Category Archives: training

Potty Training Your Pup: How to Limit Accidents During Bad Weather

potty training, dogs, snow

No one likes going outside in the cold and rain, sleet or snow. Imagine having to go to the bathroom in it; now you too can understand your dog’s world. Why go outside to use the restroom, where its cold and uncomfortable, when they can just relieve themselves inside, in the warmth?


Luckily for both of you, there are some easy-to-follow  potty training strategies that will help Fido feel more comfortable eliminating in poor weather.

Potty Training Tips and Tricks

For a dog still undergoing initial house training, make going out in bad weather part of the training. Don’t allow a dog who still goes to the bathroom inside sometimes to do so all the time during rough weather.

Get him used to doing his business in the elements. Take him out on leash and use a command word, such as “potty” or “tinkle,” to indicate it’s time to go.

Begin by saying the word right before he’s about to go and praise or treat him after. As he learns what the word means, say it even if he isn’t indicating so he’ll eliminate on cue, making a trip outside quick and easy.

Create a Safe Space

If your dog is deterred by the snow, clear a space for your pooch. Shovel a potty spot that is large enough for your canine companion to sniff and circle in before eliminating.

During potty training, continue to use the same cleared area each time Fido needs to eliminate. If this strategy is unsuccessful, or if you are unable to clear an area, you can also place a fresh patch right outside your door for your pup to use as a restroom. Fresh patch is a portable patch of grass that you can place anywhere you like to encourage elimination.

If your dog is older and already housebroken, but he’s resistant to going when the weather is bad, revert to taking him out on leash after each meal and teach him the command word. Do this even in good weather until he understands the request.

Dress for the Occasion

Before taking your pooch outside in the snow, you bundle up with a thick coat. Remember, Fido gets cold too and could use a little warmth in extreme weather.

If your dog has a short haired coat, consider utilizing canine clothing to make him more comfortable. Warm booties can be purchased to keep your dog’s paws warm and comfortable. Doggy sweaters are also an effective and stylish option for Fido.

The Potty Game

Encourage your pooch to potty outside by rewarding a job well done. You should regularly take your dog outside during the day to give him a change to eliminate. When he potties outside, instead of inside, celebrate!

Let Fido know that he did a good job with enthusiastic praise or affection. You can even reward him with a special doggy treat. This is a great time to give them their daily NuVet Plus & NuJoint wafers!

Once your doggy is done eliminating, follow his lead. Reward him by continuing to explore, or going back into the warmth, whatever your canine companion prefers.

Indoor Accommodations

Sometimes the weather is dangerous – strong wind, lightning, hail – making it safer for you and your dog to stay inside.

Newspapers are a worst-case scenario option; potty pads or patches of fake sod are more reliable and sanitary choices for indoor bathrooms. Walk your dog over on leash and give the command word, rewarding him enthusiastically when he eliminates in the proper spot.

If there’s a covered spot outside, protected from the elements, train your dog to go there in bad weather.

Indoors or outdoors, always follow elimination in the correct spot with a reward – praise, petting, food or playtime – and check out NuVet Labs Facebook for more doggy information!

Harness vs. Collar: What’s Best for Your Dog

collar, harness, dogs, walking, pulling

“The walk” is often the main event in a dog’s day. Unfortunately, it’s just as often the biggest hassle of yours. If your dog pulls, wiggles or resists keeping up with your pace, you may come to dread the whole exercise. Using the right collar or harness can make all the difference.

Collar Pros

Most people are familiar with the flat collar, made of cloth or leather and closed with a clasp or buckle. It’s ideal for canine identification tags, but it’s not always the best option for walking.

If your dog doesn’t pull on walks and isn’t a breed known for breathing problems, a flat collar is a fine option. Some dogs do not like the way a harness feels and prefer to wear a flat collar.

