Top 14 Best Dog Training Tips

Did you know that almost a million pets were adopted in 2021? That’s so many pets that got to go to new and loving homes and so many people searching for the best dog training tips! Are you going to be part of that statistic for 2022?

Best-dog-training-tips

Getting a new dog is exciting. You’re bringing a new friend into your household! Training the dog, however, is a different story.

Training is frustrating, but if you want your dog (and your home) to be safe, it’s essential. We’re here with the best dog training tips so you can get started.

Read on to learn more.

1. Start Right Away

From the moment that you bring a new dog home, the training begins. Whether your dog is a brand-new puppy or an older dog from a shelter, you need to make sure that they know who’s boss and what they should be doing.

Many people think that puppies are too young to learn. Puppies are difficult to train, they need more sleep than adult dogs, and they have shorter attention spans. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start teaching them the basics. 

Older dogs may not need as much training depending on their backgrounds. If your dog came from a household that trained it well, you may only need to make a few small adjustments, if you need them at all. Some dogs, however, came from neglectful environments or they were strays, and they’ll need more training. 

It’s often difficult to “teach an old dog new tricks,” but it’s not impossible as long as you establish the learning process right away. 

Tips-For-Training-My-Dog

2. Keep Training Fun

Just like children, dogs learn best when they’re able to have fun and play games. If you can turn training sessions into enjoyable experiences, your dog will pick things up more quickly. 

You can’t force a dog to do what you want it to do. While some people choose to discipline their dogs or use force, this will result in dogs who are either skittish or aggressive.

By keeping things light and interesting, your dog will understand that learning commands isn’t a punishment. They’ll equate them with playtime and rewards.

There will be some situations in which you’ll have to be more strict with your dog, but for the most part, aim to have fun with the training process. 

3. Don’t Aim for Long Sessions

This is one of the best dog training tips for puppies. While all dogs have short attention spans, puppies are the worst. They’re easily distracted and they have no interest in learning for long periods of time (even though dogs love to learn). Remember, they’re like toddlers. 

It will benefit both you and the dog to keep training sessions brief and give your dog plenty of breaks. 15 to 20 minutes is often more than enough to help your dog learn.

It’s a good idea to use commands while you’re between training sessions, like during playtime or on walks, just to solidify them in your dog’s mind. 

4. Redirect Negative Energy and Behavior

This is another one of the best dog training tips for puppies. When they get too rowdy, or when they’re doing something that they’re not supposed to do, find a way to redirect them. 

Dog-Training-Tips

When your puppy is chewing on something that it’s not supposed to chew on, like a sleeve or your finger, it might seem cute. It won’t be cute when the puppy is causing actual damage when it gets older. 

Instead of allowing that behavior, place a chew toy or rope in the dog’s mouth. This should distract them and let them know that there are appropriate things to chew on in the house.

Your puppy is teething, so don’t discourage chewing in general. Just make sure that it’s not harming you or your home!

5. Consider Training Classes

When your dog is a puppy, you have access to plenty of affordable training classes at puppy daycares or pet supply stores. Take advantage of this by attending at least one class.

While one class won’t be enough to train your dog, it will get your dog used to other dogs and it will give you an idea of what you should be doing when you’re training the dog at home.

Pay close attention to what the trainer does while they’re training the puppies. Mimic that behavior at home. Remember, they’re professionals.  

6. Always Start with the Basics

It’s tempting to get your dog to learn tricks right away, but basic commands will be easier for your dog to understand and more useful for you. They keep your dog and other dogs safe.

The most important commands for any dog are going to be “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” “Leave it” is another important one.

Dog training basics

When you’re out and about with your dog, you want to be able to get its attention and stop any inappropriate actions right away. If they’re straying too close to another dog, for example, you want to be able to call them back without having to pull on them.

“Leave it” is important because your dog may try to go for things that aren’t safe for it. Dangerous foods or another household pet’s toys are good examples of this. When you drop an onion on the floor while cooking, you don’t want that to be the first time that you try to get your dog to leave something alone. 

7. Pay Attention to Your Dog’s Reactions

Just like your dog has to pay attention to you during training sessions, you have to pay attention to your dog. Notice how it reacts when you give it commands, even if it doesn’t follow them yet.

If your dog isn’t understanding something, you may need to change your methods. Remember that all dogs are different and they’ll all respond differently to teaching methods. 

This is also important when you’re choosing rewards or discipline methods for your dog. You want to make sure that you’re motivating your dog in the right way. If it becomes desensitized or bored by whatever you’re using, you’ll have to pay attention to this so you can change things up. 

8. Don’t Hesitate to Praise or Discipline

As we mentioned before, dogs have brief attention spans. They can remember things long-term, but their short-term memory isn’t fantastic. This means that it’s crucial to praise or discipline your dog for their behavior as soon as it happens, if possible.

So what does this look like in practice?

When you’re training your dog and it obeys a command, you should praise or reward them as soon as they finish. The second your dog’s bottom hits the ground when you tell them to sit, they get a reward. 

This is also true for discipline. If your dog chews or bites on something that it’s not supposed to, immediately discipline your dog (we’ll talk about proper discipline methods later on). This will help them understand that the action was inappropriate.

This will take some getting used to, and there are some situations in which it won’t be possible. Your dog will develop the ability to remember and understand when it misbehaved when you weren’t around, but that will take time.

We’ve all seen videos of dogs “looking guilty” when they’ve made a mess in the house while the owner wasn’t home! While they’re not “really” feeling guilty, they do know when they’ve done something wrong and you’re going to be unhappy with them. 

9. Reward Good Behavior

It’s always better to use positive reinforcement rather than negative reinforcement when it comes to training (though you may need to use both depending on the situation). Dogs are reward-motivated and they want to please you. 

Find the right reward for your dog. For most dogs, the best rewards are treats. That said, too many treats can cause your dog to gain weight.

If your dog responds well to treats, we recommend breaking the treat into pieces so you don’t have to feed it too many during your training session.

