Please also visit my Author's blog at http://jackiephillipsauthor.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Renting an Apartment: Give Your Dog Physically Stimulating Exercises


The following information is from my book,

"Renting with Rex: How You, Your Dog, Your Landlord and 

Your Neighbors Can All Thrive in Rental Housing."


Jackie Phillips
www.rentingwithrex.com
www.thesocialpet.com
jackie@thesocialpet.com
Feel free to contact me anytime at the above email address.

All text is copyrighted and protected. Any unauthorized use is prohibited. 


________________________________________________________________

Here are some topics that are covered:


1. Are you willing to provide exercise for your dog?
2. Age: Puppy, Young Adult, Adult, Senior
3. Health
4. Fitness level
5. Weight
6. Need for Social Activity
7. Mind Stimulating Exercises for your dog
8. A tired dog is a good dog. 


Renting an Apartment and Having a Dog

Are you willing to provide enough exercise for your dog?

Give your dog physically stimulating exercises.

Dogs need exercise, just like people. Your dog’s daily exercise requirement will vary depending on your dog’s breed, age, health and overall activity level. How do you determine how much exercise your dog needs?

Dog breeds are grouped together by what they were originally bred to do. Some dogs were bred to hunt animals, some were bred to herd animals, some were bred to pull large sleds or wagons, and even some were bred to fight other animals. Many dogs, generally the smaller lap-type dogs were bred to primarily be companions to people. To determine what your dog’s exercise needs might be, start by looking at the purpose for which your dog’s breed was originally created. If you dog’s breed was originally created for tracking, herding, or transportation of people or goods, then your dog will need a daily amount of vigorous exercise like running, biking and retrieving tennis balls, or a daily romp to the local dog park. On the other hand, if you dog’s breed was to sit in people’s laps and keep their hands warm, then your dog’s daily exercise needs can be taken care by a walk up and down the street or around the block.

Age

Young puppy
From birth to one year, your puppy’s exercise requirements will be unique. From eight weeks to about six months your puppy may appear to have boundless, non- stop energy. However, the length of time that they are engaged in full activity at any one time will be short; suddenly your puppy will flop over and take a rest. If you are available during those times of energy bursts to take them for a walk around the block, and also work on some basic obedience exercises and socialization, your puppy will wear out very fast. Their attention span is very short, but grows a little each day.

Your puppy’s body is growing quickly, so any physical exercise beyond a fast walk should be restricted to avoid any chance of possible injury. These restrictions mean no jogging, jumping, tennis ball or disc catching or jumping onto and off of high objects like playground equipment or walls.

Young adult
This age range would be from six months for toy and small breeds up to two years for some of the larger breeds. Exercise should still be limited and controlled, but can be slowly expanded beyond moderate walks. Some puppies belonging to the smaller and lightly boned breeds of up to medium height, whose bodies should be almost fully formed by one year old, can begin light running and jumping and climbing. Regardless of size, it is best to hold off from more demanding exercise like tennis ball and disc dog throws.

For puppies belonging to the larger and giant breeds it is best to continue walking, light running, and light climbing until after they reach two years, when most of their growth should be complete. Some breeds that benefit from these restrictions include retrievers, draft pullers such as Rottweilers and Bernese Mountain Dogs, Mastiff-related breeds, and the larger herding breeds like German Shepherds. After two years of age, all breeds can handle more activity as it is needed.

Swimming is always a great form of exercise for any breed at almost any age, except for small puppies until they learn to swim. Swimming has universal benefits for all dogs since there is no pounding and grinding on the body like climbing, jumping and retrieving tennis balls. Yet there is still great aerobic exercise for the heart and movement for the limbs with no wear and tear on the joints and bones. Many pet stores or supply catalogs sell life jackets for dogs to wear. These are great for dogs that are not great swimmers or are just learning.

Middle age adult
Middle age usually starts around two years for the smaller to medium size breeds and extends to about 10 years. For the larger and giant breeds, middle age starts around three years and goes to about seven or eight years. This stage of life will be the peak activity time for most dogs, and when their exercise needs will remain fairly constant, barring accident. This constant level of demand means that if you have a specific routine of daily walks and going to the dog park on the weekends, and your dog is satisfied and healthy, you could probably keep up this routine unless some unforeseen injury or health reason interferes. Or if you compete in dog sports regularly, and your dog is healthy and happy, you could probably expect to continue that routine for several more years, unless something unforeseen happens.

