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Current Replies for New Puppy...HELP!!
Herd Fan
1/4/2009 1:45:09 PM
Posts: 1
First of all, I'd like to introduce myself as this is the first time I've posted on this website. My name is Belle and I live in southern Ohio. I am 22, a college student (Marshall University), and live with my parents when I'm not at school. I had a Black Lab/Chow mix named Freckles (he had a pink tongue with the purple "freckles" on his tongue [because of the chow in him and the purple tongues they generally have]) who passed away two and a half years ago. At this time, we have no other pets than the one we just adopted today!

Here's how we came across out new little guy...we went to the local no kill shelter about a week ago looking for a pet mainly for my mom and me (Dad LOVES dogs, but he travels a lot on the weekends, so the dog would be here to keep my mom company when he and I are both gone at the same time). We saw one dog we really liked and wanted to take my Dad back to meet her since this dog would be a big part of his life too! A lady I work with (I work on my breaks from school) volunteers at the shelter and is VERY active with her dogs (she shows them) and fosters dogs, so I asked her some questions about the dog we had been looking at and she said she'd do some "investigating" with him when she went on Saturday. She got back to me and also mentioned another dog she thought would make a good pet. With my dad's work schedule, Sunday is about his only day to go, so between church and dinner my mom mentioned that she might want to go to the shelter to have him meet the dog. She wouldn't give us a definite answer about if she wanted to go or not, so we went home. About five minutes from home (and 30 from the shelter), she made up her mind to go. We decided to go home so we could change clothes and then go the the shelter. Once there, we looked at the dogs we thought we would be interested in and took them outside of the kennel area (on leashes) to see how they reacted to us. The first one only had interest in the cats running around and none whatsoever in us, and the other one - the one we had originally been interested in - started growling at us (I'm not sure if it was her personality or the cats jumping around, but it was enough to make us lose interest in her). As we were trying to get the dog in, a couple, the woman's daughter and her daughter (the couple's granddaughter) came in with this little puppy. Once I was finally able to get into the building with the dog, the husband asked me if we were looking for a dog. I answered "yes," and he and the daughter started telling me about this puppy they had found in the Wal-Mart parking lot scared and trying to dodge cars. It had no collar and no one around seemed to know who it belonged to. They weren't able to keep him, so they were bringing him to the shelter. It ended up that my dad knew the wife (the grandmother), and they started talking more about the dog and his behavior and such (at least what they knew from having him around for about 24 hours). We're not positive about anything about the dog yet (except that he's adorable and needs a good home), but we think he's probably a Golden Retriever mix possibly with German Shepherd and about 12 weeks or so old. My mother (who had been wanting a Golden Retriever) took to him instantly and he to her. My dad fell in love with him too, and I was hooked from the first time I saw his shinny gold coat and his long, blond eyelashes! The couple who brought him in even paid the adoption fee (they were going to make a donation in that amount anyway, so the shelter put it toward our adoption of him). Since we agreed to "turn him over" to the shelter (meaning filling out adoption papers and such and leaving him at the shelter overnight), they will have him neutered, checked for worms, micro-chipped, and give him his first vaccinations first thing in the morning and it only cost us $30! They told us he will be ready for us to pick him up tomorrow (Monday) afternoon (which seems a little fast to me, but we've already got a nice, comfortable spot ready for him to start his recovery process).

Here are my questions:

He's going to be an indoor dog (he's going to be big, but we have a big house!), so what is going to be the best way to potty train him as far as having him let us know when he needs to go outside to "potty?" I completely realize it will be a challenge at first, but we're patient people and are willing to take the time to work with him to make sure it's done right.

Once he's "of age" (about a year old), what will be the best way to train him as far as teaching him commands and such (sit, stay, heal, come...)?

What are some of the things we need to know and do for him after his neutering tomorrow, and about how long will his recovery take (I know the vet will go over this with us, but a little extra advise is always nice!)?

Do you have any other suggestions or advise to help make his transition any easier?

We don't have a name yet...we haven't really gotten to know his personality, but we're considering "Sunny" since he's bright "yellow" and we got him on a Sunday. I'll let you know though once we settle on something

Thanks for taking the time to read all of this...I know I went on for a long time, but I'm just so excited! Belle
1/4/2009 7:59:22 PM
Posts: 22
The key to housebreaking is patience and consistancy. He will have to go right when he wakes up and afer eating. If you watch him closely you will learn what signs to look for that indicate he has to go. Most accidents in the house happen because the owner wasn't paying attention to the signals that the dog is giving. I ask my dogs "do you have to go potty?" at the door as I am taking them out. Now all I have to say is "potty?" and if they have to go, they come running. They tell me most of the time though. When he is going in the proper area, praise him. Everyone will offer different advise, you just need to see what works best for you.

