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Woof Wednesday: Puppy Training Tips–Sit, Wait, Come!

baby

"Teach me, please!" Copr. Summer Hughs.

Everyone wants a polite puppy. But how does it happen? Polite behavior doesn’t develop overnight and what’s cute in Junior-Dawg can become a problem when that 10-pound baby turns into a 60+ pound dynamo.

Many folks delay training until it becomes a problem. But actually, puppies are little sponges that soak up lessons with little effort. You can train the little guys and turn it into a game! My Magical-Dawg was doing “puppy push-ups” (sit-down-sit-down) on TV at age 10 weeks. Here’s how you can turn your puppy into a genius–or at least he can play one on TV!

Note, these tips work for adult dogs, too–and also for cats. :O

TEACHING “SIT”

This can be the canine “open sesame” to all good things. You teach kids to say the magic words, right? Well just as please-and-thank-you work for human kids, a “sit” can work for the dog. You can do this using lure training or my favorite, clicker training. I used the clicker training techniques with Magic. It lets the pet puzzle out how to please YOU instead of you trying to out-think the dog. Learn the step-by-step tips here.

TEACHING “WAIT”

These techniques also work for train the “come” command. I like using “wait” with puppies, though, because they rarely have the patience to hold still long enough to win a reward for a “stay.” The “wait” command simply means don’t move forward–but they can get up from a sit or down or whatever. Wait works really well to keep pups from dashing through a door and knocking you off your feet. Here’s how to do it.

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"Come? I'd rather play keep-away!" Copr. Paige Nelson

TEACHING “COME”

This one is a HUGE DEAL when you’ve got a puppy on the loose. After all, the little guy learns very quickly that you can’t catch him and then–wow, watch the fun HE has while you tear your hair and pray he won’t dash into traffic! Of course a safe area to train or confine is best to prevent such awful potential accidents. But it’s also a great idea to teach your baby dog (or your adults!) to come when called. These tips work really well for puppies.  For my Magical-Dawg, his fail-safe recall command has become, “CAR RIDE!”  That really brings him running!

Are your puppies–and adult dogs–well trained? What are some must-knows for your furry crew? How did you train them? Are there any behaviors you wish pup-o-matic would do but don’t know where to begin? Please share!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Woof Wednesday: Ask Amy & Puppy House Training

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Page with Christmas present 2011

A Christmas puppy named Page has fun with the gifts. (Copr Esagirl/Flickr)

Did you get a puppy for Christmas? SQUEEEEE! What fun! The joy of watching a baby dog play, and learning all about the little guy can be a special time. But the new baby doesn’t come knowing all the rules of your house. House training is a biggie and can spoil and interrupt the bonding experience for you both. After all, the puppy wants to please you but just can’t help natural urges to squat.

Dogs can be potty trained at any age, but puppies learn much more quickly than adults. Puppies are so cute that owners forgive puppy-size accidents, but adult-size deposits aren’t cute and often lose the grown-up pet his home. I’ve offered a couple of the biggies–most important tips–in the Ask Amy video below. You can use these 8 puppy potty training tips to housebreak puppies and ensure he grows up to be the best friend he’s meant to be.

Have you ever had a potty training challenge? What did you do? What are some other dog bathroom training tips that worked for you? Senior citizen dogs also can have issues with being able to “hold it.” You can find tips for the old doggy incontinence issues in the book Complete Care for Your Aging Dog.

#AskAmy Sweet Tweets

Folks who “follow” me on Twitter @amyshojai and @About_Puppies are the most awesome Sweet Tweets around–they love #cats and #dogs and #pets, many #amwriting.  Just follow and include the #AskAmy in your tweets if’n you’re interested in pithy links to articles, books, blogs, experts, fictioning and sparkle-icity!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Woof Wednesday: Cute Puppy Pictures & Doggy Pacifiers

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Magical-Pup nursing on his "pacifier."

Last Saturday I spent the morning with my colleague Lynette George who runs a small private rescue operation locally. She’s also my editor at the newspaper, and lets me know when puppies (or kitties) are available for adoptions–and photo ops! I wanted to test some toys for future reviews on the Puppies Site, and these energetic models offered their expert puppy-licious opinion. The toys are courtesy of Planet Dog, one of my fav puppy toy sites not just because the dogs love ’em but they’re environmentally responsible.

