I'm getting my first dog this weekend from a rescue organization. Any basic tips and tricks on dog-handling? Favorite websites? Favorite books?
The dog is an American Staffordshire Terrier mix, turned into the organization because its current family can no longer care for it. It was not abused, as far as they can tell (and I didn't see any signs in my brief meeting), so I'm hopeful that any behavioral issues will be minimal.
I take it it isn't a puppy. Puppies are harder work but easier going at the same time, since they haven't learned any bad habits other than what their impulses and instincts tell them (bless their random, drive by, wheeee! little hearts.)
Learn about how the breed generally behaves. Don't try to train it into something it isn't. If you can, get a list of the commands it appears to understand at present (especially the all important toileting words and especially if you live in an apartment.)
Part of me thinks I'd keep it's life a little quiet for awhile... have people in to see it not so much take it outside. Dogs like routine and familiarity so a new master, a new house, a new walk route (with the smells and pack issues of new dogs around) are a lot to absorb.
Take the pooch back, get your money back, and get a free kitten from the pound.
Easier, cheaper, just as much love.
Read dogshaming.com for a month and see if you still want a dog. After dachshunds, I think the various flavors of pit bull are the most "shamed."
If I got another pet, I think it would be a cat.
All those dogs on dogshaming.com are so cute. If you want a cat R3, you can have mine.
That's what I thought at first, R3, back around Thanksgiving. "How cute!!!" Because I love dogs.
But I've been reading it every day since, and I'm coming to the conclusion that dogs are psychopaths.
Do you read it regularly?
OP is trolling, obviously, hoping to rouse the "All pitbull types are killing machines!!" Marys.
exercise and a quality food. Something to chew on (not rawhide, try antlers or bully sticks) Spend lots of time with him and take him to a training class. Let him sleep in the bed.
Exercise, exercise, exercise. A tired dog is a good dog.
You are your dog's only advocate. You always have to be thinking of his needs, always looking half a block ahead while walking to make sure there are no loose dogs, no broken glass, etc.
My lab is one of the greatest joys in my life, but it's a big responsibility, and I take it seriously.
I must have the absolute best dog in the world; she does not give me a moment's trouble. She doesn't tear up, scratch, or claw at anything in the house. She is friendly to other dogs, kids, and adults, does not eat anything unless I give it to her, and does not pee or poop anywhere in the house. I can leave her food and treats at eye level and she will not take them of even beg for them. I could leave her home alone for hours and nothing would be amiss when I return.
She is a Husky, Akita, Malamute, and Shepard mix and is smart as a whip.
Maybe she is so well behaved because she goes to daycare almost every day. Whatever the reason, I wouldn't trade her for the world.
I had a dog like that, R9. But I've come to think of my dog as an exception.
[quote]OP is trolling, obviously.
Nope, sorry. It was a genuine question. The dog is a little over one year old. I interacted with him at an adoption event outside a local grocery store. He seemed like a real sweetheart but it's hard to be sure from a 30-minute meeting.
[quote]Spend lots of time with him and take him to a training class. Let him sleep in the bed.
I definitely intend to do the training, R7, not only for him but for me. However, everything I've been reading online indicates that letting him sleep on the bed is a no-no.
[quote]Exercise, exercise, exercise. A tired dog is a good dog.
Thanks, R8. That was my thought, as well. I jog pretty regularly and figured I'd take the dog along.
Thanks for the feedback, all. What about the simple mechanics? How often do you wash your dog? How long after feeding do you walk it? How often do you brush it? How often do you get its teeth cleaned? Its claws trimmed? Visit the vet? What brand of dog food do you use? Do you crate-train?
Take an obedience class. ASAP. It's about the owner learning to handle the dog. Very helpful.
I like the dog shaming website. But a dog can be taught to behave if you spend the time.
Poorly behaved dogs have lazy owners.
OP/ R11, I'll answer only the questions I can, since I have a lab and not a pit.
I let my dog pee quickly at 5 a.m., then feed him breakfast. About 20 minutes later, he's ready to poop, so we go for a 15-20 minute walk. Then, around 7:30, I walk him the half mile to daycare, where he spends the day. At 5:30-6:00 pm, I pick him up from daycare to walk home, and he poops again. He has dinner, then some petting and a nap. At 9:00 pm, he gets a walk (10-20 min), then a snack, cuddle and bedtime.