At the end of training sessions, consider rewarding your dog with something larger, like a toy or a large chewable treat.  

10. Don’t Be Mean to Your Dog

Use the carrot, not the stick. When your dog does something wrong, you can be strict but not mean. Do not harm your dog physically or psychologically.

Remember that your dog is still learning. It doesn’t understand that it’s doing something wrong and it’s trying to take in a lot of information at once. It will make mistakes.

Yelling at a dog loudly or swatting it when it does something wrong will cause the dog to fear you. You can use a stern voice and your body language to let a dog know that its behavior was unacceptable. 

When you’re teaching basic commands, withhold treats when the dog isn’t obeying. Don’t punish the dog. 

11. Stay Consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to training a dog. One of the best dog obedience training tips that we can give you is to make sure that you’re consistent with training methods, rewards, and discipline methods. 

Your dog has a hard enough time understanding commands. If you’re constantly switching up commands and how you respond to the dog’s behavior, you’ll confuse it even more. The only exception to this is if a dog is clearly not understanding what you’re trying to teach it.

You also need to be patient. It’s going to be difficult to stay consistent with your training method if the dog isn’t learning as quickly as you’d like. Keep up with it and you will see results.

12. Allow Time to Decompress

After training sessions, make sure that your dog has time to expend some energy and play. Whether this means that you go for a long walk, let them play in the yard, or have a fun indoor playing session, do something that your dog enjoys.

Some dogs prefer to relax after training, but this is uncommon. If this is the case, give your dog a toy or a chewable treat so it can go lay down and rest after the tough training session. 

13. “Trial Run” in Public

Teaching your dog commands and tricks at home is one thing. Getting your dog to listen to those commands in public is a whole other story. Outside, there are so many things to distract your dog, so it’s more difficult for them to focus on your commands.

Start using commands while your dog is on short walks. Keep in mind that you may have to use them more than once, especially if your dog is a puppy or if you’re in a new place.

Once your dog has that down, consider taking it to a dog park (as long as it isn’t aggressive). Once your dog is able to obey commands when it’s in public, you know that you’ve done a good job training. 

14. Hire a Professional for Help

If you’re struggling to train a stubborn or “unteachable” dog, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a professional dog trainer. Even a few sessions with a trainer will help your dog learn.

Dog trainer

These sessions are one-on-one and it’s common for the trainer to visit you to do them. This way, the dog gets to learn in a comfortable and familiar environment.

The trainer may also give you helpful instructions for training your dog when they’re not around. 

Try the Best Dog Training Tips Today

These dog training tips are sure to help you get your furry friend listening to commands and behaving as soon as possible. Remember: you have to be patient with your new canine companion. They’re trying to learn so many things at once!

As long as you stay consistent and make training fun, you’re sure to have a good experience.

Are you looking for more helpful information about pet ownership? Visit the rest of the blog for tips and tricks! Start with this post about potty training your new puppy.

Crate Training A German Shepherd Puppy: Ultimate Guide

There are over 3.5 million German Shepherds in the United States! That’s a whole lot of fluffy faces and waggly tails.

But these little balls of energy can be difficult to train at times. Many people lucky enough to have a German Shepherd puppy of their own are looking for opportunities to improve their pup’s training schedule. In a lot of cases, that could mean crate training. 

If you are looking for help crate training a German shepherd puppy, stick around. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you understand the process. 

Crate Training A German Shepherd Puppy: The Basics

The steps of crate training a German shepherd puppy are simple. The important thing to remember is that it’s a long-term process, so you’ll have to stick to it for good results.  First, introduce your pup to their crate. Make sure the introduction is a happy one. Hide some treats inside, and let them explore and reward themselves. 

Leave the crate open and allow your pup to go in and out. It’s a good idea to keep the crate accessible for a few days. This will help you build up to shutting them inside.

Once your puppy is comfortable inside the crate, you can begin shutting them in for periods. Make sure they have access to comfy bedding, as well as food and water. And be sure to let them out for potty breaks every hour or so, slowly building up the time they spend in the crate. 

What if My German Shepherd Puppy Is Crying or Howling?

One of the main reasons dog owners are reluctant to try crate training is the fear of hearing their dog howling and crying. It’s distressing for both pets and owners, and can even cause complaints from neighbors or trouble sleeping if the dog is making lots of noise overnight. 

It’s a legitimate concern. Puppies new to crate training will often voice their displeasure when they’re first crated. Listening to your pet’s anguished cries isn’t exactly pleasant, and it can cause some people to stop the crate training process entirely.

Stick with it. Normally, the crying doesn’t last too long and your dog will settle down when they begin to recognize their nest as a safe and comfortable place to be. If it does persist, you can try giving your pup more exercise, or moving the crate to a more comfortable room of the house. 

Make the Crate a Happy Place

One of the key principles of crate training is to ensure that the crate feels like a happy place for your pup. You’ll serve them treats and meals here and ensure it’s cozy and warm. It’s a good idea to include a favorite toy or blanket too, helping your pup feel at home in the crate. 

Taking these extra steps to liven up a crate will help the process run smoothly. When a dog associates their crate with pleasant experiences, they’ll soon be keen to spend time inside.

It will also help them to deal with various emotional problems in the long run. One of the main reasons crate-trained dogs are less susceptible to separation anxiety, and all the destructive behaviors that come with it, is because they feel safe and protected in its crate. 

The Substitute Den

Dogs have been domesticated to act as man’s best friend over a period of thousands of years. And while they’re now well-suited to human life, they still have much of that wild, wolf instinct. That’s why they bark at the mailman, chase cats, and howl at unusual sounds.

Since wolves are den-dwelling creatures, it only makes sense that dogs would feel protected when using a den themselves.

A den is normally an enclosed space with a single entrance, allowing its occupant to keep a careful watch over the entrance, ensuring they stay safe. So, a crate fulfills the same purpose, providing a substitute den that can be deployed in a suitable location in your house or even brought with you on your travels. 

With this in mind, crate training isn’t just ethical and helpful to you and your pet. It also helps a dog follow their nature. That’s why many crate-trained dogs will choose to spend time in their crate even when they’re free to go elsewhere. 

