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Living with Your Puppy in the Real World


In This Chapter

Yes, life beyond your four walls holds endless possibilities, and you should take your dog with you wherever life leads. The key is in knowing how to direct your puppy so that she’s a welcome presence everywhere you go. Knowing how to manage every nuance that life can throw at you — from greeting other people and pets to curbing the chasing instinct as well as welcoming new people or animals into your home — is what this chapter is all about.

Thinking of taking your puppy along with you for an overnight or extended trip? In this chapter, you get the skinny on everything from packing to making airline accommodations. Are you adding a new pet or baby to your family circle? Your puppy may be less than thrilled with the intrusion. Not to worry though — I give you some tried-and-true techniques to spin her disgruntlement into joy. Sound like fun? It can be with the right approach!

Life in the ’Hood

“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood . . .” until, of course, you hear the constant serenade of a barking dog! I love my neighborhood dearly, but one quiet summer day my neighbors left for the beach and tied out their 8-month-old Beagle (bless her little soul). That day, I swore I’d move to Barbados. However, it’s not the Beagle’s fault. Once, I went over after three hours of the street-dog serenade, only to find her water bowl empty. I gave her a fresh bowl of water and a chew bone, which kept her busy the rest of the afternoon. Finally I had some peace and quiet.

Five signs that you’re a bad dog neighbor

1. A neighbor has returned your wandering pup more than once.

2. Your dog constantly barks outside (especially when you leave).

3. Your dog torments neighborhood dogs on walks.

4. Your puppy visits neighbors’ yards to relandscape, retrieve their papers, and potty on their lawns.

5. Your neighbors appear to be afraid of your puppy.

You need to keep a lot in mind when trying to be a good dog neighbor, and fortunately, this section can help.

Respecting your neighbors

Some neighbors get along. They know when to accept those situations that won’t change. They clean up after themselves, and they’re fairly quiet. Others, however, bicker and fight in negative situations. They make messes, and they’re loud and intimidating.


The question is: Which of these two types of neighbors do you want you and your puppy to be classified as? The choice is yours, but if you want to be well-respected, it’s not difficult — just follow these steps (turn to Chapter Training through Your Pup’s Growth Stages for details on these directions):

– Instruct “Heel” as you parade around the neighborhood and teach your puppy to follow your lead.

– Use the “Wait” direction to teach your puppy to wait at curbs and to wait while you visit or window shop.

– Teach the “No” direction to discourage your puppy from going after everyday temptations, such as cars, joggers, and other animals. (You can introduce the concept of “No” when your pup’s 16 weeks old.)


If your dog’s lunging at the end of the leash and trying to get at whatever has her attention, you’re too late to discourage her. Impulse rules, but if you can anticipate her reaction by watching your surroundings for temptations and correct her just before she reacts, you’ll be able to refocus her before her instincts take over.

– Make sure your puppy potties on your own property. As they grow into adulthood, puppies recognize boundary limits with their noses. Help your pup learn where her territory ends by keeping her close while walking around the parameters of your yard or block. In case of an accident, carry a bag with you so you can remove the evidence from your neighbor’s lawn. Don’t forget to also dispose of the evidence properly.

Dealing with other neighborhood dogs

Most dogs like to think they own their neighborhoods. The problem is that every block usually has more than one dog. When left to their own devices — free-ranging, so to speak — the dogs establish a hierarchy and get along fine. But neighborhood dogs usually aren’t free. Instead, when they greet each other, they’re confined on leashes, which is tantamount to holding an eager person by his or her arms. The dogs’ struggle to get free from restraint pitches their bodies into an unnaturally confrontational pose that may be unreflective of their personalities.


The leash should be used to communicate leadership — human leadership, that is. Puppies, however, don’t always listen to that message. Some puppies think they’re supposed to walk their owners. A confident puppy leading its owner wants to approach other dogs, and when she’s suddenly restricted by a choking feeling around the neck or chest, she gets very defensive. She pulls harder and gets more intense. As she grows up, she threatens from afar when she sees other dogs. A better approach is using the direction “Heel,” which teaches your puppy to look to you for direction and in turn helps her to feel safe and guarded (see Chapter Training through Your Pup’s Growth Stages).

A cautious puppy, on the other hand, feels intense panic when approached by another dog. Because no one has communicated leadership to this pup, she collapses in a state of panic, often scurrying back and hiding under her owner’s legs. Even though this behavior may seem endearing, a puppy hiding under your legs is like a child clinging to his mother’s skirt. This puppy needs training to learn that you’re there to direct her in all situations. A head collar or no-pull harness (see Chapter Home Sweet Home) is ideal for this personality type because both tools allow you to guide your puppy calmly without the feeling that you’re trapping her by the neck.
A normal greeting involves a mix of excitement and respectful submission or puppy play. Puppies normally submit to older dogs by rolling onto their backs, laying their heads down, lifting a paw, and pulling their lips back or licking the lips of the approaching dog. When two puppies meet, they often get excited and paw and mouth each other quite a bit.