Senior adult
For smaller to medium breeds senior adulthood begins around ten years of age and reaches to at least fifteen or more. For larger or giant breeds, this age range is generally around seven or eight to fewer than fifteen. It is very rare to see a large or giant breed that lives past fifteen years. However, small or medium breed may live up to 20 years.

During this time a dog’s exercise needs will decrease as he or she slows down and the body ages. Most dogs will do fine with a daily walk to slow down arthritis. I would not recommend any kind of hard physical exercise like tennis ball throwing or disc catching. I would like to say, however, my dog Scout continues to catch discs up to the age of 12, but it is much less frequent than she used to. I am extremely aware of that, first, she does not need the exercise, even though she still loves it, and two, her body is much less able to bounce back and mend itself like it used to when she was younger. She also is totally warmed up prior to any jumping or catching of discs and she gets a thorough cool down afterwards.

Health
Your dog’s individual health will determine the amount and type of exercise they will need. If you have any specific questions about your dog’s health and the type of exercise they need, it is best to consult with your dog’s veterinarian before starting exercise. What follows here are some general guidelines that could apply to a broad range of dogs.

Fitness level
Does your dog have any past injuries that could prevent or restrict your dog from doing strenuous exercise? Such limitations could also include current injuries that have not yet healed. For example, a broken bone that is no longer in a cast but is not back to full use by your dog might restrict his or her activity. Your dog may be going through physical therapy, or the injured area may have been out of use for so long that the muscles have atrophied, and they will need to be strengthened slowly to regain their full use. For many such injuries, start off with slow walks and very gradually increase the distance. Your dog will tell you if the amount of exercise is sufficient or too much because they will come back sore or in pain if you have done too much.

Sometimes an injury can be fully healed, yet your dog’s physical condition has been changed permanently. An example of this type of injury that could alter your dog’s physical condition permanently could be a torn cruciate ligament, which is very common type of injury in any dog that retrieves tennis balls or discs or does a lot of twists and turns on their back legs. The cruciate is the ligament that runs diagonal on the knee on both animals and humans. It is a common sports injury for athletes like football, baseball and basketball players. For a dog, surgery can be performed on the knee, but many times the full recuperation is difficult, leaving the dog with less strength and flexibility.

Weight
Your dog’s weight will determine their current activity level. If your dog is overweight, increased activity, along with a proper diet, will help to decrease your dog’s weight. However, seek the advice of your veterinarian prior to putting your overweight dog suddenly on a new diet and exercise regimen. Your dog’s excess weight could be due to many different health factors, not just lack of activity. Check with your dog’s doctor to determine exactly what is causing your dog’s weight gain and go from there.

Need for Social activity
Exercise consists of more than just burning calories. Exercise can also be fun, especially if it involves games with you or other dogs. When two dogs play together they can exercise themselves if they are running around chasing each other or playing with a tug toy. My dogs Dino and Scout have a regular game of playing tug with their fabric leashes. When we are out on our walk, usually Dino will look at me with this wide eyed anticipation of “Is it time, yet?” and he jumps up and down trying to grab the leash from my hand. Scout joins in and grabs either her leash or Dino’s leash and the tug game begins. They will do this in all kinds of weather, even if it is raining or snowing. If I have enough time and space, I will let the leashes go from my hand, unhook Dino from his and let them chase each other around and around until one of them gives up. Everybody gets muddy and dirty and has a great time.


Mind Stimulating Exercises Are Good For Your Dog

All dogs love to play games and learn new things. You can wear out your dog just by exercising his or her mind. A simple way to do this is to teach your dog a variety of tricks that can be practiced and performed in the house with minimal space. Working on learning a new trick just for a few minutes at a time can wear a dog out for several hours.

There is a variety of books all about teaching dogs tricks, as well as those that teach other simple games that can be done inside or outside. These can be fun things to do with your dog when the weather outside is prohibitive. Since all dogs need to eat, every mealtime can be used to work on an exercise. Break down an exercise or trick to tiny parts, and then each mealtime work on each step. When your dog learns one step, go onto the next. I like to call this dog training for a person who never has enough time in the day. There is always two minutes before a mealtime.

