Category Archives: Dog Training

20 Helpful Tips For New Puppy Owners

So you spent your time doing research and figuring out what breed of dog you want to adopt into your family. You may have asked around, watched some videos and visited some local pet shops and adoption centers!

Or maybe you simply locked eyes with your pup and knew at that very moment it was true love! Regardless of how you came to the decision of becoming a dog owner, you’ve taken a big step. Having a dog is a very fun, rewarding and can be at times, a challenging venture.

As you dive into the world of puppy blogs and websites you’ll find  that there is a plethora of information to be consumed! It can get overwhelming at times, so here at Petstop we want to try and simplify things for you to make it easier and more digestible by providing you a list of the most common and helpful tips a new dog owner should learn and know about as they get ready to become a dog parenthood.

These items are in no particular order so make sure you read all the way through to the end to ensure you equip yourself with as much good information as possible. While we won’t be jumping too deep into each of the tips, just know that for any of these, you can find articles upon articles of additional information going into the specifics.

Lets jump right in starting at #1…

#1 – Get a Puppy Crate

One of the first foundational supplies you’ll need. You’ll want to keep your pet in their cage or crate whenever you’re away while. It also serves as a tool for training, disciplining and serves a place to sleep for your new pup until they get a little older and become more trained.

#2 – Get Some Baby Crates

You’ll want to prevent from your dog having free reign throughout your whole house when you first bring him home. This helps to establish boundaries and prevents any unwanted accidents or destroyed house items/furniture.

#3 – Pick a Potty Spot

It’s smart to establish this early on so that your dog gets used doing its business in the same spot every time. Nobody likes to coming home to surprises in the kitchen or living room carpet!

#4 – Communicate With Family or Friends

This is especially important if you have other people living in the home with you. Everyone should be on board with having a new pet in the family. Make sure to address everyone’s thoughts, concerns and opinions so that there’s no surprises or issues down the line. This is also a good time to identify responsibilities for walking, feeding, playing etc for your new dog.

#5 Enroll in a Training Class

The extra guidance and support really helps speed up the training process and is a fun way for you and your pet to get out of the house and spend time with each other.  Here at Pet Stop, we have several training classes that will help acclimate your new fur baby into it’s new environment with our wireless fences.

#6 – Establish Yourself as the Dominant Early On

Here are a few tips – It’s important to establish yourself as the Alpha early on so that you’re dog is trained properly right from the get-go. We don’t need to go too deep as to why it’s important for your dog to respect you and listen to your commands. Remember! A well-trained dog is a happy dog. They want a pack leader.

#7 – Reward Good and Punish Bad Behavior

Remember that dogs aren’t like humans. They’re much like babies that can’t distinguish between right, wrong or different things in the environment. They need to rewarded or punished for various behaviors for them to start learning. Good behavior is usually rewarded with praise and treats while bad behavior is punished with timeouts.

#8 – Get a Variety of Toys

Depending on the breed, size personality and temperament of your dog, you’ll want to get some toys that seem to be a match. Things to keep in mind are whether your dog really likes to chew on this, if you’re willing to put up the the squeaky noises that some toys have, whether they having any extra parts that could be torn off and accidentally swallowed, lights, flavors and the size of their mouth. Amazon has a great selection and you’re local pet shop owner will always be helpful in selecting a good toy for your pup.

#9 – Have a Puppy Party

Invite friends, family and other neighboring dogs over for your pup to get to know everyone. This helps them start to get comfortable with their environment and let them explore all kinds of different people, scents and personality types.

#10 – Have Scheduled Times For Responsibilities

Walking, feeding, playing, bathrooms etc. This helps create routine for your pup which they crave and appreciate. It also helps create structure for your own life so that you can make sure you take care of all the important responsibilities of being a dog owner.

#11 – Avoid the Dog Park Early on

This could be a traumatizing experience for your dog early on if your pup is still young or hasn’t been trained properly. It’s also puts your puppy at risk of getting diseases if they aren’t vaccinated yet.

#12 – Get Your Puppy Microchipped

While you might not consider this a priority, it’s the best way to ensure that you and your pup can reunited if they get lost. Trust us, you’ll be glad you took the extra step here if any accidents do occur.

#13 – Be aware of Your Pups “Business” Schedule

If he/she seems like she needs to go to the bathroom, take them! Don’t hold off. Also, while you won’t be looking forward to looking at their poop, pay close attention to ensure there isn’t any abnormal colors or blood in the stool. This could save your pups life and helps to ensure they stay in good health.

#14 – Know the Nearest Pet Hospital or Clinic

This is important if there is an emergency. Not much explaining to do here.