Resist the temptation to soothe a frightened puppy. Your intentions are pure, but because a puppy views the soothing as submissive and fearful, you’re only reinforcing your pup’s concern. Act brave and calm, and speak in directional tones. Kneel down and brace your puppy as described in Chapter Life from His Paws: Understanding Your Puppy’s View of the World, and use familiar directions to help contain her fears.

When your puppy approaches or is approached by another dog, remember the following:

– Don’t look at the other dog.

– Walk by the dog at a brisk pace.

– Keep your dog behind you at all times.

What if you want to let your puppy play with her new canine acquaintance? Keep your pup at your side while you cross the street or while the puppies approach each other. Then release your dog on a loose lead with a command such as “Okay.”


If you and your on-lead puppy are approached by an angry, off-leash dog, walk swiftly from the scene, correcting your pup so that she doesn’t face off to the aggressor. If either of you makes eye contact with the dog, you may be attacked. If your puppy is small enough, pick her up calmly and swiftly leave the area. Cup your hand gently over your puppy’s muzzle to discourage squirming.

Leaving your pup home alone

To be a good neighbor, you need to keep your puppy quiet when you’re away from home. No puppy enjoys being left alone — she’s sociable by nature. Don’t be surprised if she thinks of some activities to pass those lonely hours — digging, chewing destructively, or barking.
Don’t worry. Just because you have a dog now doesn’t mean that you’ll be stuck at home for the next decade. You have a lot of options for when you need to leave your puppy alone. She can stay inside or outside. You can confine her in a room or let her roam around. You can tie her up or fence her in. What’s best, you ask? Put yourself in your puppy’s paws. Outside is okay — she’ll have fresh air and sunshine — but being confined outdoors can be stressful because she needs a companion to protect her, interpret events, and help her enjoy life. Most puppies would rather stay inside with a cozy blanket and bone to chew.


Preparing for your departure has lasting benefits. Before you leave, do the following:

– Exercise your puppy for ten minutes.

– Follow playtime with a two-minute training session.

– Leave a couple of chew toys and scent them by rubbing them in your palms.

– If you leave your puppy indoors, leave her in a dimly lit, confined space with an old shirt or blanket and a radio playing soothing tunes.

– If you leave your puppy outdoors, provide her with access to a shaded area and plenty of fresh water.

If you’re expecting inclement weather, don’t leave your puppy alone outside. Go with her to her potty area and bring her directly back inside after she’s done.


If your puppy suffers from separation anxiety and is a gulper (which means that she eats things she shouldn’t), crate or enclose her in a small space with a large bone and no bedding. You don’t want to leave bedding for your pup because she may eat it when she becomes upset that you’ve left.

Picking up your puppy’s messes

Make a habit of cleaning up your puppy’s elimination the moment she goes potty. Aside from the obvious sanitation element, when your puppy sees you picking up her mess in the right location, she’s more likely to go again.
Yes, there is an art form to picking up dog poop. You can spend a chunk of change on a fancy hand-held bull-dozer design, but remember that taking these types on the road with you is difficult and cumbersome. My suggestion? Take an empty plastic bag, put your hand in it, grab the poop, flip the bag inside out, and tie the knot. Voila! I use empty grocery or newspaper delivery bags, but you can find perfumed blue bags at the pet store if you fancy!

Just For Fun

A couple of guys in my area opened a business called Poop Patrol. These guys are forever dedicated to keeping yards free of puppy messes. There’s a business idea for all you entrepreneurs!

Dealing with the chasing instinct


Chasing is an instinctive behavior that goes back to the canine ancestor — the wolf — who had to hunt for a living. Even though owners offer their puppies all the luxuries of retirement (read: a free buffet of kibbles two times a day), many still think chasing (anything, but especially cats) is a great pastime.

Chasing the neighborhood cats

When a new puppy approaches a cat, one of two things happens: The cat runs, which leads to — you guessed it — a free-for-all, or the cat stands its ground, often hissing or batting at the persistent pup. Regardless of the cat’s reaction, you want to steer clear of the interaction. Yelling and chasing a wild puppy only positively reinforces her chasing behavior.


