Training Tips

What to do if Your Older Dog Doesn’t Like the New Puppy

 

older dog and new puppyGetting a new puppy is such a fun and exciting time in any home – for the owners at least. If you have an older dog that’s been in the house for a while, that new furry bundle of energy may not be quite as exciting for them as it is for you. Every dog owner wants their new addition to blend seamlessly with the older dog, but it’s rarely that easy. If you notice signs of aggression or annoyance from your dog towards the new puppy, follow these steps to make the transition easier for everyone! 

Spread Your Attention Evenly 

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the cuteness and excitement of a puppy that you give them all of your attention. Try to think about this from your older dogs’ point of view. They have previously been the center of attention, and now a new puppy came into their home and is taking that attention away from them. This can lead to lots of tension very quickly! Ease the tension by address your older dog first and ensuring that both dogs are receiving plenty of love, even if one has more energy and excitement than the other. 

Give Each Dog Their Own Resources 

Your dog shouldn’t feel like they have to give up their resources to the new puppy. Give each dog their own food, water, toys, and space. If your older dog has a bed that they always lay on, the puppy should learn to respect that space and use their own bed instead. All of these things help to ensure your dog doesn’t feel like a new addition is taking over their home, but rather that they’re just learning to share the home! 

Reward Positive Coping Methods 

Your older dog can choose either positive or negative coping methods when the puppy starts to annoy them. Negative methods include aggressive or destructive behavior. To discourage that type of behavior, focus on rewarding the dog for using positive coping techniques. Positive coping includes things like getting up and walking away when they’re feeling irritated to put some space between themselves and the puppy in a non-aggressive way. 

Contact Argos Dog Training

If you try these methods and are still struggling to get your fur babies to get along, it may be time to call in the help of a professional. Argos Dog Training is highly experienced at dealing with canine behavior and understanding the dynamic of adding a new puppy to a household with an older dog.  We offer group training classes and private one-on-one training to address specific behaviors. We want to help you find the right tips and tricks to achieve a harmonious household, so give us a call today at 617-302-7467 to get started!

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How Do I Know If My Puppy’s Behavior is Normal?

puppy chewing owner's bootGetting a puppy is a fun new and exciting, but sometimes it can be hard to expect with his behaviors. If this is your first dog, you might not know what behaviors are normal and which aren’t. If you’re a recent puppy-parent, keep reading for everything you need to know about how to know if your puppy’s behavior is normal.

Most Common Behavior Problems

Dogs are wired to have certain instincts, but keeping those instincts in check is crucial for the pet to behave well with a family. Here are some common behaviors that might need some management.

Chewing

Dogs explore the world through taste and smell, so chewing is a natural behavior for them. When your puppy is chewing, it is examining its surroundings. Chewing can also be a soothing activity during the puppy’s teething phase. Chewing can become a problem if the dog starts doing it out of boredom or attention-seeking. Providing your dog with chew toys will let him know that chewing is ok, but only on the toy.

Digging

Dogs instinctually dig for several reasons. Primarily, dogs have used digging to get rid of branches and leaves when looking for a place to sleep. You may have seen your dog “dig” around his bed or blankets to make a comfy spot to snooze. Digging becomes abnormal if it is obsessive or due to anxiety or boredom. Exercising your dog more can help release some of that digging energy. If you have space, consider a small sandbox or plot of the yard to dedicate as a dogs-only digging site where you can bury treats or toys for him to find.

Barking

One of the biggest complaints of new pet owners is that barking can become disruptive and annoying, especially at night. Barking is normal for dogs, but if it becomes excessive or happens late at night, you’ll want to figure out what your dog is trying to tell you. He could be barking out of anxiety from the night noises or is merely bored. Try speaking in a soothing voice to let him know there’s no reason to be worried. If he is barking from excitement, he may need more exercise. Crate training may also help.

Biting

Biting is common in dog play, especially for puppies. But if you find that your dog is biting past the puppy stage or is biting out of aggression or fear, he might benefit from obedience training. Early socialization with people and other dogs can sometimes prevent this type of behavior.

Is My Puppy’s Behavior Normal?

Your puppy has likely shown some of the behaviors above, but the good news is that it’s probably normal. Like a small child, puppies are full of curiosity. They can’t properly communicate what they need, so they use barking, nipping, or chewing. So how do you know if the behavior is crossing a line? If the action isn’t hurting anyone or is only mildly annoying, it’s probably normal. What is abnormal is when those behaviors become disruptive or destructive.