Remember: A Tired Dog is A Good Dog.
The more you can exhaust your dog, the less time he will have to become bored and anxious which results in barking and destruction. If your dog is so tired when you leave them alone, they will sleep rather than becoming destructive.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Renting an Apartment: Does your dog have separation anxiety issues?


The following information is from my book,

"Renting with Rex: How You, Your Dog, Your Landlord and 

Your Neighbors Can All Thrive in Rental Housing."


Jackie Phillips
www.rentingwithrex.com
www.thesocialpet.com
jackie@thesocialpet.com
Feel free to contact me anytime at the above email address.

All text is copyrighted and protected. Any unauthorized use is prohibited.


________________________________________________________________

Here are some topics that are covered:


1. Separation Anxiety
2. Self-Mutilation
3. Your dog's problem seems occur when left alone
4. Finding your dog his/her own space
5. Training your dog to use a crate
6. Making the area "dog-proof" and safe



Renting an Apartment and Having a Dog

Does your dog have separation anxiety issues?

Separation anxiety
Separation anxiety occurs when an animal is left alone, and the dog experiences anxiety and panic from the isolation. Many training techniques are available to help you help your dog deal with separation anxiety. There are also a number of different types of toys that can be used to help reduce separation anxiety in dogs.

Self Mutilation
Self mutilation is an extremely serious problem that, in many cases, requires the attention of an animal behaviorist. Dogs that self mutilate chew on themselves instead of an object or lick themselves until they develop bleeding or weeping sores. Self mutilation occurs in response to many different stressors. Your dog may have developed a sore or hot spot, started to clean it by licking it and then was not able to stop if the behavior becomes obsessive. Some dogs chew on their paws if they have allergies or sometimes out of boredom. Some dogs also self mutilate as part of separation anxiety. Once your dog develops the habit of chewing on themselves it can develop into an obsessive habit, which can be difficult to stop.


Your dog’s problem seems to occur when left alone.
Here are some basic steps to follow to begin to acclimate your dog to feeling secure when you leave.

1. Your dog might need a crate when left alone to help them feel more comfortable and secure and safe.

2. If you don’t need a crate, is there a room where the dog feels most comfortable like a bedroom, kitchen, hallway or bathroom?

3. Another helpful suggestion to ease your dog’s tension about being left alone would be to leave the TV or radio on with calming music, which could simulate your presence and comfort your dog. I have also heard of people recording a tape of the sounds when they are home, and playing this tape on a continuous loop player. This also can help to drown out outside noise from the street, which can cause your dog to bark or feel frustrated and reactive to all the new sounds.

4. Your dog’s anxiety may stem from a lack of having their own private space. I would recommend using this “private space” as part of the area where the dog is left when you are not at home. For example, if the dog’s safe place is in your bedroom or another bedroom, you have the ability to secure the room with a door or baby gate, and the ability to dog-proof the room, I would use this spot in the place to leave your dog when you are away

5. This area would need to be able to be “dog-proofed” easily and on a regular basis. Dog proofing would include removing all access to garbage cans, food, laundry, loose plastic bags, drapery or blind cords and the ability to open and close dresser drawers. I have heard of stories of dogs swallowing whole socks they pulled from the drawers.

6. It would be best if this room could be made to be dark, like closing any blinds or drapes, but still be able to have the ability to open and close windows for fresh air, without allowing the dog access to jump out. Also, if the windows could be high enough so the dog cannot see out, this would prevent him from being able to see traffic outside and barking.

7.  I would recommend that this area be as small as possible to offer the dog a sense of comfort and security. Many times if a dog has a larger area to wander around in, they tend to find more situations to get into trouble.

8. I would choose a spot that can be used consistently every time you are away. This would help  to create a routine and habit of being successful for the dog. It would also help when you are in a hurry to leave. You need to always be sure that the room is dog-proof without having to take the chance some food wrapper is left under the bed or on a piece of furniture, and the dog finds it later.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Renting an Apartment: Barking, Whining, Howling


The following information is from my book,

"Renting with Rex: How You, Your Dog, Your Landlord and 

Your Neighbors Can All Thrive in Rental Housing."


Jackie Phillips
www.rentingwithrex.com
www.thesocialpet.com
jackie@thesocialpet.com
Feel free to contact me anytime at the above email address.