Slip Collar

A martingale, or slip, collar is a variation on a flat collar. It has the same look and shape of a flat collar. However, it features a section that gently becomes flush with your dog’s neck when he pulls or moves backwards.

The slight pressure acts as a correction while preventing your dog from slipping out of his collar. It is a good option for dogs with thick necks, like bulldogs or pit bulls, or breeds with little difference in size between their head and necks.

Head Collar

A head collar is a third alternative, ideal for serious pullers or dogs that outweigh and therefore overpower you on a walk. They sit at the base of the head and wrap around the muzzle with a leash attached under the chin.

It allows you to direct the dog’s attention when he pulls away without putting strain on his throat or building the neck and back muscles, which would only make him better at pulling.

Head collars can be controversial. Partaking in more research before making a decision is encouraged.


Although collars are convenient for ID tags, they can have a negative impact on some dogs. For example, pulling in a collar can increase the probability of a neck injury.

They are also not ideal for training purposes, since they offer less control.

Harness Pros

Any dogs with flat muzzles, including pugs or bulldogs, have predispositions to health issues with the throat or spine. These breeds are best served by a harness. Back-attaching harnesses work well for these dogs, as the leash attachment on the back applies less pressure during correction.

A harness is also ideal for dogs with respiratory issues or neck concerns. In a harness, the pulling or corrections do not put pressure directly on the neck. Likewise, a harness can aid dogs who have difficulties getting up  by providing lift assistance.

Harnesses offer more control, which make them ideal for training. They discourage pulling since they do not allow Fido to gain forward movement, which is great for dogs who get distracted easily.

For larger dogs with pulling issues, a front-attaching harness is preferred. The leash correction coming from the front gives you more control.

The attachment is between the legs and tightens when pulled. It is also less likely to come off accidentally since it wraps around the dogs body.

Harness Cons

Although harnesses do not harm your dog, some dogs find them to be uncomfortable. Walking your dog on a harness as early as possible improves the chances that your pup will be willing to cooperate.

Certain types of harnesses have also been found to be less effective. For example, a back-clip is generally the most comfortable but it does not offer much control for a dog that likes to pull.

Maybe you like the control provided by a harness, but you also like how easy it is to place ID tags on a collar. Luckily, you can have both! You can keep Fido’s collar on, with the ID tags attached, and add the harness when you and Fido go for a walk.

Hopefully we have been able to help clarify the pros and cons that come with a collar or harness so you can pick the right tool for your canine companion. For more doggy tips and canine entertainment, follow NuVet Labs on Facebook.

Dealing with Aggression: Help Keep Your Child Safe

aggression, dogs, kids, children

Dogs and children seem to be the perfect pairing. Both love to run, play, share height restrictions, have an abundance of energy and neither of them pay rent. Yet, out of the estimated 368,245 treated dog bites reported in 2001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculates that the highest injury rate occurred for children between ages of 5 and 9. Controlling aggression requires training both your dog and your children.

At NuVet Labs, pet health and safety is our passion. This is why we want to share the below information to help keep your two-legged and four-legged children safe.

Roots of Aggression Towards Children

Even the sweetest, most gentle family pet is capable of biting. It’s a natural defense mechanism for animals, even domesticated ones.

Dogs that aren’t properly socialized by four months of age may not react well to children. Their movements, voices and even their sizes are different from adults. A dog that is not socialized may not make the connection that kids are simply smaller humans.

Kids also behave unpredictably around dogs. When children see furry canines, they tend to get excited and want rush play with dog. When excited, they’re less aware of boundaries and their sudden movements may startle a dog.

A child may approach a dog as he eats or plays with a toy, making the dog think he has to guard his “valuable.” Children are also known to poke, pull and jump all over dogs like they’re inanimate stuffed animals. Unfortunately, dogs do respond to discomfort and fear, often with a snap or a bite.

Always Supervise

Supervising your child’s interactions with your – or any – dog allows you to intervene if something goes awry. Keep a close eye on your child to be aware of the below potential signs of aggression.