Contact Argos Dog Training

Does your puppy have some bad behavior that’s interrupting your family’s life? If you’re unsure if your puppy’s behavior is normal or needs correcting, our expert dog trainers are here to assist. At Argos Dog Training, we offer group classes and private training sessions that can help you get your puppy trained and well-behaved in no time. View our list of dog training classes in Boston, and give us a call today at 617-302-7467 to get started!

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How to Keep Your Pet Safe During the Holidays

 

shutterstock_754292557The holidays are an exciting time for everyone – even pets! It’s important to remember, though, that some of our human holiday activities can frighten or overwhelm our furry friends. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make sure that your pet has a great time. Keep reading for some great tips on how to keep your pet safe during the holidays.

Control Anxiety

Too much excitement can make a dog or cat nervous, especially if they’ve never experienced a holiday party before. To keep your pet calm during a gathering, control his or her anxiety by doing the following:

  • Let guests know you have a pet. Pets pick up on nervousness from humans, so if your guests are aware before they arrive, there will be fewer awkward introductions for everyone!
  • Consider crating your animal during the party. They will be calm in their own space, away from loud noise. If your animal is not crate-trained, place them in a quiet room that is off-limits to guests.
  • If your pet is out and about with partygoers, make sure they have a toy to keep them busy and engaged. Something familiar will reduce any potential anxiety.

Watch the Food

One of the best parts of the holidays is all the fantastic food and treats. Remember, though, that human food is rarely good for animals. Here are some holiday foods to avoid giving pets:

  • Candy and chocolate. Chocolate and the sweetener Xylitol are very toxic to cats and dogs.
  • Fruit seeds. While it is generally safe to give the flesh of some fruits to dogs, you should avoid including any seeds in those bites. Especially avoid cherry pits, grape seeds, peach pits, and apple seeds.
  • Pets should not have access to your coffee cup or any beans or grounds.
  • Salt
  • Nuts
  • Raw eggs

If you are holding a party, remind guests not to give your pets any scraps or human food. Make sure that the trash can is well covered or in a location the pet cannot reach.

Mind the Decorations

Some typical holiday decorations can pose a threat to pets if not taken care of. Here are the worst offenders to pet safety during the holidays:

  • The Christmas tree. Low hanging branches might be a chewable temptation for your pet, so either keep a watchful eye out to make sure they don’t chew the dangerous needles or trim the bottom few branches so they cannot reach them.
  • The tree stand. Many tree stands include a water base that often contains chemicals to feed the tree. These chemicals are toxic to pets and could harm them.
  • Christmas lights and tree decorations. Shiny things can be attractive to pets, and pulling down a strand of lights could mean a larger disaster. Ensure tree decorations are unreachable and that Christmas lights around the house cannot be pulled by the pet.
  • Candles and fire. Don’t leave pets unattended with a burning candle or fire in the room.
  • Live plants. Along with the Christmas tree, other holiday plants can pose problems. Be wary of ivy, poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe, as these can be poisonous to pets.

Contact Argos Dog Training

For pet owners, keeping your pet safe is of utmost importance. If you need help maintaining your dog’s holiday anxiety or getting him trained, contact the experts at Argos Dog Training for the best professional dog-training experience.

 

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Training Your Dog to Relax in the Car

dog in the carGoing on a long road trip with your four-legged friend sounds like a dream – until you realize Fluffy gets some severe car-ride anxiety! He whines or barks and can’t sit still. Clearly, this road trip might not be as fun as you imagined.

Luckily, getting your dog used to being inside a vehicle is possible. Here’s what you need to know about training your dog to relax in the car.

Reasons Your Dog Might Be Nervous

There are several reasons why your dog might not be totally comfortable in the car. Here are some of the most common, but remember – you know your dog best, so it might take some observation to figure out why he can’t relax.

  • He’s excited. If your weekly drives mean a trip to the dog park, your pup may just be really happy to get there! If he is overreacting every time you get in the car, try going on “practice drives.” Instead of the fun dog park, go around the block or a long drive. After a few of these, Fido will learn that not every car ride leads to the park, so there’s no reason to get excited.
  • He’s nervous. The same idea applies if you only ever take your dog in the car to go to places he doesn’t enjoy, like the vet. If he’s only in the car to go to the groomers, take him once in a while to the dog park or for a walk in the city. Remind your dog that the car isn’t a torture device.
  • He’s overwhelmed. If your dog isn’t used to car rides, he might simply be overwhelmed by all the new sensations – unfamiliar smells, trees whizzing by outside the window, the sense of movement. If this is the case, he may need shorter, slower car rides that won’t overwhelm his senses.