If your puppy has already formed the chasing habit, don’t fret. You can still resolve things. Follow these steps:

1. Secure a light 6-foot nylon leash to your puppy’s collar.

2. Focus on your dog’s ears as you walk (ear perk is a sign that a chase is in your pup’s future).

To influence the chasing problem, you must correct the thought process, not wait until the chase has begun. Dogs’ ears act like built-in radar systems. They can pick up sounds in every direction. Unfortunately, if your puppy’s ears are alert to every other distraction, she’s not focused on you. So, in this case, training is definitely in order.

3. If your dog’s ears lift when the cat saunters by, tug the leash quickly and say “No!”

Don’t look at the cat or the puppy at any time during the interaction. Eye contact means interest.

4. Walk away from the cat confidently. Encourage your puppy to come along with the direction “Let’s go!”

5. Continue to quickly tug and release the leash and say “No” until your puppy focuses on you.

Don’t drag your pup away from the object. Instead, tug and release, and wait for your puppy to follow you willingly.

Chasing the neighborhood cars

Chasing cars is one scary problem. Young puppies are usually hesitant about cars until their fourth or fifth month. Around that time, fear turns to fascination and moving objects are best when chased. To nip this problem in the bud, you need to think a few steps ahead of your dog. If your puppy is very young (less than 12 weeks), act scared when you see a car. Whimper like a puppy and retreat to the roadside.
After you begin formal training (16 to 18 weeks), follow these steps when you see a car:

1. Instruct your dog with the command “To the side” and run to the curb quickly.

2. Tell her “Wait” as the car passes, bringing her behind your heels.

3. If she looks at the car, say “No!” very sternly and tug the lead quickly.


Use this same technique with bikers and joggers. Correct your dog the second she thinks about chasing something. After she’s in motion, you’re too late.

Adapting to Life Changes

Change is a part of life. Even though many changes are for the best, all changes are stressful. I’m not just talking about humans — dogs experience stress, too. The difference between their stress and ours is how they display it. Sure, I may pack in some extra calories when I’m feeling anxious, but I don’t destroy the couch; your puppy might, though. And do you know what happens if you correct an anxious pup? She gets more stressed and destroys other things — perhaps your rug or the bed, for example. Other signs of stress are aggression, barking, hyperactivity, and extreme withdrawal. Is she being bad? Not necessarily. She’s just confused and worried, and she needs your help to adjust.

Moving in to a new home

Moving is one of life’s most stressful changes. First, the financial decisions may bring about more theatrical conversations than you have on the average day. Then you have the packing, shipping, and traveling back and forth. When the big day finally arrives, your energy is spent, and you’ve reached a new peak of exhaustion. My heart aches for you, but it bleeds for your developing puppy. Chaos really throws her. Due to her biological nature, she depends on predictability to ensure her safety. During this change, you may notice your puppy resorting to early puppy behavior: She may become hyper, demand attention, nip, jump, or chew. Forgive her, and vow to help her cope.


Following are some suggestions that you can use to help her:

Play some classical music while you debate and discuss your big move. It’ll calm everyone.

Include your dog in your packing activities. Don’t isolate her in the backyard. If she gets in the way, station her with a bone to chew, and pet her when she settles down.

If you’re traveling back and forth to the new house, lead your puppy in the home using familiar commands, such as “Wait” and “Let’s go.”

Create stations in your new home using familiar toys, leashes, and bedding.

If you’re spending the day at your new house, don’t forget to pack some dog food and water. Bring her familiar bowls.

Keep your dog with you while you’re unpacking. Let her sniff the collectibles as you remove them; she identifies objects with her nose and will feel happy to recognize something.


The first time you leave your puppy in your new home, she may stress out, resulting in destructive chewing or excessive barking. Confine your puppy in a small room or crate with one of your old shirts and a favorite chew toy. Don’t correct your puppy if she demolishes something. Your corrections only increase the anxiety and destruction. Puppy-proof the area ahead of time. If you come back to destruction, ignore it and clean the area up later when your puppy is occupied.


Don’t let your puppy off-leash in your new yard unless it’s fenced in or she’s secure on a long line. She’ll be disoriented for a few weeks and may get lost if she wanders off. Was your old place fenced in? If your dog was accustomed to running free in a yard but can’t anymore, you need to make up for the loss. Use a long line or a retractable leash and discover some good games to burn off that energy. Flip to Chapter Home Sweet Home for more info on leads and long lines and to Chapter Ten Fun Games to discover some fun puppy games.

Are you moving to a new climate? Going from extreme cold to hot or vice versa can be alarming for your pup. A sweater may be in order in colder climates, and a big bowl of water is a must if the weather is suddenly blistering.

Mourning the loss of a loved one

I’ve lost two people very close to me in my lifetime. In both cases, I was in a trance for weeks. Emotionally, I had to drag myself out of bed. I lost my zest. Sure, my dogs felt confused by the passing, but I think they were more confused by my mental state. Here are some things I did to help them out:

– I asked a friend to walk them in the morning and had the neighbor’s kid come by in the afternoon.

