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Training a Puppy – Part II

Training a Puppy – Part II

Training a Puppy

Part 2

Congratulations on making it to the second part of the article series “Training a Puppy”. In the first part, we discussed a few important training tips that included helping your puppy recognize their name, giving them a new collar, and teaching them when they should go outside. Now that you are familiar with some basic training tips, it’s time to learn how you can make your puppy more obedient. Obedience is key to having a happy pet/owner relationship. Here, we’ll dive into some helpful ways you can teach your puppy to understand and obey your commands.

Learning How to Crate your Puppy

Many dog owners reject the idea of using crates for their furry friends. However, professional trainers and veterinarians have long accepted crating as one of the quickest and least stressful ways to reinforce desirable behavior in dogs. Dogs are pack animals, and they instinctively have an urge to possess their own special place or “den”.

training a puppy

Though, it’s important to never take advantage of this instinct by forcing your puppy inside their crate as a form of punishment. Instead, place a soft blanket inside the crate and leave the door open as you introduce your puppy to their new den. This will allow them to grow comfortable with their crate and come and go at their leisure. Soon, you’ll be able to leave your puppy in the crate if you anticipate being away for a few hours.

Remember that puppies should only be left in a crate for a maximum of 3-4 hours. Puppies can’t hold their bladders very well, and being in their crates for too long can cause depression and anxiety.

Keeping Communication Consistent

Although they are young, puppies are very smart and are capable of molding their own behavior to make you happy. The only way your puppy will do this is if you apply consistent communication between their actions and your reaction.

If your puppy does something right or desirable, praise them enthusiastically and reward them. If they do something wrong, make it clear that you are not happy by giving them a firm “no” and praise them when they correct their behavior.

For example, if you don’t want your puppy on your furniture say “no” loudly and guide them off every time they climb on. Then, praise them when they climb unto the floor. Puppies are great learners and understand your body language, but it can take them a few tries to fully understand when you don’t appreciate their behavior.

Maintaining consistent communication makes it easier for them to understand what you’re saying and apply your commands in the future.

Correcting Puppy Mistakes

While puppies are brilliant learners, they sometimes have an urge to do things that are clearly not okay, such as biting and destroying furniture. It’s helpful to remember that puppies aren’t spiteful. If they are performing a destructive act, they probably got the idea that it was acceptable.

To eliminate this type of behavior, you’ll have to catch your puppy in the act and immediately correct it. For example, the incorrect approach to discipline your puppy is not to yell at them or crate them if you’ve discovered a severely damaged pillow under your sofa. That’s because dogs can’t connect a punishment to an action that may have happened a few hours ago.

Instead, you must catch your puppy performing a bad deed in the act. Just like we’ve mentioned above, remember to give them a firm “no” and praise them abundantly for responding to your command.

For More Information

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.

July 4th Pet Safety

July 4th Pet Safety

Keeping Your Pets Safe on July 4th

Fireworks and dogs

This fun and festive holiday will be here again before we know it. A July 4th of several years ago is a memorable one for me. 

I had just finished up a cook-out with the family and was on my way to visit a client’s pets in Gilbert, Arizona.  I really love this client’s pets!  They are absolute sweethearts. 

July 4th pet safety

As such, I was totally shocked when I opened one of the dog’s kennels and she growled and nipped at me!  This was completely out of character for her. 

The client had warned me of her dog’s fear of thunderstorms but the weather was clear that day.  Something else was bothering her.  Then I realized; she was frightened from the sounds of fireworks.  The poor girl was too afraid to even go outside.

I know there are plenty of pet owners and pet sitters who can relate to this story. 

Safety Tips

To help make this 4th a little easier for some of you, we’ve put together these tips for July 4th Pet Safety:

1) Keep your pets in a safe, controlled environment away from fireworks on the 4th of July. 

