STOP LEASH PULLING! Puppies and/or older dogs

August 22, 2014

leash thumb 1 & 2_SnapshotFor many, many years now, after taking a lesson with a client on how to teach their dog not to pull on the leash, I would send them a link to a private “Stop Leash Pulling” tutorial. That way, they had unlimited access to a tutorial that helps remind them of everything we covered during the lesson.

Well, I am now making these tutorials public, well, as long as the ‘public’ likes them. I’ve added a lot more to them since they’re not just for reminding someone of what to do, but explaining the whole process step by step.

FYI- Generally there is very little compensation putting these tutorials out in the public domain, unless of course I get in the hundreds of thousands of views….so if you like my videos, click like and subscribe to my YouTube channel so that I can keep providing this useful info to all you animal lovers for free!


Robert Dollwet

Here is the first video to be released:  LEASH TRAINING A PUPPY  This is a training exercise for young puppies BUT can be applied to dogs of all ages, especially sensitive dogs.

Here is  STOP LEASH PULLING #1 for dogs older than 4 months of age.

Link to STOP LEASH PULLING #2 is located at the end of video #1, and in the description area of #1

If those are successful, I’ll make more videos


Toilet Training a Cat

August 20, 2014

QuizBlog 4

(EDIT)  I’ve removed all the toilet training videos from YouTube. I’ve realised only a few situations would justify actually teaching a cat to do this. You can read below – but ATM there are no videos available for viewing.


I love cats! And yes, they can be taught things! On my YouTube channels I get thousands, even occasionally – tens of thousands of hits PER DAY for my cat videos. One of my early videos is of my cat ‘Quiz’  using and flushing the toilet! Pretty impressive huh?

I really appreciate people clicking the LIKE button, making COMMENTS and of course SUBSCRIBING. Many of the comments on my original video tell me how smart and cute Quiz and DIDGA are but some people want to know how I trained them to use and flush the toilet. So I decided to make some tutorials. Although I’ll talk briefly here about important stuff to know before starting the toilet training process, you’ll then want to download my APP at your APP STORE. There you will find video tutorials showing you the toilet training process. I also have some tutorials on my YouTube channel, visit CatManToo on YouTube.,

IMPORTANT: Before I talk about the advantages to toilet training, You need to know there are very specific requirements expected of you and your cat.

1. For indoor cats only: if your cat has access to outside (indoor/outdoor cat) they will just “hold it” until they are let outside, actually, if they can’t get outside they would rather go on the floor in your house than in the toilet.

2. You need to see the whole process through with no “breaks” in-between. the whole process can take up to 12 weeks to complete

3. Other factors like your cats breed, age or past experience plays a huge role on the success.  Note: Some breeds will learn much quicker than others.

MORE INFO: There will be set-backs no matter which “cat toilet training” system you follow. For you –  My way is less money but a little more work putting it all together. For the cat, I think my system is better from a learning standpoint and this can be HUGE as it helps your cat to adapt better to water (more about this in the tutorials)

Before you start: You have to make sure your cat doesn’t have any medical problems i.e. bladder infections. If you have just one-toilet in your home, you can share, but it will be an inconvenience. Worth repeating – If you have and indoor/outdoor cat, you will have a very difficult time teaching them to use a human toilet. When a cat has a choice to either dig deep in the sand/dirt or use a human toilet, most cats choose to dig. They will hold it inside, sometimes for days until you let them out. I taught my cats Quiz and Didga to use both places but it took lots of time teaching them. If you’re lucky enough to have a cat that uses the toilet inside and digs in the dirt outside, you have one very adaptable kitty. All age cats can learn but young kittens need to grow a little before being able to physically negotiate the toilet. To help speed things along for young kittens, securely place a  spare toilet seat on their litter box. You may have to make your own kitty litter box from a cardboard box so the seat can be positioned securely. Place the litter box against a wall, up against the toilet, or on the toilet with the lid closed, then use duct tape to attached the top lid part to wall or side of the toilet. You need to make it really stable as cats spook easily and if the seat moves, they may not like the change.

