Training Tips

Keeping Your Dog Safe on Halloween


Choose Costumes Wisely

Dressing up your dog can be adorable, but can quickly turn disastrous if not chosen wisely. First, ensure that your dog’s vision will not be obstructed in the costume. You’ll also want to make sure it’s not restrictive or unsafe for your dog in any way. Also avoid costumes that use rubber bands to hold the costume in place, as your dog can easily chew through them and become a choking hazard. The elastic can also become embedded in the dog’s fur, causing irritation or pain.

Keep Away From the Door

On Halloween night when trick-or-treaters are knocking on the door, ringing the doorbell, and causing a commotion in the front entryway, it’s usually best to keep your dog away. All the noise and strangers entering the house can confuse your dog and make him feel stressed. After all, your dog has an instinctive nature to protect your family. With so many unfamiliar faces in his home, he may quickly go into protective mode and start acting up. The last thing you want is your dog to bite a trick-or-treater or dart out the door because he’s frightened.

Be Cautious of Candles and Jack-O-Lanterns

Many people like to light their driveway and porches with lit pumpkins and candles on Halloween night. If you do this, make sure to keep pets far away, as they can be knocked over easily causing a spill of hot wax, or potential fire hazard.

Don’t Leave Pets in the car

This one may seem obvious, as pets should never really be left in the car. However, it may be tempting to leave them in the car as you take the kids trick-or-treating to just a few houses in a neighborhood. Leaving them in the car on Halloween night is particularly scary for them, as creatures of all types will be walking by. To avoid them becoming aggressive, keep them at home where they are safe and sound.

Don’t Share Candy

While candy is a sweet treat for us, it is not safe for dogs to consume, and actually poses numerous health risks. Keep your pets away from any type of chocolate, candy corn, hard candies, and wrappers that could be dangerous when swallowed.



Using Positive Reinforcement for Dog Training

Training your dog is an essential, and sometimes challenging, part of his puppy days. However,  using positive reinforcement can be a highly effective tactic during training sessions. Just as us humans like to be congratulated when we’ve done a good job on something, dogs react especially well to a little praise. It is fairly simple to use this tactic with your dog, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind in order for it to be successful. Use this guide for your next training session and see how your puppy responds!

Timing is key

It’s important to keep in mind that dogs have a short attention span. Because of this, the reward needs to be immediately following the action that you are happy with. This will allow them to associate the positive reaction with the specific behavior and they will likely remember it next time. If you, for example, wait until you go home to give them a treat, they will not remember why they are getting the treat.

How often to give treats

If you do choose to give treats as positive reinforcement, it’s a fine line you walk with how many and when they should be given. Since the end goal is to get him to do the behavior on his own without a treat, you don’t want him to become reliant and only react when he sees treats. When your dog is first learning a behavior, use “continuous reinforcement,” rewarding him every time he does the behavior. Once he starts to learn the behavior, switch to intermittent reinforcement, only rewarding him every few times. Use a variable schedule of reinforcement, so that your dog doesn’t catch on and only respond when he knows a treat is coming. If you switch it up, he will learn that if he keeps repeating the behavior, eventually the treat will come.

Be consistent

One of the most important things you can do to make training painless for you and your dog is to be consistent. If you reward your dog from staying away from the table at dinner time, but then invite him to come and eat your scraps after dinner, you will cause confusion. Your dog doesn’t have the ability to know when dinner is over, so it is unfair to assume that he can differentiate when he is allowed vs. when he is not. Layout ground rules with your family and stick to them at all times.

Contact Argos Dog Training

Positive reinforcement can be highly effective when training your dog. If you need assistance or more tips and tricks, contact the experts at Argos Dog Training!


How to Stop Your Dog From Chewing Your Belongings

If you have a new puppy, it’s not uncommon to come home and find your favorite pair of shoes chewed up, or gnaw marks on the furniture. Our puppies are curious and use their mouths to identify new objects. However, if your dog is a bit older and still chewing, there could be a few reasons for this: They weren’t trained as a puppy to know what they can chew, they’re bored, they are scared, they want attention, etc. Although you might not be able to stop the chewing altogether, you can train them to chew appropriate items so they do not destroy your valuables. It is our job as the owner to teach our puppies what the can and can’t chew.

