Archive for August 2010

Spectacular Cichlids

Monday, August 30th, 2010

CichlidCichlids make up one of the largest, most diverse, and most important families of fish in the world. There are an estimated 2000 or more species of cichlids. These fish inhabit the most varied of waters, ranging from roaring rivers to the smallest of ponds. Most cichlids in the wild are found in Africa and Central and South America.

Many cichlids have become valued and popular aquarium fish throughout the world. You may have seen them before or even own them but not know that they are cichlids. For example, oscars, discus fish and angelfish are types of cichlids.

The popularity of cichlids among aquarists is not surprising: many cichlids are easy to keep, there are so many kinds to choose from, and they are considered relatively smart and highly evolved fish. Hundreds of cichlid species are currently available for the aquarium and many are hardy enough to be kept and bred successfully without extremely large tanks or special equipment.

Below is a brief listing of some of the most popular and available aquarium cichlids…

South American and Central American cichlids:

  • Angelfish
  • Discus
  • Convict cichlid
  • Red devil
  • Green terror
  • Red terror
  • Parrot cichlid
  • Oscar

African cichlids:

  • Lake Tanganyika cichlid
  • Lake Malawi cichlid
  • Lake Victoria cichlid
  • Electric Yellow
  • Red Zebra
  • Tilapia

Indeed, cichlids come in a surprising diversity of shapes, sizes, colors, patterns, as well as personalities and behaviors for the aquarist to choose from. Central American cichlids are considered to be more dull in color with less patterns, but they have some of the most interesting behaviors and personalities. South American cichlids are pretty and but more docile in behavior. African cichlids are considered the prettiest and their vivid colors and patterns are ceaseless. Furthermore, you can choose from cichlids that have very rich and deep colors with sharp and distinct edges, or others that have more subtle colors with blurred markings and edges.

In terms of size, the smallest cichlids stay under 2 inches. At the larger end, cichlids can grow to 1 foot or even up to 1 meter long. Some cichlids are called “mouth-brooders” because they carry and raise their young in their mouths, and others are called “substrate-brooders” because they simply deposit their young on the substrate (gravel or other material) on the bottom of the tank. Some cichlids are tall-bodied (angelfish and discus) and compressed while others are long and rounded (most African cichlids). Cichlids do share a few common and interesting characteristics, such as having a single nostril and the presence of teeth in both the jaws and in the throat. Most cichlids are freshwater tropical fish.

Because they are such intelligent and highly-evolved fish, most cichlids are very active, curious in nature, and have fascinating behaviors and personalities. They will usually come right up to you as you come up to the tank and even try to interact with you. It is also this intelligence that makes some cichlids aggressive and territorial. This is especially true for the larger cichlids, Central American cichlids, or cichlids who are breeding and spawning. However, there are ways to make just about any cichlid get along well with others in a community aquarium

Large cichlids will get along with large fish of various species and generally should be kept with fish of the same temperament and size as themselves. There are a few large species that are peaceful and can get along in a normal community set up. Some cichlids, such as the angelfish, are actually considered some of the most peaceful and compatible fish in the world. The general rule of thumb for keeping most cichlids is to not keep them with fish that could fit into their mouths, as such small fish may be easily prone to aggression and possibly eaten.

Since there is such a variety of cichlid species, cichlids have a wide range of feeding habits. However, most cichlids have a good appetite and are easily fed. Most cichlids are omnivorous (eats plant and animal matter) but will usually eat more animal foods. These species should be offered a mixed diet of live foods (worms, crustaceans), flakes foods, and some fresh vegetable shreddings. A few cichlids such as the tilapia are strictly plant-eaters. Most cichlids are freshwater tropical fish, so the most ideal temperature range is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and a pH range from 6.0 to 8.0 is good. As with any fish, avoid sudden changes in pH and temperature.

All About Parakeets

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

This famous little bird has scientific name “melopsittacus undulatus,” which literally means “song parrot with wavy lines.” The proper name for this bird is budgerigar, and some may know it by its nickname, “budgie.” However, this bird is more commonly known as the parakeet. Parakeets belong to the parrot family, and a parakeet generally refers to any small to medium sized parrot with a long, tapered tail. The larger parrots tend to have stockier bodies and more squarish tails. In fact, the word “parakeet” means long tail.