The pet owner in the story above did exactly the right thing by keeping her pets safe in kennels inside the house during the firework festivities.  Don’t make the mistake of taking your pet out to enjoy the holiday fun if fireworks are on the agenda.  Loud noises and large groups of people can make your pet anxious, afraid, and/or nervous. When animals are in this state of mind, they can become aggressive.

July 4th pet safety
Keep your dog safe in a kennel during the fireworks

2) Keep the alcoholic drinks, fireworks, matches, lighter fluid, and glow sticks out of reach. 

These items can make for a very enjoyable 4th of July for you, but if your pet ingests any of them, they could be toxic.

3) Watch your pets around the food table

Keep an eye on your pet around the food table. This is especially true if any of the following items are included: chicken bones, onions, chocolate, coffee, grapes, raisins, and salt.  These foods could be dangerous to your pet if eaten.

4) If you plan to be out of town during the 4th of July holiday, make sure your pet sitter knows that your pet is afraid of loud noises. 

Discuss a plan to make your pet feel safe and secure away from the fireworks.  Some animals respond well to treats made specifically for stress. Other pets prefer what’s called a thunder jacket. Both of these can be found at your local pet supply store.

5) More pets run away on this day than any other

Sadly, many pets make a mad dash for any open door or gate at the sound of fireworks. Some animals may never make their way back home for a number of reasons.

To keep your pet safe, and at home, watch them during fireworks. If you have a fenced yard, ensure that the gates are properly secured. If your home has a screened porch, keep your pet inside to resist the temptation of jumping through the screens. Having a party with people coming in and out? Keep your dog in a room with the door closed or in a kennel. As always with your pet, safety first.

Please keep your pet’s safety and well-being in mind this 4th of July holiday.  And, since we’re in the Gilbert, AZ area, we hope you and your pets enjoy the local fireworks festivities this year!

For More Information

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.

Training a Puppy

Training a Puppy

Training a New Puppy

Part 1

Congratulations on your new family member.  Training a new puppy can be one of the most challenging and most rewarding jobs you’ll ever encounter.  If you’re a first time puppy owner, you may be wondering what in the world you’re supposed to do with this furry bundle of joy.  We remember our first puppy, and it can be a confusing time if you’re not sure what to do or how to do it.  Here, we’ll venture to help you navigate through these first few days, weeks and months with a pack leader mindset and confidence.

It’s All In a Name

The first time you call your puppy’s name, you know exactly what it means.  Your pup, however, only hears it as a word.  Therefore, it’s important to start adding value to the name so that your pup is encourage to respond to it.

Try this:  

Say your pups name and then give them a reward.  The reward can be in the form of a very small training treat or part of their daily food.  Do this three or four times in a row.  We find that pups at this age — with short attention spans and little bellies — are most motivated when they are hungry.  Training at meal time will help to drive home the message of their name.

Level Up:

Now that your puppy understands that the sound of their name gets them a reward, it’s time to get them to respond when you’re not face to face.

Wait until your puppy is distracted.  Which with a puppy, shouldn’t take too long.  Call their name and put a treat on their nose (keeping your hand in place).  Then turn them towards you (either with your other hand or by moving the treat that they will instinctively follow). Once they are facing you, give them the treat.  This reinforces that your pet should respond to you when they hear their name.


To ensure that you can command your pup by calling their name, do not over use it.  If a pups name is overused, it tends to be watered down in importance, and they may choose to stop responding to it. Training a puppy is also about training us humans.

Using a New Collar

As a right of passage, every puppy learns to wear their new collar.  At first, they may scratch at it or act as if they’d like it taken off.  This is normal. It’s similar to us getting used to new shoes or new glasses, for instance.  

Long-term, a dog’s collar is very important.  Training a puppy to wear a collar gives you a way to keep your puppy, and later your adult dog, safe.

training a puppy

Play Time and Out Time

Did you  know that you can use toy play time as a way to teach your puppy to go outside?  