Cats have a different rate of learning and it can take up to 12 weeks to figure out this whole concept, (7 weeks at the very least) If you start the process you’ll want to see it through till your cat is trained.  If you’re successful though, just think how cool that would be.

That’s just a few things, please go to my YouTube channels to watch full video tutorials. TUTORIAL # 1




due to the lack of time answering questions from all of catmatoo’s social media sites, I’m only answering questions on the catmantoo APP. Search your APP STORE for catmantoo – Use the “your wall” page to submit your question. Hope to talk to you soon. Robert & Didga



10 Doggy Workouts

August 16, 2014

jump4frisSome dogs have boundless amounts of energy, here are (more than) 10 ways to help tire them out.

1. Having your dog carry a dog backpack on your daily walks around the block. To add weight to them, use sand or water bottles. The packs can be found at pet shops or on the internet.

2. Obedience or trick training. Mental exercise is tiring also, owners don’t give this one the credit it deserves. It’s a great way to exercise your dog both physically and mentally.

3. Visits to the dog park, or a park with no dogs. Find an owner that has a dog with similar energy levels and set up play dates once or twice a week.

DOG PARK ETIQUETTE: Don’t bring aggressive dogs! (seek professional help), don’t bring your dog’s favourite toy, don’t feed other peoples’ dogs, clean up after your dog, use biodegradable bags, and watch out for fast running dogs. It’s a great place to practice the training your dog learned at home.

4. Doggy day care. Veterinarians usually have the phone number to the best ones.

5. Dog walkers, even a half  hour walk in the middle of the day can do wonders. Hopefully the dog walker will let them off leash or play fetch or tug of war and not just a boring walk around the block.

6.  To keep your dog busy while you’re away, toys like Buster Cubes, Kong’s (filled with goodies), large meaty (Raw) bones, and frozen ice toys are like puzzles for dogs and help stimulate them mentally for hours.

7.  Walk, run, bike, hike or just take your dog shopping with you. Stop off at one of these U.S. stores while doing your shopping: radio shack, Home depot or Lowes, all pet shops, coffee shops, some bowling alleys, outlet malls, flea markets and many others.  I even was able to take my dogs into a movie theater. Unfortunately there are limited places that allow dogs here in Australia, but they do have some good dog beaches. One thing that is starting to happen here, and I think other places is, you can register your dog as a companion dog. No longer do you need to have a disability to have your dog accompany you during your daily outings. Cool huh?

8.  Go to a beach or lake and let your dog swim. Play tug of war (read my blog for the rules: TUG OF WAR )

9. If your dog is ball crazy and you don’t have the throwing arm you used too, add a tennis racket or one of those throwing arm devices. Your dog will love it! Watch this funny video:

Tennis ball launcher <a href=\”\”>

10. Practicing agility, which is an obstacle course for dogs. Also fly ball, canine freestyle (dog dancing), and frisbee throwing. If you have a treadmill, you might as well teach them to exercise on it.

Some of these things may tire you out too! Have Fun!

Basic Dog Care

August 16, 2014

VetDogDogs can’t verbally tell you what’s wrong with them, so taking their temperature can tell you a lot about how they’re feeling. That’s the first thing you would do with a child if they were having symptoms, and it’s the first thing a vet does with your dog. A dog’s normal temperature fluctuates close to the 102.7F or 39C. It’s very simple to do, but be sure to use the proper type of thermometer (rectal).

Another good indication on how your dog is feeling is their eating habits. A dog can survive 4-5 days without eating, but we obviously wouldn’t wait that long to be concerned. It’s when they stop eating anything you try to give them that you should start to think something might be wrong. Just be aware, missing 1 or 2 meals can mean other things as well. Like just not needing as much food due to ageing or having less activity. A dog might also be holding out for the good stuff (or junky stuff). If they go to their bowl but turn away, yep, they’re waiting for the good stuff. I had a dog refuse its food for 3 days until the periodic training treats I was giving became insufficient and she started eating her meals again.

