DESIGNER PUPPYS: Everything you wanted to know about raising designer or mixed breed dogs,
featuring The BOYZ: Prince Alvin His Cuteness (on left) and Sir Simon The Sad, Cockapoo pups.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

New Puppy Mini Ebook - Preparing to Bring Your Puppy Home

Here's the cover of this ebook, scheduled for release on 9/1. So stay tuned to this blog.

I consolidated several posts about bringing a new puppy home and preparing for housetraining. This new ebook includes lists of things to buy/get, tips for preparing for housetraining, and includes examples featuring both of my pups - Simpn and Alvin.

Now I have 2 pups, I realize how important it is to be prepared; otherwise you live in a total state of confusion for days or even weeks.

This new ebook is free, as is the first one I published a few days ago (Are You Training Your Dog Or Is HE Training You?).


Thursday, August 27, 2009

FREE Dog Training Ebook - Resources and References

This picture of tranquility is NOT the result of training, just too much lunch.

Afternoon Siesta featuring The Boys

For those of you who'd rather see the resources in my free dog training ebook and not review 17 pages of text, here's the list of resources by section. I've used all of these for training Simon and Alvin.

Gives credit for the title of the ebook to trainer Beth Ostrowski-Parks in the It's PAWSible! Dog Training and Puppy Training DVD


Training Foundation: 8 Concepts to Understand Before You Begin Dog Training
Kindom of Pets Secrets to Dog Training
(the bible and reference manual)

How To Housebreak Your Dog in 7 Days (Revised)
Kindom of Pets Secrets to Dog Training

Obedience Commands
It's PAWSible! Dog Training and Puppy Training DVD

Overcoming Aggressive Behavior
Victoria Stilwell's It's Me Or The DOG
Kindom of Pets Secrets to Dog Training

Advanced Commands
Kindom of Pets Secrets to Dog Training


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

FREE Dog/Puppy Training Ebook

I consolidated the six blogs about dog training (Are You Training Your Dog Or Is He Training You) into an ebook. It contains resources as well as my experiences with Alvin and Simon.

Here are the sections of the ebook:


  • Dog Training as an Ongoing Process
  • Why Dog Training Is So Critical
  • Types of Training Covered in This Book

Training Foundation: 8 Concepts to Understand Before You Begin Dog Training

  • Are You Committed to Training Your Dog?
  • Establish Yourself as the Leader of the Pack
  • Your Dog is a Family Member
  • Communicate with Your Dog
  • Patience and Consistency are Mandatory
  • Rewards Work, Punishment Does NOT Work
  • Show Respect for Your Pup
  • Dogs Deserve EXCELLENT Treatment


  • Internet Search
  • Housetraining Alvin
  • Housetraining Simon
  • References

Obedience Commands

  • Basic Commands
  • Lesson Learned

Overcoming Aggressive Behavior

  • An Example -Whining
  • When Your Training is Not Working
  • Dog Forums
  • Your Vet
  • A Certified Dog Trainer

Advanced Commands


Are YOU Training Your Dog or Is HE Training You (6 of 6)?

Victoria Stilwell is THE Dog Training Expert

This is the sixth in a series of blogs about dog training:

Training Foundation
Obedience Commands
Overcoming Aggressive Behavior
Advanced Commands/Tricks (you are here)

Advanced Commands/Tricks

The Secrets to Dog Training guide lists the following in its section on advanced commands:

  • Advanced Sit and Stay (Down and Stay is a variation)
  • Seek
  • Beg
  • Fetch (Retrieve)
  • Catch
  • Shake
  • Climb
  • Crawl
  • Jump
  • Roll over

I’d consider the first two useful commands and the others – tricks and/or fun things to teach a dog. Since training needs to be fun for a dog to learn anything, it’s worth the effort to teach. A few of these commands might fall into specialty/performance training.

Another addition to this list might be the Come command, probably one of the more important things you want a dog to do. It’s usually covered as a basic obedience command, but it requires a gradual process of moving further and further away from the dog. To get a high success rate, you need to practice A LOT. Never EVER call the dog to you for a reprimand.

