by Don Anderson
Here are some general tips that will help make life with your dog or puppy more enjoyable and rewarding.
We've tried most of these tips and have had great success with them. A few we didn't know at the appropriate time
and wish we had! If you have a good tip feel free to drop us an
We are always looking for things that will make having a dog easier and more enjoyable.
Patience Patience Patience. Remember your dog is still a puppy and is still trying to learn its
boundaries. Avoid yelling or scolding your dog and never use your dog's name when you do.
You do not want to make your dog afraid of you, but to love and trust you. Use a firm NO when
your dog is about to do something wrong. Reward the good behavior with praise and treats throughout
the day and night.
Crate train your dog. Dogs are pack animals and look at the crate as a den. We leave our crates
open durning the day when we are home. Many times they will go in and take a nap during the day on their own.
At night we lock them in their crates. We have found that if you cover the top and sides and sometimes the front
with a light sheet to block out the light the dogs seem to sleep better. This is very nice if you are on the road.
Buy some good knuckle bones. It keeps the dogs happy and occupied for hours. It also helps to
clean their teeth, thus reducing the amount of brushing you have to do. Our dogs teeth are very white and
they seldom very have bad breath.
Invest in some good quality dog toys. As we have found out, you get what you pay for. The cheap toys never
seem to last with our dogs. We love the KONG products and recommend them. We have several different ones and they
really hold up and provide hours of enjoyment.
Do not leave food or water in a dog's crate. You may think you are doing a good thing for your dog, but
it is hard on them. If they eat or drink during the day, that means they are going to have to go to the bathroom.
As few animals will mess in the area that they sleep, this can make for a long and miserable day for your
dog. And you may find a mess that you will have to clean up at the end of the day.
Monitor what you feed your dog. What we have found that works the best for us is two feedings a day.
(Young puppies need more feedings during the day until they are older.) They are
fed in the morning and again at supper time. The food goes down for 15 minutes and then back up. This way
we know how much they are eating at all times. This may become important if there is a problem and
your vet asks you how much they have been eating and when the last feeding was.
Do not overfeed your dog. Dogs that are overweight tend to have a shorter life span and more problems later
in life. If your dog did not eat at one meal do not give him more at the next. Like you and me
dogs may not be hungry all the time.
As with most things, you get what you pay for. The better
the dog food the less waste there is to pick up. We have had good results with Flint River Ranch, Authority,
Natural Choice by Nutro, and Diamond.
If you have a small dog, put a bell on it. You'll find that it helps keeping track of the dog easier. We've found it to be
very useful when housebreaking a dog.
Always have a some treats in your pocket, especially if you have a new puppy. It allows you to immediately reinforce
the good things your puppy is doing. They also tend to pay better attention to you
once they figure out where the good stuff is coming from!
Do not let your puppy tear up stuffed toys, even if it is theirs. If you do your puppy will think that
any new stuffed toy he get has to have the stuffing tore out of it. Give them a toy to play with for
a certain amount of time and then put it up. They soon catch on that it is a reward to get the toy.
Do not leave anything on the counter or table they can reach. We lost a pan of cupcakes to our Great Dane that
way. We have used mouse traps on the counter to teach them that they are not allowed up there. It works very
well and they only has to be used now and then to remind them.
Avoid feeding your dog before traveling. You never know how they will react to the trip. Even if they have
never been car sick before, it only takes once. If it is a very long trip you may not have this option.
Make sure the collar on your dog fits snug. You should be able to just get two fingers under it. If you
can't, then it is too tight. If you can get more than two fingers under the collar, there is a chance your dog could slip his head
out. You do not want this to happen at a time when you need total control.
End begging while you are cooking or eating. Keep a spray bottle with water handy. It doesn't take long
at all before your dog will remove himself from the vicinity while you are preparing a meal or setting down at the table.
Actually, once they understand that begging isn't acceptable they will probably just stay out of the kitchen/dining areas
during meal times.