Energy level, alertness, breathing, vomiting (more than a few times) are also good indicators something might be wrong. Usually a dog is quick to get to a level of symptoms (sickness) then they will recover (on their own) from there, but if they get to that level and then continue to deteriorate, take your dog to the vet immediately.

I know there are many over the counter medications for humans that also work on our canine friends. Of course the doses are based on the weight of our dogs, so you must be very careful. Talk to your veterinarian about the use of human medication for your pet.

I’m not a vet, and I don’t claim to to have the experience and expertise of one,  but I have many years of experience in caring for dogs and I know I don’t need to rush my dog to the vet every time they sneeze. It’s always better to be on the side of caution, and it doesn’t hurt to learn more about your dog’s health.

Please subscribe to my blog (with just your email) and look for me on FACEBOOK for training/behavior tips. TNX

CATMANTOO – Viral Cat Videos

August 16, 2014

I know, I’m supposed to be marketing myself more as a “dog trainer” by making more dog videos, but my cat videos get 10 to 20 times more attention… more hits means more attention to our sites which gives me a larger audience to get the word out on all the important animal welfare causes that need attention, like Adopt from a shelter don’t buy from a store or online, spay and neuter your pets, don’t ever have a cat declawed, feed a species appropriate diet (mostly raw) and how to properly teach your cat, etc. Also everyones a dog trainer, so I had to stand out to really show my professional ability, cats can’t be trained right?

It’s not that I won’t make any more dog videos, I will, but I will be making mostly cat videos. I hope you understand and I don’t lose you as one of my viewers. With that said…

If you have a dog, you can follow along with the advice given from many of my cat tutorials (getting much faster results.) HOWEVER, if you have a cat, you can’t follow along from what you learn in most dog training tutorials.

Both my channels, Malibu Dog Training and CATMANTOO have partnerships with YouTube, between them, I’m have over 64 million views!!!

Here are my latest viral cat/dog videos that you can find on the catmantoo youtube channel>  and the catmantoo Facebook page >

CAT Super Skateboarding Adventure  (7.8 million views)  – CAT Super Skateboarding Adventure

HAPPY  DOGS and CAT  (13.5 million views) – HAPPY DOGS

Wanna go for a walk (300k views) – Wanna Go For A Walk

Cat barely escapes jaws (over 2.6 million views) – Cat Barely Escapes Jaws

Cat uses then flushes toilet (2 million views) – Cat Uses Toilet then Flushes

Purrkour – Didga the Parkour cat (2.4 Million views)  – PURRKOUR – DIDGA the Parkour cat

Didga Dreams Big (trick compilation video) 7.8 Million views –

Cat Surfs Swimming Dog!  ICE SURFING


I really appreciate the “likes” comments, thank you for sharing and for subscribing.

Robert Dollwet

The Eight PUPPY P’s

August 14, 2014

pupchewshoeProper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performing Puppies

The phone call dog trainers dream about getting, but never do:

“Hello? Yes, I’m thinking about getting a dog, here’s my situation… Do you have any recommendations on where to find one and how to pick the right one? Will you be able to help me raise them to be the perfect family pet?”

The phone call owners wish they had made and trainers only get 5% of the time:

“Hello? Yes, I just got a new dog/puppy and I need your guidance: what dog supplies to buy and not to buy, what’s the fastest way to house-train them,  how dogs think and learn,  how to avoid behavioral problems from ever becoming problems, and how to raise them to be confident and well adjusted members of the family?”

The phone call that trainers get about 95% of the time:

“Hello? My dog isn’t listening to me and has lots of bad habits, can you perform miracles?”