– I set my alarm clock to ring at their mealtimes.

– I set aside five minutes per day for an obedience lesson.

– I bought them new chews and tried to play kick the bottle (their favorite game) with them in the afternoon.


Losing a loved one isn’t an easy place to be in. Your world is forever changed, and yet daily demands continue — especially from those who depend on you. Get through one day at a time, ask for help when you need it, and find life in the love you share.

And baby makes three: Expanding your family

Whether you’re getting another pet, giving birth to or adopting a child, or inviting relatives to move in, your puppy will notice the shifting dynamic. All spell out generally less attention for her. With some forethought and cooperation, you can reverse the inevitable and show your puppy that this new addition is generally in her favor.

Preparing your pup for the new arrival


A new baby in the house can be one of the coolest changes of a lifetime — for people, that is. Puppies, on the other hand, often feel shafted and like they’ve been moved to the back burner. To ensure that your four-legged pal doesn’t feel left out, start planning for the new arrival.

Imagine the baby has moved in. He’s a cute little creature who’s just weeks old. Your parenting instincts are in full throttle. Now enters your beloved puppy. Is she used to lounging on the furniture or jumping up for attention? Does she order up a back rub by pawing, barking, or nudging you? Can you see the problem that’s developing here? She won’t stop this behavior just because you’re holding a newborn. Don’t shout at or isolate her — she’ll just grow leery and jealous of your new fancy. Fortunately, you can take a few steps ahead of time to ensure that nobody gets left in the doghouse:

As early as possible, socialize your puppy with small children. Put some cereal (cereal has fewer calories than dog biscuits, so it’s okay if kids are very generous) in a cup, and shake and treat until your pup associates the sound with a reward. Then invite over some friends who have children and ask them to shake and treat. Stay calm while they visit, but keep your dog on a leash if you’re uneasy. Dogs are very telepathic, so your emotions come across loud and clear.

Take your puppy to a playground. Keep her on a 6-foot lead, and if a parent and a child approach together, ask the child to take a break and give your dog a treat.


If your puppy shows any signs of aggression, call a professional. Your reaction can make the problem worse. Petting or soothing reinforces the behavior, and disciplining makes your puppy feel more threatened.

Establish an exercise schedule that will be realistic with your new responsibilities. Mornings may be rough, so help your puppy look forward to afternoon romps instead.

Establish a station in or just outside your baby’s room, and get your pup accustomed to settling on command. Tell her “Settle down” and secure her on a 3-foot lead if she seems restless.

Walk through your daily routine with a stuffed doll. Allow your puppy to sniff it regularly. When changing your baby (both the doll and the real thing), practice the directions “Wait” and “Stay” (see Chapter Training through Your Pup’s Growth Stages). When putting your baby down for a nap, guide your puppy to her station while saying “Settle down.” When nursing your baby, give your puppy a special chew and place her mat or bed near your feet.

Watch your words. Phrases like “What a good girl” must be changed to “What a great dog!” If the phrases you use for baby and dog are too similar, your pup will get confused.

Set new furniture rules. Dogs shouldn’t be allowed on the furniture near a new infant. If you wait to spring this rule on your pup after the baby’s home, the puppy may feel shafted, so lay down the law now. Keep a short leash on your puppy’s buckle collar, and if she hops up, quickly tug the lead handle and say “No.” Remember, pushing is interactive and suggestive of a game.


If you must have your dog on the furniture, give her the luxury on command only. Tell her “Up” and pat the cushion when you want her there. Use “No” with a leash correction if she comes up uninvited.

Get your puppy used to one hour of the cold shoulder every day. Yes, I want you to ignore your puppy completely. You can break it up into two 30-minute or three 20-minute segments, but get your puppy accustomed to life without your doting. If your puppy can get your attention wherever and whenever she wants it, she’ll be upset when you’re focused on the baby.


Stop all confrontational games, such as tug of war and wrestling, and eliminate all in-home chasing matches. Play games outside, and teach your puppy calm household manners.

Consider your child’s toys and how they may compare to your puppy’s favorites. Give your puppy a couple of objects to chew on or play with, return them to your puppy’s bedding when displaced, and use a calm approach to discourage her from going after the child’s toys on the floor. Avoid theatrical reactions when your puppy chooses the wrong object; simply approach calmly, remove the item, and encourage her to find her toy. If your puppy can’t resist snatching forbidden items, place her in her special space (room, pen, or crate) with her toys and wait until she’s calmed down (or you’ve cleaned up) to bring her out again. See Chapter Dealing with Daily Hassles for a more detailed description on how to discourage chewing.