Advantages of Crate Training

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It can be hard work to get started with crate training. But there are so many advantages to completing the process for you and your pup that after the training is completed, you might wonder how you ever lived without it.

Crate training can be enormously beneficial for avoiding destructive behavior. It’s also a great way to aid in potty training. After getting through the initial difficulties of training, it could even make your pup happier day-to-day, since it will go a long way toward keeping them calm.

Crate training can even reduce potential aggressive behavior. Although German Shepherds have an extremely low rate of aggression, any animal can act out when they’re scared and confused.

Allowing them a place to go and cool off or hide when they’re feeling under pressure can do wonders for avoiding these difficult incidents. 

Isn’t It Cruel to Confine My Puppy to a Crate?

Our furry friends aren’t just pets. They’re part of the family. So, it’s only natural that dog owners are sometimes reluctant to confine their cute little pup to a crate. But when you remember all the benefits that crate training has, you’ll understand how the process helps a puppy.

It’s unpleasant for a dog to feel so frightened they begin destroying their environment. Or to be unsure of how to ask to go outside to do its business, then get yelled at for doing it on a floor.

Crate-training helps a dog settle into their new environment, and gives them a little independence, allowing them to retreat from the world when they need some downtime. 

It’s hard for any animal to come into a human home and immediately feel at ease. Imagine if you were brought into an environment full of friendly but confusing aliens, who you were unable to communicate with. Wouldn’t you like to have your own space to go and cool off when you need it?

Finding the Perfect Crate

Your dog is going to be spending a lot of time in its crate over the years. So, it’s important to choose a crate that’s going to suit all your needs and form a long-lasting retreat for your pet.

The first thing to consider is size. German Shepherds are pretty large dogs, so it’s important to buy a crate that’s big enough to comfortably house them. Some larger crates come with dividers, allowing you to increase the size of your crate s your puppy grows and removing the need to buy multiple crates as your pup grows.

It’s also vital for you to select a crate with chew-proof sides. During the early stages of training, your pup might gnaw at the sides of the crate, so it will need to be tough enough to withstand a little punishment. You’ll also need to ensure the crate is well-ventilated. 

Traveling With a Crate

If you’re going on vacation with your dog, it’s important to continue the crate training process while you’re away. When a dog is in a new environment, they’re likely to feel very anxious. Everything around them will be new and unfamiliar, and they might not understand what’s going on. 

Even if you’re going on a short trip for one or two days, it’s still important to bring a crate with you. This will help the trip run smoothly, and avoid your pup being reluctant to enter their crate again when you return home. 

When buying your crate, you should think about how you’ll transport it on long journeys. If you plan on doing lots of traveling, it might be a good idea to have a second crate ready, just for traveling. 

Crates and Potty Training

Crate training is likely to be performed at the same time as another important milestone in a pup’s life: potty training. Often, the two go hand in hand and complement each other, as the different forms of training teach a puppy the benefits of responding to training

Since the crate is a substitute den, a dog will be extra reluctant to do its business in the crate. After all, it’s the place they sleep and eat and their instincts tell them to keep it clean. This can help a dog still being potty trained to learn that the place to go potty is outside.

That said, it’s incredibly important to allow a crate confined pup lots of opportunities to go outside and do its business. Ideally, you’ll want to give them a chance to go outside every hour or so, before slowly extending the amount of time between potty breaks. 

The Right Amount of Crate Time

Naturally, your dog will spend a lot of time in a crate over the years, but keeping a dog in a crate for too long can do them harm.

German Shepherds are active animals, used to working outdoors, covering lots of ground and expending plenty of energy. Spending too much time in a crate will leave them feeling cooped up, potentially even impacting their emotional development. 

A crate isn’t a tool to stop your puppy from moving around. It’s designed to provide them with a sense of safety and offer you a way to prevent unwanted behaviors. Limit the time you’re using the crate for, keeping it to only a few hours at a time where possible. 

The crate should only be used when your pup would be in a period of low activity anyway. It’s ideal to use the crate at night when the house is sleeping, or if you’re going out and leaving your pet home alone. Be sure to offer lots of play time and walks to ensure your pup is tired out and ready to rest when you shut them away in their crate. 

What if My German Shepherd’s Beyond the Puppy Stage?

Maybe you’ve got a young German Shepherd that’s beyond the puppy stage and is experiencing some behavioral problems. You might be wondering whether you can still crate train a dog that’s no longer a puppy.

The answer is yes, although it might be a little more difficult. The old saying about old dogs and new tricks is completely wrong, and with a little extra effort, you can train your slightly older German Shepherd to use a crate without a problem. 

Since German Shepherds are so intelligent and compliant, they’re the ideal dogs to crate train, even after passing a certain age. It’s definitely better to begin the training process as soon as you can, but there’s no actual cut-off point where training will become impossible. 

More Animal Care Tips

As long as you stay patient and keep up with your training routine, you’ll soon see good results. Get started with your training regime today, follow this German Shepherd puppy guide, and begin enjoying all the benefits of crate training.

Are you looking for more helpful tips on enjoying life with your German Shepherd puppy or other furry friends? As a pet owner, it’s always a good idea to be on the pulse with new ideas and trends in the world of pets. 

We’ve got all kinds of great content for pet owners of all stripes, including German Shepherd puppy tips. Check out the other articles on our site for all kinds of entertaining and informative content! 

How to Stop Cats From Scratching Leather Furniture: The Ultimate Guide

Do you have furry friends at home that you’re struggling to train? We’ve all been there. Owning animals is rewarding, but training them can be a serious headache especially cats. You are probably here because you were searching for “how to stop cats from scratching leather furniture”

While many people think that cats are easy to train in comparison to dogs, this isn’t always true. Even if you adopt an adult cat instead of a kitten, you’ll discover that it may still have blind spots regarding its training. 

How To Stop Cats From Scratching Leather Furniture

I’m here to talk about one common problem that pet owners struggle with: how to stop cats from scratching leather furniture. 

