Frustration Tolerance

When a new puppy joins the family, it's always so tempting to help him out of any difficult situation he may find himself in. This "rescue the baby" attitude is a very problematic attitude as it causes a lack of frustration tolerance and problem solving skills.

Frustration tolerance is what we call the ability to deal with not getting your own way immediately and finding a plan B. It's what defines patience to a puppy. If a puppy wants to get to you, but is too far down the fence to see the opening, does he sit and cry for you or does he work his way down the fence to find the opening?

A puppy that cries and "tantrums" when he doesn't immediately get what he wants, be it food, people or toys, is not able to deal with daily frustrations and this could lead to serious behaviour problems at an older age.

A mother dog will start to withhold her milk by getting up and moving more often. She does this to teach her puppies patience and this also teaches them to deal with the frustration of not having milk right this second. In a wolf pack, the older wolves will "irritate" the pups by biting their legs, pulling them around by their tails or legs and rough-and-tumbling them. The do not do this to be mean to the puppies. They do this because a wolf that cannot keep a lid on his temper, or tantrums at the thought of having to wait for something, will be a liability in the pack.

Dogs who are able to find and utilise a plan B or C are much more able to deal with everyday life and it's frustrations. They are well-rounded, happier dogs as opposed to the shy, timid, reactive, cry-babies that the dogs who have always gotten their way become.

Breaking the habit of jumping up

One of the most common behaviour problems seen in dogs is jumping up. It usually happens because they are allowed to jump up when they are small, cute furballs, but as soon as they grow bigger, or jump up on a child, it becomes a problem. It is also quite a difficult problem to work with.
It is difficult because every single person that meets your dog, needs to know that he isn't allowed to jump. You also cannot just expect him to "not jump". You need to teach your dog an acceptable alternative behaviour. For example:

If you teach your dog to sit and he gets rewarded when he sits for you, but is ignored when he jumps up on you, he will quickly learn that sitting instead of jumping has the most positive outcome. His greeting then becomes a sit rather than a jump up.

So while it's important to give your dog an alternative behaviour to perform, you must make sure that everyone ignores the jumping up. And by ignoring I mean no eye contact, speaking, shouting, smacking, pushing down, kneeing, nothing. If one person allows your dog to jump up while you are trying to teach him not to, it's like a gambler winning at the slots and he's just going to keep trying again and again. Everything you've tried to teach him about jumping not being acceptable will have to be re-started. That is what makes this behaviour so hard to change.

I tell children to cross their arms in their chest and to turn their back on the dog. Adults need to turn away without saying anything. Once the dog has all four feet on the floor, you can ask for a sit. Once he sits, you can reward.

What works well is having a Tupperware of treats next to the front door or garage door. As soon as you enter, pick up a treat and ask for a sit. Once the correct behaviour has been given, the treat is given. Every single person who enters the house does this. They ignore the dog if he jumps up.

If you have guests coming and you know that your dog gets too excited to listen when the door bell rings, put his harness on and have him on the lead. Allow your guest to come in and sit down in a relaxed manner. Once everyone is seated, bring him out on lead, asking each person he says hello to, to ask for a sit and to give him a treat. After he has calmed down, you can let him off lead.

It's not preferable to lock your dog away when guests arrive because he gets too excited. You need to teach him the accepted etiquette so that he can be a part of the family.

Sometimes things get worse before they start to improve. You might find your dog starts to nip while jumping to get attention. This is very difficult to ignore and you may need to call in a trainer or a behaviourist to help with the problem.


House Training Your NEW PuppyHouse Training

The secret to successful house training is consistency and perseverance. A puppy only gets full control of his bladder between 6 and 8 months, so expect a few mistakes in the beginning.

You need to take your puppy out as often as possible at the start. Every 30 - 45 minutes if possible. You will need to take him outside after every nap, every playtime, after every meal, first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

When you take your puppy outside, decide on a word or phrase that will become his trigger to go to the toilet. "Do your thing" or "Go Pee" and two common phrases used. As you get outside, say the phrase/word and then wait patiently. Do not talk to your puppy while waiting as this will distract him from his business.

It's very important that after he has gone to the toilet that you praise and reward him with a treat. Food is the best type of reinforcement because at his young age, he already gets a lot of attention, so a nice treat will speed up the training process.

If you catch your puppy in the act, get his attention by gently clapping your hands or whistling, take him outside, say your phrase/word and wait. At the smallest sign of him going to the toilet, praise and reward.

