Month: August 2016

The Single Tip That Will Help You Prevent 90% Of Puppy Issues

San Diego Dog Training

Here's a reality check for you: getting a new dog isn't always sunshine and rainbows!


While successfully raising a dog is arguably one of the most fulfilling events in the life of an animal lover, it can also be a nightmare if you don't know what you're doing.


That's where I come in 🙂


One of the most common cries for help that I get are puppy owners who come to me saying that they are encountering issues with their puppy having accidents in the house or chewing on the furniture/household items.


My first question to these dog owners always is: Did you catch your dog in the act?


Often times, the owner will say that they did NOT see the puppy in the act and that the puppy did it when they were in another room.


And I always tell these owners that this is the mistake…


You have to be watching a puppy at ALL times early on in order to teach the puppy what is right and what is wrong.


all things pups

A puppy does not remember what he did a few minutes ago, so you HAVE to catch him in the act to correct a behavior.


If your puppy chews up your socks, and then you try to correct him 20 minutes later after you discover the socks, then your pup isn't going to make the connection when you redirect him to the appropriate chewing object.


While I don't expect you (or anyone) to constantly monitor your dog 24/7, like an overbearing parent tracking their child's every move, there needs to be a clear understanding of what is and isn't appropriate behavior from the start.

all things pups

This is why instead of giving your pup complete free roam immediately, I recommend that you use a few important training tools to ease into giving them more of your trust to explore on their own.


Whether it takes two days or two weeks to gain this trust, it all starts with conscious awareness of where your puppy is located, and what they are doing at all times.


With all of this in mind, one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give to new puppy owners is:


You must have your eyes on your puppy AT ALL TIMES.


If you can’t have both eyes on your pup, your pup needs to be in an enclosed place such as their crate or a gated off room.


Many puppy owners “feel bad” for putting their pup in an enclosed space and thus, allow their puppy to have way too much freedom around the house.


What's wrong with allowing my pup to have free roam?


Well, when you allow your puppy to roam around everywhere, the puppy has no limits, and will take full advantage of this freedom. With an untrained puppy, that is simply a recipe for disaster. How so?


Well think of it like this, would you let your baby crawl around the house without watching them? I hope you answered no... a considerable number of negative outcomes immediately come to mind!


It’s no different with your puppy, as letting your puppy have too much free roam encourages your curious little fluff ball to explore their new world without boundaries, which often leads to naughty actions such as destroying objects in the house and/or having accidents.


This is NOT the way to establish yourself as their pack leader.

all things pups

What should I do if I can't monitor my puppy at all times?


If you are in a situation where you are not able to have both eyes on your pup, this doesn't mean that you should let them do as he pleases!


Instead, your pup must be placed in a restricted area where he will not be able to get into anything.


Having this small, enclosed area of their own is actually very beneficial for dogs and helps immensely in the training process.


Associate the enclosed area with positivity by feeding your pup, giving him or her treats, chewing objects, and anything else your puppy loves while your pup is in his or her “den”.


This area is amazing for your puppy to have a break with his or her favorite things, it will help with training, AND you can actually take a break from worrying about something getting destroyed or your pup having an accident! It is a total win-win 🙂


If you’re reading this after you’re already encountering issues with your dog, don’t worry! I’ve got you covered:


If you’re already having a lot of trouble with your puppy chewing on things while roaming around the house, here’s a detailed article on 3 simple steps that will help you correct this behavior.


And for issues with potty training and accidents, here’s a blog on how to respond to your dog’s accident.


With that being said, you can possess all the tools and training knowledge in the world, but if you aren’t constantly monitoring your puppy so that you can catch him in the act, then you’ll miss the opportunity to turn a frustrating situation into a valuable learning experience for your pup.


Remember to keep your eyes on the prize!

Sign up now for the All Things Pups newsletter to get amazing gifts, dog training tips, discounts, and advice straight to your inbox for FREE!

Stop Using This Item If You Care About Your Dog's Safety

your dog's safety

Whether you’re a new dog owner or a seasoned vet, there’s certain situations, behaviors and even items that can be a danger to your dog’s safety.


While most of what we talk about on this blog consists of tips on how to raise and train a well-behaved and obedient dog, my mission is to give you everything that you would possibly need to know about dog ownership, all in one place!


With that goal in mind, I would really be doing you a disservice if I failed to inform you that there’s certain products out there that you must be very weary of.


Although this item that we're going to talk about today is becoming less popular as dog owners gradually become more educated about dog safety, I still see new dog owners using it ALL the time.


This item can endanger your dog’s health as well as his life, and can seriously injure YOU as well.


What is this dangerous item?


It is… a retractable leash.


I strongly discourage dog owners from using retractable leashes.


In case you haven't seen one before, retractable leashes are the leashes with large plastic handles that retract very long nylon cords.