When I first started training over 30-years ago, the majority of trainers and animal professionals prescribed that dogs be at least 6- months to 1- year old before starting a basic obedience class. I was advocating 4-6 months, still WAY off from what is being  recommended today. Animal professionals now all agree (the good ones anyway), that seeking help from an animal professional needs to start before even getting a dog, or right when you bring your new dog home (at the latest). Well, that’s if you want to avoid many of the frustrating and costly problems from happening, ESPECIALLY the big one of having to surrender your dog to an animal shelter where chances of survival are slim. This is not to say older puppies and dogs can’t learn or change to be wonderful pets, this is what we trainers do everyday, and with today’s scientificly proven techniques, along with years of experience, miracles (I use that word loosely) are being performed. Changing some behaviors can take several training sessions and many weeks to get it right, the cost can be intimidating to some, and some people may not have the time to make that happen. A trainer understands that many, if not all, the bad behaviors would have never developed if the dog and owner had PROPER early education.  Teaching someone how to prevent behavior problems from developing is SO much easier, for dog and owner, and the cost would be lower too. For the 95% of you who will call a trainer when you’re at wits end, still call, it’s never too late, just know for next time, Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performing Puppies… and adult dogs.

I’ve posted several blogs regarding prevention… Happy browsing.

Learn About Your Dog

August 14, 2014

Over the last 29 years I’ve read many books and magazines on dog training and dog behavior.  One of the earlier books I read (other than dog training manuals) is “The Monks Of New Skete”. It was the must read book in its day.  If you read it today, you could still pick up some helpful advice, but because of the changes in technique and philosophies over the years, it’s not my first choice as a must read book for today’s dog owner.

I know that dog owners are just expected to know everything about their dog, but the reality is- they don’t, and in many cases, not even close.  As your dog’s teacher, your dog deserves for you to learn from the real Authorities in the business.  A great way to do this is to read books that myself and other top trainers and behaviorists recommend.

Books also make a great gift idea.


The Culture Clash – Jean Donaldson

Oh Behave – Jean Donaldson

Doctor Dunbar’s Good Little Dog Book – Ian Dunbar

Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution – Raymond Coppinger

The other end of the leash- Patricia McConnell

They are all good, but if you needed a place to start I would suggest Good little dog book- Ian Dunbar or Culture Clash AMAZON BOOKS

If you have a must read dog book, and want to share it with us, please let us know by using the comment form below. Thanks

Opposition Reflex (Why dogs pull)

August 9, 2014


In the dog training world, “Opposition Reflex” is a term used to describe why a puppy first resists the tension of the leash by stopping or pulling away.  When tension is applied, a dog’s predatory instinct of fight, freeze or flight kicks in.  Many people don’t realize dogs have this reflex or they believe a dog stops or pulls out of spite or challenge. It was discovered by Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) and is discussed in many books since,  including a 1996 book by Jean Donaldson, “The Culture Clash”AMAZON BOOKS .  

To see opposition reflex in action, just put a leash on your cat. That’s opposition reflex! The more “wild” an animal is, or the more predators an it has, the stronger the reflex will be. Thankfully, dog’s have been domesticated and puppies are fast learners. Through conditioning, patience and trust, this reflex diminishes.

People make the mistake initially when getting a new puppy by placing it on the ground and following it around. Once the puppy can tolerate the collar and leash, the owner then allows the puppy to pull in the direction they want. As the puppy grows and gains more pulling strength, most owners make the mistake of putting these harnesses (that you see on sled dogs), along with a tightly held leash or retractable leash, allowing opposition reflex and the pulling behavior to really kick into gear.

Opposition reflex plays a role initially and throughout their lives, but there are other reason dogs continue to pull on lead.  1) The owner has conditioned them to lead the way 2) They’re being rewarded for pulling  3) Dogs have been conditioned to believe that the harder they pull, the more distance, smells and exercise they get, even if it means choking themselves in the process, and 4) The owners never taught them, in a language they understand, how to walk on a loose leash.

Leash pulling can be counter-conditioned at any age by hiring your local reward / science-based dog trainer.

The earlier you get started, the better.