Leash training falls into the same category as the Come Command. It requires a lot of repetition and work. The It's PAWSible! Dog Training and Puppy Training DVD devotes several sessions to leash training. So does the Secrets to Dog Training guide, but as an aggressive behavior issue.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dog Forum Members Make Harassing Phone Calls

I am a member of a dog forum some of whose members truly hate the concept of mixed breed dogs. In this forum, I replied to a post about dog breeders, endorsed Simon's breeder, and gave the breeder's website.

Several hours later, I received a phone call from the breeder that she was receiving harassing phone calls from forum members. Talk about passive aggression - you passively post disparaging comments and then call the breeder anonymously to reinforce your position.

Hate mail, posts that attack (versus offer an opposing opinion), and harassing phone calls are the work of very angry and somewhat unbalanced people.

To those people who continue to practice this heinous behavior,
  • Do something positive, versus attacking someone you don't really know anything about.

  • Find another positive outlet for your anger, please!

My sincere apologies to Simon's breeder. I will mention the breeder's name only in person to those who ask me for a referral.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Crazy Woman Raising 2 Pups Under a Year Old

Simon the Sad Watching Prince Alvin

Prince Alvin Watching Simon the Sad

Yes, I admit it - I am crazy trying to raise two puppies, one 6+ months old (Alvin) and the other 11 weeks old (Simon).

Almost every second of the day (and sometimes the night) is dedicated to the care and watering of these two puppies.
Playing outside. Playing inside. Eating incessantly. Drinking too much water and peeing 3 times in an hour. Housetraining a pup too young to understand housetraining. Crying in the crate. Puking in the car. Puking on the bed. Whining for food. Wondering about liver shunt. Going to the vet. Collecting pee and poop samples. Waking up at 2 am and 5 am to more whining. What was I thinking when we brought Simon home from Lilly, PA 2 weeks ago?

Oh yeah - get Alvin a companion so he could get over his separation anxiety. Is it working? Yes, it is.

And they are bonding. And they are a joy to watch playing.
And if I had to do it over - I would not change anything!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Are YOU Training Your Dog or Is HE Training You (5 of 6)?

Victoria Stilwell is the
Queen of Overcoming Aggressive Behavior in Dogs

This is the fifth in a series of blogs about dog training:

Training Foundation
Obedience Commands
Overcoming Aggressive Behavior (you are here)
Advanced Commands/Tricks

Overcoming Aggressive Behavior

First question under this topic - just what is aggressive behavior?

Here's a sampling of what's considered aggressive behavior in Kingdom of Pets Secrets to Dog Training:

  • Dominance
  • Dog-on-Dog Agresssion
  • Biting
  • Chewing
  • Jumping
  • Digging
  • Disobedience
  • Leash-Pulling
  • Whining
  • Barking
  • Thieving

Each of these sections in the Secrets to Dog Training guide explains why the behavior is exhibited and what you need to do to overcome it.

An Example -Whining

Whining is a common problem that humans reinforce by responding to the whining. So the dog gets a payoff - over and over again. Once you start ignoring the behavior, the payoff is gone.

Easier said than done, especially when someone just can't handle the whining and always responds to it. Now the dog has trained that someone to cater to his slightest whimper.

Puppies are notorious for whining. Simon has developed whining into an art form. Alvin (who is now Alvin the Patient because he's a liver shunt suspect) makes one little whimper and a family member is at his side petting and cooing. As soon as we begin to ignore their whimpering, it will disappear.

The Secrets to Dog Training guide gives you insights into how to address each of these forms of aggression and case studies as examples. And the ones I tried seem to work. Alvin pulls on the leash and frankly, I really did not know how to stop it until I read the section in the guide on leash-pulling. It details the step-by-step procedure to train the dog to respond to where you are going versus deciding where to go on his own. It does work and requires effort, but the ease in walking Alvin was worth it.