These leashes aren’t beneficial in training your dog whatsoever and actually can be very harmful to you and your pup.


I can’t even begin to tell you how many horror stories I’ve heard about people injuring themselves or their dogs when using this type of leash. Unfortunately, many dog owners have not been educated about the dangers of using these leashes and they are still popular today.


Reasons why I strongly discourage using a retractable leash:


1. It is a horrible tool to train your dog how to properly walk on a leash


Retractable leashes are confusing for dogs because the distance they are allowed to go is always changing.


Your dog (especially puppies) will be very inclined to test the leash to see how far he is able to go, which will end up encouraging him to pull.


2. It allows way too much freedom for the dog to roam while on leash


Leash walking should train your pup to stay close to you. The retractable leash defeats the purpose of leash training entirely, and instead, encourages unwanted behaviors, such as pulling and zig zagging.


3. Retractable leashes can be dangerous for YOU


It is incredibly common to hear of people that have gotten rope burn or sliced hands from attempting to grab onto a retractable leash.


When your dog is running away and you try to grab the leash to stop your dog, the tiny nylon cord can slice into your skin (ouch!) and it’s extremely painful!


4. Retractable leashes can be dangerous for YOUR PUP.


There are a few horrible outcomes that can result from a retractable leash accident. The first and most common outcome is that your puppy can easily get tangled up in the cord.


Some people may object and say, “Well this could happen with any leash”.


While this could certainly happen with any leash, the chances are much greater that the damages made by a retractable leash tangle will break skin, or even be fatal.


For instance, if your pup gets tangled up in a retractable leash and then tries pull away, it will cause the rope to tighten even more, which can easily lead to lacerations when the pulling is exerted with great force.


If this type of leash gets tangled around the dog’s neck, and the dog panics, it can be fatal.


For these reasons I strongly suggest you stay FAR away from retractable leashes.


For a list of the items I DO recommend, check out my blog post—or even better, check out “The Puppy Training Handbook” for a complete guide on every item you’ll need to get (and what to stay away from).


This comprehensive book will give you all the tools and knowledge you need to raise and train your new puppy into the dog of your dreams!


Sign up now for the All Things Pups newsletter to get amazing gifts, dog training tips, discounts, and advice straight to your inbox for FREE!

5 Reasons Why You Should Never Free Feed Your Pup

5 Reasons Why You Should Never Free Feed Your Pup

As a new dog owner, you are probably doing tons and tons of research to ensure that you are raising your dog in the best way possible.


This is great! As you've probably found out, one of the most important factors to raising a healthy dog is their nutrition.


You may have even searched “the best type of dog food,” or something along those lines as you've gone about educating yourself.


However, what most new dog owners do not know is that what you feed your dog is just as important as the way you feed your dog.


I'm going to repeat this point again to reiterate its importance: what you feed your dog is just as important as the way you feed your dog!


What feeding strategies are there for you to choose from?


There are 3 main ways that you can choose to feed your dog:


1. Free Feed (aka Choice Feeding)


Free feeding is simply the act of leaving food out for a dog so that the food is available at all times and the dog chooses to eat whenever he or she wants.


2. Portion Limited


Owner gives the dog a specific portion of food and the dog chooses to eat it whenever he or she wants.


3. Time Limited


Owner gives the dog a specific portion of food for only a certain amount of time and takes the food away from the dog after the time is up, giving the dog only a small window of time to eat the food.


Now, with these three choices in mind, depending on the dog, either portion limited or time limited feeding may work best as a feeding method. With that being said, I am going to elaborate on why free feeding should never be the way you feed your dog.


Despite what you may read on (often) uncredible internet sources, and what you may hear from people who say you should free feed your puppy so he “gets as much food as he needs”, please be advised that this advice is detrimental to your ability to effectively train your puppy, and to foster a healthy maturation process for them.




The simple answer is that free feeding isn’t beneficial for your puppy’s health, or for you in establishing a potty routine for your pup.


Yes, free feeding is the easiest and most convenient option for dog owners. However, the easiest method typically does not correlate with being the best method, and in this case, that couldn’t be any more true.


Still not convinced? Challenge accepted.


Here are 5 concrete reasons why you shouldn’t free feed your puppy:


1. It puts your puppy at risk of becoming overweight


Many puppies have eyes that are larger than their stomachs.


When Juneau was a puppy, I swear she would have eaten the whole bag in one meal if I would have let her!


Puppies typically do not have the self control to tell themselves: “Ok, I am full. Stop eating.” They will eat and eat and eat! Often times, dogs, just like humans, will eat when they are simply bored.


This can lead to obesity and as I am sure you know, obesity can lead to serious health issues.


2. When food is always available in the crate, it makes the food and the crate much less appealing


One of the key points that I teach to properly crate train your pup and associate his or her crate with positivity is to feed your puppy his meals in the crate.