#15 – Hello’s and Goodbye’s Should be no Big Deal

The opposite of what we see other doing right? Well here’s the reason why. When you make it a big deal before you leave or get overly excited when you come home, your dog will become more aware of the separation and time spent alone and can cause separation anxiety. The less dramatic, the less of a chance your dog will develop separation issues.

#16 – Begin Leash Training Early

There are some good tips on leash training on our blog, make sure to check those out. Ideally, you don’t want your dog ahead of you pulling on your leash. You also want them to remain calm and not get overly excited or aggressive when seeing other dogs. Learn more here.

#17 – Leave the TV or Radio on When You’re Gone

Just like humans, dogs can get bored too. It’s a good idea to keep some sort of entertainment on for your pup so they don’t feel alone in an empty, silent house.

#18 – Do Take a lot of Photos

Just remember, your puppy won’t be a puppy forever! It’s only a small fraction of your time with them before they become full size and stop being little ball of awkward cuteness forever!

#19 – Start Grooming Early On

This helps them get comfortable with grooming and also makes sure that they stay healthy through their early years.

#20 – Play With Your Pup

Perhaps one of the most important tips of all. Remember your dog loves you and has what seems like an unlimited supply of energy. They’ll love and appreciate you even more as an owner who takes time to play with them often while helping them release that ball of energy they carry!

Whether you’re on your way to getting your new pup or if you’re a new dog parent of a few weeks, you’ll be sure to get some valuable tips out of this if you just apply them.

Let us know if the comments section about your favorite tip we mentioned or even one that we missed!

10 Helpful Ways To Keep Your Dog Out of the Garden

So, you decided to plant a garden and now you’re pup can’t seem to leave it alone. Or, maybe you just brought home a new dog and the smell of the fresh mulch, fruit and herbs has them attractive to your prized little garden bed.

Don’t worry, this isn’t all that uncommon!

In fact, there’s a handful of tips and tricks that will help you manage your pup and prevent them from ruining your precious bed of fruits and vegetables. And while all of these tips aren’t a 100% foolproof way of making sure your dog doesn’t get into your garden, they’ll certainly increase your chances and give you a 95% success rate!

I’ll take that!

So let’s jump into the top 10 Tips and Tricks on how to keep your dog out of your lovely garden.

#1 – Set up a Pet Fence Around Your Garden

One of the best ways to ensure your dog doesn’t get into a garden is to set up a pet fence around the perimeter of the garden. Of course, you’ll want to ensure you have the right kind of pet fence and you’ll want to make sure that is the correct size as well. The fence could be metal, wood or a picket style fence. Fences are effective because first and foremost, they give a visual que to your pet which helps them understand that there is a barrier between them and the fence which usually does the trick.  To learn more about the types of underground fences we have here at Pet Stop, visit our home page.

#2 – Spiky or Pokey Barrier

Rose bushes, cactus, chicken wire and twigs do a great job of adding an extra layer of barrier or protection for your garden bed. Dogs and other creatures never like to be poked or be stuck with things like thorns or other spiky objects so this is a great way to add some reinforcement if your pet seems to be persistent when it comes to approach the initial barrier you set up.

#3 – Spice & Stink Things Up

Dogs don’t like spicy things, so a great way to keep them away is to sprinkle some mustard powder or red pepper chili flakes in and around your garden. When they approach and take a whiff, they’ll smell the spice and be deterred from going any further. You can also sprinkle these ingredients around the outside and perimeter of the garden so it keeps them from even getting close. Dogs are also can’t stand the smell of vinegar and ammonia! To utilize the distracting smell of ammonia or vinegar to keep your pups at bay, try pouring some into coffee filters and placing them around the perimeter of the garden bed.

#4 Use a Motion Activated Sprinkler

We all know that most dogs don’t like water. A motion activated water sprinkler is a great way to keep them at a certain distance should they get too close to your garden bed. They can be picked up from online retailers like Amazon and can come in handy for a variety of things, like playing pranks of friends, family and neighbors. You didn’t hear it from us though!

#5 Train Them To Recognize The NoNo Zones

At some point, your dog will inevitably find his way into various spots on the house or backyard that he shouldn’t go to. When he does, it’s important that you make it clear to him that he is not allowed in that are. Use a commanding voice, point at the area he is not supposed to go to and firmly say NO. Give him a light pat on the nose or but to make the point clear. Your dog will naturally pick up on your disappointment and tone of voice and will learn over time that they should shy away from those areas. It’s important that you do this early on from the beginning and stay consistent until they learn.  Training your pup with different off-leash techniques will allow them to feel their freedom while performing at their best behavior when traveling your backyard.