You should have seen the Magical-Dawg’s face when I took these toys out of HIS house. Talk about a hang-dog expression. That’s him (above) when he was still a little guy. Get a load of those ears! He’s sucking on a stuffed toy–and he still does that to this day. Actually that’s the subject of today’s Ask Amy video —

But first, the SQUEEE! puppy pix! If you’re interested in adopting any of these beauties post a note in the comments and I’ll put you in touch with Lynette.

Decisions decisions...Pup with toys

Decisions, decisions . . . what if I want 'em both?

Pup with Ball

"It's mine, ALL MINE!"

pup with ball

For me?

pup with toy

Don't even think about it!

2 pups argue over toy

I saw it first!

2 pups wrestle

Oh yeah? Just make me!

Sleepy pup

Worked like a dog...sleep like a puppy.

So what are YOUR dog’s favorite toys? Do they have interesting habits or preferences, like nursing on a particular object? My first shepherd couldn’t eat unless his favorite ball was in the bowl for him to eat around it. He didn’t nurse on stuffed toys but would fall asleep with a tennis ball in his mouth–and end up with dry tongue, LOL! What are some other possible reasons for the dog in the Ask Amy holding on to a blanket or pillow? Please share.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Woof Wednesday: Sunburned Dawgs Ain’t Sexy!

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Upside Pup

Dogs who sunbathe on their backs can get sunburned tummies!

Aww…gives new meaning to the “dog days of summer.” This gorgeous photo Copr. amasd posted in my Puppies Publishing group (used with permission!) perfectly illustrates one of the hot weather risks that face our dogs. Hope his lil’ tummy has some sunscreen protection.

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White face pups risk nose sunburn.

Dogs are very well protected against the sun by their fur, and don’t routinely suffer from sunburn. Shaving your fuzz-bucket dawg down to keep him cool can increase the risk of sunburn and heatstroke. When dogs do suffer sunburn, the hairless or thinly-furred areas of the body are most at risk, like the ear tips, bridge of the nose, and the tummy. White puppies are at highest risk and for some reason, bulldog breeds really like to sleep on their backs and bare tummies to the sun. I just pub’d a new article on the topic so you can learn more about first aid for sunburn pain.

Everyone knows cats follow puddles of sunshine across the carpet to sunbathe. Cats actually get burned more often than dogs. But are your dogs sun worshipers? Or do they look for ways to keep cool? What’s your pooch’s favorite hot weather pastimes? How do your pets handle the heat?

Magical-Dawg lost his appetite. It’s just too darn hot to eat, apparently. That is, unless it’s something off of MY plate! Wait–maybe he’s using the hot weather and snubbing the bowl to manipulate us into treating him with yummies, ya think? Hot pavement and more can affect how your dogs (and cats!) manage the heat and my latest Paw Nation article offers some hot weather safety tips.  Here are some safe hot weather games I’ve come up with for dogs but please add your own to the list.

Do you trim your Poodle like a topiary for hot weather? Shave your Saluki? Slather sunscreen on Slobber-Kissy-Poo-Pooch? How do you keep King cool? I know a young woman in marching band in High School who’s service dog now has a “cooling vest” to help maintain cool-dog safety. Are there any neato-torpedo products you recommend?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? I’m nearly ready to record a bunch of new ones, so be sure to get your requests in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Woof Wednesday: Ask Amy & Poop-Eating Poochies

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Magic9.5wks, face

At 9-1/2 weeks, Magical-Dawg perfected the grab-poop-and-run technique. Don't let the innocent look fool you!

Do your dogs eat poop? C’mon, confession is good for the soul, you can spill the …er, uhm, BEANS. You’re among friends! I’ll go first.

“My Magical-Dawg indulges in poop-munching.”

Well, he used to, anyway. Thank heaven’s he outgrew the nasty habit or I’d own stock in doggy breath mint products.  Just why do they do it, and how can you curb the poop-icity? Today’s brand new Ask Amy video offers some tips for dogs with Shih Tzu breath. And I’ve posted an article with 10 tips for stopping puppy poop eating.