Feel free to comment below, If you subscribe with just your email, you will be notified when I post new things.

Visit me on FACEBOOK @ Malibu Dog Training


August 2, 2014

hounddogIf your dog is behaving nervously, or is fearful of noise caused by fireworks, thunder etc, OR afraid of some object, person or event that is causing your dog to be frightened or frustrated? There are a few things you must do, or stop doing, to help cure them of their condition.

1. First, don’t ever (even a little bit) pet or try to “comfort” your dog when they are nervous or showing fear. In a “dogs world” there is no such thing as “comforting.” Comforting only makes their phobia or fear stronger. When you pat a dog, you’re reinforcing what they’re thinking/feeling, when I taught police dogs we would pat the dogs whenever they looked at the bad guys, reinforcing what their thinking/feeling. As apposed to giving treats (during training) reinforces their actions.

Although you don’t “comfort” them, you wouldn’t walk away or ignore them either.

2. (cats too) Use desensitization techniques, by exposing them to the negative noise, person or object in very small increments, i.e. the noise should be barely audible, and object should be far away. To help control noise, find pre-recorded noises eg thunder or fireworks, on the Internet or YouTube. For objects, position yourself far enough away, just outside of your dogs threshold, where there is little or no reaction to what triggers the fear. Practice as many short sessions over days or weeks, each session have the noise volume increase and the distance to the object decrease.

3. (cats too) Redirect (distract) their thoughts prior to the first sign of the problem, do something challenging and fun, like playing with a ball, practising obedience or any other game they like to play. If you act fun, your dog will think you’re playing a game. If you are having trouble getting them to focus on you, maybe the noise or thing is too loud/close?. The objective is to have your dog focus/concentrate on you and what you’re doing, and not on what they’re afraid of.  As your dog becomes less reactive (desensitized) to the noise, the noise/object can become louder/closer.

4. Use what I call, “redirection tease play” or just “tease play”, mimicking what another dog would do during play, and what I’ve seen many times done by dogs to other dogs to make them comfortable. This will naturally redirect and relax them, because they recognize what you’re doing as “play” and not “praise” or reinforcement of their feeling (emotions). Here is a link to my “redirection tease play” blog. Redirection tease play AND video. PLEASE WATCH

5. Obedience Training (probably the most important) It is an “indirect” but effective way to help cure phobias and other behavioral problems.  Your dog should understand at least 5 basic on and off leash around distractions. Just by teaching a dog to sit, stay, lay down and come on and off leash, I just happened to cure a dog of it’s noise phobia.  When taught correctly, obedience training is fun, helps build a dogs confidence, builds a better more trusting relationship, and actually makes them smarter to learn other new things faster.

6. It always helps to turn on the television, washer, dryer (place a few tennis balls with no heat), a fan, etc. Have these things going during the fireworks.

7. Sometimes “crating” your dog during the episode (or while you’re away to minimise escaping) can be helpful, but FIRST, your dog must be very well adjusted to their crate. Look for my video tutorial on ‘crate training’ on my YouTube channel.

Another great article on Phobias, fears and anxieties in dogs… DOUGLAS ISLAND VETERINARY SCHOOL

Let me know your feedback in the comment form below. THANKS

Ring the bell…

August 1, 2014

2dogsrunning…and the dog salivates.

Many of us know the story of the Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov  who discovered that by ringing a bell then immediately giving a dog food, the dog would then respond to the bell by getting excited and drooling. We don’t pay much attention to the drooling part these days, but you can use sound to teach other behaviors , like coming when called. In this lesson, I will explain step by step how to use “sound” to teach the perfect recall!

If you subscribe with just your email address, you will be notified when I post something new.Visit my YouTube channel for video tutorials, and don’t forget to follow on FB and IG @catmantoo Thanks!

