Frequently Asked Questions

  This page will address commonly asked questions about dog behavior and how to control it. One of the things that I suggest before getting a new puppy or dog is to establish the rules for the pet ahead of time and every one in the house hold must be consistent, such as on the furniture or not on the furniture, in the bed or not in the bed you get the picture. You must have a means to control behavior. Restriction is the best way. By having the dog on a leash when it is interacting with the family (supervised only), if the dog or puppy attempts to do something wrong or behave badly, now you have a means of correction. After a period of time, in most cases two to three weeks, if the dog or puppy has not been allowed to misbehave or get on the furniture it doesn’t know that it can. You have a short period of time to make an effective correction with your new dog, about three seconds, so you can see that without a handle (leash) you’ll never make an effective point.
  Table of Contents
  1. How can I get my puppy or dog to stop biting?
  2. My puppy is chewing on the furniture!
  3. My puppy or dog is jumping.
  4. My puppy gets into the trash.
  5. We have moved and our dog no longer minds
  6. House training-using LOGIC.
  7. Early socialization by Dr. R. K. Anderson
  Q: How can I get my puppy or dog to stop biting?

A: Most people feel that in the case of a puppy it is just puppy behavior. But the problem with this is, if the puppy likes to bite it will like to bite as an adult. I suggest stopping the behavior ASAP. To do this in puppies, I make sure as they bite, they bite my hand and my hand goes into their mouth, I take a finger and put it down their throat. As I do this, I will praise them to take the negativity out of it. In their mind, they created the situation and also the out come, which was uncomfortable for them. If this becomes more aggressive or a larger dog and the gag method doesn’t work then use your leash and do a NO, pop correction and do this until the behavior stops. Teeth in a household is a capitol offence and must be controlled ASAP.


Q: My puppy is chewing on the furniture!

A: If you use the restriction method of introducing your puppy into your home, you can use the leash with a NO, pop correction as soon as the behavior starts. With this type of correction, as soon as you correct and divert your puppies’ attention, you can give him something that is acceptable to chew on. This is a fair trade agreement. There are several products available on the market to stop the chewing on furniture and things. These products are effective if introduced correctly, but none of them tell you how. I will. If you purchase one of these products, for the first four days, three to four times a day, give your dog a little squirt in the mouth. By the fourth day your dog will want nothing to do with that STUFF. Now you can start using it and when your dog smells it, he will avoid contact with the bad tasting smell. This is a form of de-sensitizing your dog to a scent.


Q: My puppy or dog is jumping.

A: Use your leash and training collar. When your dog jumps up on you and you are working alone just give a quick snap on the collar straight down. If you have a helper, give the dog an opportunity to jump on them and as the feet leave the floor give a pop correction backwards. Do this until it is no longer fun to jump on people. If your dog jumps on people at the door, stage the event and correct it as above. If your dog isn’t allowed to do this behavior, it will forget that it could or will never know that it can.


Q: My puppy gets into the trash.

A: It is common for a dog to investigate if it smells something interesting. One good smelly place is the trash. If this behavior starts you can stop it with supervision and your leash and training collar and do your NO correction as your puppy or dog goes near the container. Another way is to use a mousetrap, the wooden ones with the spring release. Put the trap on top of the trash, cover it with a tissue and leave the area and wait. The trap will not catch most dogs, but it is no longer fun, instead rather frightening to investigate the trash. The best part is that we had nothing to do with the correction, they did it all by themselves.


Q: We have moved to a new house and our dog is acting out.

A: Dogs don’t handle change well. If there is a major change in their pack (house hold) some dogs go through behavior changes. In a new house they no longer know the rules, which door to use to go outside, where to sleep, and there are new smells and noises. The best way to re-orientate your dog is by using the crate, it’s their home and it is some thing familiar. It should take only a few days for your dogs to start acting normal again and establish a routine. Major changes that can affect your dog are moving, death in the family or divorce. To a dog these changes can be traumatic because the order of the pack has changed.



Presented by- C.M. Academy of Dog Training

 House training your puppy/dog does not have to be an unpleasant experience.  Understanding what basic principles apply and why things work will reduce frustration and increase success. 

 1.      Be realistic about the length of time your dog can control his bowel or bladder.  Base this expectation on age and physical ability.  A younger dog cannot control his bodily functions for the same amount of time as a more mature dog.  A reasonable amount of time can be calculated by adding one hour to your pup’s age in months (i.e., a healthy 2-month old should be able hold it for 3 hours etc.).  Expecting more is not fair. 

