How to make your pet dog a part of the family – Part 12

Making your dog a part of the family is much like bringing a child into your world. Unlike natural childbirth, a dog is more like bringing an adopted or foster child into an already established venue. This venue can consist of one parent, two parents, childless, with children, extended family members or just about any other type of “family” unit. Luckily for most, the addition of the family dog is that of choice. So, typically, you know what you are getting when you choose this wonderful addition to the household.

Like a child, the dog needs to be potty trained. This is not always an easy task, but the dog must know where and when it is to “go” so to speak. In our house the training cycle was that of first thing in the morning prior to our morning meal, after the dog had his/her meal and at least once or twice during the day and before bedtime each evening. As the dog establishes a routine in the household, he or she is taught to go to the door or come to you when it’s “time to go”. Paper training is also an option if you live in an apartment or are not home during the day to allow the dog the option of relieving itself at will.

Fortunately, I am a telecommuting employee and our dog almost always has someone at home to let her out when the time is appropriate.

After this basic, but most necessary, task is completed it is time to socialize the dog. Setting boundaries is of the utmost importance, just as it is with children and their behavior. One must literally show the dog what behaviors are appropriate and which behaviors will not be tolerated. Our dog was a jumper and nipper as a puppy.

Each time she performed this most undesirable behavior she was “rewarded” with a smack to the nose and a very loud “NO” command. Eventually she got the picture, only jumping up on people when she was so very excited she could literally not contain herself! If there are small children in the household, the dog must be taught which toys belong to him or her and which belong to the children. This was a difficult task in our house as our dog thinks everything is fair game. Again, smacks to the nose with a newspaper or magazine and the loud “NO” are appropriate.

Not to worry, there will be the occasional slip where the dog just has to chew on that favorite toy of the child’s or your favorite pumps or slipper but if the warnings are repeated and the behaviors reinforced this should not be a constant problem. After all, you do want the dog to feel like part

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