As for teaching commands, they don't come "of age". And you DEFINITELY do NOT want to wait until he is 1 year old. Once he is completely healed, has had all of his shots and has a clean bill of health, enroll him in puppy obedience classes. If you wait, you will end up having a LOT of problems later on and the classes are a great way for the pup and the members of your family to bond. They are also great at helping you to socialize him. A good instructor can also provide you with other great advice for helping to care for him properly.

Good luck with him!
1/4/2009 8:53:00 PM
Posts: 75
"so what is going to be the best way to potty train him as far as having him let us know when he needs to go outside to "potty?" I completely realize it will be a challenge at first, but we're patient people and are willing to take the time to work with him to make sure it's done right."
Get a book on crate training your pup. IMO it's the absolute easiest way to housebreak. Have a strict feeding schedule (probably 3 times a day if the pup is a healthy weight to begin with and then twice a day as he gets older), and take him outside after he wakes, after he eats, and after a play session. Watch for the "signs" and if you aren't watching him LIKE A HAWK have him in his crate so he can't have an accident that you can't catch almost immiediately. As he's sniffing outside tell him "go potty" or whatever other command you want to use, and when he goes say "good potty!" in a very excited high pitched voice. Having as many opportunities for success and as few chances for accidents is the key in how quickly you can get your pup housebroken. That's where crates come in so handy.

"Once he's "of age" (about a year old), what will be the best way to train him as far as teaching him commands and such (sit, stay, heal, come...)?"
You can begin this almost from the day he comes home!! Don't wait until he's a year old. Obedience classes are a great way to start, but if you don't have the money for them there are plenty of great ways to train him at home. There are inexpensive books on this too that you could get from your library. Any that use positive reinforcement are good, IMO. "Sit" can be taught by taking a treat in your hand and holding it up over his nose. When he reaches up for it, say "sit" and push it back a little to where it's easy for him to reach it if he sits down. When I've had dogs that resisted this and just backed up I would gently push their bottom down and repeat the command. When they did it I said "good sit!" They learn in just a few minutes.

Same with lay down, get him to sit and then put the treat on the floor so he has to lay down to reach it. Have a collar on him when he gets home and after he is used to that, put a leash on him and take him outside. If you have a treat and get him to focus on you instead of pulling on the leash from the beginning, you'll have an easier time teaching him the place you want him to walk is beside you. Start YOUNG.
"Come" is fun because you can do it in a play mode. Get on your knees and pat your hands on the floor playfully and call him by his name, "Sunny, come!" When he comes running towards you say "good come!" and you could give him a treat for that too. Food is usually a fantastic motivator for most dogs, but some respond better to toys so go on what he likes as you get to know him.

I've not had a male in years so I'm not much help on the neutering, I'm sorry.

"Do you have any other suggestions or advise to help make his transition any easier"
Put a comfortable blanket in his crate and let him check out rooms a little at a time with breaks in between where he can rest in his crate and not be doted on. He'll have stimulation overload, more than likely, and need a lot of naps during the day where he's not being messed with. Give him plenty of opportunity to get outside to play and potty, and expect the first week to be tough if he's not used to being crated. In the long run you'll be so glad you were stubborn about it at first. Our pup didn't hold her bladder all night until she was almost 5 months old and it was rough, but now she can be left alone inside all day with absolutely no accidents. But then, she's almost 2 now.

Good for you for rescuing a pup from the shelter, and enjoy your new little furball! Oh, and get some good quality dog food too...a lot of the commercial stuff out there is so bad you may as well feed him cardboard for all the nutrition it has in it.

1/5/2009 11:07:47 AM
Posts: 5
As far as potty training - puppies have small bladders so they need to go out every 2 hours. What I did with my pup - a Collie - and they are know to train easy - every two hours - I'd take him out - and say "Potty". If he had an accident I just took him outside and then cleaned up after him. After a couple of weeks, I wanted to see what he'd do if he needed to go out. He started to the door but had a little accident. That's when I knew that he would head out the door.

Just be consistent. My pup is crate trained. He didn't make accidents in the crate. Just make sure you say the word "potty" or whatever word you want to associate with going out, every time you take him out.

My dog is a barker so in the a.m. I take him out on the leash so he does his business without waking up the neighbors. Then when its aftertoon or early evening, I just let him out when he goes to the door.