On the weekend, no daycare, but fetch sessions several times a day.
Because he is at daycare all week running around, and playing fetch all weekends, he wears down his nails and doesn't need clipped. Short haired dogs don't need much in the way of grooming, other than that he swims most weekends at the beach.
I give him a bone (cow femur) most weekends, which helps clean his teeth. He is 5 1/2 years old now and will need his first teeth cleaning soon and hopefully not too many times after that.
I use Innova dog food, but there are many good brands. Look at the ingredients. Are the first two or three meats (and not "meat byproduct" e.g. beaks)?
Crate training is SO important as a pup. My dog rarely uses a crate now, mostly when there is a thunderstorm and he wants a safe place, or the house is too crowded and noisy. But it's important for him to have a safe retreat, and to have a place to go enjoy if you need some free time away from him.
Enjoy your new friend. He will be worth every minute, and every cent, put into him.
"make the party where you are"
When the dog won't come to you don't stand there towering over them and yell...get down on their level and be nice...they will usually come right over.
[quote] Favorite books?
Until it learns how to read on its own, you know you're going to have to do it again and again and again before bedtime, right?
OK, if you're not trolling, then that's an interesting choice for a first dog.
[quote]How often do you wash your dog?
Almost never, since she's a breed that needs professional grooming. In general, bathe your dog when it's stinky. Dogs don't need regular baths and it's not good for their skin.
[quote]How long after feeding do you walk it?
Puppies need to go out shortly after eating.
[quote]How often do you brush it?
This will depend on what type of coat.
[quote]How often do you get its teeth cleaned? You won't need to worry about professional cleaning for several years, maybe never if your dog has good teeth.
[quote]Its claws trimmed?
When they're too long.
[quote]Visit the vet?
You'll need to take your puppy to get his vaccinations. After that, when he's sick and an annual check-up.
[quote]What brand of dog food do you use?
Some dogs are food-sensitive, some are not. You'll figure it out. Just don't buy it at Costco or the supermarket.
[quote]Do you crate-train?
Nope. But my dog is small and well-behaved. I think it's more important to train a dog to behave outside a crate, that to box him up for hours at a time when you go to work.
Also - Find a trainer who uses positive reinforcement and doesn't talk about dominance theory (or 'alpha' dogs etc). That shit has been debunked, but many trainers still subscribe to it. Also stay away from trainers who advocate any type of pinch collar, martingale collar or choke chain.
And try to avoid getting one of those spiky collars that people with bully breed dogs often get. Even if you think they're cute, they just reinforce negative stereotypes.
Here's a good website that has a new puppy guide:
I agree with R17 that you shouldn't bathe your dog too often. The natural oils in their coats get washed away with soap, and that can cause problems. With my lab, I let him swim most weeks or otherwise wipe him with a damp towel. No soap baths since he was a pup.
R9, I had the best dog the the world too - he died in November. Seriously, the best dog ever. He was a pug.
OP, I also have a pug puppy (he's in training on being the best dog in the world and well on his way :) I know people mentioned NOT to buy food at costco or the supermarket - but does anyone here feed their dog real food? I do. My pug eats cooked chicken and rice (mixed in with a small amount of Blue Buffalo puppy dry food for the fat content).
His coat is gorgeous and he doesn't shed. By doing this I know he's getting real protein instead of just manufactured dog food that is probably from China. He is also at a perfect weight - which isn't easy for a pug.
Just something to think about OP. I make a big batch and freeze the excess it so it lasts a couple weeks. My vet thinks it's really good for him.
r20 - Your dog might be shedding less, but pugs shed. And there are many brands of dog food not made in China.
But yeah - my previous dog lived to nearly 18 years eating home-cooked food similar to what you describe and staying lean.
Get a cat like all the kids have today. Dogs are out of fashion.
R21, I know, my older pug that passed away use to shed constantly. But when I switched both pugs to home cooked food, my older dog stopped shedding and the young one has yet to start shedding. What I've found though, just by looking in PetSmart/Petco, that even the higher priced brands of food are made in China. Not that there is anything wrong with that but I prefer to know that there are at least some fresh ingredients (and real food) in my dogs diet. And ditto on the weight control.
