Category Archives: Pet Training Tips

When NOT to crate train a puppy

Crate training has always been the preferred way to housebreak a puppy. Plus, they enjoy the den-like enclosure of a crate. A crate is a good housebreaking tool because it takes advantage of a dog’s natural reluctance to soil its sleeping place. It also helps prevent destructive behaviors and keeps the pup away from potentially dangerous household items.

However, puppies under 4 months of age have little bladder or sphincter control.  Very young puppies under 9 weeks should not be crated as they need to eliminate as much as 8-12 times per day. Puppies purchased in pet stores, who were kept solely in small cages when young (between 7-16 weeks of age), may be considerably harder to housebreak using a crate. This is due to having been forced to eliminate in their sleeping area during this formative stage of development.  This is the age at which most puppies are learning to eliminate outside their sleeping area.

So, what to do when your puppy is too young for crate training. The best method is to confine the puppy in a small to medium sized room space with a non-porous floor. Set up the crate on one end, with the door propped open and soft bedding inside, the food and water a few feet away, and some newspapers (approx. 2’x3′ to 3’x3′) using a 3-4 layer thickness several feet away. It is best to use  child gate versus a solid door to help your puppy feel less isolated. Take your puppy out frequently during the day to get him used to eliminating outdoors. Introduce the crate as confinement very carefully. As a rule of thumb, a puppy between 9 and 16 weeks should be crated from 30 minutes for the younger dog to 4 hours max.  Except for overnight, a puppy or dog should not be crated for more than 5 to 6 hours.

Enjoy your new puppy and  give  all the love you can.  It will be paid back to you in volumes!

If your cat nips

Cat Nips

According to the Cat Lady, Beth Adelman, there are certain things you should and should not do when your cat gets excited and nippy. When your cat or kitty nips at you, do nothing, but say “ow” and “no biting”. Cats will think you are playing with them if you swat at them for biting. It is best to approach your kitty when he or she is calm and have a preferred toy in your hand that your cat can nip at. When you have finished playing with a string or other toy, slow down the play gradually, so your pet knows that playtime is over. This is the time to give your cat a treat as a reward for not biting. Remember that cats and kittys just love to use their pent up energy in play…it is up to you to be sure it stays nip-free!

Kids and dog tricks

There is a great website called I recently visited it with my son. It is published by Janet Walls called “How to love your dog”. It teaches tricks from “high five” to “come” or “speak”. It recommends using praise and small treats. What is unusual is that it includes tips from kids who teach their dogs tricks. I think you will enjoy it!

Taking Care of Your Pet During Hurricane Season

Upstate Hurricane Irene

Since Hurricane season is still with us, we felt that this information is very important for any “named” hurricane.

Hurricane Irene hits Upstate
Pets and Hurricane Irene

Natural disasters often force pet owners to make difficult choices about leaving behind beloved pets, but a couple of articles we noticed while preparing for Hurricane Irene showed that pets are taken into consideration by government officials. The Los Angeles Times reported that shelters in Atlantic City were allowing evacuees to bring their pets with them.

The ASPCA deploys “pet responders’ during natural emergencies and provides this helpful checklist for pet owners facing emergencies:

  • Bring pets indoors at the first sign of the storm. Animals can become disoriented and wander away from home during a disaster.
  • Arrange a safe haven for yourself and your pets in the event of evacuation. Do not leave pets behind.
  • Store an emergency kit—with items such as pet food, bottled water, medical records, a blanket, a flashlight and leashes—as close to an exit as possible.
  • Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification.
  • Affix a rescue alert sticker to your front door or window to let rescuers know that there are pets inside your home.
  • Choose a designated caregiver to take care of your pet in the event you are unable to do so.

We hope all of our pet friends made it through Hurricane Irene safely. It’s good to keep the ASPCA tips in mind, especially since hurricane season is only half over!