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Basic Potty Training

To get a good start on potty training, you must be consistent and put in the work.  Do not just try to send the dog outside lots and expect that they will know what to do.  Once the dog is taught what you really expect of him/her, it will be much easier for you both. 


1) Choose a specific potty location where you would like the dog to go to the bathroom. (A small patch of grass in the yard for example).


2) Go to the potty location with the dog on a leash and say your chosen Potty Command, such as "go peepee" or "go poop".  Give lots of praise when the dog goes in the correct place, repeating the Potty Command over and over in a happy voice.  The dog will come to learn what the words mean and that this makes you happy.  If the dog is not on a leash, you will lose his/her attention and that important communication connection. Eventually, the words will be enough and you won’t need to escort the dog anymore. Note: The dog should be taken out first thing in the morning, right before you leave the house, first thing when you arrive home, and last thing before you go to bed. When you’re home, take the dog out every 2 to 3 hours.


3) If the dog messes in the house in front of you, this is the most useful time to instill gentle correction with a firm "No". Then escort him/her outside immediately, on leash, to the Potty Location, and give the Potty Command (even if he/she doesn't have to go anymore). Say the Potty Command repeatedly before taking him/her back inside. Try not to yell and scream and jump up and down, as the idea is not to scare the dog, but rather to teach him/her what your expectations are.


4) Clean up any and all accidents immediately and thoroughly using appropriate cleaners. Lingering residues and smells can cause the urge to go indoors again.

5) Do not give the dog free run of the house while you’re gone until he/she has begun to understand the potty routine. Close the dog in a small room or a comfortably sized crate with comfy bedding, water, and a chew toy. Allowing the dog to run free and have accidents all over the house will only make potty training more difficult because of all the scents left behind.


Be aware that some small breeds cannot "hold it" for as long as larger breeds, so be fair about your expectations when the dog is left for too long without a bathroom break.  Having a dog walker, friend, or neighbor to call can be helpful if you can’t be there, or allow them to use puppy training pads if you know it will be a long day.


Puppy Training Pads: Only use when needed. Dogs tend to go on them if they're available, so when the dog learns where the Potty Location is (outside), you should remove the training pad. It is not recommended to use training pads for extended periods of time, unless you want the dog to start relying on them

Separation Anxiety tips


1) Begin the day with a brisk walk to relieve any pent up anxiety and burn off some energy. This relaxes dogs and sets a positive tone for the day.

2) Don't make a big deal out of leaving. Say goodbye long before you leave the house and keep your departure swift, calm, and uneventful.

3) Don't give the dog your attention when you first arrive at home. You want your dog to learn that your coming and going from the home is a normal activity and nothing to get anxious or excited about.

4) Do not reward whining, barking, excitability, or nervousness with your attention. Only give the dog your attention once her or she is calm. For some dogs, a firm "No" can stop whining and barking. You can work on getting the dog to obey a "No" over time by building their training in all areas (basic commands and tricks). The more you expect of the dog in other areas, the more the dog will obey you in this area.

5) Take short outings to get the dog used to the idea that you come and go but you always return. Start with leaving the home for 5 minutes and coming back in, ignoring the dog each time and giving attention only when the dog is calm. Do this over and over again. Increase the time intervals as the dog becomes more comfortable with being alone.

6) Don't allow the dog to follow you everywhere in the home. Teach the dog to "stay" and let you walk out of the room for a few moments, then come back in and reward him/her when they listen. If the dog gets up to follow you, come back into the room and try again.

7) Create a secure environment. Some dogs do better in a closed bedroom or crate with a light sheet overtop. Leave a bully stick or other chew toy for them to keep occupied with. You can try leaving on a talk radio station or a TV tuned to your usual channels so there are familiar noises and voices to keep him company.

8) Companionship. Dogs who struggle with being left alone can benefit from having another pet in the home or attending pet daycare.