Hide your valuables- The best way to keep something out of your dog’s mouth is to not make it available to them. Keep your clothes, shoes, trash, etc. out of reach for your dog.

Provide alternatives- Rather than having your dog chew up your belongings, give them toys that are clearly distinguishable from your household items. Don’t give them something such as an old sock to chew, and expect them to not mistake it for other newer clothing items that you will be upset if he gets his paws on.

Supervise your dog- You wouldn’t leave your baby unattended, and it should be the same for your dog. If you’re home, keep them in sight so they won’t be getting into mischief somewhere else. If you have to leave them alone, choose a confined spot that is dog proof with safe chew toys and water. You may also opt to keep them in a crate for short periods of time.

Exercise- It is important to also make sure your dog is getting sufficient exercise so they aren’t restless and taking out their energy in ways you will not like. Taking them on walks and letting them play in the yard will tire them out and help avoid them causing issues in the house.

Make items undesirable- You can coat your items, especially furniture, with a taste deterrent that is unappealing to your dog so they will not gnaw at it

Don’t Chase- If your dog does get ahold of one of your favorite items, never chase them around. That is giving them what they want, as it’s fun for them. Rather, call them to you to get the item out of their mouth. You can also offer a treat in exchange for the item that’s in their mouth.

Punish in a timely manner- If you find an item after it has been chewed, it’s too late to scold them. They cannot associate your yelling or punishment with something that happened an hour ago. They will simply be confused and the punishment can actually provoke other undesired behaviors. If you’re going to scold, make sure it is immediately following the behavior so the dog understands exactly what they did wrong.

Contact Argos Dog Training

For assistance with training your puppy, our experts can help! Argos offers group and private dog training, structured day care, basic leash manners course, and more. Contact us today to learn more!


Setting Your Puppy Up For Success

Getting a brand new puppy can be a very exciting time. At first, it is so easy to get wrapped up in puppy snuggles all day, cooing over how adorable your new furry friend is. However, it won’t be long before that initial excitement wears off, and you realize your dog has already picked up some bad habits. Of course, professional training can help with obedience skills, but there are a few things you can do right off the bat to get your puppy on the right track. Set your puppy up for success before he even enters your home by following these few simples tips.

  1. Choose a name wisely- The name can be the hardest part. You want to choose a name that you’ll love, but also something that will be beneficial for training purposes. Try to pick a name that has a strong consonant at the end, so he can always hear it clearly. Emphasizing a strong ending, such as Cooper, Jack, or Scout, will perk up your puppy’s ears.
  2. Decide on house rules- Before you bring your new friend home, set clear rules on what he can and can’t do. Will he be allowed in your bed or on furniture? Are certain parts of the house off limits? Where will the puppy sleep? Can the puppy eat scraps from the dinner table? If you set these rules from day 1, it will avoid confusion in the future for you and your puppy. It will be easier to start on a good note than to correct poor behaviors later!
  3. Teach him to come when called- This is the first command that you should focus on mastering with your dog. Be sure to use positive reinforcement throughout this process. As time goes on, you’ll see the benefits of learning this command early on in his life.
  4. Discourage the jump up- Puppies are often just excited to be settled into their new homes as you are, and love to jump up when greeting people. However, you’ll realize this is a bad habit to develop when your dog is jumping all over everyone in the park a few months down the road. So when your dog jumps up, try completely ignoring him. Do not reprimand, but simply give him no attention or praise by patting him when he is in a jumping up position. Wait until he returns to the ground and settles before acknowledging him.
  5. End training sessions positively- Positive reinforcement always goes over well with your puppy. At the end of a training session, be sure to treat him with lots of praise, a treat, or belly rub. This enforces that the behaviors he has performed are associated with positive results, and he will be likely to do them in the future.

Contact Argos Dog Training

These few tips are a great place to start for getting your puppy on the right track. For more structured and advanced obedience courses, contact Argos Dog Training! We offer basic leash manners, basic communications, puppy day-care and more.


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