention with the baby.
Dogs house soil for different reasons. Health problems, of course, we cannot expect a dog to be able to prevent accidents. One sign of poor health is the condition of the stools. Are they well-formed and not too lose? Urinating is also affected by medical conditions. Suspicions that health issues might be involved should receive medical attention immediately.
House soiling can result from behavioral problems. Separation anxiety, demands for attention, or leadership issues need to be addressed directly. But, some dogs just haven’t been taught that the house is no place to potty. Young dogs, or sometimes older dogs, that had less than clean childhoods need to be shown. This section on house soiling is for those dogs.
Clean all accidents with vinegar and water. When a dog urinates or defecates a chemical (pheromones) is released. One of the functions of this chemical is to cause the dog to physically feel as if he needs to relieve himself (natures way of having the dog soil just certain areas). Vinegar breaks the effect of pheromones. Half white vinegar and half water in a squirt bottle works well.
Feed on an exact schedule.
Do not vary the diet.
Feed a high-quality food. The fewer fillers (soy, ash) a food has, the less bulk your dog’s system will need to manage.
Keep everything your dog ingests (food) consistent. If you plan on giving your dog treats, make sure to give the same amounts and type each day through the housebreaking process.
Walk your dog on an exact schedule.
Provide an area that is solely used for elimination. If your dog spends time in an area (such as a small back yard), then it may make more sense to him to relieve himself in an area where he spends less time, such as a basement or spare bedroom.
Catching your Dog in the Act is Critical to Success
This can be tricky! Some tips:
Of course, this is the key.
Know how long after your dog eats till he will have to respond to nature. This varies from dog to dog, but within twenty minutes he should need to.
A brass bell or two on the collar. When the bells sound you maybe able to tell how the dog is moving and where he is off to. This is handy if your dog uses a particular spot to house soil. Pet stores sell small bells for cats that are perfect for this purpose.
When you do Catch your Dog in the Act
Loudly yell “No!” Make it loud and startling. As with any correction, don’t over do it to the point that your dog will lose focus to the act he was doing that caused the correction.
Take the dog directly to where he is supposed to relieve himself. Until you near the area he is to use keep mumbling in a harsh tone.
As you are near the area to be used, be relaxed. You’re not upset that your dog relieved himself. You’re upset where he relieved himself.
Wait for your dog to use the proper area. Stay for a while even if you don’t think your dog will relieve himself.
If your dog does relieve himself in this area then give him lots praise!
Separation anxiety can be a real challenge to deal with. It can cause all sorts of destructive behavior and is never desirable for your dog. The following are some tips and strategies to use to reduce separation anxiety.
Some facts about dogs and separation anxiety:
Wild dogs live in a group that is together 365 days a year and 24 hours a day.
Dogs are not designed to be alone.
Depending on the individual dog, he probably has some level of separation anxiety.
For some owners that means their dog would rather have company then to be left alone. For other owners, this could mean that the dog has chewed up everything in the home and soiled on every conceivable inch of it.
Make coming and going very low keyed. Highly emotional homecomings and departures can instill feelings in your dog that being alone is a bad thing.
Give your dog a feeling that there is a reason why he is being left behind. Use the dog’s name, the word “okay” and sound very expectant in a phrase as you leave. The phrase must be positive (You be good! is not a positive phrase). A good example of a phrase to use is “Watch the house Cheese Steak, Okay?.” This will leave the dog with the feeling something is expected of him and give him a sense of purpose to why he is staying behind.
When leaving try to have calm body language and a gentle tone of voice. You don’t want to cue the dog that he should be worried by your body language. You are running late and stressed and that leaves you dog w/a feeling he should worry. Move slowly so as not to enact a flee response.
Never punish after the fact! This quite possibly will create, or already has created a behavioral problem.
Never intentionally make the dog excited when he is allowed to leave the house.
Your dog should have something appropriate to chew upon when you are gone. Chewing can be a tension releaser. When your dog is stressed over your not being home (or any reason), he can release that stress by chewing on something you provided him.
If your dog suffers from car sickness, it can make transportation a real challenge. A simple trip to the vets’ office can be very stressful for you and your dog. The goal of this short guide is to tell you how to condition your dog to avoid car sickness.
A Few Facts:
- Car sickness is motion sickness.
- Motion sickness can be caused by a few factors, but primarily by movement in the inner ear.
- Characteristics of car sickness can be vomiting, excessive salivation, yawning, whining, uneasiness, and even diarrhea in extreme cases.
