Monday, January 26, 2015

When Puppy Comes Home-- Potty-Training

POTTY-TRAINING:  Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of puppy-hood is getting them to go where they're supposed to!  Routine and consistency are key!  Dogs will naturally establish a "Break Place" (that's how we refer to elimination).  When you first bring him home, take him to your designated spot and tell him to "Break" or whatever command you decide upon.  He may be too interested in all of the new smells to actually perform, but don't stress.  Take him
inside and watch him like a hawk.  If you see him starting to "go", grab him up and take him out to the spot and give the command and lots of praise when he goes.  Set a timer when you bring him in so that you can take him to the spot and give the command BEFORE he goes on your carpet.
Also, when you let him out of his crate in the morning and twenty minutes after each feeding, immediately take him to the spot and give the command.  Expect it to take a week or more of doing this consistently before he really gets the hang of it.

Friday, January 23, 2015

When Puppy Comes Home-- Intro.

Many of us feel that a family just isn't quite complete without a dog.  These creatures can truly add such joy and delight to our family memories.  Eventually, the dog becomes like a family member and you barely know that he's there.

However, that dog snoring on the hearth doesn't happen over night. Introducing a puppy into a home is a big adjustment, especially if the family is new to dogs.  Although a 6-month old puppy may look like an adult dog, it's NOT! It's very important to understand that dogs don't begin to lose their puppy status until they are TWO years old!  It is unrealistic to expect that older pup to behave like his three year old sire.  Thankfully, knowledge is power and knowing what to expect from your new friend can help ease the learning-curve (and hopefully preserve the furniture and carpet).

In an effort to help those who are anticipating a new canine addition, we are going to begin a series of posts that will explain expectations and preparation for this new adventure.  Items such as potty-training, feeding, sleeping, chewing, place, and training will all be addressed in separate posts.

Before your puppy comes home, you need to have your home prepped and ready for your new pooch.

YARD:  Your dog needs to be safe in your home and on your property.  Make sure the area you have for your dog is fenced adequately. Your curious creature will discover things that you didn't even know you had!  A few things to be aware of are poisonous plants, propane tanks and lines, the garbage containers, and other items that could present a hazard to your dog.

HOUSE:  If you intend to have your dog inside at all, then this area needs to be adequately prepared as well.  Minimize things on the floor (baskets, decorations, food storage, etc.).  Have a family meeting to discuss the importance of everybody doing their part.  This is a great motivation for family members to put things where they belong-- shoes, socks, toys, books, and so forth.  Dogs WILL eat socks and pass them through to the other side.  However, a sock tangled up in the intestine would amount to a very sick dog and a sizable vet bill!

Stay tuned for more about When Puppy Comes Home coming soon.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


Major, our almost 7 month male black lab, has been progressing fast in his scent training.  Passionate about food, he loves his training time. Recently, he has begun checking us for the "low" sent.   He will come over to one of his trainers and smell them.  If he finds the scent he will get an excited
expression and begin to paw our thigh.   This checking without being asked is a HUGE part of being a Diabetes Alert Dog (DAD).  The job of a DAD is to constantly be in tune with his diabetic and always on the alert for that "low" scent.  Major's checking in with us often is the beginning of that amazing duty he will one day serve his diabetic.

Recently, our diabetic came up from his room and sat on the couch.  Major jumped up from his "place", went directly to our son and began excitedly smelling him. Then Major alerted him by pawing, just as we have trained him to do.  A quick finger poke revealed that our son's blood sugar was below the safe range.  It was Major's first live alert and a very exciting moment for all.

We are happy to see that Major's training has made sense to him, and he is beginning to apply it practically.   Though he still has a lot of training ahead of him, we are confident he will make an amazing DAD for some fortunate person.