For owners who choose to free fed their pup, it can drastically upset this important step in the foundational stages of dog training.


How so?


Think about the situation like this. If something is always present and available to you, it makes it much less appealing, and you probably aren’t going to want it as often—even if it's something that you typically love.


For example, if your favorite meal on Earth is pizza, and you had access to a pizza buffet 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, I almost guarantee that the pizza would become less appealing after a few days (I realize that some people reading this may think not, but trust me, nobody is that pizza obsessed).


On the contrary, when something you love (i.e. pizza) is only given to you at certain times, it is just about guaranteed that you will be more excited for it and find it more appealing than in the first scenario.


The same goes for dogs! Free feeding allows for the dog to have access to the food at all times, making the food less appealing.


However, if you only feed your dog in the crate at certain times of the day, and do not allow your dog to free feed at their convenience, he or she will look forward to going into the crate to eat and will be more excited about the food!


You want your puppy to get excited for meal time and to get excited about going into the crate in order to eat. Win-win!


3. It prevents you from keeping track of how much you are feeding your puppy at each meal to ensure the puppy is getting the right amount to meet his nutritional needs.


For people serious about their puppy’s health, free feeding makes things a lot more stressful and unorganized, because you aren’t able to monitor how much your puppy is eating.


For instance, if you end up having to cut down on your puppy’s food intake due to a health reason, how will you know how much your puppy has to be fed now when you are free feeding him?


When you are free feeding, this conundrum leaves you in a very tough position.


4. It will most likely lead to more accidents in the house




Well think about it— when your puppy has a routine including timely feeds, you know that you can expect your puppy to have to poop about 30 minutes to an hour after eating.


However, if your puppy is constantly eating while being free fed, you will not know when exactly he needs to go out, which will lead to A LOT more accidents in the house.


5. It sacrifices your ability to monitor your puppy’s healthy habits.


One might ask, how so?


When your dog is not eating, it should be a blatant red flag to you as a dog owner; loss of appetite is one of the best indicators of illness in dogs.


However, when you are free feeding your puppy, you can’t really tell if your puppy skipped lunch that day or not.


Since I regulate my dogs’ portions, if one of my dogs ever skips a meal, I am immediately on high alert of watching for any other symptoms of them not feeling well, because it is very abnormal for my dogs to not be excited about their food at every meal.


However, I would've never been aware of this fact if I left a consistent mound of food available for my dogs at all times.


BONUS point:


A bonus point for why you shouldn't free feed your pup is that it's incredibly expensive to do so!


If you're feeding your dog high quality food (which you should be), this doesn't come at a cheap price!


Therefore, on top of the detrimental health and training consequences described above, free feeding your pup will also lead to significantly higher food costs over the duration of your dog’s life.


Ultimately, when it comes down to it, all of these reasons come back to validate the point that your puppy needs to have balanced meals in order to stay healthy, happy, and well-trained!


As you move forward on your puppy parenthood journey, experiment with limiting your dog’s portions, feeding times, or both, until you find the feeding plan that works best for your specific pup.

Sign up now for the All Things Pups newsletter to get amazing gifts, dog training tips, discounts, and advice straight to your inbox for FREE!

Why Socializing Your Dog Is Crucial For Their Well-Being

socializing your dog

When you think about the necessities of a dog’s life, what comes to mind?


Probably something along the lines of: food, water, exercise, vaccines, and preventative medications. For the most part, you’d be right.


However, there is a key component of this list, that so many dog owners forget, and that is…




Yes, socialization is a NECESSITY! Socialization is extremely important to a dog’s entire well-being and health for a number of reasons.


Before I get into exactly why socialization is so important, let me briefly define it for you, and what a 'socialized' dog acts like, so that you can determine where your dog lies on the socialization spectrum.


What exactly is socialization?


Socialization in dog language means exposing your dog to as many new situations, environments, objects, people, dogs, and other animals as possible.


Socialization is especially crucial during puppyhood so that the puppy develops the proper socialization skills that he will have for the rest of his life.


However, it is also very important to remember that socialization should not stop after puppyhood—in fact, your dog should be constantly socialized for his entire life!


Introducing your dog to new experiences helps him to feel more comfortable every time he is exposed to new situations.


Due to this fact, socialization gives dogs the ability to learn how to cope with new experiences and situations in a positive way.


What defines a 'socialized' dog?


Socialized dogs tend to be happy, friendly, and very well-balanced. Under socialized dogs are typically fearful, anxious, and have a number of behavioral issues, including aggression.


Your dog will be exposed to all kinds of new things throughout his life, but it is VERY important that you, as the owner, make these new experiences positive.


The number one reason that dogs have behavioral issues later on is due to lack of positive socialization.


Owners have a hard time letting dogs just be dogs, and because of this, these dogs end up being under socialized and develop lingering behavioral issues.


