At what point can I consider my dog housetrained? +

There is no definitive age when a dog magically “gets it.” However, with consistent, appropriate house training, a pup usually starts to “get it” around 6 to 8 months. Keep in mind that this is a generalization and not set in stone. Some take longer while others figure it out 1.2.3. Consider breed standards as well, a Maltese will likely take longer than a new Finland.

Why does my puppy chew everything?

Puppies explore the world around them with their mouths. It is normal and it is healthy. Your puppy is relying on you to show him what is and what is not appropriate. If he is a big chewer be sure to provide plenty of puzzle toys (not just stuffed animals) like Kongs and Hollow bones to keep his attention and teeth on an appropriate chew thing and off your furniture, shoes, homework, etc.

Do I need to use a crate? +

That depends on the dog. If your dog is a puppy then I strongly suggest it. A crate is a safe, secure place for your puppy to be when you can’t keep an eye on him. He can’t eat your computer wires, pee on your bath mat, or swallow diamond earrings if he is happily hanging out in his crate. It is also an invaluable potty training tool. But, remember a puppy must be properly acclimated to it. As for adult dogs who are new to you, a crate can be a safe easy way for him to stay out of trouble while learning the rules of the house. A crate can be upsetting, however, for an adult dog that has had some traumatic experience involving one.

What does CPDT-KA stand for? +

CPDT-KA stands for Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed. The certification is given after a trainer has accrued over 300 hours working with dogs, has provided references from a client, a veterinarian, and a colleague and passes an exam by the certification council for professional dog trainers.

Is it true that all dogs are naturally dominant? +

No. To some people dominance can explain away seemingly all behavioral problems. The problem with this is that most behaviors have little to do with a dog trying to exert its dominance. Even some aggression issues have more to do with lack of confidence than trying to dominate. When viewed as dominance, our only solution is to exert force. This usually does little to help the problem (even though the dog may stop the behavior at the time).

For instance, flipping your dog over on its back when it growls at another dog and forcing him to “submit” can actually make the aggression worse since the growling was likely a sign of discomfort that you just sent into overdrive. The dog may lie still at the moment, but what does that mean to him the next time he feels threatened? It’s like tackling a 5-year-old for being afraid of the dark.

That’s not to say some dogs don’t have dominance issues and it is important to have a healthy leadership protocol in place for all dogs.

When can my puppy go outside? +

The simple answer is as soon as possible. Due to a puppy needing vaccinations to be safe outside, ask your vet when they recommend walking outside. Until the vet gives the green light, carry your puppy outside regularly to help him get use to the sights and sounds of the big world (especially in a place like NYC). You have a golden opportunity to desensitize and socialize your puppy before 12 weeks and, believe me. the sooner the better. I also recommend inviting as many friends and family members to your house as possible to meet the puppy. After leaving their shoes (which may have nasty outside germs on them) out of your home and handle your pup like there is no tomorrow, especially kids. They can even bring a well-socialized, vaccinated, healthy dog to meet your pup. There is no substitute for good early socialization, and there is no such thing as too much. This will enhance you and your dog’s life for the long haul. Now get out there!

Can dogs see color? +

Yes, but not like we do. Dogs do see color, but the color that they see is not quite as rich or intense as humans. They also don’t see as many colors as us. The reason being is that a dog’s eye contains fewer light catching cells called cones than humans do.

Why does my dog roll in gross smelling stuff at the park? +

Lucky you! You have adopted an animal that, along with being one of the greatest companions you will ever have, is also a natural hunter. If you are a smart hunter you wear camouflage. Well, your best friend is a smart hunter and even if he is not actually hunting he feels compelled to camouflage his sent so no one smalls him coming. Enjoy!