A general progression of agitation in a normally non-aggressive dog is often:

Stopping what he’s doing, sometimes along with a hard stare at the child

  • Raised hackles
  • Lunging
  • Stiff or rigid stance
  • Baring of teeth with a growl or snarl
  • Snapping – this is a warning, not a failed bite
  • Biting – some dogs will temper their bites to avoid serious harm, but others will not.

Working with Your Dog

Basic obedience training is essential for any dog. When you can ask for and immediately receive a command, you hold the key to diffusing a tense situation.

If your canine companion does not catch on to commands immediately, a tasty treat can be a good incentive to help motive him. Once Fido follows the commands ten times in a row, with the treat as an incentive, you can move on to only using praise or affection to show him that he is doing well.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask a Professional

Always receive help from a professional when working to correct aggressive tendencies in dogs. A professional will be able to outline a training routine that will help correct the type of aggression your dog is expressing and teach you how to implement the training tools correctly.

One training tool, recommended by the ASPCA, is the “Statue Game.” The “Statue Game” can be used to teach your dog proper interactions with kids. The kids will “go crazy” until you say “freeze.” When they stop, ask your dog to sit and then reward him. As he learns the game, he’ll sit whenever the movement stops.

Working with Your Kids

A child who understands how to interact with dogs is safer in their presence. Always require your kids to ask permission before petting a dog they don’t know. Never allow them to reach through a fence or window to pet a dog.

Teach them how to properly pet a dog using a stuffed animal and instruct them to leave a dog alone when he starts to show signs of aggression or agitation. As they get older, explain to them why poking, pulling and rough-housing with dogs is unacceptable.

Fido Wants You To Be The Pack Leader

pack leader, leader, dogs

The importance of establishing a “pack leader” and socializing your dog cannot be emphasized enough. Dogs are pack animals. They look to you to be the pack leader.

By establishing your role as pack leader, and properly socializing your dog with other animals and humans, it’s less likely that you’ll encounter problem situations where you’ll need to exert that control.

You are the Alpha Dog

The term “alpha dog” has become a cliche, but the concept still applies to your relationship with your dog. Being a leader is different from being dominant. Being the pack leader involves setting boundaries, deciding when your canine companion eats, when they play, etc.

Your dog must understand that what you say goes. When you call him to come, he must come. When you tell him to stay, he can’t wander off. Obedience training goes a long way in establishing your role as the head of the pack.

Qualities of a Pack Leader

Dogs are very aware of energy. Just like they can sense when we aren’t feeling well, they can also sense nervous or emotional energy. As a pack leader, it is important to project calm confident energy.

For example, if you are walking your dog and he is continuously pulls, just stop. Be assertive by standing your ground until Fido comes back to your side and has a calm demeanor. Once Fido is calmly by your side, praise him and continue to walk.

Praising for your dog can be expressed in multiple ways. You can show Fido you are pleased with his behavior by giving him a healthy treat, like a NuVet Plus wafer. However, you can also show gratitude with a quick stroke under the chin or an enthusiastic good job!

Establishing Leadership

You do not have to yell commands to establish yourself as the leader. Although there is a time and place to vocally tell Fido no, setting boundaries and being consistent does most of the work.

One way to communicate to Fido that the house is yours is by waiting to let him inside. Stand confidently by the front, looking down at your pup until they are calm. Once they are calm, praise them and open the door to let them in after you.

You can do this same exercise by standing with Fido’s food and waiting for him to be calm before putting the food down for him to eat. You can also use this exercise when giving your canine companion his nutritional supplement from NuVet.

These techniques may take practice to get down, but they are an easy way to show your pup that you are in charge.

Meet and Greet

Once you have built a relationship with your dog, you can begin socializing your companion. A well-socialized dog will experience less stress throughout its life, in turn decreasing the stressful situations you encounter.

