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jumpin_greenNeed advice from a trainer or vet? Ask our experts, any doggie-related question, by filling out the form at the bottom of the page and we'll help you keep your doggie's tail waggin'!

 

Featured Experts:

Tina McCain Tina McCain, CMDT (Georgia Certified Master Dog Behaviorist/Trainer) Tina has been successfully training dogs for over 30 years. She is a graduate of a Georgia accredited Post Secondary Dog Trainer's Vocational institute. Merry macAfter six years of comprehensive training, Tina graduated in 1998 as a Master Dog Behaviorist / Trainer. Currently, she is one of only three graduates in Georgia with a Master Dog Behaviorist / Trainer certification. Tina owns Merry Mac Dog Training and Nutrition Center.

 

The Latest Advice:

Challenges with Potty Training

Hi Tina! My 6 year old Chihuahua was trained to use a pet pad for his bathroom needs. He has lived with my mom for the last 6 years and it was no problem that he used a pad because we had hardwood floors. He is now coming to live with me and my entire house is carpeted. Thus I want to train him to go outside but I have no idea where to start. From research I have tried a few things that are just not working. We have tried keeping him in his cage and taking him outside to use the bathroom twice a day. Although we would stay outside with him for 10- 15 minutes, he would never “go.” Once inside, however, he has snuck off when no one is looking and peed in a corner or on a rug. I also tried keeping a pet pad outside since he was familiar with that and waiting with him outside until he “went.” Still no results. Rather, he refuses to use the restroom outside and continues to pee outside. There is also a problem of him using the restroom while in his cage, so I am not even sure if crate training will work for him since he has no problem using the restroom where he sleeps and/or lays down throughout the day. I am at my end as far as training him on my own goes. Is it too late for him to learn to use the bathroom outside? My roommate is beginning to be upset about all of the urine in the carpet so I really want to figure out a solution ASAP!

Another side to the issue is that he was never neutered and I plan to do that in the next few weeks so there is also the problem of “marking” throughout the house and outside. Will having him neutered possibly help with this situation?

Thanks in advance for any and all advice!

Hello,

When an older dog is having house training challenges, I look at the situation the same as if it were a young puppy.  I am glad that you are crating the dog.  I believe in crating/kenneling a dog for his entire lifetime, as well as, it is the best way to teach a dog holding power and from what you stated above, Here are some guidelines to start the process:

  • Get rid of the pee pads right away!
  • Make sure his crate is no bigger than the dog – nose to rear.  Also, I would take out any bedding, if the dog is eliminating on it currently.  No food or water in the crate!  The dog will only get any begging back when he is holding it in the crate.
  • Supervision is key, therefore, the dog should be supervised at all times.  I would keep the dog on a leash in the house, when outside of the crate, for appropriate supervision. If you cannot supervise, then the dog should be crated.
  • When outside of the crate, on the leash, the dog should be taken out to eliminate appropriately.  Puppies should be taken out every half hour, while older dogs should be allowed to eliminate every few hours, when outside of the crate.
  • I would also regulate water and food.  Be sure to not free feed – ever!  Adult dogs should be feed two times a day.  When working on house training challenges,
  • I would keep the water up on the counter and regulate when you dog consumes water.  The dog should be offered water throughout the day, when you are home, but also get the dog out about 10 minutes after they consume.
  • Take treats with you so you can reward when the dog eliminates outside.
  • I would take the dog out on a leash so you can monitor what the dogs does eliminate and if he does not eliminate appropriately within 10 minutes time, take him back in the house and put him back in the crate.  Wait 15 – 30 minutes and then take the dog out and try again.  Repeat as necessary, until the does eliminates.
  • After the dog eliminates, then the dog can have freedom, on the leash, supervised.  The dog will be on the leash and not given freedom of the house until which time the house training challenges are resolved.
  • Freedom of the house is a “privilege” which must be earned.

I can go into more detail, if you wish to contact me at MerryMac Dog Training & Nutrition Center – 770 579-3865.

Tina McCain, Master Dog Trainer/Behaviorist

MerryMac Dog Training & Nutrition Center

Phone (770) 579-3865

Tina@MerryMacDogTraining.com

 

Eating Mulch

Should I be concerned with my dog munching on mulch?  I have heard the “chocolate” mulch can be dangerous and even deadly.

Thanks for your response!

Hello,

Several years ago there was a warning that some mulch was being made with cocoa bean hulls in the product and the dogs were attracted to it and eating it.  I have not heard of any warnings to that nature lately.  But to be safe, please check the label on the mulch; and/ or ask the nursery staff.

A lot of puppies will chew on mulch, without really ingesting much, if any, of the mulch.  From a training perspective, I would train for a good “leave-it”.  If you are in the early stages of puppyhood and the “leave-it” is not 100% yet, only have the puppy outside with you under supervision, so as to correct/redirect the chewing behavior.