You don’t want your get to ruin your favorite chairs and couches, so what can you do? I want to offer some guidance. Keep reading to learn all about how to train a cat to stop scratching and more. 

First: Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture at All? 

When cats are scratching your furniture, they aren’t doing it to be malicious or to ruin your favorite leather couch. They’re doing it out of instinct.

Your cat wants to keep its claws sharp and ready to tear into prey. While “prey” in this case is either the food that you buy them or their favorite toy, their wild instincts still kick in. By scratching, your cat is sharpening its claws and readying them for the next battle.

cat scratching furniture

Scratching also allows cats to stretch out the joints and muscles in their paws. This makes them feel good after lounging around all day! 

Some cats may scratch couches to mark their territory. Cats are territorial animals, and they want everyone to know that they own the living room! 

Cats don’t only scratch leather furniture. They can scratch wood, pleather, upholstery, and anything else that they’re able to dig their claws into. While the scent of leather may appeal to them on some level, this isn’t likely a huge reason why they’re scratching. 

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If you got the leather couch secondhand, they might be scratching it because the previous owners had a cat! They can smell that cat and they want to put their own scent on the furniture instead. 

Sometimes scratching is accidental. If your cat is leaving faint scratches, it’s possible that the cat was skidding across the couch while it was running and it had no intention of scratching. Oops!

If something scares your cat while it’s on the couch, it may dig its claws in! if you see tiny pinpricks on your couch, rest assured that this was unintentional. 

How to Stop Cats from Scratching Leather Furniture

So now that you know why cats scratch furniture, you’re ready to learn how to stop your cat from scratching the couch. Knowing the reason is half of the battle!

There are several methods that you can use and some are more effective than others. Here are a few suggestions. 

Provide Scratching Posts

If your cat doesn’t have enough scratching posts, how else is it going to sharpen its claws? Make sure that you have more scratching posts than you think that you need. 

stop my cat from scratching leather furniture

Scratching posts should appeal to cats more than furniture. They’re made of a material that feels good on the cat’s paws. When you provide plenty of posts, you’re giving your cat somewhere else to expend its energy. 

Try to have at least one scratching post in every room that the cat spends time in. Put posts near the couch so that when the cat has the urge to scratch, it doesn’t have to go far.

When the cat starts scratching the couch, move it to the scratching post instead. 

If you’re struggling to get the cat to scratch the post, spray the post with catnip spray. This should encourage the cat to choose the post over the leather furniture.

Create an Enriching Environment

Have you provided your cat with an environment that entertains and enriches it? If not, it’s not surprising that your cat is scratching so much. 

Cat enrichment is easy and it doesn’t have to be expensive. You want to provide your cat with a playground that mimics the experience that it would have in the wild. 

Look for ways to utilize vertical space. You can use cat trees and shelves to provide places for your cat to go when it’s feeling bored. Make sure that there are plenty of toys for the cat to bat around. 

Trim or Cap Your Cat’s Claws

Do you keep your cat’s claws trimmed? If not, it’s time to start.

Not all cats need someone to trim their claws, but cats that are causing damage to the home do. Keeping their claws short (but intact) will minimize damage.

If this isn’t enough, try getting caps for your cat’s claws. These caps look like nail polish, so they’re also sweet accessories.

A note: cats don’t love having their claws trimmed and capped, so consider bundling your cat up burrito-style before you do it. 

Tire Your Cat Out with Playtime

We all have busy lifestyles in 2022, but that doesn’t mean that our cats should have to suffer. Cats who get bored are more likely to exercise by scratching your furniture!

Try to take time out of your day to tire your cat out with a few quick play sessions. Even a handful of five to ten-minute play sessions will often be enough to tire out an adult cat. 

Cats get short bursts of energy. This is why they get “the zoomies.” If your cat tends to scratch while it has the zoomies, this may be your best bet when it comes to preventing ruined furniture. 

If you struggle to find time to play with your cat during the day, consider getting automatic toys that you don’t need to control. That said, as long as you play enough in the morning and at night, you should be fine. 

Don’t Allow Your Cat on the Furniture At All

For some cats, the idea of tearing up your favorite furniture is just too tempting. Training a cat to avoid the furniture as a whole could be your only option.

This is troublesome if you love having your furry friend with you while you’re sleeping or watching television, but if your cat can’t resist the urge to claw into your leather furniture, it’s not worth it. 

Use Deterrents 

If you want to allow your cat on most furniture, but you don’t want it to attack your leather furniture, try using deterrents. Learning how to stop cats from scratching a leather couch may include making the couch so unappealing that they no longer want to pay attention to it.

Some cats hate tinfoil. Putting tinfoil on or around where your cat likes to scratch may upset it enough that it looks for somewhere else to go.

Cats also resist certain scents. They tend to avoid things that smell like banana, eucalyptus, and lavender. While you may not want to spray scents directly onto your leather couch, you can spray the floor or fabric around the leather to deter the cat. 

Positive Reinforcement 

It’s always more effective to reward a pet than it is to punish it. Use positive reinforcement when you’re training a cat to avoid your leather sofa.

In practice, this means that you’ll reward your cat when it chooses to scratch a scratching post instead of your furniture. Give it a small treat or verbal praise. Soon enough, you won’t have to use a reward system. 

What Not to Do

While there are plenty of great methods that you can try to discourage your cat from scratching your leather furniture, there are also a few things that you should avoid. 

Many people will offer bad cat training advice on the web. While the advice might work sometimes, it’s not the most effective way to solve your problem and it can cause resentment to build between you and your cat.

Here are a few things that you shouldn’t do when you’re trying to get your cat to stop scratching your leather furniture. 

Don’t Frighten Your Cat

When you see your cat sharpening its claws on your favorite leather furniture, it’s normal for your first reaction to be some kind of emotional outburst. Whether you yell or make some kind of other loud noise, you want to scare your cat away from the couch, right?

While this might work, it can also backfire.