All text is copyrighted and protected. Any unauthorized use is prohibited.
_________________________________________________________________

Here are some topics that are covered:

1. Barking, Whining and Howling 
2. Chewing on Undesirable Objects

3. Types of Dog Toys Available
4. Chew Toys
5. Play Toys
6. Food Dispensing Toys 


Renting an Apartment and Having a Dog



Does your dog have chewing, barking or destructive tendencies?

Barking, whining, and howling
Barking, whining or howling are usually symptoms of another problem. Other than its effect in attracting neighbor complaints, these behaviors are not the problem. In reality, your dog is having another problem in another area, and is expressing this problem by vocalizing to express his or her need. A common problem the dog could be expressing is boredom. Another common problem to which your dog might alert you to is an excess of energy. Although they may be related problems and appear similar, they are not the same. Boredom stems from a lack of mental exercise, while an excess of energy arises from a lack of physical exercise. When your dog is left alone for long periods of time without the opportunity to play or to exercise, vocalization is one method of expressing the resulting frustration.

It is possible to resolve this problem in several ways. Prior to leaving your apartment for long stretches of time, take your dog out for a long walk. You may want to play with him or her by throwing a ball or a toy for a little while. Use caution when engaging in active play, however, and allow your dog a “cool down” period before leaving the house. Activity that releases energy is a positive thing. It will get your dog tired, so your dog will sleep, hopefully, for a few hours until you get home. You can also use this time to work on some obedience exercises to work your dog’s mind, which can also make them tired. However, too much activity immediately before your leaving will leave the dog in an excited state, potentially leading to an increase in anxiety.

Another option is to hire a dog walker to come in during the day to take your dog out for a walk. The dog walker can walk them in your neighborhood, or some will take the dog to a dog park for play or to a local park for a long walk.

Doggie daycare is becoming a popular option to bring your dog to during the day so your dog has the ability to play with other dogs and humans. Your dog should be relaxed at the end of the day, exhausted from a full day of running and playing (and an occasional nap). Doggie day care is best for highly social or highly active dogs who have no other pet at home with them.

Ongoing barking is also a symptom of being separated from their pack for long periods of time. If your dog is very social and thrives on the company of other pack members, then many times, having another pack member with him or her to spend the long hours with can help reduce frustration at being alone. Providing another pack member would mean bringing another dog into your home as a companion for your dog. Check your rental agreement and with your landlord prior to bringing a new pet home. Finding the right fit between your dog and a new companion for your dog requires some thought about your dog’s individual personality. Has your dog had experience socializing with other dogs? Are they generally friendly when they meet other dogs? Does your dog play rough or easy with other dogs? Although some households are successful in blending groups of dogs that are of completely different sizes, like a Chihuahua and a Great Dane, matching dogs that are compatible in age, size, personality and temperament is
usually best.

Chewing on Undesirable Objects
This habit usually starts when the dog is a puppy and needs to chew because they are teething or growing in new teeth. Once they develop the habit of chewing, then the chewing becomes self rewarding: they have a desire to chew, they chew on the leg of the chair, they relieve some tension and they feel good. The intention is to predict that the puppy will need to chew, have the proper chew toys when this need arises, rather than having the dog find the nearest object to chew on like a piece of furniture or your new $100 shoes. From the beginning, teach the dog the proper toys to chew on, don’t let the habit develop of chewing on the wrong things by leaving the dog unattended, and you will be on the way to raising a dog that knows the proper things to chew on when their need arises.

Types of Dog Toys Available
There are as many different toys for dogs as a person or dog could imagine. You will find a very large selection of toys if you go to your local pet store or look at a printed or online catalog, each with its own unique purpose. Dog toys are classified three different ways: chew toys, play toys or food dispensing toys. Some, such as hard rubber treat balls that are enticing for your dog to play with even when empty, fall into more than one category.