Grab and tug on your puppy as you treat and praise her. Babies and small children like to grab and pull, and your dog may be startled if the baby’s tug is the first one she experiences. So tug on her coat, pull her tail, and hug her tight. What a wonderful puppy. Isn’t this great? Don’t forget to make some baby sounds, too, for the full effect.

Don’t give your dog shoes, socks, rags, or plastic or stuffed toys. If you do, she’ll think anything in that category is fair game. Oops, already started that habit? Well, you should stop cold turkey. Stay calm when your puppy gets confused, remove the object without fanfare, and use it to teach your puppy the concept of “No” as described in Chapter Training through Your Pup’s Growth Stages.

When it’s time for baby to come home

The day will come. Your baby will come into the world, and your life will never be the same. To help your puppy adjust, follow these steps:

Ask the nurse if you can bring home some bed sheets or blankets from the nursery. It may seem like a strange request, but I’m sure yours won’t be the first. Ask a friend or family member to place these items in your puppy’s play station or crate and around the area where you plan to nurse. Praise your puppy for sniffing them, but discourage chewing or tearing. (Keep your puppy on leash, if necessary.)

Brush up on obedience lessons while Mom’s in the hospital. Puppies love structure.


Hire a dog walker if the house is empty. Isolation is stressful for puppies.

Introduce puppy and baby on neutral ground. If possible introduce the two as you’re leaving the hospital or outside your home. Exercise your pup before the meeting and bring along some peanut butter to distract your dog’s interest if you’re nervous. Don’t choke up on the lead or shout at your puppy — it’s unsettling and makes a bad first impression.

Plan your homecoming. Keep your puppy on leash and let her welcome the baby, too. Use the same techniques as the first meeting to ensure a smooth arrival.

If your puppy’s too boisterous, give her leash a quick tug and say “No ma’am.” Spread some peanut butter on your hand and say “Kisses.”


The butter trick also works as you establish a bond between your baby and your puppy. Dab some butter on your baby’s hand and say “Kisses” (see Figure 9-1).

Let your puppy drag a leash and use it to correct all mouthing or jumping behavior. Look at and praise your dog when she’s calm.

If your puppy is restless at her designated stations, secure the 3-foot lead and hook her up while you direct her to “Settle down.”

Figure 9-1: Use butter or peanut butter to teach your puppy to give the baby kisses.
Puppies like diapers, so don’t be surprised if you find yours nibbling on one. My suggestion? Get a super-secure diaper bin and spray a little Bitter Apple spray on the outside to discourage her interest. Last, but not least, use the setup outlined in Chapter Dealing with Daily Hassles to correct this behavior when you catch your puppy near the bin. Say “No,” pull her off the bin, and shout at the bin, not the pup: “Bad, bad diaper bin!”


New infant resentment syndrome (NIRS) is exactly what it sounds like. If your four-legged friend is suddenly excluded from normal daily activities, she’ll feel resentful and may take out her alienated feelings on the new arrival. If your dog growls at the baby, call in a professional to assess the situation.

Bringing home another dog or pup


Getting another puppy may seem really exciting to you, but your resident pup may be less than thrilled. Some puppies take to new paws on the carpet, but others don’t. To make the transition as smooth as possible, follow the advice in this section.

First introductions

Ideally, you should introduce dogs in a neutral place, such as a park or parking lot. If the meeting place is in the open, place both the puppy and the new dog on 20-foot lines and stand back as they check each other out. Whether you can organize such an encounter or not, how you approach the interaction will influence their future relationship. Remember the following:

Stay cool. With or without a leash (the tightening of which conveys tension), if you shout directions at or scold either dog when they’re first greeting each other, both dogs will be nervous wrecks, and nervous dogs are likely to attack.

Even a young puppy may do a lot of body and vocal bluffing at the initial meeting. When two dogs meet, there may be a lot of posturing and growling. Don’t be alarmed — it’s very natural and necessary. It’s the equivalent of “Hi, how are you? What do you do for a living?” Her hair may stand up, and she may even growl. Meeting anyone for the first time can be a little scary. If you interfere, though, the dogs may fight. Just stand back and ignore them. Interact with them when the initial tension has subsided.


Some dogs just don’t get along. If you bring together two dogs of the same sex or two dogs who have both become used to being “only children,” they may fight. Be prepared: Have two people handy to take the leads and run in opposite directions.

Hints for happy two-puppy households

When you add two puppies to your household, you definitely have your work cut out for you. The next year is going to be quite the balancing act. Resolving housebreaking, chewing, nipping, or jumping habits in two pups can be double the workload. You have to pay close attention and be very consistent. That said, raising two puppies can give you hours of entertainment watching them play and experience life together.