I teach the “leave-it” exercise in Lesson 2 of my Beginners class because it is such an important “lifestyle” cue/command which is used regularly, especially with a young puppy.  I used it the other day with four of my dogs trying to catch and ingest a lizard.  On command, they left the lizard alone and backed away.  I have used it with frogs, turtles, snakes, chipmunks, baby birds and moles.  The “leave-it” is worth its weight in gold!

Tina McCain, Master Dog Trainer/Behaviorist

MerryMac Dog Training & Nutrition Center

Phone (770) 579-3865

Tina@MerryMacDogTraining.com

 

 

Helping Her Adjust

My four and a half year old goldendoodle, Maddie, has been sleeping with me since she was about three months old. She is non-dominate and very well trained (if I do say so myself!). The issue is that in two months I am getting married, and have conceded to my fiancee that Maddie will not sleep on the bed. I am worried about how the transition will happen and what effect that it will have on her. What I want to avoid is making her feel that she is being punished. So far I have come up with putting her bed next to my side of the bed (that’s where she slept as a puppy before I let her on the bed) and maybe giving her something of mine to sleep with (something she loves to do when I am gone – I often find her with an article of clothing, for example). Is there anything else I can do to ease the transition?

Sarah

Hi Sarah,

This is a simple one!  You are doing the exactly what you need to do.  I would also suggest that you start the new sleeping arrangement now, so that she is used to sleeping in  “her” bed before your new husband arrives!  By then, she will be totally used to the new situation and it will be less stressful for everyone.

Please try to not feel guilty about the new sleeping arrangement.  Never say “I’m sorry” or “It’s ok!”, as you say that with empathy.  Always be upbeat and praise her when she gets in her new bed.  Maybe even give her a “night-night” treat when she goes into her bed each night!

Be strong if she gets up on your bed in the middle of the night also!  Lead her back to “her” bed and praise her again (no treat) !  Leadership is “consistency and persistency”!

I wish you luck, happiness and health as you start a new chapter in your life!

Tina
MerryMac Dog Training & Nutrition Center

Sprayberry Square Shopping Center
2550 Sandy Plains Road NE, Suite 365
Marietta, GA 30066

Phone: 770-579-3865

 

 

Jumping Dogs

I don’t mind the dog jumping on me when I walk in the door, but my wife says if I let the dog jump on me then it is hard to teach her to not jump on anyone else.  Do we have to be consistent either “no jump” or just let her jump on everyone? OR is it OK for me to allow it and then just tell her “no jump” for other people??

Thanks!

Mike

Hi Mike,

You do have to be consistent with teaching not to jump on people, because if the dog is allowed to jump on you it will not understand why it can’t jump on everyone.  I would suggest you teach the dog to not jump “at all”, unless given the command to jump.

Jumping is the number one complaint I get from doggie moms and dads.  I like to teach a dog to “sit” whenever the dog is greeting anyone.  One you accomplish a reliable “sit, then, and only then, teach a separate “jump” command when you want the dog to jump on you.  If it does not get the “jump” command, then jumping is not permitted.

Tina
MerryMac Dog Training & Nutrition Center

Sprayberry Square Shopping Center
2550 Sandy Plains Road NE, Suite 365
Marietta, GA 30066

Phone: 770-579-3865

 

Too Late for Training

Is it every too late to put my dog in a training class?
Shawn

Shawn,

Simply – No! It is never too late to do training!

Obviously young puppies greatly benefit from training. It provides rules, boundaries and discipline whereby a puppy can grow up into a confident, well adjusted dog. Training teaches dogs how to be dogs in a human world.

Sometimes a training class teaches the humans stewards more than the dog! Training teaches how to consistently communicate with your dog. Training teaches people leadership. I find that too many people do not take the role of leader in the house as seriously as they should, and then the dog flounders. Dogs look for and need leaders of the pack. If they cannot find good leadership, the dog will take over the house and then you can run into behavioral problems. As humans we should be their leader first and a friend second.

I ran a rescue group for eight years and I always have recommended that a re-homed dog, regardless of age, should go through a basic training class. Whether or not the dog had training in their previous life, having the new family go through training with the new dog will help enhance good leadership relationships in the new home. It will also reinforce those consistent communication skills and provide structure in the new environment.

A group training class will also provide a safe place for your dog to socialize; and, the other dogs and people in the class will be good distractions for training.

We all like spending time with our dogs. That is usually one reason we have one or more. Training should be fun and is a great family project!

So go have some fun. It is a very worthwhile investment!

Tina

MerryMac Dog Training & Nutrition Center
Sprayberry Square Shopping Center
2550 Sandy Plains Road NE, Suite 365
Marietta, GA 30066
Phone: 770-579-3865

 

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Molly Molly
Molly

I am a three year old German Shepherd from South Georgia.  I don’t really have a favorite toy because my favorite things are sleeping and getting petted on the head. Although if I do get up some energy I will admit that I love getting into the trash to look for napkins.

My brother Teddy is lots of fun to play with, plus he usually takes the blame for my chewing.  I really like him for that!  I love to bark a lot; sometimes my humans do not appreciate that so much.  I am SUPER special because I am a white German Shepherd and that is not so common I hear.

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