Puppy and Dog Training PetChat Q&A: Professional dog trainer Kelley Filson

DogTime Moderator: Welcome to this Wednesday’s PetChat’s hosted event with Kelley Filson, a certified dog trainer and DogTime training blogger and expert. Kelley will answer your questions on how to train your new pet (housebreaking, biting, chewing, etc.). Welcome Kelley!

Housebreaking puppies and dogs

kelleyfilson@amigodog: Hello. Could we start by everyone telling me about their puppies. Age, breed, etc
crazymonkey: Hi kelley
Mollyinme: Hi Kelley
crazymonkey: I don’t have a puppy but mine’s 4 1/2 years old and Yorkshire terrier
Twinkle: She has a hard time pooing in the right place
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Oh, tell me more.
crazymonkey: She urinates on her wee wee pad, but doesn’t want to poo there
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Try having two pads
crazymonkey: How do I get her completely house broken if I cannot take her out on regular scheduled walks?
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Some dogs don’t like to pee and poo in the same place
crazymonkey: Would crate training her help or is it too late?
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Crate training is a good way to help dogs learn how to hold (wait) their bladder.

Jumping on counters behavior problem

Dr. Tubbs: I have a question when you get a chance, Kelley. My pup is a counter-jumper. We’ve put away all food, but I don’t want her to hurt herself if she tries again
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Did she hurt herself before? What type of dog?
Dr. Tubbs: She’s staffie. No, she hasn’t hurt herself yet, but the counter is high and she’s so little!
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Regarding the counter jumper. Try using a tie-down when you are around to teach her to lay in one place and wait patiently for you to reward her. Or gate off the kitchen. Gate the area to prevent her jumping when you are not around. Only allow access to the kitchen when you can use the tie down.
Dr. Tubbs: What’s a tie down? like a lead?
kelleyfilson@amigodog: A leash that is tethered on one end to something safe and sturdy. Generally I give the dog 4 feet of room. A nice bed and something to chew. In order to END an old behavior, teach a new behavior.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: When you are ready…. the dog is generally calmly on her bed. Unclip the leash and allow her to “think about” jumping on the counter. Catch her intending to snoop on the counter and then say, “Too-bad” and carry (if she is small) her to a boring area, a bathroom for example.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Time-out are short and a consequence for bad behavior. You need to try to be consistent. Be firm when you cart her off, but not mean.
Dr. Tubbs: OK, that makes sense. Will be hard to be firm, but that’s probably what got me into this mess in the 1st place!

Jumping on people behavior problem

Katiecakes: Hi: have a 4 month lab pup…Katie
Kelleyfilson@amigodog: Is chewing a problem?
Katiecakes: I have ben redirecting her with that. My problem is when people come to visit she jumps all over them…how do I train her not to jump on guests, how to stop that.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Time-out work well for jumping on guests too! Also have a tie down near the entrance of your house.When you hear the doorbell/knock…Get a treat or toy your dog likes and lure them over to the tie down. Clip them, but keep the treat/toy. Open the door. Instruct your guest to ignore the dog.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Say NOTHING! Just wait. When your dog is done being bratty (2-5min) say thank you and toss the treat. This is for FRIENDLY pups and dogs. NOT for dogs that are afraid of people! OR aggressive. The idea is to prevent your dog from getting what they want (say hi) until your dog is calm. The tie down keeps the dog from jumping.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: The toy is a nice way to reward the dog and redirect them from jumping on the guest once you unclip.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Any guesses on what you would do if they jump once you unclip????
Twinkle: ignore them?
Crazymonkey: Retie them
Moderator: Clip them again?
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Mark it with “Too-bad” and reclip your dog, walk away.
Katiecakes: Can I do this with a leash also…in a small condo?
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Leash is fine! This is another type of time-out. But very humane! It’s more of a “Oh, bummer” for your dog.

Barking problems

Dr. Tubbs: My other dog, pointer mix, barks like crazy when a stranger comes to the door. Takes a long time to settle.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Hmmm. Tell me more.
Dr. Tubbs: I think he might be fear aggressive, and it’s worse with men, although he loves my husband.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: When you say settle is she super-excited or somewhat fearful?
Dr. Tubbs: Fearful for sure
kelleyfilson@amigodog: When did your get her?
Dr. Tubbs: 4 years ago, the problem has gotten worse and worse.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: If she met your husband before 4mo that is the reason. Are you using classical conditioning?
Dr. Tubbs: Yes, but I don’t think we’ve done enough. No shortcuts, eh?
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Classical Conditioning fixes the underlying fear, but does not focus on what the dog is doing (barking, growling). Tell me what you are doing. Using food?? Toy???
Dr. Tubbs: We are asking for a sit and giving a treat as soon as the doorbell rings. Once he has the treat, he goes immediately into barking
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Are you gating her? Tying her down?
Dr. Tubbs: Tried putting the dogs in the other room, but they scratch at the door and bark like crazy.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: I would try tethering her out of the entrance area. Or put up a gate or tether her there with a GREAT chew or treats. When the guest arrives start giving treats! Don’t stop until the guest leaves.
Dr. Tubbs: And just ignore the barking?
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Yes. You are NOT rewarding the barking if she is afraid. Only have the guest in-sight for 1-2 minutes.
Dr. Tubbs: ok, so I need “practice guests”?
kelleyfilson@amigodog: It really sounds like you will go faster if you can create a safe space for your dog OUT OF SIGHT of the guest. She should only be expected to deal with the guest/scary visit for a short time each time. Use a quiet room.
Dr. Tubbs: OK. He’s crate trained. Will try putting him in the crate.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Cover the crate so it is a cozy den.Rmember if guests are scary for him, he is NOT missing out, he will be relieved. Yes, it The dog is too excited to sit and the commands just confuse them more. Try being patient. Let your dog figure out what IS NOT WORKING.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Twinkie, I ignore them too. But for some large dogs, ignoring is hard and hurts.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: READ: Dog’s Are From Neptune by Jean Donaldson. GREAT book for FEAR. The main theory is that you cannot punish away fear, but that you can change fearful behaviors if your change how the animal feels. It s guidebook for classical conditioning.