Parakeets come from Australia where they live in large communal flocks. Being flock birds, parakeets are very social with each other and with people. They love attention and make wonderful pets. Most parakeets that you see in pet shops are bred in the United States. There are about 120 species with many sub-species. You can find parakeets in different shades of blue, green, yellow, white, red, and many other colors. Some species also have pretty plumes on top of their heads. Two of the most popular parakeet species are quaker parrots and ringneck parrots.

Colorful, friendly, sociable, intelligent, easy to tame, easy to care for, and relatively inexpensive, it is not surprising that the parakeet is one of the most popular and commonly kept birds. These birds are great for children, people who are just starting out with birds, and just about everyone else. Many experienced bird owners like keeping these birds as well, due to the parakeet’s manageable size, gentleness, captivating personality, and non-destructive behavior.

Parakeets are fairly intelligent birds that are relatively good at learning to talk and do tricks. They will learn to step up on your finger and other simple tricks, and almost all parakeets can learn to mimic a few words. In fact, the male parakeet has the capacity to learn over 200 words although their speech may be garbled. Parakeets are also full of energy and are a lot of fun to watch. Parakeets will stay very busy climbing, flying from perch to perch, chewing on toys and anything else they can reach, and performing other fun antics.

A White ParakeetIf you want your parakeet to really bond with you and become a close friend, get just one of them. It will bond more to you that way. If you get two or more parakeets in the same cage, the birds will bond more to each other. If you are planning on having one bird, you should provide plenty of toys such as rings, balls, swings, and bells. In addition to this, you should fulfill its need for companionship by spending some time with it each day.

Parakeets also love mirrors and other reflective objects. It is especially good to have a mirror in the cage if you have just one bird. They are very social creatures and will not be as lonely if there is another bird as a companion, or the reflection of themselves to admire. It is a good idea to get some toys even if you have more than one parakeet, as parakeets love to play. Parakeets like chew toys too. Chew toys made out of wood are good. Just make sure that it is a safe kind of wood for them to chew. It is best to get your wood chews at a good pet shop.

A parakeet is one of the easiest birds to take care of, and they can usually live ten to fifteen years if given good care. All you need is a medium sized cage, a good vitamin enriched food, millet or millet sprays, food and water dishes, a few toys, and a cuttle bone. Get a crushed cob litter or something similar for putting on the bottom of the cage, and change this lining at least once a week. Clean and change the water and food bowls daily to avoid the growth of bacteria.

Keeping your parakeet’s food and water fresh, as well as replenished, is very important. A bird can starve in a short amount of time if it runs out of food. A cuttlebone containing grit will provide a parakeet with the calcium it needs, aid in digestion, and keep the bird’s beak trim and from becoming too long. Parakeets also enjoy supplements of raw fruits and vegetables, but they should be offered in moderation. You may wish to clip your parakeet’s wings short so that it can’t fly. This will make it easier to tame the parakeet and will prevent it from flying out the door or into a pane of glass.

So if you have never had a bird, try a parakeet. They can be a lot of fun. If you already have a parakeet, or want to get one, just follow the basic care tips above, and you should have your parakeet for a good long while.

Cat Care – The Essentials

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Kitten on CouchCats are great pets for people who want good companionship without a lot of responsibility. They are easy to maintain and are usually very independent, curious, playful, loving, and a lot of fun to watch and be with.

Of course, your cat still depends on you for its basic needs, such as proper food, shelter, annual check ups and vaccinations, and your time spent in building a bond with it as owner and companion. In addition, there are some other important care tips and regimens that will help keep your cat happy, in good health, and on its best behavior.

Grooming – Not Just For Good Looks

Make sure to groom your cat regularly, brushing or combing its fur using a pet rake or slicker brush. Regular grooming prevents and manages excess shedding, and helps to maintain a tight, shiny coat. This way your hand will not be filled with messy hair every time you pet your cat and this will also keep your house cleaner. Furthermore, grooming helps prevent hairballs as well as fleas and ticks, helps stimulate the skin, and most cats enjoy being brushed. Generally speaking, shorthaired cats should be groomed at least once a week, while longhaired cats can be groomed up to once a day.