When introducing your dog to new dogs, it is best to have them meet on neutral ground. This way, no one resource guards or feels as though the other is intruding on their territory.

Have the dogs meet by sniffing each other from behind. Sniffing from behind is a less threatening way to say hello.

Be sure to introduce all new pets and people with a calm confident energy. If you are nervous about the play date, is is likely that Fido will be too.

By exposing your puppy or dog to various people and other pets in a safe environment, he will be better prepared to handle future encounters with strangers and new animals. This decreases the likelihood of behavior you’ll need to correct as the leader.

Socializing and Leadership

While socializing and asserting  yourself as the pack leader are ongoing processes, they are essential for a well-rounded dog.

If you’ve correctly established yourself as the leader and you maintain that role consistently, your relationship with your dog will flourish into an easy companionship and lifelong friendship.

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House Training: Stop Accidents Before They Happen

House training your puppy is a necessity. No one wants a pet who eliminates wherever they want. Although dogs can be potty trained at any age, the earlier it’s done, the sooner you’ll see success.

The one exception to this is puppies under 12 weeks of age. This is because they have little to no control over their bladders. You can begin training with your puppy before he’s 12 weeks, but anticipate more accidents during this time.

Formulate Your House Training Plan

Preparation begins even before your puppy comes home. Create a plan based on your lifestyle and living situation, then purchase the supplies you need.

Unless someone will be home with the puppy all day, you’ll need to keep him in a safe, designated area. You can use a crate, a room with a closed door, or section off an area with a baby gate.

If you’re using a room of the house, be sure it has bare floors rather than carpeting or rugs so accidents don’t get soaked up while you’re away. Remove any items the puppy could chew on or get caught up in, including window blind cords and electrical wires. Puppy pads are recommended in this situation.

Using a Crate

If you’re going to crate train your puppy, decide what size crate you want to purchase. Do you want to purchase a crate that fits him now, or one he will grow into? A non-house trained puppy should have just enough room inside the crate to stand up, turn around and lie down.

The rule of thumb is to get a crate one-and-a-half times the length of the dog from his nose to the start of his tail. However, if you know your puppy will be much larger when full-grown, you can begin with a crate big enough for his adult size as long as you can attach partitions that will limit his access to the appropriate amount of space.

Leave the bottom of the crate bare. Puppies normally will not lie in their own urine. Therefore, limit the space in the crate to the room he needs to sleep, with nothing absorbent to pee on.

No matter the method you choose for house training, the most important and abundant supply you’ll need is patience.

Getting Started

Several rules of thumb will help you through the house training process.

  • Until your puppy has shown he understands the concept of eliminating in a designated area, keep him with you on a leash whenever he’s in the house. This allows you to quickly escort him outside if he looks like he’s about to go to the bathroom.
  • Puppies generally can hold their bladders for as many hours as they are months old plus one. For instance, a 4-month old puppy will likely be able to hold his urine for 5 hours. Therefore, if you leave your puppy alone for longer than that, expect to come home to an accident.
  • Never punish your puppy for an accident. It will only serve to create fear in him whenever he has to eliminate. If you catch him in the act, make a quick, sharp noise to get his attention, but not scare him, then quickly take him outside or to the puppy pad to finish. Praise him with words and petting when he finishes properly.
  • If he has an accident outside of your view, do not react when you find it. He won’t understand that you’re yelling or punishing him for something he did minutes before. Simply put the dog in another room and use an odor-eliminating cleaner on the spot.

Setting a Routine

Dogs respond well to structure. Create a routine for house training. No matter your schedule, try to stick as closely to the routine as possible every day.

1.Morning Elimination

Begin each morning with a trip outside on the leash. Give your puppy 5 minutes to eliminate. Immediately upon finishing – not before so you don’t startle him – praise him for it. Remain outside for another 10 minutes to ensure he empties his bladder and bowels completely.

