Training Tip for the Time-Deprived

I’m back in the training stage again, now that Wilbur’s joined the clan!

The other day I was sitting on the lawn trying to read a book while Wilbur wiggled and squirmed his way under the book into my lap (and by no means did he sit still once he got there), Shasta started giving me kisses from the one side, and Nikki sat begging for me to pet her from the other side. I looked over at my mom and said, “Is this what it’s like to have children?” ;-P


The only problem is that I don’t have the time that I used to have now that I’m done with college (isn’t that strange that I actually had MORE time when I was in school fulltime and working part-time than I do now that I’m just working???). How in the world am I going to train this bundle of energy properly?

Well, just in case there’s anyone else out there wondering the same thing, here’s my “Training Tip for the Time-Depraved”: Make training a part of every-day life, rather than trying to schedule in an exclusive training session each day. 

That means that, when I feed the dogs in the morning, I teach/practice the commands “Sit” and “Wait” with them. I put the food in their bowls, and they have to wait patiently until I say, “OK,” before they can jump in and eat.

It means that, when I take my daily walk each day, I work on the “heal” command with Shasta and do some leash training.

It means that, when I go outside to get the mail, and Wilbur wants to jump all over me with muddy paws, I take a few moments to work on some manners training–that he needs to sit before he gets petted.

It means that, when I’m out working in the garden, I practice the “Stay” command with Nikki, making sure that she stays at the garden’s edge and doesn’t come into the garden (which is off-limits).

And it means that, when I’m doing the dishes after breakfast, I bring one of the dogs into the kitchen with me for some exclusive bonding time where I just talk to him/her, maybe randomly say, “Lie Down,” to see if he/she remembers the latest command we’re working on, and give him/her lots of praise and attention.

It’s all about the little moments, all day, every day.  

And for those of you who haven’t done any training before, I highly recommend Dog Training in 10 Minutes.* Not only does this book offer an easy, only-10-minutes-a-day approach to training, but it’s also written in simple, fun language and illustrated with lots of cute, colorful cartoons, making it very appealing to junior-aged children. It’s a great way to get your kids involved (or even completely handling) your dog’s training.

What ways have you found to work training into your busy schedule? Please share!

*This post contains affiliate links.


Is Your Puppy Play-Biting?

Iams has a good video that I thought I’d like to share for those of you who are dealing with puppy play-biting.

Click here to view the video. (It’s about 3 minutes long.)

If you’re not able to view the video, here is script to read. I hope this helps you with your play-biting dilemmas! If you’ve already taught your puppy to not play bite, we’d love to hear your personal secrets for conquering this habit!

How to stop puppy biting

Hi, I’m Kathy Santo with Iams, and today we’re going to discuss the dangers of allowing puppy biting, the importance of playing correctly, and how to stop the unwanted biting behavior.

It’s normal and even cute when your puppy nibbles and lunges at your hands. Since your puppy has been exposed to only other puppies in the litter, who naturally play with biting and mouthing, it would make perfect sense why he would assume that playing with you wouldn’t be different. But as puppies’ teeth grow, and their bodies become stronger, what was once cute nibbling eventually turns into uncomfortable, or even dangerous, rough play and bites.

Since biting is an unacceptable type of play, it’s important to teach your pup how to enjoy playing games with toys instead of your hand. Playing is a healthy, natural activity that helps build the bond between you and your puppy. This also affects your puppy’s train ability– sitting, waiting, learning tricks, not pulling on the leash, even to stop biting.

Before teaching your puppy not to bite, it’s important to train your puppy to decrease bite pressure. Allow your puppy to begin mouthing and nibbling at your hand. When he bites down hard, yell “ouch,” so he’s startled and stops for a second. Continue allowing him to mouth your hand, making sure to speak up every time he bites too hard, so your puppy can learn your threshold for what is acceptable and what isn’t.

Once your puppy understands your feedback about the strength of his bite, you can begin to reduce biting. The best way to teach your puppy not to bite is to redirect him to a toy or a chew bone. Simply give your dog a firm “no,” and replace whatever he was biting with something he is allowed to chew.

If your puppy is three to six months old, there is a good chance he may be teething, so he might be trying to reduce discomfort by chewing. Try giving him an ice cube to chew on. It’ll numb his gums and help alleviate the pain.

My favorite trick to get puppies to stop biting is to exaggerate, and pretend they’ve injured me, their friend. By pretending their nip actually hurt you, by pulling your hand away, yelling “ouch,” and stop playing, you’re replicating what other litter mates would do if another puppy were to cause them pain.

Managing and controlling puppy biting problems can be a major challenge for dog lovers. Puppy biting or nipping starts out as a bit of fun, but needs to be controlled quickly to avoid ongoing problems. Training your dog depends on a good relationship built on love and trust. It takes time to build a working partnership, and the more time and patience you have with your puppy from day one, the more obedient he’ll be. Dogs want to please.

I’m Kathy Santo with Iams, and I hope you found this as helpful as you welcome your new addition to your family.

Week 7 Photos

Hi there! Alright, now for the traditional “Can you believe the puppies are already….” Here goes: Can you believe the puppies are already seven weeks old! My! You’d think I’d be able to come up with a better introduction than that! Hmmm…. How about, can you believe that you’ll get to bring your puppy home with you in just a week!!!!!!!! Wow! Now that caught your attention!

Before this week’s photos, however, I must give you an update on the puppies’ schedule. First, we are not crating the puppies at night anymore–it is just too hot for all 5 of them to be packed in the enclosed crate. Don’t worry–initial potty training has continued despite this setback. We are putting the puppies in a much roomier, plastic doghouse half (the bottom half–the top is removed) down in our cool basement. They have more room to spread out in there and to breath. We keep them on their potty schedule, so they are still learning to keep their blanket clean.

The change in schedule comes from the fact that the pups are now able to handle 5 hours between potty breaks, and I’m so happy, as this works into my schedule just perfectly!

The Schedule:
4:00 – Morning potty break, back inside
6-7:00 – Breakfast (no potty break yet)
9:00 – Potty break and grass dry–outside for the day
2:00 – Potty break & playtime
7:00 – Potty break & supper
9:00 – Sundown, last quick potty break, and inside for the night.
If needed: 12-1:00 am Potty break (however, last night, the puppies made it from 9:00 all the way to 4:00 just fine!)

Now, for our feature presentation: “Five Puppies, One Kong.”

Run, Rio, run!
Run, Rio, run!
I love this picture! Rio is "bound" and determined to get the toy from Jordan.
I love this picture! Rio is “bound” and determined to get the toy from Jordan.
Rio & Jordan "fighting."
Rio & Jordan “fighting.”
Next, Danny "hops" on the scene.
Next, Danny “hops” on the scene.
Rio & Danny, best of buddies despite the rough-n-tough play.
Rio & Danny, best of buddies despite the rough-n-tough play.
'Kenzie loves the little, blue kong!
‘Kenzie loves the little, blue kong!
Itty, bitty Jordan!
Itty, bitty Jordan!
All the puppies love the new, blue, squeaky kong we bought them!
All the puppies love the new, blue, squeaky kong we bought them!
Rio getting sleepy.
Rio getting sleepy.