Start by finding a toy that you can hold securely and animate it on the ground for them — dragging it from side to side.  Make it look exciting so that your puppy is interested in engaging with the toy.  Once your puppy gets a hold of that toy and is tugging back and excited say the word “out”.  At the same time, present the reward (treat, dog food) and tell them “good girl/boy” once they take it.  Do this in succession a few times.  This helps lay the groundwork for using the word “out” to instruct your puppy that it’s time to go outside.

In Part 2 of this series, Training a Puppy, we’ll be covering a few other essentials for new puppy owners, such as how crating a puppy is helpful for you and them.

For More Information

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.

Living With a Mischievous Dog

Living With a Mischievous Dog

Your Mischievous Dog

Over the years, we’ve had several dogs in our family.  Some are sweet and affectionate, while others are mischievous and naughty.  Others are a cute mixture.  It’s those mischievous dogs that you have to look out for.  We’ve also found that certain breeds can have more of a naughty streak than others.

Naughty or Simply Not-Nice?

While there truly is no such thing as a purely “bad” dog, some of their behavior may suggest otherwise.  Often getting a bad rap are dogs born with high intelligence and high energy who are under stimulated.  These guys can often find themselves in trouble.  Understanding if they just have a playful streak or if it’s a destructive or dangerous one should be considered.  When they are dangerous, true corrective action may be required.

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

  • They like to chew or obliterate small objects like pillows or socks or maybe even shoes.  If they prey on larger household items like furniture, it probably requires some consequences and corrective action.
  • They constantly want to trick you into letting them outside to potty when they don’t have to.  If they shut the locked door behind you, it’s time to get serious.
  • Do they ever put you or themselves into dangerous situations?  Dogs that get off their leash and stay near you are fairly trustworthy.  However, those types that break free and run like the wind into oncoming traffic, they need to be trained not to do so.

Most Common Mischievous Breeds

There are exceptions to every rule.  But this list, if left to their own devices, shouldn’t surprise pup parents if they craft some of their own mischief.

  • Dachsund
  • Pit Bulls (this group includes American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and more)
  • Belgian Malinois (often found in police and military fields)
  • Affenpinscher
  • Jindo
  • Siberian Husky
  • Jack Russel Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Beagle

What to Do With a Mischievous Dog

If one of your furry family members is on the list above, and he’s true to form, you may be wondering what’s next.  First, decide if you need his behavior corrected or if it’s a source of pleasure for you both.  Remember, laughing at your naughty pup and giving him attention during his antics encourages him to continue his behavior.  If, however, you ignore and gently correct a mischievous dog they will start to learn.  For more extreme behaviors, consider speaking with a professional dog trainer and/or your veterinarian.

For More Information

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.

Hiking With Your Dog

Hiking With Your Dog

Going Hiking With Your Dog

If you live in Arizona, you know there are several spots to go hiking with your dog. There’s Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, the trails leading up to Flat Iron, Browns Peak, and several others. Just like human hikers, dogs need the right equipment to stay safe. Getting ready for your hike means not leaving home without these essentials.

Collapsible Water Bowl

It’s fairly easy for your dog to overheat. This is especially true while hiking and exerting himself in the Arizona heat. Dogs do not sweat like humans, so it’s important to ensure that they don’t get too hot. Your furry friend will keep hiking until he drops, therefore, it’s your job to make sure that doesn’t happen.

It is very important to offer them water throughout your journey. One of the easiest ways to do that is by bringing a collapsible dog bowl on your hike. Small, collapsible dog bowls help regulate the amount of water poured so you won’t have to dump excess water. If you dog wants more, simply refill it. Chewy.com offers several types of collapsible bowls. Most offer a quick release clip that can be attached to collars and leashes.

Canine Backpack

If you’re off on a serious hike, you may be carrying lots of equipment. If your dog is able, consider a canine backpack so that he can carry some of his food and water. Check with your veterinarian about how much and if your dog should carry one. The general rule is that your pup can carry about one quarter of their own weight.

