FAQ: Tips You May Find Useful
Many rescue pets have been housed outdoors. They may have no concept of waiting to go to the bathroom! You must start from scratch, training your dog as if he was a puppy. The three keys to successful house training are consistency, confinement and reward.
Feed your pet at the same times during the day. Take him outside immediately upon waking (that means from naps too!), after meals, after play sessions and any time he appears restless. Initially you will want to take your dog out every couple hours.
When you cannot actively supervise your pet, use a crate to safely confine him. Do not allow yourself to get distracted and allow him/her to wander out of your sight and go to the bathroom somewhere inappropriate.
Always go outside with your dog during the training process. You need to reward your dog when he goes to the bathroom in the yard. A treat reward will help speed the training process! Do not punish your pet if he goes to the bathroom in the house. Simply remove him from the area and clean it thoroughly.
You may want to have a urinalysis run by your veterinarian to rule out a bladder infection if you are having a really hard time house training (particularly if you feel that your pet urinates an excessive amount).
Many pets are very food oriented! Do not leave food items with in reach. Dogs learn through experience. If food is found on the counters or in the waste pail your pet will become a champion food thief in no time!
A crate offers security for your dog and peace of mind for you! Crating your dog eliminates inappropriate chewing in your absence and helps with housetraining. Most dogs accept a crate readily but introducing your dog properly will insure that things go smoothly.
Set the crate up with a blanket and a couple of toys. If your dog goes into the crate on his own to investigate, praise him and give him a treat. Otherwise, toss a treat into the crate and praise your dog when he goes in after it. Feed your dog in his crate. After several repetitions of these steps, try closing your dog in the crate for a minute or so. A chew bone or dinner to distract him will help. Gradually build up the amount of time your dog spends in his crate. Often if the crate is in your bedroom your dog will be content to sleep in the crate all night because you are close by. This will go a long way in acclimating him to being crated.
- Never leave a collar on your dog when he is crated unsupervised.
- Provide a food stuffed toy to keep your dog occupied when he is left alone in his crate.
- An adult dog should not be crated for longer than 8 hrs; ideally no longer than 6 hrs.
Hold a yummy treat close to your dog's nose. Draw it slowly up and back over his head. As he head goes up to follow the treat his backend will go down into a sitting position. Say "Good!' the moment his back end hits the floor and give him the treat. Do not attempt to ask your dog to sit ahead of time. Concentrate on getting him really good at following the treat. After lots of practice you can begin to insert the word "Sit" just as he begins to move into a sitting position. "Good!" when his butt hits the floor. Reward him with the treat. Eventually your dog will understand that "Sit" means put your back end on the floor and you can simply ask him to do so.
Draw a treat slowly from your dog's nose to his chest and then to the floor between his paws. Hold the treat there until he lowers his body into a down position. Say "Good!" and reward with the treat.
Again, after you are confident that your dog will follow the treat to the floor you can begin to say "Down" as he starts to lie down. "Good!" when he hits the floor. Give him the treat. Soon you will only need to say "Down" and point to the floor and your dog will lie down.
Introducing Your Rescue Pets to Your Other Household Pets
Thankfully, most pets are social with other dogs, but your pet may be scared or confused so introductions should always be done carefully. If possible introduce the newcomer to your resident dog away from home where territorial aggression will be at its lowest. Have both dogs on leash with two people holding the leashes. Keep the leashes as slack as possible and try to relax yourself! Tension travels right down the leash to your dogs! It is generally helpful to let them sniff and say hello, then walk the dogs away from each other circling back to let them greet again several times. Watch both dogs' body language carefully. Ears back, tail tucked and a body leaning backward may mean submission or possibly fear. A dog that is up on his toes, ears forward, tail erect is acting confidently or possibly aggressively. Ideally you like to see a dog whose posture is somewhere in between! You will need to watch the extremes of these postures to keep both dogs safe. If the on leash introduction goes well it is best to find a secure area to let the dogs interact without your interference. For safety reasons the dogs can be allowed to drag their leashes as they circle around each other, sniff and/or play. If it gets out of control you can easily grab the leashes to separate the dogs.
Many pets will act quite ferociously if they feel their food is in danger of being stolen. Always feed dogs separately and watch all interaction that involves chew bones very carefully. It is not wrong for a dog to growl at another dog approaching his food or bone. The trouble comes if the approaching dog does not get the hint and back off! It is best to avoid these situations whenever possible by feeding in crates or different rooms.