2.      A sick dog may have accidents unwillingly.  Rule out worms or a bladder infection.  A visit to the vet is always recommended. 

3.      Define their bed or den.  Wild dogs sleep in a den and domestic dogs sleep in a crate.  The average puppy/dog that is mentally and physically sound will not soil in their bed as long as they have opportunity to do it outside.  We utilize a crate to mimic our dog’s natural instinct to den.  Some people think using a crate is horrible, but in reality, the crate becomes their own personal space within your home where they feel safe. 

4.      Supervision.  You MUST eliminate or at least MINIMIZE the opportunity for your dog to soil in your house.  Your dog should never be unsupervised until he understands the rules.  It is our job as the pack leader to teach our puppy/dog these rules.

5.      A puppy’s world is relative to his size.  If a puppy’s crate is too big, he may soil in it.  A puppy should just be able to stand up and turn around in their crate.  If you selected a large breed, you will have to buy or borrow many sizes as they grow. 

 The #1 tool for house training is a crate, portable kennel, or puppy carrier.  We prefer plastic crates as they are more durable and dogs are less likely to escape.  Some people may choose to use papers, pads, or a litter box.  This works well for people who live in a high rise, or have dogs with sever allergies.  However, starting with puppy pads then switching over to a crate adds an unnecessary step and will delay housetraining. 

 Why does a crate work?  For the first 3-4 weeks of life, puppies nurse and their mother keeps the den clean by consuming their excrement.  It may sound gross, but that is how puppies learn how to keep their den/crate clean.  At 5 weeks or so, the puppies are weaned and their mother stops cleaning up after them.  When this happens, the breeder takes over to further reinforce how to keep a den clean using a substrate different from the bedding material (sawdust or newspaper).  

 Using a crate also makes correcting undesirable behavior easier.  To correct whining or barking in the crate, place the crate near the door in another room.  Place the kennel door away from the direction that you will be approaching.  If your puppy starts to fuss when you leave the area, approach from the around the corner to rear of the crate (so the puppy does NOT see you or hear you) and rap the top of the crate.  Rap the crate hard enough to make a noise and to startle.  Do not verbalize.  This will re-direct the unwanted behavior and the puppy will associate the bad behavior (whining) with a bad result (rap on the crate).  Do this until the behavior stops, then wait a few minutes and pleasantly take the puppy out.  The puppy never associates the correction to us if done correctly.  Do not use this technique when you know your puppy has to potty, as it would be unfair.

 One client did not want to use the crate, because she thought it was cruel.  When she left her house, she gave the dog free reign of the house.  Every time she returned home, something was destroyed and/or the dog had soiled.  Upon arriving home and finding the messes, she scolded the dog.  Over time, the arrival of the master was no longer a positive experience for either.  The dog began to interpret the owner’s arrival home as a time for correction, and the owner was met at the door by a dog whose tail was down and acting depressed instead of a warm friendly greeting. 

 We introduced the crate and took away the dog’s opportunity to do damage.  Upon arriving home, the dog was happy to see his master, and the owner was happy to have her house intact.  No more messes.  No more scolding.  It took several weeks to reverse the negativity of the owner’s arrival home.  In time, the dog looked forward to the owner’s arrival home and the owner was thrilled to have her house intact.  Both are much happier, and all it took was proper use of the crate. 

 As trainers, we encounter many events where dogs have destroyed furniture, cabinets, and carpeting.  One client allowed their dog to destroy their newly renovated basement.  A fifty dollar crate could have saved them frustration and about $5,000.  Using a crate will also keep our dogs safe.  It will keep them out of dangerous household items like poisons. 

 The Basics for using a Crate

  1. Introduce you pup/dog to his new crate by using treats and praise.  Have a calm and positive attitude when placing him into the crate and give him a treat once he has relaxed.  A safe and positive environment for your puppy will speed up training. 
  2. Puppy/dog goes from the crate directly outside to potty.  Make sure all family members are consistent with the CRATE to OUTSIDE routine.
  3. Teach a potty command like ‘go potty’ or ‘hurry up.’  Allow him a reasonable amount of time to complete ALL of his business.  Once the mission is complete, give lots of praise so that he knows he did a good job.  Use treats intermittently, because we have had dogs ‘pretend’ to potty for a treat! 
  4. If puppy/dog does not potty in a reasonable amount of time, put him back into the crate.  Try again a short time later (15-20 minutes). 
  5. Once puppy/dog has completely eliminated, then and only then, it can be loose in the house with 100% supervision.  If or when you do not have time to supervise your puppy/dog then put him in the crate.
  6. Your pet earns more play space and time as he develops bladder control.  Puppies will always have accidents, and it is always the owner’s fault.  They have not learned the rules yet. 
  7. The ONLY time you can correct a dog for an accident is when you catch him in the act.  Rubbing your dog’s nose in it or making him sit by the mess does not teach them anything.  Use the pennies in the can trick or yell ‘no’ when you catch them. 