The Importance Of Dog Socialization


It is absolutely imperative that your dog socializes with other dogs if you want him to get along with other dogs.


Aside from the other reasons described above, you need to allow him to play and socialize with other dogs to show him that other dogs are a fun and positive thing.


While this may sound like common sense, many dog owners find themselves with a five month or five year old dog who isn’t good with other dogs.


How does this happen?


Many dogs who have behavioral issues with other dogs most likely were not socialized with other dogs properly during puppyhood.


Socialization starts the moment when a puppy is born, as puppies begin to socialize with their moms and their litter mates.


Once a puppy goes to his forever home (typically at 8 weeks old), socialization needs to continue at an even greater rate.


Introducing your dog to as many different kinds of dogs as possible will help your dog get to know that every dog is different, but still okay to be friendly with.


Let your puppy play with other dogs and develop the proper socialization of what kind of play is appropriate.


Dogs need to play with one another to feel each other out, adapt to one another, and learn what appropriate play is at a young age.


If an owner doesn’t allow their dog to go through this exploratory process at a young age, the dog becomes much more averse to displaying inappropriate or even dangerous behaviors towards other dogs or people.


However, even if your dog is behind in his socialization skills, don’t think that he can’t learn!


While it certainly will be tougher to socialize a five year old dog as opposed to a five month old puppy, it’s never too late to start!


In fact, the longer you put it off, the worse the behaviors will become, and the deeper these habits will become entrenched in their predisposed reactions.


How To Begin Socializing Your Dog


Start off by letting your dog say hi to other dogs of every kind. I hear people say, “I’m never going to let Fluffy near pitbulls.”


For one, I could go on forever about how the stereotypes of pitbulls are incredibly inaccurate. However, for this topic, I will stress the fact that by making this particular comment, and following through with the actions of never allowing your dog near a certain breed, you are setting your dog up to have behavioral issues.


Let your dog be a dog and socialize with whatever other dog he pleases!


Quite often actually, on walks with my dogs, I will see someone walking their small dog coming towards me.


Keep in mind, the dogs are doing nothing but walking very well on leash, yet the owner feels the need to pick up their dog to “protect” him from my larger dogs.


My dogs are actually very friendly with small dogs, and would have loved to say hi and keep walking.


By taking away this opportunity for socialization, this owner is setting their small dog up to have behavioral issues with large dogs by not allowing him to just be a dog and figure out socialization on his own.


No matter your dogs age, they will need to figure out how to play with other dogs. They will play with their litter mates, but often times litter mates play very rough with each other, so dogs need to learn how to play nicely with others.


Allow your dog to play with other dogs to figure out what kind of play is appropriate, and how to play nicely, but it is also your job to supervise and make sure that your dog is socializing properly.


Allowing your dog to play too rough is teaching your dog that it is ok to socialize with other dogs in that inappropriate way, even when the other dog doesn’t like it.


This negative socialization can also result in the dog having behavioral issues, so it is very important that you are PROPERLY and POSITIVELY socializing your dog with other dogs.


If your dog is older and has not been properly socialized yet, make sure that you ease your dog into this process, and be very aware of any stress signals he indicates.


Socializing With People


We all know that people come in all different shapes and sizes. It is important for dogs to understand this as well.


Introducing your puppy or grown dog to as many different people as you can will allow him to understand this early on (hopefully) and be friendly towards all people.


Let your dog sniff people out and say hello!


Keeping your dog from allowing other people to say hi and pet him will only set your dog up for having issues with people later on.


Some dogs have issues with people wearing things such as sunglasses or hats, so expose your dog to these things and everything other possible negative stimuli right away, so that he is familiar with everything later on.


Dogs who aren’t familiar with certain people or people wearing certain things, may be fearful or aggressive towards them.


Exposure to New Situations and Locations


You want your dog to know that there is more out there than his backyard, and everything he sees on your walking route.


Don’t you want to be able to take your dog anywhere and know that he will be comfortable and well-behaved?


Taking your puppy to as many new locations and exposing him to different situations will help him develop the skills to cope with being introduced to new situations.


Your dog should enjoy and be curious during new situations.


Allow him to explore what else is out there, so that when you do take him to a new place, he is happy and comfortable, rather than fearful and uncomfortable because he isn’t use to new things.


As you expose your dog to as many new experiences as you possibly can, remember that it is crucial for your dog to have socialization in order to be a well-balanced pup.


Also keep in mind that socialization is most critical at puppyhood, but should continue throughout the dog’s entire life, and that it’s never too late to start!


For more in-depth tools on how to solve all of the behavioral problems that may arise from an incorrectly socialized dog in one resource, check out “The Puppy Training Handbook” Program!

Sign up now for the All Things Pups newsletter to get amazing gifts, dog training tips, discounts, and advice straight to your inbox for FREE!