A puppy cannot tell the difference between an inside room and the outside if there is a door that is always left open. The outside area becomes another room in the house and your puppy will always try to find a surface that is the most similar to what he grew up with. Grass/carpet/cement/sand/etc. they do not automatically know where they need to go to the toilet and have to be taught which "rooms" are acceptable to use and which are not.

Some of the signals that your puppy needs the bathroom are:

- Sniffing in one area
- Walking in circles
- Crying or whining for "no apparent reason"
- Looking uncomfortable
- Sitting or pawing at the door

Should you miss the signals and your puppy messes inside the house, do not shout and punish him. He has performed a natural function and all that will happen is that you will cause future behaviour problems because you will seem unpredictable, angry and a giver of pain. Rather clean up the mess without him seeing, making no fuss and always remember to use products that DO NOT have ammonia in them. Ammonia smells like urine and it will cause your puppy to go back to that area. Rather use dish washing liquid with warm water or white vinegar.

During the night, cover the puppy's entire sleeping area with newspaper. In the morning, clean up all the paper but keep one piece that has been urinated on. Put it outside to dry and that evening, when you put new paper down, add the used piece as well. You'll find that the puppy will start going to the toilet in the same area as where the used pieces of paper are. Slowly, once your puppy is using the same paper, you can move the paper towards the door, and eventually to outside. Your pup will learn that going outside is right, but inside is not.

Remember that the process is a slow one. Patience, perseverance and consistency!


Toys For Dogs

Mental stimulation is one of the most important aspects to remember when dealing with dogs and puppies. A bored pet generally leads to destruction and unhappiness from both the owner and the animal. Toys are a great way to keep your pet busy while you're out and also work well and tiring them out if you cannot take them for a walk. Mental stimulation and physical stimulation are imperative to a happy pet.

There are hundreds of kinds of toys and it's easy to become confused, so we'll be discussing a few of the types of toys to help you make the right decision.

Your first type of toy is the chew toy. This doesn't mean the squeaky kind. We're talking about the chewable, edible and digestible kind. These toys are a great way to keep your pup busy and they can be really satisfying taste-wise at the same time.

Cow Hooves


Cow Hooves - These can be chewed on their own or you can stuff them with canned food, freeze them and then give them to your pup. This works fantastically well at feeding, entertaining and cooling down your pup on a hot day. Just remember to be careful of the sharp edges that some of them have as these can cut your pup's tongue or mouth.





Rawhide Bones


Rawhide Bones - This is the most common type of chew toy. They look like bones with knots of rawhide on each end. I don't recommend this chew toy if your pup is alone because it's very easy for one of the knots to come apart from the rest of the chew and this can get stuck in your pup's throat. Parental supervision is advised when using this type of chew toy.






Ostrich Chews - these are great chew toys. They are easily digestible, tasty and can keep a pup buys for a good while. They don't get stuck in the throat like the bone chews, but it's always recommended to make sure that you take away a chew when it gets to a point where your dog could swallow it whole.



All the above chew toys are available at your vets and most shops as well. They are not expensive and a must have when looking at keeping your pet busy.

If you are going to be using the chew toys to distract your pup so that you can leave without them crying, remember that if they really struggle to be apart from you, they might learn to associate the receiving of a chew toy with you leaving them alone. Because of this, it's always a good idea to give your pup a chew or two while you stay at home, so that they do not make a negative connection with the toys.

The next type of toy is called the brain toy. These toys are specifically designed to get your pet's brain thinking. They aren't really for when you leave your pup alone, but more for teaching and mentally stimulating them.

Try cutting holed in a plastic bottle and filling the bottle with pellets. The pup has to learn to move the bottle so that the pellets will fall out. He'll be confused at first, but once he's learned the secret, he'll be kept busy for ages.

Kongs are a great way of keeping your pup busy by making him use his brain. You can fill them with treats, put a little bit of peanut butter inside or freeze them. Whichever way you decide to use them, they really make your pup think about the best way to get the food out.





Other brain toys include your pup having to "paw" out a black to get the treat underneath or to roll the "Buster Cube" to get what's inside. Have a look at the websites listed below for some more brain toys.


The last category of toys are the interactive toys. Balls, ropes, Frisbees and the like all require a second player. Another dog can join in for a game of tug-of-war, but a human is generally needed to take part when it comes to balls and Frisbees. Don't fall into the trap of saying "my dog has so many toys but still chews the furniture", when all you have are balls and ropes lying around.



The trick when it comes to keeping your pup stimulated is creativity and imagination. Getting him to search for his food or to have to perform commands to get treats are all great ways of mentally stimulating them. The more busy they are kept, the less damage they'll do!

Some websites regarding brain toys:


More Articles...