 When you teach your puppy where and when you want them to potty, there are no negatives, just positive reinforcement.  Consider the crate your puppy’s new home within your home.  This training tool may be needed for over a year for a puppy.  It may take an adult dog only 3-6 weeks of training.  You now understand how to eliminate the opportunity for your puppy to soil in your home or damage property. 

 You will know when your puppy/dog is becoming housetrained when you are playing and he stops what he is doing and goes to the door requesting to be let out.  WHEN THIS HAPPENS CONSISTENTLY, NOT JUST ONCE OR TWICE, it is an indication that your puppy/dog understands what you want.  As your puppy/dog becomes more consistent, he earns more freedom –DON’T RUSH IT.


©2006 JSTENFELDT/CMACADEMYof DOGTRAINING and SJAKOBS                                                                   



Dr. R. K. Anderson's Socialization Letter

Robert K. Anderson DVM
Diplomate ACVB and ACVPM
Professor and Director Emeritus, Animal Behavior Clinic and Center to Study Human/Animal Relationships and Environments, University of Minnesota
1666 Coffman Street, Suite 128, Falcon Heights, MN 55108


Puppy Vaccination and Socialization Should Go Together

TO: My Colleagues in Veterinary Medicine:

Common questions I receive from puppy owners, dog trainers and veterinarians concern: 1) what is the most favorable age or period of time when puppies learn best? 2) what are the health implications of my advice that veterinarians and trainers should offer socialization programs for puppies starting at 8 to 9 weeks of age.

Puppies begin learning at birth and their brains appear to be particularly responsive to learning and retaining experiences that are encountered during the first 13 to 16 weeks after birth. This means that breeders, new puppy owners, veterinarians, trainers and behaviorists have a responsibility to assist in providing these learning/socialization experiences with other puppies/dogs, with children/adults and with various environmental situations during this optimal period from birth to 16 weeks.

Many veterinarians are making this early socialization and learning program part of a total wellness plan for breeders and new owners of puppies during the first 16 weeks of a puppy’s life -- the first 7-8 weeks with the breeder and the next 8 weeks with the new owners. This socialization program should enroll puppies from 8 to 12 weeks of age as a key part of any preventive medicine program to improve the bond between pets and their people and keep dogs as valued members of the family for 12 to 18 years.

To take full advantage of this early special learning period, many veterinarians recommend that new owners take their puppies to puppy socialization classes, beginning at 8 to 9 weeks of age. At this age they should have (and can be required to have) received a minimum of their first series of vaccines for protection against infectious diseases. This provides the basis for increasing immunity by further repeated exposure to these antigens either through natural exposure in small doses or artificial exposure with vaccines during the next 8 to 12 weeks. In addition the owner and people offering puppy socialization should take precautions to have the environment and the participating puppies as free of natural exposure as possible by good hygiene and caring by careful instructors and owners.

Experience and epidemiologic data support the relative safety and lack of transmission of disease in these puppy socialization classes over the past 10 years in many parts of the United States. In fact; the risk of a dog dying because of infection with distemper or parvo disease is far less than the much higher risk of a dog dying (euthanasia) because of a behavior problem. Many veterinarians are now offering new puppy owners puppy socialization classes in their hospitals or nearby training facilities in conjunction with trainers and behaviorists because they want socialization and training to be very important parts of a wellness plan for every puppy. We need to recognize that this special sensitive period for learning is the best opportunity we have to influence behavior for dogs and the most important and longest lasting part of a total wellness plan.

Are there risks? Yes. But 10 years of good experience and data, with few exceptions, offers veterinarians the opportunity to generally recommend early socialization and training classes, beginning when puppies are 8 to 9 weeks of age. However, we always follow a veterinarian’s professional judgment, in individual cases or situations, where special circumstances warrant further immunization for a special puppy before starting such classes. During any period of delay for puppy classes, owners should begin a program of socialization with children and adults, outside their family, to take advantage of this special period in a puppy’s life.





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