#6 Create a Pooch Path

Depending on where your garden is placed, you can lay down some carpet, mulch or soil in a specific area for your dog to get through. This gives them the opportunity to get through your garden to his desired location without destroying it and walking through growing fruits, vegetables and flowers.

#7 Consider Container Gardening

If after all these methods you still have trouble preventing your dog from getting into the garden, consider gardening with medium to large sized containers. This way, you’re dog will be much less likely to jump in and destroy the growing crops.

#8 Have Designated Areas For Your Dog To Play or Roam

This goes back to establishing boundaries and limits for your pooch. Ideally, you want it to be away from your garden bed to prevent any mishaps or accidents, but if your dog seems trained enough, their play area could be near the garden. To ensure you don’t get any surprises, utilize some of the above strategies such as a fence, thorny barriers and olfactory deterrents to prevent them from getting too close.

#9 Reward Your Dog For Good Behavior

As part of the training method, it’s important to reward your dog when he listens and follows directions. Rewarding your dog for good behavior is actually one of the most well known and effective ways for properly training your dog and getting them to behave the way you want them to. Have some treats handy in your backyard or outside somewhere so you can quickly reward them when they do as you say.

#10 Keeps Toys Around in the Backyard

You’re dog will never turn down the opportunity to play with a good toy. By having toys around in the backyard, you’ll have something handy to keep them distracted and occupied so that they’ll pay less attention to your garden. It can also serve as an emergency fetch toy should you see them getting too close!

So there you have it! 10 creative ways to keep your dog away from your beautiful garden. If you implement 3 or more of these, you should be golden when it comes to your dog understanding that the garden bed is not for exploring or play.

Let us know in the comments below which tip or trick you found to be the most effective. Also, if you have any tips or tricks that we missed, let us know! We’ll be happy to add onto our list.

3 Commands for a Happier Dog

Dogs are truly man’s best friend, and a well-trained dog is a happy dog and wonderful companion.  Dogs thrive in a structured, nurturing home with set routines, and even playtime requires some boundaries in order to be done right. The key to establishing effective routines with your dog begins with a set of common commands.

According to Canine Commander, Chris Hanley, a former K-9 handler from upstate New York, there are seven crucial commands to teach your dog in order to have a well-trained, well-adjusted pet: “come,” “sit,” “down,” “stay,” “heel,” “no,” and “off.”[1]  This article will explore three that your dog can learn within a month: “come,” “stay,” and, with the now-common practice of crating, “kennel” or “in your kennel.”

While seemingly simple and direct, we humans easily and unintentionally mess up these very vital, yet rudimentary commands.  Let’s look at the ways we can establish a more compliant environment with our dogs.  Return home to read more about the best containment methods for our pets.

If Your Dog Won’t Come When Called

Let’s start with the basic command to “come.”  Realize that this is a twofold request: to leave the desired activity, and to then move toward your voice. For some insight, try to imagine you, as a child, being called inside from playing with your friends.  Was it ever an effortless transition? No!  The same goes for your curious, adventurous dog; it’s not easy to suddenly stop an activity and leave it.  But there are a few guidelines to help this basic command become automatic:

  • At first, make it a fun game, replete with treats. While still inside, a couple of times per day (mealtimes may work best,) show your dog the treat you have.  Then, once you have his attention, move away a good 10-20 feet, direct your voice to the spot you want him (near you, not right in front of you) and shout “come.”  Reward him with the treat as soon as he arrives.
  • Now, take the fun elsewhere around the house and even outside. Make it a game so your dog associates “come” with fun times!  Sarah Hodgson has a number of helpful videos on her YouTube channel, When Dogs Talk. [2] “What’s in the Grass?” and “Hide and Seek” are two of several fun ways to teach your dog this command, while having fun playing with you.
  • Once you feel comfortable enough to practice this command for real, away from home and familiar environments, find a safe place far from busy highways and crowded areas. Call out to your dog, in any direction BUT directly at him, and do so with an enthusiasm that will pique his inborn curiosity and sense of adventure. Remember to direct the sound of your voice in the area you want him to go.