When left alone 24 hours a day, your puppies will form a strong bond to each other, which is good. However, that means they’ll also be less attached to you, which makes it difficult for you to influence their behavior. To prevent this bonding, separate them at least twice a day and if possible, let them sleep in separate bedrooms. Use individual crates for housebreaking, chewing, or sleeping difficulties.

Here are additional hints for making life a little easier for everyone in the twopuppy house:

A puppy is a puppy is a puppy. Truer words were never written. Certain similarities string all puppies together. However, like humans, each one has her own unique personality and temperament that affects the way she relates to her world. In a multidog household, everyone must be sensitive to the needs of each individual puppy.

Let your dogs establish their hierarchy. Personality affects the way puppies relate to one another. Groups of two or more puppies form a hierarchy, with the most outgoing, assertive one assuming the leadership role.


Puppies don’t base hierarchy on who’s the biggest, or who came first. Nor do they base it wholly on who’s the toughest. Hierarchy is based on who’s the most responsible. The puppy with both the brains and the brawn wins out. Regardless of your feelings, you must support their arrangement.


Give the royalties to the leader. You must support the hierarchy your puppies set by giving all the household royalties to your leader. She should be fed, greeted, pet, and allowed out first. If you pay more attention to the subordinate dog, you may cause discontent among the ranks, which can lead to fighting.

Although young puppies are submissive, they may challenge the leadership status as they mature, and although it may go against every loving impulse in your body, you need to reorganize royalties based on their decision of who’s the leader.

Remember the discipline rules. If you don’t know who did it, you can’t correct either puppy. That’s the rule. If you find a mess after the fact, forget it. Correcting both pups only weakens your connection to them and strengthens their resolve to one another. For suggestions on specific problems, see Chapters Dealing with Daily HasslesWhen Anxiety Strikes, and Food and Fitnes.

Wrestling is okay, to a degree. Teach your puppies to go to certain areas of the house or outside to play. If they tend to get out of hand, leave short leashes on them in the house to enable interruption and redirection. Say “Shhh!” as you separate them and then instruct them to go “Outside” or to another area to play. If you don’t have enough space for this technique, instruct “Sit,” and refocus them on chew toys. Crate or secure them at a station if they don’t calm down.

Play the name game. Teach your puppies two names: their personal names and a universal one that you can use when they’re together, such as “Dogs,” “Girls,” “Boys,” or “Babies” — whatever works for you. Using a single name makes calling them easier; “Girls, come!” rolls off the tongue easier than “Buddy, Fi-Fi, Daisy, Marlo, come!”

Feed your pups separately. Place your leader’s bowl down first. If you’re having difficulty keeping the puppies separate, create two separate feeding stations (see Chapter Home Sweet Home).

Don’t start a toy war. I know, you want them both to have a toy. But one puppy keeps insisting on having both. You give it back to the other puppy, and she takes it away. The giving and taking could go on all day. Remember your leadership rule: If the leader wants both, the leader gets both. Period.


Whatever you do, don’t yell during a dog fight. Yelling is perceived as threat barking and actually makes the problem worse as your puppy matures. If you have a dog fight, the best thing to do is walk out of the house and slam the door. No words or discipline — just leave abruptly. It’s usually your presence that prompts an argument. You can also try breaking up the fight by dumping a bucket of water on their heads or turning a hose on them momentarily if they’re outside. Also, an excellent product called Direct Stop is useful in fight situations; it’s a fierce spray of citronella that’s not harmful but is startling enough to break up the dogs. You can find it in stores or online.


After things are calm, review your actions. Were you supporting the underdog? That’s not good. After the fight fizzles out, isolate the subordinate and praise the leader. I know it sounds cruel, but if the leader feels supported, she won’t challenge the other dog. Additionally, if you catch a fight before it begins, shame the underdog and reward your leader with attention. I know it feels unnatural, but remember that your dogs aren’t human, and they don’t think you are either. If the situation repeats itself, call in a professional.

Trips, Tips, and Travel

Everybody likes a vacation. The most depressing part, however, is parting from your beloved pal. Her soulful stare can stay with you for hours. Why not take your puppy along? Having your pet with you can be great fun, but you’ll also come across some risks. To help you make your own decision, I go over some hard-and-fast traveling rules in this section.

