Wednesday, 19 January 2022
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Good Living for your Pets — When good dogs do bad things

Have you ever come home, opened the door, and … Yikes! What happened to my couch? My dog has redecorated the living room with stuffing everywhere. He also left me some doggy presents, and it’s not even my birthday. I can’t take it anymore! My wife said, “It’s me or the dog!”  Fortunately, chewing and housebreaking are common dog problems that can be fixed with some simple problem-solving solutions.

Puppies: All puppies chew. They can’t help it. They cut new teeth until around 6 months of age. Understanding that your puppy isn’t being bad, but is instead in pain, will help both of you get through this developmental stage. Give your puppy ice cubes to eat, or wet, twist and freeze washcloths for him to chew on. The coldness helps numb the gums and relieves the pain. Do not give your puppy soft toys or toys with squeakers as these can be ingested and are extremely dangerous. Nylabones and hard rubber toys such Kong toys are better options for your puppy. A product called Bitter Apple can be sprayed on items such as leashes or rugs to deter your pup from chewing on them.

Proper confinement: Dogs who are left behind a solid, closed door, such as in a bathroom or laundry room. Will try to chew their way to freedom. Instead, buy a wire crate, an exercise pen and/or an outdoor dog run to keep your pet safe when you can’t watch him. If your dog can see out, he is less likely to feel closed in and will be less anxious. Be sure the outdoor area has enough water and shade as well as a solid bottom surface. Alum powder can be mixed with a little water to make a paste that can be applied to baseboards and some types of furniture.

All dogs can and should be housebroken. It is never too early or too late to start the process. By following my five-step housebreaking program you can have your dog housebroken within a week or two (believe me, it’s possible).

Scheduling: Create a daily routine of feeding, drinking and walking in order to condition your dog to go potty outside 100 percent of the time. Rather than leave water down all day, simply offer your dog water every few hours and then take him outside immediately. Puppies will also need to go out after playing or napping. Feed your dog dinner at least six hours before bedtime and let him have his last drink of water three hours before bedtime so that everything has a chance to pass through his system and so that you can sleep through the night.

Feeding: Feed your dog a quality food for good digestion. Don’t change your dog’s food during the housebreaking period as it may cause loose stool. Also, don’t offer treats unless they coincide with the daily schedule.

Odor Removal: A product called Nature’s Miracle will eliminate odors in any areas where accidents have occurred. Dogs have a keen sense of smell and will return to the same spot if the odor is not neutralized.

Confinement: Dogs who aren’t housebroken should not be given too much freedom. Crate training is very effective, and since dogs like to live in dens, they will enjoy having their own space and will want to keep the area clean. When your dog is out of the crate, keep a leash and collar on him so that he can’t sneak off and eliminate while you aren’t looking.

Correction and praise: Every time your dog goes potty outside, verbally praise him for doing the right thing. If you see your dog having an accident, you can say, “Nope!” in a loud voice and immediately take your dog outside. Punishment never works. Consistent teaching and praise, however, always works.

The most important part of any dog training is to understand your dog and his behavior. You never want to yell, hit or discipline when teaching. Never use your dog’s name with the word, “No” or he won’t trust you and won’t want to come to you.

After 50 successful years of dog training, my philosophy has always been love, praise and affection. Your dog will love you for it. Woof!

For more information, visit and find him of Facebook as “Uncle Matty’s In-Home Dog Training.”

Matthew Margolis (Uncle Matty) is a dog behavior expert, authority on aggressive dogs, syndicated columnist, popular radio and television guest, and the host of the PBS television series, “Woof! It’s a Dog’s Life.” Uncle Matty’s Dog Training – Among the 40,000 plus dogs trained by Margolis and his staff are those belonging to numerous celebrities including Renee Russo, Merv Griffin, Goldie Hawn, Drew Carey, Madonna, Elizabeth Taylor and Shannon Doherty.


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