9) Give the dog some TIME! This is the number one piece of advice given by parents of dogs with separation anxiety. Dogs are very emotional creatures and can be greatly affected by a move. Try to be patient and give your dog the chance to transition into their “new normal”.

10) Start a training regimen with your dog right away. Take the dog to obedience classes or check out some YouTube videos on how to teach different tricks and commands. Once the dog masters one thing, start on another. The more commands you teach the dog, and the more the dog knows what is expected of him/her, the more confident, secure, and emotionally balanced the dog will become.

Puppy aggression

Nipping, biting, growling and barking in puppies is natural dog behavior. It is a way that puppies engage with their siblings in “dog language”. Some pups have naturally bossy personalities. Unfortunately, humans don’t appreciate these behaviors, so we must step in with consistent training to teach the dog what our expectations are. Special consideration should be given to a puppy who is in pain, fearful, or suffering from a health condition, as these factors can cause defensive aggression. It’s a dog’s way of saying “stay away from me” or “I don’t like this” in dog language. If a puppy is abused, neglected, mistreated, or deprived by humans of any age, it will spawn fearful and/or aggressive behavior in short order.


Do not use harsh discipline. Spanking, hitting, slapping and shouting are strongly discouraged and will make the problem worse. Do not react with emotion, react with swift, confident, controlled, predictable, fair training.


A firm “no” together with sending a pup to his/her crate with the door closed for 5 minutes will send a message that a puppy can understand. Repetition and consistency is key here. If handling the puppy is not safe at the time, simply ignore the dog.


Establish a pecking order. You are the Alpha, act like one! Teach the dog to earn rewards from you and the family by sitting, laying down, staying, healing, and being obedient. The dog should earn his/her food and treats. The dog should not share meals with you or your family and should only be fed after all the people are finished eating. Children can establish themselves as a leader by making the dog sit prior to setting their food dish on the floor, and having the dog “stay” until they say “release”.


Do not reward bad behavior with your attention. A dog who has just misbehaved should not be allowed on the couch or bed, nor should they receive any affection, pets, cuddles, etc. They should be told “no” and sent to their crate where they will find themselves ignored.


Teach family & visitors how to interact with your pup. If you have noticed behaviors in the dog that are unacceptable, family and visitors need to be warned and told how to play safe with the dog.


Children should take care not to initiate the dog’s natural prey drive with their fast, sudden movements or by running away, which initiates chase.


Teach children what dog language is and how to read a dog’s way of warning them to stay away (growling, bearing teeth, barking, etc). The dog should never be cornered by a child or left unattended with a child.


Visitors should be told to ignore the dog upon entry to your home or yard, especially if the dog growls or barks at them. They should not approach the dog for pets. Everyone in the home should allow the dog to come to them, instead of going to the dog. This allows the dog the time he/she needs to get comfortable with a person on his/ her own time.

Other Recommendations:

Puppy Training Classes. Enroll as soon as your puppy has received all their puppy shots. Classes are available at the SPCA and all around the city. These classes increase the trust between puppy and owner, stimulate the puppy’s mind, and help to establish you as the leader.

Brisk Morning Walk. Start each day with a long, brisk walk. It relieves pent-up energy and frustrations and starts the day on a positive note. It is the single best way to bond with your dog.


Stimulating Chew Toys: Offer your puppy lots of long lasting, safe things to chew on. Natural chews like bully sticks are best, as they will be digested if swallowed. Chewing is mentally stimulating for puppies and relieve stress and tension. Offer the chewy as a reward for good behavior.


Reward good behavior. Give lots of happy positive talk when the dog learns and listens. Give them pets, playtime, chew toys, etc as rewards. Make it blatantly obvious when you are happy with them.


Training Sessions at Home. There are many wonderful “how-to” dog training videos available on Give them a try. Keep training sessions short (5-10 minutes) and always end on a positive note. Learning is fun and stimulating for puppies. It relieves stress and builds bonds.

Check out the link below for more resources:

Got An Aggressive Puppy? (


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