In Your Kennel

The next useful command is “kennel,” sometimes known as “kennel up” or “in your kennel.”  With the return of women in droves to the workforce in the seventies and eighties, suddenly, no one was home to watch the family pet.  This was a particular nuisance to apartment dwellers, lacking a yard or any wide open, safe space.  Pet owners began using kennels, or, as they are now known, crates, to corral dogs from destroying their homes during the workday.  The practice caught on as a result of pet owners reporting an attendant decrease in nuisance behavior, decreased potty accidents in puppies, increased mental well-being and overall calmness, all related to crate training. [3]

If you are reading this and are aghast at this practice, consider this: while we as humans see any kind of enforced enclosure as punitive, a dog will experience it as structure and, therefore, comfort.  Look up “crate training” or “crate training a puppy” and while there are a number of detractors, crate training has many dog-loving advocates who can help assuage your concerns about this type of application to your daily routine.

When you find yourself with a dog who refuses, either initially or suddenly, to enter his crate, there are many ways to help reestablish the habit.  First, do not ever try to force the dog into the crate. Dogs love an alpha but detest bossiness.

Second, evaluate where you are in relation to the crate- are you blocking it? If so, move!

Third, remember how we discussed pointing your voice away from the dog and where you want him to go? Avoid looking or staring at your dog as you request he enter the crate.  A stare-down will invite play or confrontation from him, but not compliance.

Fourth, try a number of small steps to get him comfortable around the crate, such as moving his food bowl closer and closer to the crate, or placing a special treat inside the crate as you direct your voice toward it. You can get your kids in on the fun and have one of them crawl inside the crate! These ideas are meant to impart the idea that the crate is a place of reward and relaxation.

Teaching Your Dog to Stay

For our third crucial command, we have chosen “stay.”  How is it that we continue to fail at mastering this most basic and necessary of commands? A common scene at the dog park involves a well-intentioned and loving dog owner standing directly in front of their pet, usually with a hand out, gesturing, while shouting, “stay!”

Let’s start with the position of the owner.  Facing the dog is an invitation to one of two things: play or fight.  Add in sustained eye contact and you have one confused pup.  In order to better train your dog to stay, follow these guidelines:

  • Make sure you are next to or angled away from your dog, with feet facing the same direction.
  • Open your palm and extend it out. Dogs understand this as a sign to stay.
  • Slowly, one treat at a time, reward your dog for remaining still. Gradually increase the amount of time between treats.
  • At this point, you can let your dog go with an “okay” or “play.” Give him lots of praise.
  • If he gets up before you say “okay” or “play,” walk away and look away for a couple of minutes. This should prompt him to bark and gain your attention.

You can begin to incorporate more commands with frequently used words from your daily life, such as “ball,” “bone,” “outside,” and “car.”   Using these new commands will create the fun and joyful environment your dog deserves!

[1] https://www.caninecommander.com/commands-every-dog-should-know-canine-commander-news12/

[2] http://www.whendogstalk.com/

[3] http://unleashedunlimited.com/why-is-crate-training-so-important/

10 Steps to Ensure Your Home is Puppy Ready

Bringing a new puppy into the family can be one of the most exciting, loving and rewarding experiences for a family. Having a pet in the family is said to help bring families closer together while promoting feelings of happiness, closeness and relaxation. In addition, there’s been many studies done showing that pets in general help reduce stress, anxiety and can help many people cope with various difficulties in life.

With that being said, if you’re reading this article and you’re bringing a new furry friend into your life, you’re in luck! Because we’re going to cover a series of important steps from pet containment to potty training that you’ll need to consider to ensure you and your pup have a great first experience in your new home together.

Bringing a new pet into your home can be very exciting, but it’s important to know that it comes with great responsibility and effort.

So, here’s a 10 Step Checklist of items you’ll need to plan on accordingly to ensure you and your new pup have a smooth introduction and transition to becoming best friends and roommates for life.

Keep in mind they aren’t listed in any particular order:

#1 – Have a Family Meeting

If you’re single, this may not apply to you. But, you may want to talk to a few friends or family members to ensure that someone will be around to do some dog-sitting should you ever decide to go out of down or on a vacation. However, if there’s more than one of you in the family, this is very important.

You want to make sure that everyone in the family is on board with having a new dog in the house and that any concerns are addressed beforehand. During this meeting you should discuss who the primary caretaker will be for the dog will be in terms of walking, feeding, playing and cleaning up the poop, yes we said it!

Will you feed him normal food or treats from the dinner table? You’ll want to agree on a set of commands that everyone will use to create consistency. Who’s in charge when the person responsible is absent? All important things to discuss to prevent any future surprises.

In addition, you also want to make sure you have someone old enough and responsible to be able to take your dog to vet appointments when necessary.

It’s always a great idea to divvy up the responsibility between family members to lighten the load and to give everyone a chance to develop a deeper relationship with your new pup.

Once you address these concerns, write them down on a calendar or piece of paper to make sure nobody forgets and stays accountable. This way, everything is clear and everyone knows their responsibilities.