Chew Toys
These types of toys would include rawhides, Nylabones and Greenies. Toys in this category are first and foremost designed to be eventually edible. They also fulfill a secondary purpose of dental care, cleaning teeth or massaging gums and teeth. This secondary purpose makes them especially useful with a teething puppy. Chew toys usually come in a selection based upon the dog’s age and size. For example, a chew toy for a St. Bernard puppy would be a different size than a chew toy for a Dachshund puppy. It is imperative that you find the correct size of chew toy for your dog because a St. Bernard puppy could easily choke on a chew toy designed for a Dachshund. You should always supervise your dog with edible chew toys to avoid the dog breaking off and swallowing a piece. Some chew toys, made of hard rubber, are intended to entertain your dog when he or she is alone. Unless your dog is capable of tearing apart these durable toys, it is all right to leave him or her unattended with one or more of them. It is possible to find toys of this nature even for the strongest of chewers, when necessary.

Play Toys
The primary purpose of toys in this category would be for play and to be thrown and retrieved by the dog and the owner or tossed around by the dog by themselves. Examples would squeaky toys, tennis balls, flying discs and dumbbells for water retrieval. Generally these toys are durable and designed for different size mouths; however, they are not made to be chew toys, and, thus, should not be left alone with a dog. For example, I know that the skins of a tennis ball can be torn off and chewed and swallowed, and a squeaky toy can be de-squeaked by the dog pulling out the plug at the bottom of the toy or by chewing through the fabric of the toy itself to remove the plastic squeaker. Both these examples can be deadly to a dog if swallowed. Some hard rubber balls or ring-shaped toys would make appropriate play toys for when the dog is alone. Although rope bones are a popular form of play toy they may shred and cause a choking hazard or an impaction in your dog’s bowel if swallowed.

Food Dispensing Toys
This is a newest category of toys that has been developed within the last five to 10 years. Without the food in them, they can also fall into the chew or play toy category. With food stuffed or frozen inside, they fulfill a type of “babysitter” and “entertainer” role that goes beyond the chew or play toy. Examples of these types of toys would be Kongs, sterilized bones and Buster Cubes. These toys have openings where different types of food like peanut butter, kibble with canned food or just dry kibble are inserted. The object of the toy for the dog is to get the food, often frozen, out of the center of the toy. Depending on the dog, the type of toy and whether or not it is frozen, will determine how long the dog is entertained for. These toys are great for dogs with separation anxiety and can be given to the dog just as the owner leaves, thus changing the dog’s focus from, “Why are you leaving me again?” to “Hurry up and leave so I can have my Kong!”

Friday, September 16, 2011

Renting an Apartment: Using a Crate an Important Training Tool


The following information is from my book,

"Renting with Rex: How You, Your Dog, Your Landlord and 

Your Neighbors Can All Thrive in Rental Housing."


Jackie Phillips
www.rentingwithrex.com
www.thesocialpet.com
jackie@thesocialpet.com
Feel free to contact me anytime at the above email address.

All text is copyrighted and protected. Any unauthorized use is prohibited.


_______________________________________________________________

Here are the topics that will be covered:
1. Using a Crate as an Important Training Tool
2. Dogs Need to Have Their Own Space

Renting an Apartment and Having a Dog

Does your dog have any experience in being in a crate for long periods of time?

Using a Crate as an Important Training Tool

Training your dog to use a high impact plastic airline-style kennel or a wire crate in your home is of great benefit for housetraining, provided it is of the appropriate size. When purchasing a crate for housetraining purposes, you should first need to make sure that the size of the crate fits the size of the dog. The crate should be just big enough to allow the dog to stand up, turn around, and lie back down. If the crate is purchased specifically for housetraining, it is important that the dog does not have enough room to relieve him or herself in one end of the crate and then have room to sleep or eat at the other end. It is unnatural for dogs to want to relieve themselves near where they live. Dogs have a built-in motivation to hold themselves until you take them out. Because dogs have this built-in motivation, you can teach them bladder and bowel control for longer and longer periods, if you are very clear to them that you will be there to take them out.

In addition to being a housetraining aid, a crate works really well to give your dog a space of their own away from the activity of the home and away from other animals. Despite the general perception of a crate being a means to punish a dog, a crate is intended to be more like a safe haven. For your dog, it is like having his or her own room to retreat to for food, for sleep, or for quiet play with a favorite toy.