[quote]Find a trainer who uses positive reinforcement and doesn't talk about dominance theory (or 'alpha' dogs etc). That shit has been debunked
Can you point to a website that has a good discussion about the pros and cons of the alpha male approach to dog training? Some of what I've read about that makes sense, in terms of giving your dog structure and stability, for example, but some of it I'm less convinced by.
r24 - The alpha dog theory is not scientifically sound, so a training approach based on this theory is shaky. Trainers who are supposed to be dog experts should know that the alpha dog theory is false. And many of these types of trainers use force-based training, which isn't the way to have a great relationship with your pet, IMO.
Here's a short article that discusses the alpha dog theory:
I adopted an old girl. She's a wonderful fart machine. There are a few things I wish I'd done differently.
People food: I wish I'd refrained from giving my dog people food. My dog knows the inventory of my fridge and attempts to counter surf. She's a cocker spaniel so it's not as if she can see what's up there. Instead, she does a Henrietta Hippo dance around the counters and the stove as she makes snorting pig noises.
Eating: gate the pup away from your breakfast room when you eat. No begging at the table. Eat in peace and share scraps (if you choose to) after the meal.
Riding In The Car: make the dog get used to riding in the back seat. You don't want to be stuck like me - I have to wear an ass napkin on my lap because my little cow wipes her butt on the leg of my jeans EVERY time. I can't drink coffee, smoke, or talk on the phone while I drive because she rests on my left arm to look out the window.
Getting up on the bed: I'm fine with the dog swatting me on the head so I'll let her go potty in the middle of the night; she's old. However, she climbs on the bed does the whole 'finding a spot' circle dance before settling down to sleep - for twenty minutes. Just when I get used to her warmth, she leaves the bed because she's too hot.
Getting along with other animals: I wish my dog wasn't such a haughty bitch to other dogs - oh well. My indoor cat doesn't take any shit and the dog respects that. My ferrel cat, however, freaks. The dog picks up on that and chases him around the yard.
r23 - Ask a non dog lover if your dog sheds. I thought my kitten didn't shed when he was little but it turns out I was delusional. He just didn't start shedding in an obvious way until he was older.
r24 - I know what you mean about structure and stability, but all good training approaches will emphasize those things. Why not find an approach that isn't based on an invalid premise?
Anyway, I'm pretty pleased with where positive training got me and my dog. She's a gentle, happy soul who learns new things easily (we're working on her riding a skateboard right now) and trusts me completely.
I'm not sure every new dog owner knows this, but make sure you cut off your dog's water supply three hours before you go to bed. Then, right before you go to bed, take your pooch outside to make sure his bladder is empty, and he won't pee in the house, or on the way out the door in the morning.
Your dog will be happiest when you are together. Don't get a dog unless you desire a real pal, and can spend a great deal of time with him!
I work for myself a lot, and even my greyhound, generally quite capable and not clingy is so much more content when I am around to keep him company, or take him with me for the day (when possible).
[quote]OK, if you're not trolling, then that's an interesting choice for a first dog
Can you tell me why, R17? Have I bitten off more than I can chew? The one troubling thing I saw in an online description of their temperament is:
[quote]Some un-socialized Staffs may be dog aggressive. Socialize very thoroughly when young to curb any dog aggressive tendencies.
I'm getting this dog on a two-week trial period so if he really is more than I can handle, I should find out fairly quickly. Thanks for the answers in the rest of your post.
[quote]Your dog will be happiest when you are together. Don't get a dog unless you desire a real pal, and can spend a great deal of time with him!
I agree, R29, and even more for a high-energy dog like the one I'm getting. My employer allows dogs in the workspace and I intend to bring him to work with me. There are several other dogs on my floor, although none in my immediate area, so I'll be able to see how he interacts with them and with my colleagues. If I made a poor choice, it should be immediately apparent.
I usually jog the four miles into work each day, so I figured I'd bring the dog with me on that jog. With that, a midday walk, a walk/jog home, and the playing me and my colleagues will do with him, I figure I have a good chance of keeping even an energetic dog happy and tired.
[quote]Can you tell me why, [R17]? Have I bitten off more than I can chew?[/quote]You do know that an American Staffordshire Terrier is one of the breeds we commonly refer to as a Pit Bull, don't you? That's why the dog aggression.
Do you find your dog easy to walk? A friend of mine has one that's so strong, I can't stand walking it.
Thanks for the tips, R26, R27, R28, and R29. That's exactly what I was hoping for when I started the thread. For those who still think I'm a troll, here's a picture of the dog, named "Mufasa" by the owner who's giving him up.