Rest of Ring the bell

Using a “sound cue” helps the dog learn faster. Because; The sound cue (when taught correctly) is associated with receiving food vs your voice isn’t always. So during the training “cheating” (pretending) you have a taste treat is never recommended. if you can’t follow up after giving a command/cue with a treat then don’t give the command.

If you ever tried calling your cat off the couch, they probably didn’t go so well, But once you press on the electric can opener , even the most stubborn cat will now come when they hear that sound. Your cat was consistently conditioned the can opener sound or drawer opening or whatever, means food is on the way.

First you need a sound cue, this is anything different from a word command: a tongue clicking sound, clapping your hands, a silent whistle, bell, etc.  The silent whistle or ref whistle is best because the sound travels further than your voice.
Now, you need the reinforcement, what does your dog likes the most? a ball? food? stuffed Toy? For most dogs— it’s food. If your dog is food crazy, usually dog kibble is enough, if your dog isn’t food crazy you’ll need to provide “high value” food like raw mince or anything else your dog really really wants. Remember that when you’re outside amongst distractions, things that might have had “value” in your house, like patting and a dry biscuit, now have no value with all the distractions around. For most dogs, small soft smelly “healthy” treats are best.
When you practice, keep sessions short, only 1 minute a few times a day is sufficient.  If you’re out on a 30 minute walk, you can practice a few 30 second sessions during your walk. Just do many repetitions in that short period.

Step 1. At home, distraction free, on or off leash: 2-3 training sessions; As your dog is close to you and facing you, make the sound cue, right away give them the high value reward. Repeat sound & reward. Many reps, short period of time —30 seconds to 1 minute (at the most)

Step 2. At home, distraction free and off leash: 2-3 training sessions per day; Start to increase the distance you are from them when you make the sound, you can also make the sound while using other visual cues i.e., using your hands in a sweeping motion (come here) and you can crouch down to their level, clapping your hands, bent over slightly while tapping your legs, etc. Be careful not to teach them that running full speed into you is a good thing. If you’re clicker training your dog, just click when they just have turned and are heading back to you. (If you use the clicker as the “sound cue” you won’t be able to use it as a “reward marker” as it was intended). By now your dog is catching on, so you can start increasing your distance from them and slowly adding distractions i.e., friends, a toy, another dog, etc.
As you add distractions, you may have to be close to your dog at first — before increasing the distance.

Step 3. At home: Throughout the day, try to find opportunities when your dog is distracted or in another room (never sleeping). What I do is sneak to another part of the home or backyard to make the sound, and then of course reward them for coming, like they won the lotto, then repeat. I will also make it part of the feeding ritual, so instead of putting the bowl on the ground and practicing their “stays”, I will use the sound (as I back away) then put the bowl on the floor (for a few bites) then repeat. If your dog is food possessive (aggressive), don’t put the bowl on the floor and only have enough in the bowl for one bite, then keep repeating this step. Over a short period of time your dog will be more tolerant of your hand being near the food.

Step 4. The next step is to practice in the back and front yards, around the neighbourhood and eventually around people and other dogs. Remember to slowly increase the distance you are from them, we want this to be a positive experience and you want them coming in all situations. IF your dog gets distracted easily by other things and is ignoring the sound, practice with them on a leash or have the distractions at more of a distance.
The bigger the distraction is, the bigger the reward may need to be. Don’t be afraid to use turkey slices to get Fido to “come” during those high distracted times. Use a release command (“OK”) once the treat and praise is given. This releases them from your expectation and they can go back and play. In the near future, I will be making a video on this.
By practicing, in no time at all they will be running to you as if their life depends on it, which could happen someday. Teaching sound cues is just one of several things you can do to help your dog understand the importance of coming when called.
Don’t forget to subscribing to my blog with just your email, you’ll be notified when I post new training tips.
Visit my Youtube Channel and Facebook page.

Nutrition Tips for your Dog

August 1, 2014

Dog’s don’t know how to cook, so in my opinion, a mostly RAW diet is best, giving your dog the important nutrition they require. Fresh chicken parts, meaty bones or mince meat, etc., add to that a high quality dry kibble or canned food to help stretch those dollars.

