Dogs 101

Never had a dog before or feel like you don’t really know much about dogs? Don’t worry, here’s a crash course.

  • Dogs sleep a lot. Especially small dogs. Like… 14 hours a day a lot.
  • Dogs need to go for walks and SNIFF, not just pee. Their vision isn’t great (kind of blurry, mostly blueish and yellowish), and they use their noses to learn about their world. Make sure you give your pup time to snuffle around. They love it (and need it).
  • It’s harder to train out unwanted behaviors than it is to train wanted behaviors. Teaching your pup to sit, stay, “look at me”, and paw in a calm, controlled environment will give you the tools you need to deal with lunging, barking, and guarding. When you have a language to communicate what you WANT with your dog, you can distract them from what you don’t want.
  • Having said that — you should praise freely and often! Just because your dog isn’t doing a “trick” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let them know how great they are! When your dog is behaving appropriately (walking well, chewing on their toy in their crate, sitting nicely with a visitor) you should make sure to tell them “good girl!”. Think of it this way — you constantly tidy up, run to the bank, do the laundry, make the bed, take out the trash and load the dishwasher. Your partner never says thank you, BUT, if you DON’T change the toilet paper roll they ALWAYS shout at your about it. You’ll probably end up pretty resentful and be less likely to complete a task that they do ask you to do (like get the mail). Dogs are similar. If you only get mad at them for things they do that you don’t like, but you never tell then how good they are for the things you do like, they’re not going to be super keen to do any training. Be nice. Dogs like it.
  • Just like people, dogs gain weight when they eat too much. Don’t overfeed them.
  • Yards are great, but dogs get pretty bored out there on their own. They would like for you to sit with them, or play with them outside too.
  • Dog Parks are not great. SOME dogs love them but MOST dogs hate them, they’re full of disease and often frequented by people who don’t give a crap if your dog gets attacked by their dog.
  • Don’t yank on the leash! If you pull them you’re letting them know that pulling is an option. It works both ways.
  • Dogs learn by “what works” and “what doesn’t” — here’s the easiest example to understand. Dogs bark at the mail carrier and the mail carrier leaves. Every time. The mail carrier never comes inside. They drop their packages and leave. It always works. So they always bark. If the mail carrier came in and had a lemonade every day the barking pattern would change because it wouldn’t work.
  • It’s not the dog’s job to know how to interact with kids, it’s the parent’s job to teach kids how to respectfully interact with the dog.