When you scare your cat, it’s going to dig its claws into the furniture, even if it’s not doing it on purpose. Your cat may also start associating you with something scary, which isn’t good for your relationship. 

Don’t Spray Your Cat With Water

Spraying a cat with water is a common method of training, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a good one!

Sure, water will deter most cats (though some enjoy it), but it comes at a cost. Spraying your cat with water tells the cat that it can’t trust you. You don’t want your cat to be afraid of you.

You also don’t want your cat to see water as a bad thing. If you ever have to bathe your cat (cats do bathe themselves, but in certain situations, a bath might be necessary), you don’t want your cat to think that it’s being punished. 

Aside from hurting your relationship with your cat, water can also hurt your leather couch if you don’t clean it up right away! Don’t take that risk. When there are so many better alternatives, spraying the cat isn’t necessary. 

Don’t De-Claw Your Cat

This is the #1 worst thing to do when it comes to discouraging your cat from scratching your furniture.

Too many uninformed cat owners choose to declaw their cats because they’re worried about the cat damaging furniture or hurting family members. While it’s true that your cat won’t be able to scratch furniture without claws, you’re going to do serious damage if you declaw it.

When a vet declaws a cat, they also remove part of its paw (it’s similar to removing the top part of your finger rather than just your nail). This can lead to long-term pain and distrust.

Don’t value your furniture over your cat’s comfort. You can trim or cap claws, but leave them where they are. 

Protecting and Repairing Your Couch

While you’re training your cat to avoid your couch, you can also take steps to protect it on your end. 

Consider using couch covers, at least short-term. While you won’t be able to see your beautiful leather, you also won’t give your cat an opportunity to harm it. Couch covers are affordable and available in plenty of colors and patterns, so you’re sure to find one that will suit your home’s aesthetic. 

You could also buy a leather scratch guard. If your cat only scratches the sides or arms of the furniture, this is a good option. It should minimize the damage while you train your cat.

When it comes to repairing a couch that’s already been damaged, you have a few options.

For minor scratches, you can use a leather repair kit or a coloring balm. You can get these items at many hardware or home and garden stores.

For serious scratches, we recommend hiring a professional. It will be expensive, but it’s less expensive than buying a new couch. 

Is Your Cat Scratching Your Leather Furniture? 

Cats don’t scratch furniture because they hate you. They do it because their instincts are telling them to! It’s your job to figure out how to stop cats from scratching leather furniture so you can live in harmony.

Try these tips. Remember, different tips will work for different cats, so if one doesn’t work, don’t be discouraged.

Are you looking for more helpful articles all about taking care of your furry friends? Check out the rest of my blog!

Leash Training A Puppy That Bites The Leash

Leash-Training-A-Puppy-That-Bites-The-Leash

Are you trying to teach your puppy to stop biting their leash to no avail? You have found the right article!

Leash training a puppy that bites the leash when walking can be very frustrating, especially if you have a playful little pup. Your dog might be biting the leash for many reasons, including excitement, anxiety, or frustration. 

Training your new puppy to do anything takes time. Walking nicely can be a huge challenge for your puppy. Yet, you can get them to stop this bad behavior in several ways.

All you need are some treats and patience.

Keep reading to learn our best puppy tips to stop leash biting. 

Leash Training A Puppy That Bites The Leash- 7 Tips

1. Start Early

Of all puppy tips, this is the most important and couldn’t be more important when Leash training a puppy that bites the leash. While puppies are adorable and difficult to say no to, remember that consistency is key and the earlier you can start the better.

Reinforcing bad behavior by basically not correcting it just makes it harder to correct the habit in the future.

As soon as you start walking your puppy on the leash, you need to start leash training your puppy. It is recommended that you start this training in your living room by just letting them feel comfortable having the leash on.

Training your puppy not to bite the leash before it starts happening on walks is like teaching your toddler to say please and thank you. 

Start by holding the leash in your hand when it is not attached to your dog. Then, calmly dangle it in front of them. If they do not attack it, give them a treat.

If they do, drop the leash, hold their collar, and wait for them to drop it. Once they let go you can reward them with a treat. When your dog bites the leash many times during this experiment, try backing up further. 

After each session, use a tug toy to play. We recommend these in particular here. They are very good for tug of war purposes and are even pretty good for them to chew on.

Owner Note this particular brand we recommended above or any rope for that matter needs to be monitored. If the ropes start to come apart and the puppy starts eating it, it can be bad news.. It can get caught in their intestines. They last awhile but just monitor your pup while they chew the rope or really any toy.

Every day that you begin training again try to make the session more difficult for your dog. Wave the leash around or drag it on the ground to enable their need to play. 

Soon, your dog will know that the leash is not something they are supposed to play with. The puppy will leave it alone. 

2. Don’t Wrestle

Leash Training A Puppy That Bites The Leash

When our puppies bite the leash on a walk, it’s tempting to yank it away from them. Yet, doing so makes them think that you are playing a game. It only makes them hold on tighter. 

If your dog does this on a walk, ignore the behavior for as long as you can. When you can stop in a safe area, do so and hold their collar calmly until they drop the leash. 

Always reward your puppy when they drop the leash. Ignoring them while they have it in their mouth ensures that they will not confuse biting the leash with playing a game.

3. Get a Quality Leash

A quality leash can be a good tool to help your dog stop chewing and encourage you to keep training. A cheap leash can both be unsafe and unmotivating.

Cheap, thin, and breakable leashes will not hold up during training. You may spend more replacing your cheap leashes than on the quality leash itself.

When you opt for a higher quality puppy leash( like this one we recommend that discourages biting and pulling), you as the owner will be more motivated to help your dog out of this behavior due to the expense of the leash. 

This particular high quality puppy leash seems to have a lot of positive reviews on Amazon. They also have ranges of this type of collar (under 5 lbs, and XL dogs 130 Lbs or more) and all ranges in between.

Retractable leashes are also a no-go. Often, they are made out of a thin cord that is known to break and put you both in harm’s way. Plus if you give dogs too much leeway, especially puppies its hard to possibly lose control over them. It’s not difficult to find horror stories about them online. You may have one of your own. 