To find a great dog food, visit one of the smaller pet shops or speciality food shops. These shops usually carry a wide range of the healthier dog food like Raw, Natural, Holistic and Organic. The shop owners are full of information and are happy to share their knowledge with pet owners.

When buying dog food, keep in mind, a dog needs to eat a larger amount of poor quality food to maintain caloric and nutritional needs. Therefore buying cheaper, lower quality food can be something of a ‘false economy’, particularly when taking into consideration the potentially increased likelihood of health issues. Also, the better quality of food that goes in, the less that will come out.

There are some ingredients on a label you want to avoid. Corn, soy, bone-meal, any by-products, chemical preservatives and wheat.

A healthier dry kibble will have meat as it’s first ingredient.

This is what a good “dog food” label should look like. In the GUARANTEED ANALYSIS, look for the Protein content to be at least 30 percent, the Fat to be at least 18 percent, preservatives to be Vitamin E and/or C and look for Omega Fatty Acid to be present. Just be aware, big dog food companies can make the label look like this, but have ingredients that are not good for your pet.
I find the dogs here in Australia eat really good! Lots of RAW food available, even in grocery stores. All my clients have their dogs on at least a half RAW diet.
I like this link showing in detail how to rate your dog’s food, plus it’s already done the homework for you and rated other foods.



August 1, 2014


The following list of “why not to get a dog”, is only a guideline for best results. I know there are exceptions to every rule. I am expressing my professional opinion backed by many years of experience.

Don’t Get A Dog…

From (most) pet shops. Most reputable breeders don’t usually sell their puppies to pet shops. Why? Because breeders care where the puppies are placed (homed).  Breeders also want to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. They don’t want their dogs or their dogs’ offspring to end up being abandoned or given to a shelter or worse..?  I’ve read up to 90% of Pet shops in the U.S. get their puppies from puppy mill-type operations. AND it’s big corporations that are backing these puppy mills. Many new regulations have made it more difficult for pet shops to buy puppies from puppy mills, and I’m sure if you have the time to do the research, you can find pet shops that are legitimate. I’ve heard from a pet shop owner here in Australia who gets her puppies from a reputable breeder. Unfortunately though, this is not a Country-wide practice. Puppy mills are everywhere, and you can’t even trust many online ads that have puppies for sale. the best thing to do is adopt from a shelter. If you have to have a show breed, go to dog shows and find reputable breeders there, but please consider a shelter to find amazing dogs.

…as a gift for someone. I shouldn’t need to explain why this is a bad idea, but this kind of thing happens more often than you might think. There’s a big difference between overhearing someone say that they want a dog, and them having to care for one day in and day out. Or a child saying they want a puppy, when they have no clue about the amount of care required in owning a pet – heck, you have to remind them to brush their teeth everyday. Unlike a tie, or glass vase, this is one gift that if you have to return it, it could be the end of a life.

…unless you plan on taking the dog and yourself through puppy kindy, basic and advanced obedience courses. So many dogs are abandoned or returned to shelters only 3-6 months after being adopted because of behavior/control issues. Those issues could have been taken care of with a few lessons from a dog friendly trainer/behaviorist, and not much more time per day than you already spend with them. When I trained animal actors we would rescue dogs from shelters and turn them into working actors. It’s not the dog, it’s just the owners’ lack of knowledge.

… unless you’re going to fully socialize them before the age of 4 months. All dogs should be properly socialized and exposed to lots of strange children/adults who pet them, hug them, sleep near them, play with them and hand feed them.  Doing this as early as possible, especially with known aggressive breeds, will greatly reduce aggressive behavior towards people. The benefits of early exposure outweigh the very small risk of a young puppy actually catching something from another dog.