- Conditioning the dog to the vehicle can be effective at reducing or eliminating car sickness.
Start the guidelines at a point considerably before the onset of the signs of car sickness. In other words, if your dog is showing any of the signs above you are pushing too far ahead. Throughout these guidelines acting relaxed and calm is important.
- Day one, take your dog to the car and give him praise, then call it a day.
- The next day open the car door, give praise and call it a day.
- The next day put your dog in the car, praise and call it a day.
- The next day start the car, praise the dog and call it a day.
- The next day move the car a short distance.
- Continue increasing the distance until you get your dog past the point where he usually would have started showing his usual signs of carsickness.
Just like many things with your dog, repetition is a necessity. Eventually, your dog will be able to ride in the car with no car sickness problems at all.
In most owner-pet relationships, the owners see their dog as far more than a simple possession. Any Antisocial behavior that develops is often tolerated, partly because the owners couldn’t contemplate the loss of the dog and partly because they feel the problem is due to some failure on their part. Understanding these problems is a big step towards solving them.
The main kinds of problem are:
- Separation behavior
- Phobia due to loud noises
- Urine marking
The dog that bites
One of the worst aspects of aggression in dogs is the danger of their biting people. Although dogs can be trained to attack on command, this is thankfully a rare occurrence. Usually, such dogs are trained to grab and hold the arm of their victim rather than to truly bite and savage. Luckily, most dog bites are minor ones. Statistics show they are most often inflicted on children, away from home. This implies that at least part of the reason may be a child’s inexperience in interpreting the warning signs or even provocation. Most accidental dog bites are probably due to territorial, protective or defensive aggression. Any of these may be caused by a stranger.
What to do: It is very important to warn children not to run up to strange dogs and not to extend their fingers towards them, but to offer a clenched fist if the dog is friendly. For how to deal with different types of aggression in terms of corrective training. Training is ineffectual when a dog is frightened and in pain. If the dog is threatening to bite because it has been in a road accident or a fight and is hurt, handle it carefully with slow, calm movements and use a soothing voice.
This is most often seen in puppies when they move to their new home. It can also occur in adult dogs whose behavior was not properly controlled during puppyhood and in adult dogs who have a change of owner. This may cause a feeling of distress and insecurity in a dog and the effect is over-dependency on humans.
What to do: You should try to reduce your dog’s dependency on yourself and your family. Pet the dog on your return from absence, but don’t make any farewells when you leave. Try also to reduce the amount of contact between you and your dog when you’re at home.
Phobic problems in dogs develop from an early age. Most are linked in some way to loud noises, ranging from gunshots to car sounds, fireworks and thunder. Sometimes, a noise becomes linked in the dog’s mind to another feature associated with it, so that a fear response to thunder may lead to a fear of all the other aspects of a storm such as lightning, rain and wind. Sometimes telephone bells, vacuum cleaners and hair-dryers can trigger these fearful responses. Generally, these problems are associated either with a traumatic event or with fear of the unknown. As the dog gets older, they become generalized.
What to do: It is important to notice any fear reactions in your young dog and try to allay the fear before phobias develop. Use the desensitization technique if possible. If your dog panics on firework night, put it in a quiet, dark room and ask your vet to prescribe a sedative the next time there are fireworks.
This is an annoying problem and can be embarrassing. It is most often seen in small, young dogs such as poodles and terriers. The behavior is usually directed at people, often children, although some dogs often choose objects such as cushions. The development of this behavior is abnormal since most dogs have a low sex drive. If the problem does occur, it is usually at puberty.
What to do: The solution is firm physical rejection and a sharp “NO”. If the dog persists, reject and ignore it for a while. Keep your dog away from bitches on heat. Don’t rush into having your dog castrated. Mounting behavior. Will often stop once the dog is mature and your vet may help with temporary hormone medication
A dog may get carried away with the business of scent-marking and masking other smells and begin urinating in the house to cover scents like perfume or tobacco. The urine of a bitch on heat contains strong odors, particularly pheromones, which excite the male and indicate her availability. Unfortunately, certain perfumes and aftershaves designed for humans also contain pheromones and these may lead to further problems in the dog, causing inappropriate urination in the house.
What to do: Removal of the cause (the scent which triggers the problem) is the first step. Ignore the dog if it continues urinating in the house; reward it if it behaves well. If necessary, use a reprimand. Failure to solve the problem may necessitate going back to the early stages of house-training