Seems like people who live with and love pets must deal with a lot of crap. What are other irksome issues you’ve struggled to solve with your dogs? What did you do? Please share tips, or post questions in the comments and I’ll feature in a future Ask Amy.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? I’m nearly ready to record a bunch of new ones, so be sure to get your requests in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Wildlife, Writer-Life & Crap-icity

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Peri

Gorgeous "Peri" loves posing.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and blogs and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. So I had to share these lovely pictures taken by photographer Sherry Aldrich Sineath when she posted them in my Flickr Kitty Publishing group (thank you Sherry!). There’s a Puppy Publishing group, too–please do NOT post if you don’t want your pictures shared here or on my other venues. Yes, I’m getting a weeeee bit testy about that.

On another note, I’ve finished posting all my Ask Amy videos, to date–and have a list of questions y’all have sent. So stay tuned, new ones am a-coming atcha this week! And if you have a pressing question, feel free to post in the comments section.

LOST PET INFO

Of course, I hope that Peri-Kitty and her friends know their way home and have identification and safe places to play and enjoy the glorious sunshine and grass. So are your pets microchipped? Do they have safe outside play areas? In North Texas, coyotes come up on the back patio looking for snacks–living, breathing snacks. Seren would make one mouthful. Magic would invite the critters inside to play. So we’re very careful about outdoor excursions.

I pray you’ll never need it but should your pet become lost, check out Find Toto for lost pets–My pet writer colleague Betty Sleep (check out her gorgeous cats & books!) says, “They have an automated robo call type service that will call X number of the residences surrounding where the animal was lost, giving its info, and where to contact the owner.”

PREDATOR HIDE AND SEEK?

What Happens When Predators–Wolves, Cougars, Bears–Disappear?  Food for thought–nature abhors a vacuum, so what will fill the empty spots? What do you think?

Our two cats and their raccoon friend (?)

It's unusual for raccoons to target cats--as in this pic, mostly they just target cat food!

Raccoons Target House Cats offers yet another reason to keep Kitty safely inside. Have you ever had wildlife swipe pet food? Or swipe a pet (horrors!).

And now researchers seem to target house cats, blaming them for cancer. Wow, sounds like a plot for a science fiction book–and IMO you do need quite an imagination to buy into the premise. You can read a rebuttal here.

Dolphins & Sea Lions Go to War — and some GORGEOUS photos at incredible blogger/writer Danielle Meitiv’s blog.

PUBLISHING, EDITING & AGENTING, OH MY!

David Gaughran’s Blog covers self publishing with excellent how-to advice and commentary.

Looking for an agent? Know someone who is? Then check out the 2011 Backspace Agent-Author Seminar. Two days of panel discussions and small-group workshops with more than 25 literary agents on the program! Check the Frequently Asked Questions section, or write to Backspace Administrators Karen Dionne (karendionne@bksp.org) or Christopher Graham (chrisg@bksp.org). By the way, you really should check out Karen’s environmental thrillers, they rock!

Are you an editor looking for a gig? Carina Press, the Ebook arm of Silhouette Books, is looking for Freelance Development and Content Editors (be sure you read the details).

WHAT A LOT OF CRAP-ICITY

You have GOT to watch (and then share!) this video–for all the folks who sling crappiocca (or let their dogs do-do-diggidy-do it!). What do YOU do when your doggies do that doo-doo thing?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? I’m nearly ready to record a bunch of new ones, so be sure to get your requests in the comments. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Weird Woof Wednesday: Knee-Jerk Reactions & Poopy-Puppies

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Puppies often eat schtuff--and then want to SMOOCH you on the lips.

We’ve had two blogs in a row filled to the brim with writer-icity, so it’s time for a bit of SQUEEEE! puppy-licious fun. There are a number of weird behaviors, though, that puzzle even savvy dog owners. One’s enough to make you question your dog’s good taste–literally.

Coprophagia–sounds all literary-like, right? But that’s just a fancy word for eating (ahem) poop.

Ew! You might want to put down your McMuffin while reading this.

