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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bring Your Dog Inside – Day 3

Exercise your dog first!  That is always important to remember.  Hopefully by now you’ve found some form of exercise that works for both you and your dog.  If the weather is too hot or too cold or it’s pouring down rain, can you find somewhere else to give your dog exercise?  Can you use an empty garage or the basement to throw a toy for him a dozen times?  Or maybe you know someone with an empty indoor horse arena where you could run your dog for a bit?  If you exercise your dog inside, remember to let him do his business before and after the playtime!
I talked a little bit about management before.  Management is what prevents a lot of behavior issues from happening.  Set up the situation and the house to prevent all those things from happening that you don’t want to happen.  Pick up the kid’s toys and your good shoes so they are not laying in the middle of the floor for your dog to chew on.  Move any breakable trinkets and antiques out of your dog’s reach and tail range.  Keep him in the same room as you so you can supervise him and stop any bad habits before they can start.  It will make your job of teaching your dog so much easier if you set up the environment so he can be successful.
 
Tomorrow you will start to bring your dog inside for time in the evening when he will spend time out of the crate being with you.  Try to set up the room where you will be spending the most time so it will be safe for your dog to join you there. 
Find a soft tasty food that you can easily cut up into pea-sized pieces.  Use something that will be safe to feed your dog.  You can use soft dog treats, cheese, cooked chicken, or something similar.  You will want about 2 cups of pea-sized pieces in a baggie or a container (like a yogurt container with a lid) ready for tomorrow. 
 
You will use these treats to reward your dog for doing things that you like.  This is how dogs learn.  If they get rewarded with something that they like when they do something, they will learn to continue to do that same thing so they have a chance to earn more rewards.  Over time, the behaviors that you are rewarding will become habit and your dog will do them more and more, and you won’t need to reward quite so often.  But in the beginning, anything that your dog does that you like, feel free to reward it!
Decide on a time in the evening when you can have the dog in the house with you for an hour tomorrow.  You might choose to bring him in for an hour right after he has his exercise, or you might choose to wait until later in the evening after you’ve had dinner and you’re getting ready to sit down and watch TV.  Decide now so you have your day tomorrow planned out. 
 
Remember to give your dog one last chance to do his business (using your cue words) before you bring him into the house at bedtime tonight.  Settle him in his bedtime spot with his bed, bone, toys and a few small treats or pieces of kibble.   Use music to help calm your dog for a bit before you turn off the light. 

 

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