4. Use Positive Reinforcement

puppy-leash-training
Puppy Leash Training

As you probably know, positive reinforcement goes a long way with puppies, especially when you are leash training a puppy that bites the leash. It is the key to teaching them a new trick or to stop tearing at the leash.

Rewarding behavior you want is much more effective than punishing bad behavior. Punishing your dog for bad behavior can keep your dog from learning to behave and hinder the learning process.  

Once you start leash training, make sure you leave the house every time with a pocket full of treats. Be sure that every time they walk without biting, they are getting rewarded.

Additionally, as you reward them with treats, reward them physically and verbally too. Give them a scratch on the head or a nice pat. During this, tell them that they are doing a good job in a cheerful voice. 

Positive reinforcement makes your puppy want to behave and learn. If biting on the leash has become a difficult thing for them, give them your best treats when they go an entire walk without biting. 

Keep in mind, you do not want to reward your puppy for no reason. Giving them treats when they’ve done nothing to deserve it can set back your progress. An unwarranted treat can become confusing for your puppy. 

5. Be Aware of Triggers

If you notice that your training puppy only bites right when you leave the house, when other dogs are around, or something else, take note. Something related to your walk may be triggering them. 

Based on their trigger, try to accommodate their needs. This could look like taking them on walks with other dogs, choosing a quiet route, or trying a new leash. 

6. Give Your New Puppy an Outlet

Giving your puppy an outlet during walks could be very beneficial. Instead of rewarding them with treats, reward them with a tugging toy. Starting with treats and moving onto the tug toy can eliminate confusion in your pup. 

After your puppy has the basics of leash pulling and responds to rewards, try bringing along a long toy that you can hold while they tug on it. 

You can start this by showing your puppy the tug toy and the leash at the same time. If they choose the tug toy, give them a treat. If they choose the leash, wait to reward them until they drop it. 

7. Try Alternative Methods

If regular old puppy training doesn’t work, you may need to consider an alternative method. There are many alternate training methods out there, and one may work much better than typical training. 

Bitter Apple

Bitter apple is a substance you can put on your leash to deter your dog from biting. The liquid is safe for consumption, but your dog will not like the taste. Therefore, they are less likely to chew on it. 

No-Pull Leash 

No-pull leashes or no-pull harnesses are designed to stop your dog from pulling. Since the end of the leash is located on their back, it’s also more difficult for them to bite it. We recommend this one here. Some of the benefits of this no pull leash are as follows:

  • Comes in sizes of small all the way to XL
  • Reflective coloring that makes it easy to see you and your pup on night walks
  • NO Pull and NO Choke It wraps around their chest Not the neck

Some of these leashes can create pain when rubbing. Pay close attention to your puppy during and after walks to make sure that the leash is not causing them any pain. 

Head Halters and Muzzles

Head halters and muzzles are typically the last things people use to break their puppy of leash biting. The only reason you would really elect to go this route would be if you tried and tried the methods above and you still can’t get a handle on it.

If you decide that a muzzle or head halter is necessary, then this “gentle leader” is what we recommend. Can be seen here

What I really liked about this one was a few things:

.Teaches better leash manners because it prevents pulling, jumping and lunging

Has over 45,000 reviews and counting and most seem to be positive

Very easy to fit any size type of dog (petite on up to xl size)

When head halters and muzzles are used properly, they can be an effective tool. Be sure that you know how to put it on and use it so you do not accidentally hurt your dog. 

Pain and punishment can lead to an escalation of bad behavior in your dog. Even as a last resort, hurting your puppy should never be an option. While using this alternate method, confirm that your dog is comfortable and happy.

Clicker Training

Clicker training is another way to use positive reinforcement. When your dog stops biting or lets go of its leash, you use the clicker and give them a treat. Or you could simply use the clicker to stop them once they start biting the leash.

This clicker here is what we would recommend. Its just under $7 and it can be used for a variety of dog training not just leash training. You can teach them to do tricks, stop other unwanted behavior its really up to you.

This way, your dog associates good behavior with the click sound and knows they will be rewarded.

For this to work, you must be sure that your dog understands what the clicker means. You can start by making the click sound every time they go potty outside, and then slowly move onto leash training. 

Find More Puppy Tips 

Raising a puppy is a thrilling experience that many of us are lucky enough to enjoy. Yet, when bad behavior like leash biting begins to rear its head, you have to nip it in the bud. 

Using many of these puppy tips is sure to help you and your pup get along just fine. Our website, My Furry Friend, wants to help you learn about all the ins and outs of raising a puppy. Subscribe to our blog to read all about it.

Potty Training a Puppy: An Ultimate Guide

Congrats on your new puppy but now the hard part could start which is potty training.Are you saying to yourself I need help potty training a puppy?

If you’re one of the 23 million American households who adopted a puppy during the pandemic, you’ve likely thought about or tried housebreaking your puppy.

For the dog owners out there who are still learning how to potty train their furry friends, we’ve put together the following guide with all you need to know about potty training a puppy.

Potty Training a Puppy: The Basics

Although every puppy is different, the timeline and cost will vary. But in general, here’s what you can expect.

When Should a Puppy Be Potty Trained?

Potty Training A Puppy

Your puppy will be ready to train at about 12 weeks. At this age, they’ll be old enough to hold it for long enough that you can create a schedule. Younger puppies have to go out every hour, and sometimes as frequently as every 30 minutes.

Even if your pup is too young to officially begin housebreaking, it’s never too early to start rewarding positive habits and establishing a routine.

Taking your pup on as consistent a walking schedule as possible will create good habits from a young age. Bring your pup to their designated walk spots and praise them every time they go outside.

What are the Tools and Costs of Potty Training?

Since potty training your puppy is all about positive reinforcement, you’ll need treats and rewards to teach them the most quickly it is helpful to give them treats when they go to the bathroom where they are supposed to. You’ll also need a crate and playpen for the times you’re not around. The costs could be costs such as a crate which can vary between $50-$250+. The other costs would be potty pads if you choose to use those.

