(Closed) Never had a DOG…what should I know?

posted 4 years ago in Pets
Post # 2
5180 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

HiveFive:  Start training early and be consistent. A little dog can get away with a lot of bad behaviors just because they are small, but a big dog cannot. Jumping on people, pulling on the leash, stealing things off the counter aren’t huge concerns for small dogs, but they are major concerns for big dogs. Having good manners is important for any dog and will lead to a lot less chaotic home. 

Post # 4
2840 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Treat a puppy like a baby and consider an adult dog on a similar level to a human toddler. They need love, affection, and authority. They will also hone in on your weaknesses and play you like a fiddle if you’re not careful. E.g. My dog knew I wanted to cuddle so the whole “no dogs on the furniture” thing went out the door quickly. With that said, consistency is KEY to training. If you are set on “no dogs on the furniture” then you can’t let him up “just this once”. They can’t tell the difference between a set rule and a one-time freebie. Don’t send mixed signals. We got our dog when he was 8-months old and he had lots of bad habits. We took him to a trainer because he wouldn’t respond to us.  One of the best training treats is a piece of a hot dog. It won’t make them as thirsty as a biscuit. 

Post # 5
681 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I have seen very little difference with training a large dog vs. small ones (I don’t let my pups get away with the bad behaviors that little dogs sometimes can).

This is not a rule by any stretch of the imagination – but every large dog I’ve had has been mellower than the little dogs we have had once they become adults.  If you want to travel with the pup, it will be a little more difficult with a large dog (can’t store at your feet under the seat, some hotels don’t allow large dogs that allow small ones, etc.).

Bless your heart for taking in a gentle giant.  You are going to love having a pup!

Post # 6
1332 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

HiveFive:  I have had dogs my entire life, so here is some tips/tricks that have been successful:

* If you get them early, train early, and remain consistent – always.  Get them used to interaction with ‘strangers’ (like at a dog park), other animals/children (if you can).  Rub all their body parts while they lay down; ears, belly, behind, paws, etc.  I know that sounds weird, but getting them used to human touches all over will help them down the road.  Prepare for accidents, but keep them consistent with going outside – such as, always taking them out RIGHT when they wake up, etc.  They will chew, so watch them always, and try to not confuse them with mixing toys (such as, giving them a ball of socks as a toy, but then scolding them when they chew thru your laundry of socks, etc.)

* Crate training is a wonderful tool.  Do not worry about putting them in there during the day, or at night.  Never let the crate be ‘too large’ for them because they then they can go to the bathroom and sleep in a different spot in the crate.  I have never used their crate as a form of punishment.  I/we have always tried to keep it a ‘safe haven’ for them, where they do not hate going in there, or confuse it for a place to go because they were misbehaved.

* Dogs need exercise.  If your yard can have a fence, then that is awesome!  If not, daily strolls are important.

* In the beginning months of owning a puppy, I have used positive reinforcement when they do something good.  A kibble, or some treats.  Every time they go outside, they got a small token of appreciation, or listened, etc.  Eventually, they will learn to do the good things for the rewards.  Much like Pavlov’s theory, the treats diminish, but the behaviors will not.  Bell training has also worked wonders for me.  Hang a bell on the door, and you ring it every time you both go outside.  They may associate ringing the bell for potty time and do it on their own with their noses over time.  That is how our German Shephard lets us know she needs to go out!

* Smaller meals throughout the day has always worked better than one large meal.  My dogs have seemed to beg less when we have done that, because they are not STARVING by the time breakfast/dinner comes along.  Every so often, put your hand by their bowl/pet them while they eat – obviously restraining from getting nipped/bit.  Our dogs have never been food aggressive once they learned that the hands in the bowl does not mean we are taking it away, etc.  

Good luck.  Sure, they can be a lot of work, but absolutely rewarding!!!  (OH, and never ever think each dog does not have their own personality.  They do, and you will learn theirs, and they will learn yours…)

Post # 7
4915 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Read up on training and care before you bring one home. Doggie proof your house and stuff before it comes home.  Always be patient and understand normal doggie behavior. Always take care of it when it’s sick. Love it to pieces and remember that when you bring one home, you’re commiting to care for it for it’s entire life. Even when the dog it sick, old or does something frustrating, you commited to care for it and love it.  This dog only has you. 

Post # 8
1220 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

Large dogs = more money!

It costs more for most vet proceedures. Their cages are bigger, so that is more expensive. They eat more, so the food bill is higher. Their toys are bigger/sturdier, and that’s more expensive. 

Post # 9
6629 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

HiveFive:  The most important thing to do is to think about what’s important to you in a dog and research to find the appropriate breed. I grew up with labs and austrailian shepherds, Darling Husband grew up with labs and daudsons. Temperment was super important, as was a dog that was great with all people and other animals. We are pretty active and enjoy being outside and boating. For us it was a no brainer, labs. We knew we wanted an English Lab vs an American Lab. English Labs are more mellow, have a blockier head/body, and an easy disposition. American labs (most commonly seen) are more slender w/ long noses and tend to be very hyper. 