#2 – Get The Right Supplies

This can include a puppy cage or crate, food and water bowls, treats, collars and leashes, beds, toys and chew toys, stain cleaners and odor removers, fake grass, potty training pads, and some indoor & outdoor pet fences, gates to keep your pet contained in a certain area.

Depending on the age, breed and size of your dog, all of these items will vary, so it’s important to do a little research and diligence ahead of time to ensure you get all of the right supplies & equipment.

#3 – Prepare Your House And Your Dog’s Living Quarters

This is one is important, so take notes! You’re new little friend is going to be very curious as he moves into his new home. He’s also going to start teething in a matter of weeks and is going to be on a biting and chewing rampage. So, it’s a good idea to make sure you don’t have random, loose items laying around like clothing, shoes, wallets, books, papers, toiletries, plants, electronics / cords and other household items that your dog could grab a bite of.

Also make sure you keep your dog out of the kitchen to prevent them from accidentally opening and drawers or cabinets and eating or swallowing something that could harm or poison them. This is especially important for medicine cabinets.

Once you feel like you’ve done a good job of puppy-proofing your home, you should lay down onto the ground and get eye level to look around once more for anything you may have missed.

Ideally you want to set your pup up somewhere in the middle of the house so they can be around people and get attention so they don’t feel isolated. This is important, especially as they’re moving in and getting comfortable with their environment and the family.

As we mentioned before, you’re doing is going to want to explore and roam your house if he/she has the chance, so it’s important to set the house rules and training immediately from when your dog first arrives so they learn and start to recognize what is okay and what is not. Don’t worry, remember that your dog likes rules, structure and someone to look up to, so don’t be afraid of being the Alpha right from the beginning.

#4 – Start Training And Setting Rules Immediately

Most people want to give it a few days or even weeks before they start training their new pup, but this is a mistake. By training them early and setting up the right expectations, it makes it both easier for you and your new pup to get off on the right foot (or paw) while establishing the correct boundaries and dominance hierarchies.

You’ll want to start with recall training, leash training and other basic commands like sit and stay.

A well trained pup makes for a happy pup and a happy owner. Everyone loves a well trained dog, so don’t “drag” this part of the experience! It’s actually one of the most fun and exciting for both you and your new pup. You’ll both enjoy the progress and growth that comes out of it.

#5 Create a Routine and Stick To It

Unlike some humans, dogs crave routine! Early on, create a routine that both you and your dog can consistently follow to ensure that the important, foundational responsibilities such as feeding, walking, playing and cleaning up after your dog are met.

Once you establish a good routine, both you and your dog will appreciate this since it provides defined times for you two to be together and to take care of the things that need to be done to ensure a happy, thriving relationship.

#6 – Install an Underground Pet Fence If You Live in a House or Have a Yard

While this may not apply to everyone, it’s an important first step to ensure that your dog stays within the safe limits and boundaries of your home.  Unexpected surprises, animals, noises or events could scare your pup and cause them to suddenly bolt away from your yard or front door, so having a pet fence that is invisible will gently cause them to stop and return back to their defined boundary to prevent any unwanted injuries or accidents. 

#7 – Establish House Boundaries and Potty Areas

Establish and define areas where your dog can play, where they must stay out of and where they can relax. It’s important that you also establish where they go potty early on to prevent them from “going” in the wrong places causing unnecessary and excess cleanup. You should follow these guidelines for the first few weeks until your dog starts to recognize and learn them.

#8 – Introduce Your Pup To New Experiences Slowly

Take them to pet stores to socialize, introduce them to parks (maybe not dog parks until they’re older), new environments, friends and family to prevent aggression and isolation as they get older. Just like a baby, they’ll be curious and will love to learn and discover new things.

#9 – Consider Getting Them Microchipped

It only costs around $25 at your local vet or shelter and will put your mind at ease to know that you’ll always know where they are in case they get lost.

#10 Keep Your Dog Confined To Their Doggy Den When You’re Away

This ensures established boundaries and prevents any unexpected surprises when you come back home. Also, when they’re young, it is important to establish dominance and teach them that they don’t get free reign on the house. Their crate or den can also be used as a form of punishment to help them learn when they do something bad. It’s also important to keep them in their den around small children initially for safety reasons as well.

These 10 tips are going to serve as the foundation to ensure you have a smooth experience when it comes bringing a new pup into your home! If there are any other tips you feel are important that we may have left out or missed, let us know in the comments section below.

Also, let us know the name of your new pup and what breed they are! We’d love to know!