Footwear for Your Dog

You are going hiking with your dog and you’ve chosen the proper foot attire for yourself. You’ll want to consider doing the same for Fido. We all know that dogs do not adore those little dog booties. However, they can provide protection from the rough terrain. For instance, if your dog cuts a pad on the way in, getting Fido back out could be spell trouble. Dog booties take a little getting used to, therefore, try them on at home before your big hike.

Energy Snacks

Are you packing snacks for yourself for your hike with your dog? If you are, you’ll want to pack some for Fido, too. Just like you, he will need a little energy boost to keep him going. There are several energy bars and snacks on the market for dogs. Depending on your preferences, such as all natural, or avoiding specific ingredients, you’ll want to find the right ones. Pawtivity, an adventure blog for dogs, put together a list of the best energy bars for dogs 2018. This list may not be exhaustive, however, it is a good start.

The Proper Collar

Just like choosing the proper footwear, consider choosing the proper collar for your hike with your dog. A quick release collar will ensure that you can easily free your pup from a tricky situation such as being stuck on a tree branch. Collars made of nylon or other fast-drying materials are best. Also on Fido’s collar should be an ID with your cell phone number in the event the two of you are separated. Be sure to carry your phone on your hike.

K9 First Aid Kit

If you were a Girl or Boy Scout, you will remember the motto of “Be prepared”. If you’re like many hikers, you may want to bring a K9 first aid kit. For a list of what to bring, the Animal Health Foundation, with the help of the Humane Society, has put together a detailed list of items.

For More Information

If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.

Fun Facts About Dogs

Fun Facts About Dogs

Fun Facts About Dogs

We all know that dogs are amazing. Even as close as we are to our trusted companions, we think you may not yet know these fun facts about dogs.

Dogs Understand Us

Did you know that dogs can learn up to 1,000 words? If you’ve ever thought that Fido understands you, it’s because he does!

Helicopter Tail

Have you ever seen a dog waving his tail in a complete circle like a helicopter? That behavior is typically a sign of a particularly friendly dog. It also shows a genuine happiness to see someone special to them. Learn more about helicopter tail waging here.

Unique Nose Print

Did you know that a dog’s nose print is unique like a human’s finger print? Wondering which of your pups stole the cookie from the cookie jar? You can nose-print them to find your culprit. (Just kidding, of course).

Why a Wet Nose?

Dogs’ noses secrete a thin layer of mucous. This mucous helps them to absorb scents. When your dog licks his already wet nose, it is to sample the scents through his mouth.

Run Forest, Run

The Greyhound, the fastest breed of dog, can run as fast as 44 mph. It is for this reason that extra care is advised when walking a greyhound or leaving him in a fenced yard. Because they are bred to run, finding them after a break-away can prove difficult.

Curling in a Ball

Did you ever wonder why dogs curl into a ball when they sleep? They do this to protect their organs. This behavior is an instinct and a carry-over from their days in the wild.

Third Eye (Lid)

Strange as it may sound, dogs have three eyelids. They have an upper lid, a lower lid and a third lid. The third lid is called a nictitating membrane or haw. The haw helps keep the eye moist and protected. All dogs have this membrane found in the inner corner of the eye. It is only noticeable when drawn horizontally across part of the eye.

Dalmatian Spots

Did you know that Dalmatian puppies are born with completely white fur? Their spots begin to appear on their fur with age. The first spots appear after three to four weeks after birth. After about a month’s time they have almost all of their spots. However, more spots will slowly appear throughout their life.

Post-Potty Backwards Kicking

Have you ever watched your dog kick backward repeatedly after potty time? This behavior is not to cover it up, as often thought. It is to mark their territory using scent glands in their feet.

Unselfish Kindness

2015 study shows that dogs show voluntary unselfish kindness towards others without any reward. This one fact is one that dog lovers have known for a long time!

For More Information

If you have questions about fun facts about dogs or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at info@tlcpetsitter.com. View more of our articles on pets here.