Packing an overnight bag

A lot of planning goes into a trip. You have to remember everything right down to your toothbrush and socks. It’s understandable that your puppy’s needs may get overlooked. However, familiar objects are as soothing to your puppy as a fuzzy, warm security blanket is to a child. So, don’t forget to pack an extra suitcase — one for your puppy, that is!
Here’s a quick checklist of your puppy’s needs:

– A familiar mat or other bedding

– Regular food that’s separated for each feeding, plus an extra meal or two just in case

– A selection of familiar bones and toys

– Food dishes

– Water, if you’re visiting an environment where bottled water is recommended for human consumption

– Housetraining bell, if your puppy uses one

Taking your puppy on a plane

I’m leery of planes, so you can imagine how neurotic I get thinking of a dog in the belly of one of those steel babies. Personally, I’d avoid taking any pet on a plane if I didn’t have to. Even if only 1 dog in 90 dies, I don’t want to be the one holding the empty leash. Sometimes air travel is unavoidable, however, so here are some guidelines that can make the plane trip go more smoothly.

Taking some preflight measures

Follow this preflight advice to make your puppy’s trip as smooth as possible:


– Plan direct flights late in the evening or early morning to minimize the amount of time your puppy spends in holding. The cargo areas where pets are held before and after their flights are neither heated nor cooled. Please respect the airline rules regarding flying your dog in extreme heat: Suffocation is the biggest risk in airline travel.

– Make your puppy’s reservation when you make your own. Planes only accept so many four-legged passengers.

– Book a direct flight in a large plane. Large planes have better air circulation than smaller ones.


If you can’t fly direct, book a flight with a layover that’s long enough for you to reunite with your puppy. Take her out for a stretch, drink, potty break, and hug.

– If you’re planning to take your puppy with you overseas, check with the embassy of the country that you’re visiting to find out about regulations and required paperwork. In addition, check with the agriculture department in your state for the heads up on regulations regarding your dog’s return home.


– Airlines require health certificates and proof of vaccination, so you need to get them from your veterinarian and forward a copy to the airline immediately. Carry one with you the day of the flight, too, in case any questions arise about your dog’s clearance to travel.

Getting your puppy set to go

Follow this advice to make sure your puppy is as comfortable as possible during her flight:

– Purchase a sturdy USDA-approved travel kennel custom fit to your puppy’s size. Make sure the kennel is only large enough for your puppy to stand up and turn around in.

– Get your puppy comfortable with her kennel quarters a few days before departure.

– If you have a teenie-weenie puppy or dog who can come on board, buy a crate that fits under the seat.

– Write “LIVE ANIMAL” in 1-inch letters on top of the crate and on each side. Tape on huge arrows to indicate the crate’s upright position.

Wanting to go by train? Sorry!

I’ve looked high and low and can’t find a rail service that’s dog friendly. Of course, they all allow service dogs on board, and my local metro train allows small, well-mannered dogs on off-peak hours. But traveling by rail with a pup is definitely pretty limiting.

– On the top of the crate, in 1⁄2-inch letters, write the flight’s destination, including your name and the name, address, and phone number of the person or place you’re visiting.

– Remove all training collars. Your pup should wear a well-fitting buckle collar with identification tags.

– Don’t feed your puppy within six hours of the trip.

– Prep the crate for takeoff with light bedding and paper (taped down) in one end to absorb mistakes. Affix two manufactured kennel bowls inside the crate. Freeze water in one so your puppy can have a drink while in flight.


If your puppy is a champion chewer, you may need to nix the bedding. Some puppies are so stressed by air travel that they’d chew the shirt off your back if you were sitting next to them. If you suspect that your puppy will be distressed, ask your veterinarian for a sedative.

– If the flight is longer than 12 hours, tape a bag of food to the outside of the crate with feeding instructions. Don’t be too disappointed if no one’s available to feed your puppy; all you can do is hope.

– Allow your puppy to potty right before you put her in her kennel. Most puppies can’t hold their bladders for very long, so be prepared with paper towels and water to clean the kennel and your puppy when you’re reunited.


– Never padlock the kennel. You don’t want your pet trapped in case of an emergency.

Upon arrival, go immediately to the baggage area and insist on seeing your puppy. Kick and fuss if you must. Sitting in a holding area is stressful for your pet, especially if she turns out to be an escape artist. Imagine watching your puppy tearing down the runway trying to herd a jet. That’s one time when “Fido, come!” just isn’t going to work.

Road trip! Traveling by car

I’ve never owned a puppy or dog who didn’t love a road trip. I know some dogs have less than enjoyable experiences, but even they can be transformed with some patient car conditioning (see Chapter Teaching Everyday Etiquette for details).

Taking a few precautions

Cars can be a dangerous place for dogs, so you must take certain precautions:

Don’t leave your puppy in the car on a warm day. Even with the windows down, your car will bake like an oven, leaving your puppy uncomfortable or dead. Nothing is worth that.


Keep an extra set of keys in the glove compartment in case of an emergency. If you must leave your puppy, keep the engine running with the air conditioning on full-blast and lock the doors. Keep the second set of keys with you so that you can get back into the car.