How to Get Your Dog To Relax

Once you know why your dog might not be feeling relaxed in the car, you’ll know how to proceed. For some dogs, changing the destination helps; for others, they just need more time. Here are a few steps to get your dog accustomed to the ride:

  • First, leash your dog calmly, and make sure the car is ready.
  • Walk slowly with your dog toward the car. If you notice any whimpering or faltering, slow down and offer praise and treats.
  • Circle the car once or twice, letting your dog sniff and get a feel for the vehicle.
  • If he’s doing alright, open the door slowly and help him into the car. You may have to lift up small dogs if they can’t jump in.
  • Practice sitting in the car for short increments at a time. Try starting with two seconds before letting him out. Praise him with a treat and begin again, this time for five seconds. Repeat the process until you reach one full minute of calmly sitting in the car.

Once he can handle sitting in the stationary vehicle with an open door, you can move onto the next steps you would take if you were going on a drive: closing the door, getting in the driver’s seat, starting the ignition, etc. Treat each of these steps as an individual action that could upset your dog. Don’t move onto the next step until your dog is relaxed. For example, if your dog starts to whine when you turn the ignition, repeat this step over a few times, turning the engine off and on. Praise your pup as you do this and speak to him in reassuring tones. He’ll see there’s nothing to be nervous about.

Once he’s relaxed enough with the driving preparation, you can start driving slowly for short distances. As he gets used to it, he’ll get more comfortable. And if you pay attention to your dog’s reaction to the regular destinations, you’ll ensure that he will be on his best behavior in the car.

Contact Argos Dog Training

If you’ve tried these tips and are still having trouble getting your dog to behave appropriately in the car, it might be time to call in the professionals for help. Whether you’ve got a young puppy or an old dog that needs to be taught some new tricks, the experts at Argos Dog Training provide private one-on-one sessions to work on these specific behaviors. From crate training to obedience, we have you covered! Get in contact with us today to set up a consultation and learn how we can train your furry friend to be a well-trained companion!

 

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What to do if Your Dog Constantly Barks in His Kennel

Crate training can be challenging for even the most experienced dog-owners. One of the most significant factors that deter owners from completing full crate training is the loud vocalization from dogs who aren’t happy about being locked away. We’ve gathered a few handy tips to follow if your dog constantly barks in his kennel, as it’s important to fully commit to crate training him. Read on to learn more!

Make the Crate Comfortable

Ideally, the end goal of crate-training is to get your dog accustomed to, and happy with, being in the crate. Instead of solitary confinement, the dog will see the crate as his own private room where he can go to relax.

To accomplish this, make sure there is something soft to lie on, like a blanket or dog bed, and a few extra amenities – puzzles, toys, or a favorite plushie will make him more at ease. If your pup is crated for longer than two hours, consider leaving a crate-mounted water dish, so he doesn’t get too thirsty. If your dog enjoys being in the space, he’ll be less likely to bark and fuss about it, and you’ll enjoy a quieter home.

Start Slow

If being in a crate is new for your dog, it’ll take him a while to get used to it. Don’t worry – that’s normal! To make it easier on him, build up his crate tolerance by introducing crate time slowly. Instead of putting him in the crate for a full night the first time, start in one minute increments. When the minute is up, allow your dog to leave the crate and praise him. If your pup starts to bark while in the crate, he is being left in there for too long. If he is consistently reassured that you will allow him to leave the crate, he won’t be afraid he’s stuck there forever and will be able to calm down.  

Take a Potty Break

When your dog starts barking while in the crate, don’t scold him or take him out to play; instead, you want to teach your dog exactly what barking in the crate will get him – a boring bathroom break. When you take him out of the crate, put a leash on immediately and take him outside for just two to three minutes. Go back inside when the time is up, whether he went to the bathroom or not. Finally, return him to his crate. Try not to speak to or pet him. You want him to understand that the only attention he will get from barking is a two-minute trip outside. This has the added benefit of training him to communicate when he does need to go out.

Contact Argos Dog Training for Help

Whether you’ve adopted a young puppy or you have an adult dog companion, crate training can be challenging, but it is a necessity. If you need assistance, Argos Dog Training is here to help! As the expert dog trainers in the Boston area, our professionals will help both you and your furry friend enjoy a happy home life together. Check out our list of dog training classes, including group and private sessions. Get in touch with us by filling out an online form or call us at 617-302-7467 today. 

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