[quote]Do you find your dog easy to walk?
I get him on Saturday, R31. Based on my 30-minute interaction with him, I'm not anticipating any trouble.
You do know he's a (part) pit bull, don't you, R31?
How soon after birth should a dog be spayed or neutered?
" ...My ferrel cat …."
[quote]You do know he's a (part) pit bull, don't you
I didn't at first, R34, but figured it out when I did some research online.
At the adoption event I went to, he was playfully roughhousing with the other dogs and trying to lick everyone who approached him so I assume he's been socialized pretty well. I guess I'll find out when I bring him to work.
When taking him around other dogs, remember that one of the issues with pits, even well behaved ones, is that other dogs often react badly to them. So even if your guy is a sweetie, always remember other dogs may react badly. So just be careful.
Pit bulls have a bad rap. It's really all - and I do mean ALL - about the training.
Any dog can be badly socialized. Our family dog was a dachshund and while I loved him dearly, he was never properly trained and became more aggressive and bitey as he got older.
On the flip side, my sister has a beautiful pit bull who is well behaved, listens to commands, is well socialized and is a joy to be around.
My dog was almost murdered by a pit bull, probably a small AmStaff (I didn't ask). My dog and I were sitting on my front porch one day, talking to a friend, when the pit bull and its owner came walking past. What I didn't know -- why would I assume it? -- was that the dog was off-leash.
In the blink of an eye, the supposedly sweet, mellow pit bull flew up to my porch and had my dog's neck between his jaws. Thank God the owner had control of the dog, and my dog was only a little shaken up.
Of course, of course, it was the owner's fault for not having the pit on a leash. But this owner was obviously so convinced he could control the dog, he was comfortable walking him off-leash. My point is, you can never trust a dog-aggressive dog to be off-leash. Ever. Period.
If you want that responsibility, get a pit. If not, there are a hell of a lot of other nice dogs who'd love for you to give them a home.
BTW, I actually *like* most pit bulls. If they weren't so driven to kill other dogs, I'd think about getting one. But they are driven to kill other dogs, and I live in a city, so I would never own one.
R39, dachshunds are the most frequently "shamed" dogs on dogshaming.com. There's got to be something to that.
Dachshunds were one of the ten breeds that were popular when I was a child (no one had a pit bull then). I remember thinking of dachshunds as pretty unfriendly. Them and cocker spaniels. Not nice.
Dachshunds can be very nice dogs to have....BUT.....
They were bred to dig into holes. Their name means "badger hound" in German. Their very nature is to dig in holes and find badgers, etc.
They're very high energy dogs. They need a LOT of attention and interaction and get very bored otherwise. Bored equals mischevious for them. Our dox would do silly stuff, like grab the toilet paper and have a little parade around the house. "Look at me" kind of behavior.
They can be great dogs for some families, but for anyone wanting a mellow dog that's going to lay around and chill, dachshunds ain't it.
[quote]What I didn't know -- why would I assume it? -- was that the dog was off-leash.
That won't happen with me. The only time this dog will be off-leash is at home. At all other times, he'll be on a leash. Even if he's just the most playful, loving dog around, there are still a lot of people who are intimidated by dogs and just don't want them invading their personal space. And the rules for having a dog at work here are pretty strict. One violation and the dog is permanently banned.
On a related subject, are there are any decent pet insurance companies/policies worth considering? From what I've been reading, most of them are fairly worthless but I'm guessing there are some exceptions.
Congrats, OP. Lucky little puppy to be coming home with you. I'm sure you'll be best buddies. Just treat him like a house guest and you'll be fine! Please keep us updated!
There was a TV series about Monks in Upstate New York who bred German Shepherds. IIRC, they trained using the "Authority figure, Leader of the pack" method. mIsn't this style of training generally discouraged?
OP, Staffies can be lovely dogs, but they do have a rough play style that is not suitable for some breeds.
Be sure you give him special training with smaller dogs. He can accidentally hurt or scare a toy breed quite easily trying to be "friendly." Train him to go into a down when he meets a little guy. This is also a good skill to have for when he meets children or the elderly. Because this breed does face a lot of prejudice, the more gentle & charming he is, the better.
It *is* a good idea to teach him how to interact with other dogs off-leash, since at some point in his life he will be in this situation.
You don't need any special care for dogs. The nice thing about owning one is even if you kill it, there's always plenty more at the pound.