Puppies don’t always totally eliminate in one squatting. If you bring him inside immediately after going, he will learn to hold it just to get more time outside.

If your puppy doesn’t go in the first 5 minutes, bring him back inside. Once inside, confine him in his crate, a small penned-in area or tether him to you with constant supervision. Continue to take him outside on leash every 15 to 30 minutes until you get a successful elimination, as described above.

2.Supervised Free Time

After the extra 10 minutes, come back inside and give the puppy supervised “free time” for 10 to 30 minutes.

When the puppy has developed manners in the house – not chewing on items or jumping on furniture – you can drop the leash to the floor and allow the dog to follow you around. Grabbing the leash if the puppy acts up or tries to wander off still gives you control over his actions.

3.Before and After Breakfast

Take him out again to go potty before you feed him breakfast. If he doesn’t go in the first 5 minutes, feed him in his crate or confined area to keep an eye on him.

Don’t give him more than 10 to 20 minutes to eat and drink, then take him outside immediately after he’s done. The additional 10 minutes is especially important after eating, even though he’ll likely relieve himself very quickly after a meal.

4.Getting Ready for Your Day

Bring him back inside as you get ready for your day, keeping him tethered to a heavy object in your view. Take him outside again after this resting period.

If you don’t get a successful elimination, bring him back in and confine him while you finish getting ready. Try one more trip outside before beginning your day.

Going to Work

If you work outside of the home and the puppy will be left alone for an extended time, be sure to take him outside to eliminate and exercise him just before you leave. Then put him in his crate or confined area with a small amount of water and a toy or two for entertainment.

If you will be home with him all day, continue the routine of taking him out after resting, eating or drinking water.

If someone won’t be home within the maximum time your puppy can hold his bladder, leave puppy pads in his area. Ideally, he’ll have an enclosed area near the door you take him through when eliminating outside. Leave his crate open inside the area and puppy pads placed as close to the exit door as possible.

Returning Home

When you return home, immediately take your puppy outside to eliminate, and then play with him for half-an-hour in the yard. Leash him to encourage elimination before returning inside.

Give him 30 minutes of supervised free time as you change or prepare dinner.
After he eats, take him outside immediately and follow the same routine as breakfast.

The rest of the evening should feature a walk, play time, obedience training and multiple trips outside to eliminate. Pull your dog’s water bowl at least 2 hours prior to bed time and take him out immediately before putting him in his crate or pen for the night.

Although your puppy may hold his bladder until morning, be prepared for middle-of-the-night potty breaks when he’s young. If he normally begins to whine around 3 a.m. and has to eliminate, set an alarm for 2:30 a.m. and take him out before the whining starts. This will discourage a tendency to cry simply to be let out of the crate or pen.

Advanced Behaviors

When your puppy has consistently eliminated successfully for several days or a week, you can begin to give him the “go potty” cue when you see him squat, circle or sniff the ground, indicating his need to go.

He will eventually learn this cue like “sit” and “stay,” allowing you to instruct him to eliminate when and where you want. Your puppy may eventually learn to go to the door you take him out of when he needs to eliminate, but you can easily reinforce or train this behavior.

Attach a small bell to or near the door and use the puppy’s paw to ring it before you take him out each time. Or simply use his paw to tap the door once or twice. He will learn that this behavior results in him being let outside.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • While puppies usually need to eliminate almost immediately after eating, drinking or resting, even adult dogs tend to have to go within 15 to 30 minutes after these activities.
  • During the house training process, always praise your puppy after a successful elimination. It reinforces the behavior you want.
  • Always accompany your leashed puppy during house training to be sure he goes to the bathroom. Don’t assume he eliminated because you let him go outside.
  • If you don’t have a yard to take your puppy into, substitute puppy pads for some of the trips outdoors, using the same timing and routines.
  • If your puppy consistently has accidents despite a training routine, take him to the veterinarian to see if there can be something else contributing to your puppies accidents.