When grooming, start at the head and work toward the tail, and be firm but gentle. Pulling or ripping through tangles and mats will cause pain, distrust, and anger. Brushing can, and should, be a pleasant experience for both owner and cat, so take your time. In addition to grooming as a way to prevent and manage excess shedding, many pet food companies also make products that you can add to your cat’s food to help prevent or stop excess shedding. Allen’s Shed-Stop and Lambert Kay Shed Relief are just two of these helpful products. Science Diet, Nutro and Iams also make similar products.

Litter Boxes and Getting Cats to Use Them

A few people have trained their cats to go potty outside of the home or even into the toilet, but those methods are harder to teach and can pose a hazard. Most people will just use a litter box. In most cases, a cat will usually instinctively start using the litter box that you provide for it, but some cats may need to be given a few hints or even tricks.

Initially, you may need to place the litter box in a public place where your cat can easily see it, or at the spot where it usually goes potty. Later, if you want to move the litter box – say into the bathroom or other low-traffic, low-visibility area – do it gradually: move the box 6-8 inches every few days and be sure that the cat still continues to use it in the new place. It also might help to place something over the old spot so it will not be tempted to return there.

You can choose from covered or open litter boxes. If using a covered box, make sure your cat can get in and out easily or it may decline to use it. There are a variety of materials you can buy for litter filling. Cats use soil in the wild and you can try digging up some in your backyard for use. Most people buy their litter material. You can choose from clay, sand, chunky pellets, silica gel and even environmentally friendly litter material.

Here are some other tips for using litter boxes

  • Change litter box contents regularly (that is, clean it out) to keep the cat interested in it. Cats like clean places to do their business. Try to remove soiled litter daily. This will help keep your home odor-free and ensure your cat’s use of the litter box.
  • Depending on the buildup of soiled litter and odors, you should completely clean out (empty) the box and replenish it with fresh litter every so often. When changing the litter, you should wash the box with warm, soapy water (not harsh cleaning chemicals), and then rinse it thoroughly before refilling it with litter.
  • Each cat should have its own litter box. If you have a two-story home you may need to keep one litter box on each floor to ensure your cat uses the litter boxes consistently.
  • The litter box should be roomy enough for your cat to turn around in it.
  • Do not put your cat’s litter box next to its food bowl or bed. Because cleanliness is so important to them, cats do not like to eliminate where they eat or sleep.

Food and Feeding

Inquisitive KittenSome cats may prefer milk or other liquids, but water is always the best drink for them. Cats will drink more water and enjoy it more if is kept very fresh. For food, there are many cat foods on the market. As you might expect, most commercial cat foods are already made to be relatively nutritionally balanced. You can read and compare labels to pick the ones that are most fortified with vitamins and minerals, or those that include anti-oxidants for extra protection against diseases.

Indeed, feeding your cat a good cat food will help avoid adult diseases like obesity, diabetes as well as organ damage when they are older. There are also specially designed cat foods for helping to prevent or even curing certain cat diseases and disorders, including the prevention of excess shedding mentioned earlier in the Grooming section. Another article in the Pet World Fact of the Week archives talks all about these and other types of pet foods, click here to see it.

Some cats control their intake well while others eat anything in sight. To avoid overfeeding your cat (which can lead to obesity and other health problems), it is best to provide food at mealtimes only rather than having a food bowl filled with food available at all times. This way you can easily monitor intake and food will not become stale. Avoid table scraps as well even though it is tempting!

There are plenty of dry or canned cat foods available for your cat. Dry foods take up less space, are easier to serve, will remain fresh and appetizing in the open for longer periods of time, may even help keep the cat’s teeth healthier and cleaner, and are available in a variety of flavors and textures. Canned cat foods usually contain a higher portion of meat and are generally more delicious and savory for cats, but that is about where the advantages end.