When Your Training is Not Working

What do you do if no amount of effort redirects the dog's aggressive behavior? Here are three suggestions:

Dog Forums
Although people on dog forums may sometimes act out their own aggressions in the forums (it's easier when you're not talking face-to-face), you still may get valuable advice from people who are actual dog trainers or have a lot of experience with dogs. A dog forum versus a pet forum is the best way to go.

Your Vet
Some vets (like mine) are knowledgeable about dog behavior and will spend the time to explain how to address an issue.

A Certified Dog Trainer
Sometimes you need to bring in an expert. I hired a trainer to observe Simon and Alvin in action in one of their dog playfights. To me, it seemed the dogs were trying to kill each other in what looked like growling, snarling, attacking, and biting battles. What was the point of giving Alvin a companion if they appeared to be attacking each other?

The trainer explained each action from the puppy perspective and concluded their "battles" were play. I just need to make sure I stop the playing when it's clear the smaller puppy is to tired to continue. And he gives plenty of clues when he tires out.

These aggression issues need to be addressed sooner or later. Make it sooner - YOU need to train Your Dog and quit letting him train you.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hybrid Dog Breeders without a Conscience - Liver Shunt

What a Terrible Day!

Not only are we suffering from the puppy fighting blues, but we got some bad news from the vet.

Alvin's blood work for his neutering surgery was high in enzymes that indicate a congenital condition called liver shunt. In simple terms, his liver may not be getting an adequate blood supply and toxins are building up in his blood. For those who need a thorough explanation of liver shunt, click here.

The emotional impact is close to that of a parent finding out his child is seriously ill. We are all upset by the news - how is it possible that such a handome, loving animal might have been given a death sentence at conception?

Alvin will get another blood test to check the results of the first one. There are three scenarios:
1) The first blood test results were incorrect.
2) The liver shunt condition is present and an ultrasound indicates surgery is possible (85% successful).
3) The liver shunt condition is present and an ultrasound indicates surgery would not correct the condition. Under this scenario, the dog can be treated with medications and diet, but the prognosis is not good.

How does this happen? Chances are a breeder who produces pups with this condition has had very sick puppies and very upset owners. How could you give a puppy life knowing that he will be certain to suffer from a malfunctioning liver and maybe die in a year or less?

Note: See forum discussion of this topic here:


Friday, August 14, 2009

Superpuppy to the Rescue - Puppy Aggression

Raising two puppies, one 6 months old (Alvin) and the other 9 weeks old (Simon) is quite an experience. Every second is a new experience with Simon. If he's not trying to climb into the toilet bowl or unravel the toilet paper, he's peeing on the rug (usually just after someone has taken him outside). Puppies may be cute, but they are a challenge.

In fact, we faced a real challenge with Simon's beginning tendency to snap (nasty sound) at both Alvin and us. So, I contacted the breeder as well as talking to the vet. Both suggested a form of the alpha roll (turning the pup on his side or back to assert dominance) when the pup snaps at one of us. According to the vet, the form of aggression is not usually seen in a dog so young.

The breeder also suggested the following book:

Once I get my hands on it, I plan on using it for both puppies. The Amazon reviews are very positive and it comes highly recommended by both trainers and breeders. The one negative reviewer has an issue with the alpha roll. Everyone has an opinion!

Puppies Rock!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Playfighting Cockapoo Pups - Who's Top Dog?

What happens when you pair a 6-month old Bichon Cockapoo (Alvin) with a 9-week old Cockapoo (Simon)?

No explanation necessary - pictures tell all!

Cockapoo Round 1

Cockapoo Round 2

Clearly, Alvin wins both rounds, but Simon holds his own. The strangest thing is that the younger, smaller dog outclassed in size and strength wins the battle of the bone because Alvin is too scared to regain it. Wonder who will be top dog in a few months?

In case you're wondering, this puppy playtime is totally initiated by the pups; we just referee when the younger puppy gets too tired, starts to hide from Alvin, or Alvin gets too rough.