Got a pick-up truck? Let your puppy ride in the cab. On a leash or off, the bed of a truck is no place for a dog.

Keep the windows cracked but not wide open. Some people think that letting a dog hang her head out the window is cool. Actually, though, it’s dangerous. Dogs can get hurled from the car in an accident or have debris fly into their eyes, causing permanent damage.

Never allow your pup to ride in the driver’s seat. Not only are both you and the puppy in jeopardy, but so is everyone passing you on the street! You can’t drive and bond at the same time.

Rules for the road


Your puppy must have structure in the car. If she doesn’t, she’ll think she owns it, which can lead to a cascade of problems, the least of which is barking at everything that moves. You have some options:

Put your pup in a crate during road trips. Crates are cumbersome and can be a little big, but they keep your puppy contained while you drive. Buy a strong, wire-mesh type (for good air circulation) that’s sized for your puppy’s weight and breed. Line the bottom with a mat, cloth, or similar bedding to provide a surface your puppy can sink her paws into while you’re driving.

Put up a barrier. Barriers enclose your puppy in the back compartment of a wagon or sport utility vehicle. Aesthetically, they’re not too appealing, and the cheaper models collapse easily, but a good one can effectively keep your puppy safe and contained.

Use a harness. Harness gadgets secure around your puppy’s body and keep her buckled in (see Figure 9-2). The only drawbacks are that they’re tough to put on and that dogs are often less than thrilled to be buckled in.

Secure your puppy to the seat belt. Give your puppy her own area when traveling. Tie a short lead (no more than 2- to 3-feet long) to the head rest or seatbelt and secure it to your dog’s traveling harness (which you can find at a pet store). Decorate her area with a mat and toys to keep her comfortable and occupied during the drive. This simple organization takes minutes to set up and will ensure a lifetime of calm travels because it keeps your puppy safe while you take care of the driving.

Figure 9-2: This pup’s secure and ready for the road.

Guidelines for long trips

Are you planning a long journey? Traveling with a puppy can be a joy or a nightmare; how you organize the adventure will greatly influence the outcome. Following are some guidelines to ensure that you both get to where you’re going safely and soundly:

Check your pup’s buckle collar to ensure that all identification tags have been updated. If you’re planning an extended stay, make a temporary tag with your temporary phone number. Most pet stores have machines that make affordable tags in next to no time.

Keep your pup’s diet and feeding times consistent. A change can upset her system — and that’s one discomfort that you can easily avoid.

Avoid traveling in extreme heat unless you have a good air-conditioning system. If you’re in extreme heat, plan to travel at night or early in the morning.

Never leave your puppy unattended in the car. If the weather’s extreme (either hot or freezing), make an extra set of keys so you can leave the climate control on while you lock the car and take care of your business.


Keep your puppy on a leash at every pit stop. When traveling, a puppy’s homing device shuts down. If she wanders off or gets momentarily distracted, she may have trouble finding her way back to you. Traffic is also a danger, so be safe, not sorry.

Give your puppy water and exercise at every rest area you stop at. Feed her before you walk her, and allow her ten minutes to digest her food before hitting the road again.

If you’re planning a hotel stay, ask about the hotel’s “welcome dog” policy when you make your reservations.


If you’re searching for places that accept pets, you have a few resources. Many books are dedicated to just that subject, so check the pet section of your local bookstore. You can also pick up guidebooks offered through AAA and Mobil Oil that list accommodations that welcome pets.

Help your puppy adjust to her new surroundings by using a leash and by stationing her at night on a familiar blanket with a trusty ol’ bone.

When you arrive at your destination

Even though you may be ecstatic to have the trip behind you and to see friends or family, stay cool until your puppy gets used to the new environment. Plan ahead if you know your pup will have to meet another dog or other pets when you arrive. Decide in advance where and how you’ll introduce them (pet-to-pet introductions are covered earlier in this chapter). When you enter a new home, make sure your puppy stops at the door and allows you to enter first. Give her a few minutes to “sniff out” the new space. Don’t be too surprised if your puppy eliminates. This is her way of saying “I pee, therefore, I am.” Don’t make a fuss, and clean it up discretely. Watch her closely, and if she continues to eliminate indoors, supervise her freedom and review the routines you established at home.


If your trip lands you in an unfamiliar climate, be patient. Your pup may react in ways you can’t predict: Snow cover can put a damper on housetraining, excessive heat can drive even the most adventurous dogs indoors, and rain can eliminate all hopes for outdoor adventure. If you’re introducing water or snow activities, keep your puppy leashed so that you can direct her calmly. Chasing, shouting, or physically handling your puppy in a new situation can overwhelm her and prompt her to run off and perhaps get lost.

Sarah Hodgson

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