Dogs Need to Have Their Own Space

I have four brothers and sisters, all in very close age range of each other. Until I was in high school, I shared a room with my older sister, who is a year and a half older than me. I remember the little spaces I would find in the room we shared where I could hide out even just for a short time. Sometimes I would move things around in the closet and build a small hideaway with my desk chair and a blanket from my bed. Sometimes I would put a blanket over my desk and hide out under the desk, reading my newest book from the library or writing in my diary with a flashlight. Sometimes, I would do nothing. Just try to be still and be quiet. To this day I remember those precious spaces and others I found and designed in the house when I was too young to leave on my own. When I got older, I found places of refuge from a chaotic household outside in parks and other places.

These thoughts come back to me when living in an apartment with two dogs plus other animals. Even now, I establish certain spots that are off limits to the dogs, like the bathroom and the kitchen. I used to have the bed off limits, but my dog, Scout, slowly took that over. The kitchen has strict restrictions for safety reasons in case I happen to be holding a hot pot of water. I eat a lot of pasta.

I firmly believe that your dog also needs to have spots all to themselves that are off limits to humans and other pets. I have found my dogs going to these spots all by themselves when they want to rest or just get away from the commotion in the house. Some examples of types of favorite spaces that work well for apartments are crates or kennels, either with or without a door, allowing the dog free access as they choose.

Another idea is to give your dog its own bed and put it in a spot that will remain consistent. One benefit of having a portable bed is that it can be taken with you if the dog boards at a kennel, travels with you in a motel, or stays with family and friends. Having this bed gives your dog a consistent, safe spot he can always turn to in any kind of environment.

You can also designate a piece of furniture like a chair or under a table, and have the dog’s bed in that location. If you choose a piece of furniture, it should be furniture that is no longer being used by the humans in the house. It should always be there for the dog, and not have the bed move from one place to another when somebody wants to use that furniture.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Renting an Apartment: Moving from a House to an Apartment


The following information is from my book,

"Renting with Rex: How You, Your Dog, Your Landlord and 

Your Neighbors Can All Thrive in Rental Housing."


Jackie Phillips
www.rentingwithrex.com
www.thesocialpet.com
jackie@thesocialpet.com
Feel free to contact me anytime at the above email address.

All text is copyrighted and protected. Any unauthorized use is prohibited.



______________________________________________________________________

Here are some of the topics covered in this segment:

1. The Difference in Moving from a House to an Apartment
2. What questions should I ask myself before moving to an apartment from a house?
3. What will you do when company comes over and they are wearing really nice
            cloths?
4. How many people will be handling the dog?
5. Can you afford to bring in a dog walker or take them to doggie day care while
            you are gone if needed?



Renting an Apartment and Having a Dog

Moving From a House to an Apartment with Your Dog

The Difference in Moving from a House to an Apartment
The biggest change for an owner and a dog to make when moving from a house to an apartment is the loss of access to a yard. When you live in a house you don’t have to take your dog out several times a day. Many dogs who live in a house with a yard don’t go out for a lot of walks, if at all, because their owners use the yard as the dog’s form of entertainment and exercise. When a dog is regularly confined to its own house and yard, the dog rarely experiences the world. This confinement can lead to a fearful and undersocialized dog.

Compare this experience to that of a dog that lives in an apartment. The owner and dog go out for walks several times a day and the dog gets a lot of repetitive exposure to people, other animals, urban and suburban sounds and common distractions. Although both situations have their own advantages, living in an apartment can actually produce a better socialized dog.

What questions should I ask myself before moving to an apartment from a
house?

What kind of social experiences has your dog had in the past? 
Will he be able to adjust to the increased exposure to living in an apartment?
If your dog is several years old and fearful of people and noises, you may have a difficult time adjusting your dog to an apartment unless you take very specific proactive steps toward helping your dog through his fears. If you are not willing to help him decrease his fears, your dog may be miserable in a high traffic apartment complex, and his fears and anxiety may increase if left untreated.

Socializing Your Dog with People, Other Animals and Noises
It is especially important to socialize your dog when living in an apartment because each time you take your dog out for exercise or to relieve itself, it will automatically come in contact with all kinds of people, animals and sounds in all types of situations. There will be children playing, stray cats, stray dogs, people who are afraid of dogs, loud engines, trash blowing around, and, of course, other dog owners who unabashedly allow their dogs to come right up to yours whether you request them to or not.