Poop eating can be nature’s way for mom-dogs to keep the nest clean, and Junior-Dawg simply copy cats the behavior. It’s annoying, nasty, and great fun for juvenile delinquent pups. Even the Magical-Dawg indulged in his youth, played keep-away with the crap and one time actually carried some inside the house. Oh yeah, THAT went over well, and reinforced the cat’s opinion of him.

Most pups outgrow the behavior. If you have a canine connoisseur of pungent productions (say THAT fast five time!), these 10 tips to stop eating poop will help.  Just take a look at that face (below) and tell me you couldn’t forgive that keep-’em-laughing puppy! In fact, read on for some neato news.

July 15-17, Petfinder.com is joining with over 1,500 rescue groups and shelters across North American for what could be the largest adoption event in history–in honor of Petfinder.com 15th Birthday year! That sweet puppy above with the goof-ball grin is Booger-Boy  and he’s available–just click on thr picture for a link to details. Betcha once he’s adopted (and you could change the name!) he’d promise not to eat anything you don’t want him to eat…except maybe a favorite sock that reminds him of his beloved human . . .

A less annoying but still puzzling behavior involves doggy scratching behavior. Does your pooch kick when he’s scratched? Is it a certain place if you rub him the right way, or will his leg jitter and jump with any scratch? The Ask Amy video below has some answers–but what have I missed? Why do you think dogs “fiddle” when scratched?

And do your dogs (or pups) eat nasty stuff? How do you handled the problem? Please share!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Monday Mentions: Cancer Support, Disaster Help & Furry Professional Ops

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Please take me home!

I’ve saved up lots of great info to share in today’s Monday Mentions. First, I had to share some of the puppy-licious pictures from this weekend’s adoption event. The babies mostly slept but finally woke up for some yappy-happy playtime. If you have a dog intent on breaking the bark-a-thon record, the latest puppies.About.com tips for curbing barks may help.

Older dogs benefit from a terrific promotion hosted by Morris Animal Foundation on Sunday, September 18, for a K9 Cancer Walk at the Cove at Concord Park in Knoxville. The event will benefit the Foundation’s Canine Cancer Campaign, an initiative to fund research to prevent, treat and, ultimately, cure cancer in dogs. An estimated 50 percent of all dogs will battle cancer. All dog lovers are invited to attend and are encouraged to walk to celebrate the life of their canine best friend or walk in memory of dogs that have lost their battle with canine cancer.

Last week I talked about disaster pet preparation tips on the blog. The ASPCA has worked closely with the Joplin Humane Society and the last I heard, nearly 850 animals have since been rescued__with more than 200 beloved pets being reunited with their families. Here’s one story of a kitty and owner reunion!  Now the recent fires have displaced more families–and animals. Check out this video…and help if you can:

Some might be curious about those initials after my name, C.A.B.C.–that stands for Certified Animal Behavior Consultant (dogs and cats). I’m a professional member of IAABC. This professional membership organization promotes Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA) principles in work with companion cats, dogs, parrots, horses and working animals.

In honor of Cat Adoption month in the U.S, the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants have a “special deal” for Cat Division applicants. The application fee has been waived for all new members (to all divisions) throughout the month of June–YEEE-HAW!!! President Marjie Alonso writes, “Cats are currently the most popular pet in the United States and  it’s imperative that we support and educate regarding growing need  for feline behavioral assistance and services to help cat owners.  Learn more about joining IAABC here.

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Adopt a new friend, don't wait!

This past weekend I attended a puppy and kitten adoption and am pleased to say several fur-kids found new forever homes. But there are always so many more waiting . . . and after all, there’s still several days left in Adopt A Cat Month.

CATalyst Council is working with American Humane Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, and Petfinder.com to make this June the most successful Adopt A Cat Month® ever! Check out the official website here. Better yet, visit your local shelter this month to take home a new feline friend! Oh, and check out the fantastic how-to video on kitty carrier training at the end of the blog, courtesy of Catalyst Council folks.

Can’t adopt right now? No problem. Consider fostering. Everyone wants to help critters–well, those who read this blog do anyway! But it comes at a cost. Good news! Did you know that your expenses of caring for “foster animals” may be tax deductible?

Unable to foster? One of my fav organizations Alley Cat Rescue offers a brilliant alternative. You can have a virtual adoption and sponsor an ACR office cat or special needs kitty.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions–and to stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!