How to teach your dog to Sit

Are you interested in training your Cavoodle but unable to go to an obedience class?  No problem!  A number of basic commands are easy to teach with a little bit of patience and proper technique.  The first and simplest command for a dog to learn is how to sit.  This trick is an important stepping stone for learning other commands such as “lie down” and “stay.”  Knowing how to sit will come in handy while at the vet, at grooming appointments, and when strangers approach who want to pet your dog.

Cavoodle sitting

To begin, move your dog to a quiet area free of distractions, such as a spare bedroom.  Do not try and teach your dog any new command in a busy area or one that may be difficult to hold his attention, such as in the yard or kitchen.  Also have a lot of high-value treats handy, ones that your dog will work vigilantly to receive.  If the treats are large, be sure to break them into tiny bits, or use individual pieces of dry kibble.

The first step is to get your dog used to performing the action, without any command given.  While holding a treat, place your hand approximately six inches above your dog’s head and move your hand straight out, away from your body, towards your dog’s tail.  His eyes should follow your hand, which will naturally cause him to sit.  The moment your dog’s butt hits the ground, immediately give an enthusiastic “Yes!” and give him the treat.  You may have to tweak exactly what you do with your hand for each individual dog, but keep in mind that as a dog’s gaze moves backwards, he will inherently be forced to sit down.  If your dog walks backwards instead, try holding your hand higher above his head, and move the treat up in the air while also moving it back towards his tail.  Repeat this process until your dog reliably sits in response to this treat stimulus.

When your dog is ready, you can add in the verbal command “sit.”  Before gesturing for the action, say “sit” and then immediately lure him into a sitting position with a treat.  Over time, your dog will learn that you saying “sit” will lead to the lure, which will lead to him being given a treat.


When teaching your dog to sit, there are a few actions not to do.  Never force your dog’s rear end to the ground, as this does not teach him the proper action, and can even lead to him expecting to only sit when forced.  Also avoid continuing to repeat “sit” if he is not performing the proper action.  Continually saying the command with no response can desensitize your dog and essentially makes the word “white noise.”  Instead, take a step back from the situation and evaluate what you can do differently to engage him to the proper behavior.

As with all forms of dog training, timing is important.  Never give the treat too early, or too late.  Try to ensure you are always rewarding the instant your dog’s rear end hits the ground.  Keep in mind that your dog’s attention span is short, so to avoid frustration for both you and your dog, always keep training sessions short and positive.  The first time your dog gets a command right, give a lot of praise and extra treats.  This reaction will keep him engaged, and will also teach him that when he listens to you, he will be rewarded.

Puppy ear cleaning

Puppy ear cleaning timeFor most new dog owner’s, cleaning the ears of the most recent addition to the family has most likely not even crossed their minds. However, cleaning a dog’s ears is one of the most important things you can do to prevent a whole range of health problems from taking root. A dog’s ears are the perfect breeding ground for lots of little nasties such as yeast and bacteria which, if left to their own devices, will eventually breed to infectious levels. Taking a little time each week to keep your dog’s ears clean and clear will help ensure a healthy happy animal.
The trick to cleaning a dog’s ears for the first time is to build them up to it. Get your dog accustomed to having their ears handled by touching and handling them while you’re petting him. Every now and then lift up an ear flap and have a look inside. When you let it down give the dog lots of praise. It also helps to rub the inside of the ears without going in any further than the areas that are visible. Also pay some attention to around the base of the ears.
Beaglier ears backWhat you are effectively doing is getting your dog accustomed to having his ears handled so he knows he has nothing to be afraid of when you go in for a proper clean. Dirty ears on a dog can be cleaned with any quality commercial dog ear wash. Load up the ears with a decent amount of wash and then give the base of the ears a thorough but gentle massage for about thirty seconds.
When done stand back and let your dog shake his head. Your dog will be enthusiastic about clearing his ears so make sure you do this in an area where you don’t mind a mess. Once your dog has finished shaking you will need to go in with a cotton ball or tissue to sop up the excess cleaner. Never go in further than what you can see, and never use a cotton-tip inside your dog’s ear as it’s easy to push in too far and damage the ear drum.
It’s important to have a regular cleaning regime for dogs that have long floppy ears, such as Beagliers and Puggles. You should also clean regularly if your dog spends a lot of time in the water. Otherwise, cleaning once a month should be plenty for breeds with upright ears if they are obviously healthy and are not showing any signs of distress in that area. When in doubt check with your vet about any breed specific ear care requirements.

Puppy Vaccinations

Vaccinations needed by a puppy

Beagle Mum with puppyNewborn puppies start receiving disease fighting antibodies straight from mother’s milk as soon as they are born but the advantage this provides to their immune system dissipates after the first few weeks. To help protect your puppy long after they have left their mother, vaccinations are needed. Puppy vaccinations are essentially modified strains of diseases used to stimulate the puppy’s immune system into producing its own antibodies.

While there is some controversy over vaccinations and their benefits versus risks, the practice is backed by years of scientific research which most experts agree with. You will also find it difficult to enter your pet into kennels if you cannot provide proof of vaccinations. This can make it more challenging to find care for your pet should you go on holiday or require emergency accommodation.