…If the puppy your getting is under 7 weeks old. The period of 4-8 weeks is a crucial socialization period with the mother and other litter mates. It’s the best time to teach the puppy a few ground rules i.e. how to interact with other siblings, how to respect elders, how to read mother and siblings body language, not to wander off, how to have a soft mouth (bite), learn the “Den” concept and a few other lessons. Puppies that are adopted under 6 weeks old are more likely to display aggressive behavior with their owner and have poor social skills with other dogs.

…If you have small children and the breed you’re getting has known aggressive tendencies or is an older dog. The danger is with any breed that wasn’t properly exposed to children under 4 months but even more so with known aggressive breeds. Watch for warning signs, and hiring a professional behaviorist can help greatly reduce/cure aggressive behavior towards people. The number of dogs bites in the U.S., especially towards children, is staggering.

…if the second dog is a puppy and your first dog is too old. A puppy can put an extra boost in an older dogs life, but if your first dog is too old, the new puppy just ends up being too much for the older dog’s frail body. Your older dog can’t defend itself and will have trouble communicating to the puppy to back off! The best time to add a new puppy is when your first dog is between 1 and 5-years old (large breeds) or 1 and 9 years old (small breeds).

…I should say, don’t get 2 dogs at the same time, especially if they’re siblings. Yes they will keep each other company, but it’s also double trouble. If the reason to get 2 at the same time is to keep each other company, that’s the wrong reason to get a dog in the first place. In most cases you will barely have time to raise and train one of them properly, let alone 2. In a dog/owner relationship you want your dog focused on you more than things around them.  Getting 2 puppies at once, they will focus more on each other. It’s best to wait until your first dog is at least a year old and well trained before getting a second dog. A good idea is to adopt and train an older dog, then adopt a much younger puppy. That way they can keep each other company, while saving two lives.

… Based on looks alone. You have to realize what your getting yourself into. Some dogs are gorgeous, but can be a huge burden on you, your family and your home. It’s difficult for me to recommend a breed, because all dogs require time and patience to do it right. I did post the top ten smartest breeds, thats a good place to start looking for a dog. Some breeds aren’t bred to be in certain living conditions and some owners shouldn’t be owning certain breeds. Unless you know exactly what your getting into and can provide whatever is needed, these are the breeds I would avoid owning.

…If you have small children. When raising a child and dog together, one of them isn’t going to get the attention needed.  It’ s best to wait until your child is at least 7 years old before getting a new puppy. A cat would be a better solution, but any animal will take away from the precious time you need for your child. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule but to do it right, you should wait. You will see and meet plenty of animals while you’re out with your child. Remember, I didn’t really have close contact with dogs until I turned 18 and look how well my relationship with animals has been. it’s okay to wait, your child will be happy you did.

…If you work long hours. A lonely bored dog will develop behavioral issues, and that usually leads to trouble! Luckily there are options for people with long working hours, such as dog walkers and doggy day care. However, these exercise outlets don’t replace what you provide with companionship. If you get a new puppy, be prepared to take a few weeks off.  I wouldn’t get any animal if I worked long hours. A dog sitting in the backyard is only learning things that will keep them there.

… Just because you have a backyard! OK, maybe having one makes it nice when you don’t have time to walk them, but it shouldn’t be the main factor in deciding whether or not to get a dog. It’s not how big a home or backyard is, it’s what you do that makes you the perfect dog owner. When left alone, a dog isn’t running laps in the backyard trying to make up his daily requirement of exercise. A lonely or bored dog will just develop bad habits like barking, digging, chewing, fence fighting and escaping etc.  Getting a second dog may not be the answer either: sometimes it can help, but it usually just leads to double trouble. Whether you have a big backyard or a big dog in a small place it doesn’t matter, as long as you spend time with them exercising and educating.

… IF you’re planning on leaving them outside in the backyard to live, or chained up most of the time! Then why get a dog? a dog isn’t an expendable trophy. I always say, just because you get an animal and have it live in a cage/aquarium or live in the backyard or on a chain,This doesn’t make you an animal lover. (actually it’s the complete opposite).