Taining is super important. We got our lab as a puppy and training started right away. We always always always had plenty of rawhides and dog toys available at all times. Resist the urg to give your dog old shoes or socks – because they can’t tell the difference between a pair of shoes that are ok to chew and those that are not. We never had any issues with our labs being destructive or chewing anything other than their toys. 

We started socializing right away as well. Our labs love everyone and are super gentle with people and children. During feeding, we always from the time they were very little made it a point to “mess” with them (for lack of a better term) while they were eating. We’d reach our hands in the bowl, rub or lightly tub their ears, pet their backs, play with their tails, even take the bowl away for a minute and make them sit before we put it back down. A dog should never be protective over their food or toys, and we knew that one day we’d have kids and kids are curious. We never wanted a dog that would snap or bite when they felt their territory was being encroached upon.

Post # 10
3116 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

HiveFive:  +1 to all of the advice here! I also need to emphasize SithLady:   ‘s point on super consistent training on big dogs just because they are larger. My boxer was ( still is some what)of a jumper and while at first it was almost cute bc he was this little 10 lb dog but now that he is 65 lbs- I wish we were much more consistent with his training. It is a work in progress for us but if I could go back I would have tried to do much better from the start

If you have kids imagine a giant dog jumping and knocking over your children :-0

Also- puppies are HARD work. We worked it out where one of us was home with the dog for the first 3 months we had him- they are moving giant balls of destruction. Just be prepared and be patient 🙂

 Also socialize socialize socialize. We took our dog to puppy play dates at local dog training centers- I would look into some in your area. A lot of the time it is free.They say to introduce your puppy to 100 dogs and people in the first 3 months of life

We made sure to socialize and as a result our dog is so mild mannered, knows his dog manners and gets along with every dog and human he has ever met. He really is wonderful in that regard and we get tons of compliments on his demeanor. Now if I could only get him to stop jumping…

Post # 11
862 posts
Busy bee

OUgal0004:  This.

OP, I would only add a couple of things: 

1. Do your due diligence on the breeder research front if you go that route. Trust your gut and google — ‘What to ask [enter breed here] breeders’. Large breeds in particular are susceptible to hip/elbow problems that they can genetically screen for. All puppies are cute but you want to give yours the best chance possible for a long, healthy, and happy life. Don’t choose a breeder that charges more for genders/colors, don’t choose one that doesn’t do health screenings and isn’t willing to show you their certifications, and don’t be daunted by the cost of a purebred puppy (ie. puppy price is not something you should skimp on.)

2. Puppy Kindergarten is not enough. Before your bring home puppy, find a training center you like. This does not mean PetsMart. Sit in on classes, meet the trainers, and make sure they use positive reinforcement methods. My lab was in class for nearly two full years (Obedience, Nosework, and Agility after his puppy classes). Now he’s a mellow, well-behaved adults — but with a large breed dog, expect puppy hood to last at least 2 years.

As a spinoff — make sure you and SO agree on puppy rules and puppy discipline BEFORE puppy comes home. A lot of strides have been made in dog training in the last 10 years and adults who had puppies as children a) often didn’t train them or b) trained them in a way that may make other people uncomfortable. Consistency is key, so make sure everyone is on the same page.

3. This has been mentioned before but socialization is key. Set your puppy up for a positive experience. Dogs that play well with other dogs, don’t always play well wtih puppies so always ask before you allow your puppy to greet another dog on leash. Don’t take your puppy to a dog park until it’s 6ish months old. Puppies are allowed more places than you might think, so for the human side of things — bring your puppy to Home Depot, Bass Pro Shops etc. It’s a great place to meet people and practice obedience.

Post # 12
54 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

My dog was the most amazing, loyal, faithful, adventurous, entertaining, comforting and loving companion I’ve ever had. I had never owned a dog before him & he was my first puppy. He taught me about unconditional companionship and friendship. He was one of the best things that ever happened to me and the sun shone a little less brighter when he left my life. 

Post # 13
1092 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

Try to remember that what might be “cute” as a puppy will not be cute as an older dog. Puppy bites your hand playfully when you take away a toy? Small puppy teeth with little strength behind it might be funny now but won’t be funny 6 months from now. 

Get puppy used to having people pick up paws to clip nails, pull back lips to check teeth, check ears, etc. It is sooo much easier at the vet, etc. if this stuff is not an issue to them. 

And I agree a million times that you need to pick a dog that works for you. You may think border collies are adorable but they need lots of exercise and things to occupy their minds. If you can supply that then great, but if you want more of a couch potato then it may not be the breed for you. 

Post # 15
2296 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

HiveFive:  Since you mentioned that your SO wants to get a puppy because his older dog had behavorial issues, I’d like to point out that not all older dogs come with baggage. I adopted my male Siberian Husky when he was 3 years old and he was (and still is) happy, loving, fully house-trained, and even tempered. His only issue: he likes to pull on his leash (which I can’t fault him for because it’s what the breed has been bred to do for centuries). On the other hand, our female Siberian Husky joined our family when she was 1 year old and had considerable difficulty with the house-training part. However, she is great off-leash and is super smart (and loud, she’s definitely a talker). 

I’m not saying you shouldn’t get a puppy; I’m just suggesting that you consider all options. There are some amazing older dogs out there! No matter what pup you get, consistency in training is key. Good luck!!

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