Eating grass and vomiting

Edward K: I have a question: my dog keeps eating grass and throwing it up. should I be concerned?
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Mine too! Talk to your vet. I have a hound who LOVES to eat grass too. I’ve tasted it–the grass was sweat! I couldn’t blame him.
kelleyfilson@amigodog
: If the vet rules out any medical issue (mine doesn’t tend to vomit as much)…Teach the dog a Leave-it command. Your dog may have learned that you are always going to stop him and so he tries harder to eat the grass quickly… BEFORE you can get to him… this could cause stress and thus the vomit.
Edward K: OK, thanks, I’ll talk to my vet.

Getting into Garbage

Twinkle: Kelley, I have a 1 yr old, chi-apso, who loves to rummage through our garbage can. The garbage is well protected but he still finds ways to get to it.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Garbage diggin!
Twinkle: Is there any way that we can stop him from doing this?
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Sometimes when we make things harder for dogs to get into, we make them MORE FUN!
Twinkle: He is well fed, and just generally loves to make a mess
kelleyfilson@amigodog: It sounds like you need to re-look at the garbage situation -not protected enough.Does he garbage dig when you are home?
Twinkle: No, he does it when we’re away.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Maybe he needs food puzzles and some more exercise. Do you feed with Kongs or other kibble contraptions?
Twinkle: No, we do not
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Try barricading the room with the garbage and feeding ALL MEALS with Kongs. This will give him an outlet for his food-hunting. Do you know how to feed with Kongs? Dogs LOVE it. There is so much information online about feeding meals in Kongs and through kibble balls. Do it! Your dog will be too tired to look for garbage!
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Do not make your dogs first Kong too hard. Place the kibble inside (if you feed kibble) and then put something soft and tasty over the top (I like peanut butter or cream cheese). You can work up to mixing the soft stuff with the kibble.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: I feed my dogs kongs when I leave. That is the only time they eat. Lots of small meals when I am gone–they love it when I go out 🙂
kelleyfilson@amigodog: I pack my Kongs at night (a mixture of wet and dry) and FREEZE them. In the beginning, if your dog does not work at the kong… try making it easier, OR just take it away and try again later. No dog will starve itself to death -promise 🙂
Dr. Tubbs: Do you let more than one dog at a time have kongs when you’re away? Just worried about fights?
kelleyfilson@amigodog: GOOD QUESTION! Regarding multiple dogs…Try feeding the Kongs when you are around to start. Give them kongs on their won beds and don’t let them take each other’s Kongs.
MaggieC: How do you clean the Kong?
kelleyfilson@amigodog: I soak it in the sink then bottle brush it. Once a week I do a dishwasher load of dog stuff. The Kongs all go in.

Pupping nipping and biting

Mollyinme: What can I do to keep a new puppy from nipping my other pets when I bring him home? I know puppy teeth can be very sharp.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: What other pets do you have? When I introduce cats and dogs I always use a baby-gate. That way they can see each other, but not hurt each other. Try doing this and watching their interactions. REWARD gentle sniffing. In general I let the other animal make the decision. If they choose to be close to the gate, investigate the dog, I might let them try to get closer.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Also, puppy teeth are sharp for a good reason! Puppies have very little jaw muscle power. They need to have sharp teeth so they can learn that they COULD hurt. The needle-sharp puppy teeth make it HURT when pups use their mouths even though they are small and weak.

Leash pulling

ShiraKhan: My 10 month old pup is still tugging hard on her lease at times. We use a stop/go method. She pulls, I stop until leash slackens. Do you have any advice? I reward with treats too.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Dogs pull because the leash is telling them to. Pressure on the dogs neck, even gentle pressure makes dogs pull against the source of the pressure.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Since the source of the pressure is BEHIND the dog, the dog pulls forward. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND using a harness that hooks in the front! There are several models are the market now.
ShiraKhan: Great I’ll get one.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Because they hook in the front, the dog naturally walks calmly next to you.
ShiraKhan: That makes sense

Rough play

Dr. Tubbs: When my dogs play together, one sneezes a lot. Is this behavioral? it doesn’t seem medical.
kelleyfilson@amigodog: Yes, it is behavioral. Sneezing is a sign of stress. Don’t worry! Stress can be good and bad.
Dr. Tubbs: Does that mean he’s not enjoying the play?
kelleyfilson@amigodog: I’m guessing they are mouth-wrestling?
Dr. Tubbs: Yep
kelleyfilson@amigodog: If he’s coming back for more it is fun! Thanks everyone for such great questions and for participating. Please check out more on my blog. http://blogs.dogtime.com/go-dog-training. You can always add questions in the comments kelleyfilson@amigodog. I do check them and try to answer questions regularly.

DogTime Moderator: Thank you for participating in our hosted event about integrating new pets into your home with Kelley Filson. If you like to read a copy of the chat dialog, please visit http://dogtime.com/talk-with-other-pet-lovers-live-on-petchat.html