Every dog from Beagliers to Groodles should receive a round of core vaccinations to prevent the spread of a range of common and widespread life threatening illnesses. These core vaccinations include vaccination against Canine Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus. Vaccination against 2 organisms that cause kennel cough will also be administered after 10 weeks of age. In some areas it may also be required to administer other non-core vaccines such as for rabies in many parts of the world. Your vet will be able to advise you on whether these or any other vaccinations are required in the area you live in.

Puppy VaccinationPuppy vaccinations start early on in your puppy’s life as the first round is usually administered at 6 to 8 weeks of age. At this age the vaccinations are temporary in order to get the animal safely through this period of its life. Once the pup reaches 10 – 12 weeks they receive booster a shot to further stimulate their immune system, and then at 14 – 16 weeks they receive their final vaccination to usher them safely into their adult life. Booster shots are then required at 12 month or 24 month intervals for the remainder of a dog’s life, with many vets now recommending a slightly less stringent program of once every 3 years.

Your puppy’s first visit to the vet will involve a discussion about the schedule of vaccinations and what each vaccination protects against.  The vet will also perform a general examination to determine the overall health of the animal. While some animals will feel a pinch, or a little sting during the vaccination there is no cause for alarm as it is over and forgotten about in an instant.

Chevromist-Kennels-PuggleThe vaccine will not give your puppy instant immunity as this won’t occur until after 5 or 10 days. As there is no definitive way to determine if your puppy still has maternal antibodies from his mother’s milk booster shots are required to ensure a vaccines effectiveness. Full immunity is not certain until about 4 months of age after all booster shots have been administered, so you should delay visits to dog parks, or anywhere else where he could be exposed to contagious diseases during this time.

Vaccines do come with risks, however small, and the vast majority of experts say the benefits far outweigh the risks. A small number of animals may develop side effects such as pain and swelling at the injection site, lethargy, or fever. In an even smaller number of cases there may be allergic reactions. See your vet if you notice hives, difficulty breathing, or facial swelling, as allergic reactions must not be ignored.

How to toilet train your puppy

Puppy Potty Training

Beagle ToiletNew puppies are going to leave little accidents around the place. It is inevitable and all part of the learning process so it’s important not to be too harsh on the little guy as he may not have yet gained full control of his bladder and bowel movements. Prepare yourself beforehand and keep the proper cleaning equipment within reach so when accidents do happen they cause minimal disruption and mess.

While they are eating, the puppy’s intestinal tract is being stimulated, so once they are done with their bowl part of their toilet training can take part in a specially designated area of the yard straight after meal time. Every puppy is different so there is no guarantee that they will poop immediately after eating; it could take 5, 10, or even 30 minutes so patience is key. Training your puppy to go in the same area of the yard each time also reduces the burden of cleaning up afterwards, as you don’t have to scour the yard on a daily basis looking for doggy presents.

Puppies learn quite quickly but at this early stage of their life they go toilet quite regularly with smaller breeds such as Moodles going more often than larger breeds like Groodles. During this young stage a puppy will tend to go whenever and wherever they happen to be; which can be up to every 30 – 45 minutes. Your due diligence is required so you are on hand to notice and can show the puppy the correct place for them to eliminate. It can take a couple of weeks for a puppy to “get the hint” but even so expect a number of accidents during the first 6 months before the training really takes hold.

Puppies eatingA puppy’s feeding schedule is an important part of their training. Regular meal times are a must as what goes in will eventually come out in a somewhat predictable time frame. Do not leave food out for your pup to feed on whenever they feel like it. Firstly, this will create a random toilet time that you will have no way of figuring out. And secondly, your pup needs to get to know you as the provider of food; which is an important part of designating you as pack leader.

Set up your household to facilitate house training. Have cleaning products on hand which can remove urine and faecal stains – and make sure you have plenty of paper towels on standby as well.  Confinement is the key to gaining greater control over their toilet training. A crate that can sit next to your bed and an exercise pen near where you spend the majority of your time are excellent measures so you can notice accidents immediately. A small treat kept close to the toilet area is also another great tool for training, but make sure this treat is especially reserved for house training.

Toilet Training SuccessStart a regular routine of taking your puppy to the designated toilet area. Immediately on waking, after they have finished eating or having a large drink, and after a bout of vigorous play. Do this every 45 minutes, and when they do manage to go correctly, get excited about it and reward the clever little thing. If they whine while in the crate by your bed, or while in the exercise pen immediately take them out to do their business. This routine should be adhered to for at least 3 months or until your puppy understands where the toilet is.

If a puppy is peeing in the wrong spot it’s safe to startle them a little (but not scare them), and pick them up to take them to the correct spot. However, let them finish a poo as they may not be able to stop it and you’ll have a large mess on your hands – and probably all over them as well!

Happy puppy outsideHousetraining a young puppy takes persistence, consistency, and patience. Never yell or hit a puppy who has had an accident as this will only be detrimental to your training efforts, and the mental health of your new little friend. Over time you will notice fewer and fewer accidents as your puppy learns the art of self-control over their bowel movements.

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