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Episode Info:

Episode 2: Training Tips Trainer Rachael Maso with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA.org), offers tips to tackle common training issues. Before you bring the dog home: Prepare your home for the new arrival. Young dogs explore the world with their mouths. Remove the temptation objects that may be dangerous -- or valuable -- by getting down on all fours and viewing your home at a dog’s eye level. This may give you a new perspective on loose cords, trash cans without lids, chewable shag rugs. Take it slow. Bond with the dog. Offer treats and let dogs explore and settle in before you start trying to teach basic manners. Set ground rules as a family. Determine who will feed, and walk the dog. Dogs like routine, so structure is incredibly important. For example, it’s important to have clearly defined times and tasks such as feeding times and potty times. Maso also notes that everyone should play a role in training the dog as a form of bonding with the new arrival. Enroll in a basic obedience course. House training requires routine. Sometimes shelter dogs are returned through no fault of their own, and they’ve mastered potty training. To kick start good behavior, Maso recommends maintaining a routine. Take adult dogs out every THREE hours during the early days, which may be more frequent than you normally would let an adult dog out. Make sure potty breaks happen in the SAME area again and again. The moment they go, have a treat ready to reward that behavior. It really needs to be immediate for dogs to make the connection between going outside and getting a reward. Create a safe space for the dog. A crate or confined space is considered the safe space when your dog -- or you -- need a retreat or a break. Use this space sparingly, just for a couple of hours at a time, when you know your dog has gotten proper exercise and has recently used the bathroom. This helps the dog settle down in your home and take breaks from exploring. Don’t use the crate as punishment. Instead, foster feelings of safety by feeding dogs in that space. Add a comfy dog bed or treats. Make sure that, every time they walk past the crate, there’s a nice surprise so that they don’t always associate it with being alone. Dogs don’t like going to the bathroom where they eat. The more frequently you feed in the crate, the less likely they are to have an accident in that space. This helps with house training well. Inappropriate chewing? Reinforce the idea of “condoned chews” by investing in safe items for the dog in place of your shoes or other valuables that may cause injury. Your vet or pet store can offer options. Be sure to actively monitor dogs when they are chewing on a new toy to avoid the risk for choking. Condoned chew toys help with boredom, provide mental stimulation and may even relieve some of the separation anxiety or other issues tied to the transitioning into a new home. With puppies, chew toys can provide pain relief caused by relieving incoming teeth while reducing destruction. If you do find that dogs keep returning to one “unapproved” item, try finding a chew toy that offers the same mouth feel. Target that need and they will be less likely to chew up your home. Excessive barking can be tackled. Dogs do acclimate to the sounds of a new home over time. Even if they bark initially, try to stay calm. (This, too, shall pass.) Try downloading a white noise app and put it near the front door or other source of noise to block the sound and give your dog time to settle in. If your dog is barking because it’s fearful of noises in the hallway or outside, giving food or treats at this time may help the dog associate odd sounds with yummy treats. Set up treat stations and be prepared. Over time, the dog may wait for the sound to happen and hope that treats rain down. This helps the dog feel better about the noises, and barking will start to dissipate. Have a trainer on standby.

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