Socializing a dog
Whether you get your dog as a puppy, young adult or full grown adult, you need to start socialization as soon as possible. The easiest way to socialize your dog is to make him or her a part of your family. Take your dog with you everywhere you go, to as many places as possible and never stop this good habit. Obviously, there will be certain places where dogs are not allowed or it is not safe, such as a Fourth of July celebration, a Mardi Gras parade, or a large community event with high heat and a lot of noise. If a place or event seems safe and open to you bringing your dog, however, feel free to take him or her with you. You will have endless training opportunities for distractions.

It is important to be aware of your dog’s temperament when starting to socialize him or her. If you have a dog that has behavioral problems like fear or aggression then you will need to start in quieter areas and build up to these locations, planning to make it eventually to these high distraction places as your goal.

If your dog does not have these issues, and is generally happy and friendly, try taking him downtown for walks, on buses, in cars, to the lake, to dog parks, to the vet office, inside pet stores or any stores that allow dogs, over all kinds of footing like metal, concrete, carpet, grass and sand. Bring your treats, toys, clicker, water and practice on sits, downs, stays, attention, recalls on leash, sitting when being petted, release words, etc. If you make this a life long habit, you will have a confident, social dog that is a joy and pleasure to be around.

Once your dog is trained and socialized the two of you can go to more places together. The more trained and socialized your dog becomes, the more activities the two of you can participate in together. It is a snowball effect that never ends. For example, when you come across a brand new situation with new distractions that the dog has never seen before, you will already have a trained and social dog that is responsive to all of your training tools. You can ease yourself into the situation rather than allowing your dog to be unsure and fearful.
Compare your socialized dog to the dog tied in a backyard, fearful and aggressive because his life exists solely in the tiny area that only his eyes can see. If you take that dog outside his comfort zone, outside his backyard, he reacts with pure fear and lashes out and bites or runs away, never being allowed to experience everything life has to offer.

Another very simple way to socialize your dog is to walk him around your neighborhood. Start walking your dog at least once a day in the beginning, and then about twice a day as you move out to further territories. This kind of activity will allow your dog to see and experience all the normal daily activities that occur outside of his small circle. Your dog will see and eventually meet all kinds of people, bicycles, skateboarders, other animals and experience all kinds of noises and smells. When you are out on your walk make sure you are polite. Carry poop bags with you, as well as water and a collapsible nylon bowl. Don’t forget to bring a big bag of tasty treats and a clicker if you use one.
Do not allow your dog to be afraid when encountering a new experience and do not “reassure” your dog when it appears to be nervous. Both actions will reinforce the unwanted behavior and set your dog up for failure. When you come across a new object, sound or smell, walk with the dog up to the object and encourage him to move closer, rewarding them with a click and a treat with each step closer they take on their own. Do not force your dog by pulling or pushing your dog him towards the object. For example, if you come across a set of wooden stairs that makes your dog startle from a distance, walk slowly up to the object, rewarding them with a click and a treat for each baby step they take towards the object.

If you hit a threshold where the dog starts to panic or become aggressive and won’t move any closer to the object, stop immediately. Your goals for future training sessions would be to be able to move your dog past this threshold, one step at a time. Each step needs to remain positive and stress free. If you find the dog, once again, become panicky, back the session up to the step just prior until the dog become accustomed to the situation or object that is causing this reaction. Then move on to the next step closer and closer, each step remaining positive.

What will you do when company comes over and they are wearing really nice cloths?
If you would normally put the dog outside when company comes over, then what will you do when you live in an apartment and there is no yard? Can you put the dog into a bedroom and close the door? You might want to practice having the dog in the room before company comes over, so both you and the dog can be more ready and relaxed when the real “test” happens.


How many people will be handling the dog?
This is important because when more than one person handles a dog then it is critical that all handlers are consistent with the dog in its training. This is similar to children. Children quickly realize which parent will enforce which rules.

Dogs that were used to having an attached yard where they had free access will now have to be maintained on a strict schedule of food, water and walking.


Can you afford to bring in a dog walker or take them to doggie day care 
while you are gone if needed?
If you live alone in an apartment, it is critical to understand that the dog needs to have somebody take them out when you are gone. Since the dog no longer has access to a yard to allow them to relieve themselves than another alternative needs to be established for when you are not at home. Maybe you can take your dog to family or friends to stay with while you are away.