Dealing With Accidents

No matter how often you take your pup outside or how well-behaved they are, accidents will happen.

It’s normal to get frustrated, but your puppy will not learn faster or train more quickly if you take out your negative reaction on them. Rubbing their nose in urine will not teach them that accidents are bad – if anything, they’ll just become more confused.

Potty Training A Puppy

If you catch your puppy as an accident is about to happen, distract them rather than yell at them. Make loud noises or pull out a toy to get their attention. Hopefully, this will give you enough time to put on their leash and signal to them they’re going outside.

Then, take them outside like you would on your scheduled walks. Once they go to the bathroom properly, reward them with a treat.

When your puppy does go inside or you can’t stop them in time, stay calm and don’t show any negative reaction. Clean up the mess and stick to your normal walking schedule. 

To clean the mess, you’ll need a special pet cleaner to completely get out the scent – you don’t want your puppy to make that spot a habit.

Closely supervising your puppy will reduce accidents and help your puppy understand positive reinforcement. Think of it from your puppy’s point of view: if they’re feeling uncomfortable from a full bladder, going to the bathroom on your carpet will give them relief. To them, going potty feels good, regardless of where it is.

When you watch your puppy and take them outside frequently, they’ll feel the relief of going potty as well as your positive reaction and even a treat. Over time, they’ll learn that going outside is the most rewarding option.

How Do You Potty Train a Puppy? 5 Steps 

Regardless of the puppy, every dog will benefit from being taught at a young age the times and places to go potty. Here are the five steps to follow for the best way to potty train a puppy.

Step 1: Build a Routine

The first and most important step of potty training your puppy is creating a routine. Dogs thrive on routines, and potty training will become much easier if you establish a schedule for your puppy.

Having time blocked out of the day to take your puppy out for walks will make your life easier, too!

In the beginning, your routine will have to include more frequent potty breaks for your pup since their bladder won’t be able to wait for very long. A few weeks or months into the training process, you can modify your routine to reduce the number of walks each day.

When You Wake Up

As soon as you wake up in the morning, take your puppy out of his crate and take him outside. After all, most of us usually take a trip to the bathroom a few minutes after we’re awake.

Puppy Potty Training

Your dog hasn’t been out in eight hours or more, so they’ll need to go outside ASAP. Make sure you’re not taking your time to make coffee or get ready for your day – just throw on some running shoes, drink some water, and head out!

If your pup isn’t making it through the night, consider changing its eating schedule to earlier in the evening. Also, make sure that night walks aren’t a fun part of the day that they should look forward to. Keep your walks all business in the evening and make your daytime walks fun to get your pup following the right schedule.

After Meals

Speaking of meals, take your puppy out every time they eat. Digestion time will be different for every dog, but the average will be about 30 minutes. Your puppy could need to go out anywhere between just a few minutes after eating to an hour later.

Waiting too long after a meal will likely turn into an accident as your dog will feel the pressure from their food turn into waste. The first few weeks will be trial and error to find your puppy’s sweet spot, but it should be smooth sailing from there!

Your after-meal walks will be at the same time each day if you maintain a consistent eating schedule for your pup. Your dog will be grateful that they can expect when to be fed and walked each day.

When your pup is young, large meals are often too much to handle. It’s best to break down your pup’s food into two or three small meals every few hours instead of one large meal each morning.

When Your Puppy Wakes Up From Naps

Following the same logic as you would when you take out your puppy in the morning, your pup should go on a walk each time they wake up from a nap. The sooner you take your furry friend outside after they doze off, the more you’ll reduce the chances of an accident.

Before Leaving Home

If your puppy’s just a few months old, you won’t be able to leave the house for longer than an hour or two in the beginning. Once your puppy hits the three-month mark, you can begin spending a few hours outside of the house at a time.

Before you leave, always give your pup a long walk to give them the chance to go potty.

If you’re not sure how long your pup can go, use the month-hour rule. This suggests that for every month up to the age of six months, your pup can hold it for the number of hours that equals their months in age.

After Playtime

Playtime is one of the cutest and most bonding experiences for you and your puppy. They’ll likely be running and jumping around, which may make them need to go.

Since they’ll be so happy, they likely won’t even notice that they have to go potty. When you’re winding down with playtime, take them out for a few minutes to give them the chance to go.

Before Bed

At the end of the day before you and your puppy go to sleep, take your pup out on an evening walk to give them one last chance to go potty for the night.

Step 2: Set Up a Cue

As your dog gets more trained, you won’t need to maintain as rigid of a schedule. 10 walks a day will turn into 5. But your dog may have to go before a scheduled walk.

When this happens, having a cue in place will help them let you know that it’s time to go potty. Most often, pets are taught to sit by the door, ring a bell, or perform a certain trick when they need to go out.

The more obvious the cue, the more likely you’ll notice that your pup has to go potty and you can get them outside before an accident.

Step 3: Designate a Familiar Location

When you take your puppy outside, it’s important to make it clear that it’s not playtime, To help your puppy understand that they’re outside to go potty, do the following:

  • Take your pup to a secluded area
  • Go to the same places every time
  • Don’t play with your pup and keep your energy calm
  • Don’t get frustrated or emotional if they don’t go potty

At first, your puppy may not go outside every time you take them out. This is normal as they’re learning what your desired routine is. If they do go outside, you want to reward them so they understand what the proper actions are.

Step 4: Don’t Be Afraid to Use a Crate When You’re Not Home

Using a puppy training crate will help during the puppy potty training process because it will help give your pup a sense of control.

They’ll view the crate as their special space, and they’ll want to keep it as clean as possible. For puppies, a crate is a place to rest and feel protected, not a great choice for a bathroom.

Keep in mind that putting your puppy in their crate doesn’t automatically mean they’ll hold everything in. They still need to go out at regular intervals that are appropriate to their age and schedule, and they need ample attention and care when you’re around.

But if you’re leaving your 4-month-old puppy home for two hours, a crate is a helpful option.