Here OP, this is the best and only link you will ever need
Do not give your dogs bones; it's too dangerous.
Plus, always watch them, when they chew things such as chew toys, raw hides, and such, because those things get gnawed down to become a choking hazard.
If my dog had a huge mouth, I would not even give them a tennis ball, because they can choke on them.
So far, so good. I picked him up this afternoon and he seems to be adapting just fine. He's not fully crate-trained but I put him in his crate with a toy and closed the door for 15 minutes or so and he accepted that without protest. He's met two of my friends and was friendly with both.
He gave pretty clear signs an hour ago that he needed to go to the bathroom, so no accidents, and no visible signs of stress. He loves having his belly rubbed and is having fun with a couple of toys I bought.
The only problems so far are a tendency to jump up on people and an inability to heel. He *really* pulls at the leash.
OP seems as if you have a great dog. Just check the toys to make sure they don't become a hazard.
I have been blessed, but my dog got a bone horizontally stuck from one end of his mouth to the other. I couldn't do a thing, because I felt I was going to do something to cause it to go down his throat.
Luckily, my sister had some nerves to pluck that thing out with pliers.
My other dog found a nectarine seed, swallowed it, and I had to do the Heimlich on him.
[quote]The only problems so far are a tendency to jump up on people and an inability to heel.[/quote]
That takes training and treats, no raisins.
[quote] He *really* pulls at the leash.[/quote]
That means you have him on a long leash. Just keep him on a short leash, just roll it until you have him about 2 to 3 feet ahead of you. If he still tugs, shorten it some more.
Loose leash walking can be a tough skill for some dogs. Use a short leash (like r54 says) and a regular buckle collar (no pinch collars, choke chains or harnesses) and just stop walking every time Fido pulls. Wait until he stops pulling to start walking again. As soon as he pulls, stop again. It's tedious. Realllly tedious. But it works if you're consistent and patient. Wear some headphones, stay calm and be prepared to look like an idiot. It might take 15 minutes to walk to the end of your driveway.
And carry treats with you when you walk to reward him for paying attention to you instead of whatever he wants to jump up on (people, other dogs etc). With a powerful dog like that, you really want to get the jumping under control. You don't want him knocking Granny down or squashing her toy poodle.
Please remember to brush his teeth with doggie toothpaste every day. (If he doesn't like the brush, wrap your index finger with a bit of gauze and then put the toothpaste on that.) It will add years to his life.
Glucosomine/Chon at the first sign of joint trouble will keep his joints in good cond.
Also, if the water is hard in your area--it is in mine--giving him a cranberry supplement will prevent stones. (I use Berry Balance. A jar of it for about 20 on amazon lasts a year, and my dog is about 65 lbs.)
Also use a good dog food: Blue Buffalo, Wellness Core, Innova, Solid Gold, and others. There are tons of websites on choosing foods.
Congratulations on your new dog!
Thanks for the advice and good wishes. I like your approach, R55, and will try that. The leash I bought is a six-foot leash but it also has a loop at about a 1.5-foot length, so I can use that shorter length. I jogged to work with him this morning (4.5 miles) and he handled the jog very well, only tugging or stopping a few times. He's sitting in his crate next to me as I type this. We'll see how he handles all of the new people and the other dogs in our area.
We met a few other dogs on his walk last night and he was politely curious, doing the usual sniffing routine, without getting carried away and without barking or causing trouble.
He's learned his new name and seems to have bonded pretty quickly. He follows me from room to room and looks at me fairly frequently which, according to what I've read online, means he's start to look to me as a pack leader.
He'll put his head on my lap while I'm reading in a play for some attention and affection, a tactic which usually works. :) One time, he put his front legs on my lap and started trying to lick every inch of my face.
The only other negative sign I've seen is a bit of separation anxiety. I've been working a bit more on the crate training and he's fine in his closed crate as long as I'm in the room. If I leave the room, he starts a sort of a cross between a whine and a howl after about 15 minutes.
My assumption is that I can break him of that by letting him howl himself out, then coming to let him out, increasing the time each time we go through this exercise, until he's okay with staying an hour or more.
Sounds like you got a good dog, OP, and some good advice.
Reading this thread reminds my why I don't have a dog. Or children. I'd have to pay someone else to watch and educate it, and only want a few hours of interaction and cuddle time. My cat needs no training and only wants to hang out with me about an hour a day, so we suit each other perfectly.