Step 5: Properly Reward Your Puppy

Always reward your puppy when they go potty outside during the housebreaking process. Rewards are the key to your puppy understanding that going to the bathroom outside is the better alternative to going potty inside.

Every time you take your puppy out, make sure you have a few puppy treats with you. After they go potty outside, give them a treat and high praise.

It’s important to deliver rewards at the right time. Give your puppy a reward too soon and they may not actually learn to become potty trained. Give your puppy a treat too late and they won’t understand which action led to the reward.

Step 6: Gradually Easing Up on Training

Your dog may pick up proper house training in manners in just a few weeks. Some dogs may take months to get the hang of potty training. So how do you know when it’s time to end house training?

Begin by testing your pup when you release her from her crate. If she signals to you that she wants to go out instead of just relieving herself on the nearest carpet, it’s a sign that she’s learning. 

Make sure to give her a treat and lots of positive praise so she continues this behavior! 

Reward your pup by giving them more trust around your home. After one month without any accidents in their designated room in your home, expand their free space to another room. When another month goes by without an accident, repeat this process.

If your pup does have an accident after earning more rooms, put them back in the original room for one week and follow the first five steps of training more strictly.

In the short run, it will feel like quite a bit of work. But in the long run, you’ll have a potty-trained pup!

Frequently Asked Questions

Being a new dog parent comes with a lot of questions. Here are some of the common concerns that many puppy owners face when they’re trying to housebreak their new furry friend.

How Long Does it Take to Potty Train a Puppy?

For most dogs, the process will take between four and six months. Thats why its nice to have durable and reliable potty training pads so in case there are mess ups the puppy can be trained to go on the potty training pads.

As you move into later months of training, you can expect your puppy to be almost completely trained with the occasional accident. To reduce the time it takes to train your puppy, use positive reinforcement to encourage going potty outside and avoid punishing puppies for accidents.

In some cases, you’ll be able to train your puppy in only a few weeks. To do this, you’ll need to be around to let your pup out every single hour of the day. If you have the time to encourage your puppy to go outside, potty training your puppy fast may be doable.

However, keep in mind that this isn’t the norm! Each puppy goes at their own pace, and they need your support and love to train more quickly.

Can My Eight-Week-Old Puppy Be Potty-Trained?

Eight weeks is still too young to potty train your puppy. At this age, they won’t be able to notify you when they need to go, and they can only hold their bladders for two to three hours.

The best thing to do with a young puppy is to establish a routine for going outside and eating meals. Once they get older, they’ll already be accustomed to the schedule and may take to potty training faster.

What Are the Hardest Dog Breeds to Potty Train?

Each dog has their own personality and history, so you can’t say for certain which breeds will give you the easiest or most difficult experience. Usually, though, most dogs belonging to a certain breed will have similar temperaments.

The hardest dog breeds to potty train are typically Jack Russell Terriers and Yorkshire Terriers, both of which are smaller dog breeds. You can expect smaller dogs, in general, to be a bit more difficult to potty train because they have a faster metabolism.

If My Puppy Goes the Night Without Going Out, Can He Make It Through an 8-Hour Day?

It’s always rewarding to see that your puppy can make it an entire night without having to go out for potty. But an eight-hour night doesn’t translate to eight hours during the day.

At night time, your puppy isn’t drinking food or water and isn’t physically active. When your puppy is moving around, napping, and eating throughout the day, he’ll have to go to the bathroom every few hours.

Later in the potty training process, your puppy will gain more control over his bladder and go less frequently for breaks. However, even potty-trained puppies shouldn’t go eight hours between potty breaks – think of how you’d feel if you had to wait that long!

How Do I Potty Train My Older Dog?

Don’t fret if you adopt an older dog and he isn’t potty trained – often, older dogs are easier to potty train than puppies. Especially if you have a comfy crate for them to stay in while you are gone.

Follow similar steps as you would with training your young dog: take your furry friend out at set times each day and have meals at regular hours.

In the beginning, your dog may be resistant to changes in the routines that they’ve grown accustomed to. Just stay consistent and positive.

Keep your eye out for any existing habits that your dog seems to have. Remember that your dog is trying his best to be a good boy, but he may have some residual negative behaviors from previous owners or abuse.

How Do I Know When My Puppy Needs to Go Outside?

Most dogs will start to change their behavior when it’s time to go out. The most noticeable signs are circling around you and whining. Often, dogs will also scratch and sniff the door or their rear.

Keep your eye on your puppy when they disappear from the room. If they have previously used your favorite carpet or a corner of your home as a bathroom spot, chances are they’ll return there to do it again.

How Many Times a Day Should I Take My Puppy Outside to Potty?

Usually, the number of times you’ll need to take your puppy out each day will depend on their age.

If your puppy is less than 6 weeks old, he’ll have to go out every 30 to 45 minutes. If he’s 6 to 12 weeks old, every hour will do. And from 12 weeks and up, it will be every 2 hours until he’s potty trained.

Keep in mind that these numbers are just guidelines, though. Your puppy may need to go out more frequently than every few hours, even if she’s 5 months old.

No matter how much time has passed since the last walk, potty training your puppy means that you should take your pup out after every nap, feeding session, or intense playtime.

What Are Some Warning Signs to Look Out For?

Throughout the potty training process, you’ll get a closer look at your dog’s health. And even after your dog is potty trained, you should still keep a close eye on their urine and stool.

Pay special attention to the following.

  • Increased or discolored urine
  • Change in stool consistency
  • Blood in urine or stool
  • Straining

Any changes in your dog’s bathroom habits could be a sign of something more serious, ranging from separation anxiety to a health condition.

Contact your veterinarian early when you start to notice unusual symptoms. Your pup will be back to normal in no time!

Building the Best Relationship With Your Furry Friend

Potty training a puppy can be a cinch when you go about it the right way. By creating a routine, giving your puppy rewards, and maintaining a positive attitude, you’ll speed up the process and make it more enjoyable for both you and your dog.

Visit our blog for more tips on raising your pup!

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