Fun and Activities

Cats are very independent and active creatures in the wild, where they thrive and keep busy with the freedom to hunt, mark, protect and defend, and to interact with others of the same species. Not surprisingly, indoor life can sometimes be a little tedious for cats, and this is what usually leads to things like excessive scratching, hiding, and other behavioral “problems”. While a cat for your cat is the optimal solution (they will amuse themselves together for hours at a time and take the heat for entertainment off you), a collection of fun toys and a few minutes per day of your time and energy will go a long way toward meeting your cat’s physical as well as emotional/psychological needs and thus providing an outlet for what may otherwise become misdirected behavior or “bad habits.”

Climbing furniture such as cat trees are great for satisfying curiosity and providing excellent exercise for cats. Toys especially for chase or hunt games and activities (can be anything from a simple ball to a laser mouse toy) provide what is called “predatory play” for cats and satisfies that urge. A ball on a string or hanging from the end of a pole make a great toy for social and interactive play. There are also food puzzles such as buster cubes (plastic cubes with various compartments for food that falls out as the cat bats it) that will provide feeding as well as exercise in one package. You can also make a homemade one, such as a paper cup with the opening taped over, and drill one or more holes in cup bottom or side so the cat can play some games with it to get food out continuously.

Cat Safety and Cat-Proofing

Cats and especially kittens, are very curious and independent by nature, and although you can not really discourage them from it, you can be prepared for it to prevent accidents and tragedies. Make it easy for your family and your cat by doing a little cat-proofing around the home:

  1. Store all poisonous or dangerous materials in a tightly closed cabinet.
  2. Keep toilet lids down. Your cat or kitten could fall in.
  3. Store plastic bags in a drawer where your cat can not get to them. They can pose a threat of choking and suffocation.
  4. Keep household items like string, sewing supplies, tacks, rubber bands, twist-ties, and other small parts away from your cat or kitten as they can be easily swallowed. Regular vacuuming will help with this.
  5. Electrical cords should either be secured to the walls or wound up and bound so cat has less risk of getting shocked.
  6. Store chocolates and other delicious (but bad for cats) human treats in closed containers and not openly displayed.
  7. Lock up stuff like opened cleaning ingredients and other hazardous chemicals, or at least place them in securely closed cupboards.
  8. Keep the dryer closed at all times – you may have heard about such nightmares in movies or on the news before.
  9. Honk your car’s horn before starting up – cats that are let out in the garage may hide under cars and even under car hoods
  10. Some plants, like ivy and poinsettia, are toxic when chewed on by cats. Be sure to check with your veterinarian or the plant nursery before bringing any plant into the house. Alternatively, you can use special cat repellents that will not hurt the plant but whose horrible taste will repel any cat. You can also get cat grass and most other grass seedlings for your cat to enjoy instead.
  11. Make sure to have your cat start wearing a collar if it is not already, especially if you let your cat outdoors. The collar should have an identification tag with your phone number at minimum, and it should fit snug but not tight – you should be able to stick a finger in comfortably. And when you let your cat out it is best to keep your eyes open since they are susceptible to fights with other animals and traffic accidents.

Have a “Crate” Time With Your Pup!

Monday, August 9th, 2010

The Basics of Crate Training

Golden PuppyCrate training and potty training are two basic and important skills for any dog or puppy to learn and master. Most puppies can be taught these two skills at just about any age over 12 weeks, but they will be more receptive and will learn faster when they are under 1 year of age.

Crate Training – Acquainting Your Puppy with Its New Home

Starting at early puppyhood, train your puppy to sleep, rest, and be comfortable in its “home” (crate). Every puppy needs to learn the skill of resting calmly in a crate. This skill will be needed at the veterinary hospital, for traveling, and for restricted activity due to illness. It is also a lifesaver for many young dogs during their chewing stages – your puppy will more likely be comfortably resting in its crate instead of causing messes or trouble all over the house. Everyone in the household can sleep better with a crate-trained puppy.

Finally crate training is an effective tool for helping with housebreaking or potty training. The basic principle is that puppies will avoid soiling in their immediate sleeping/living area, that is, their crate or “den.” The first couple of tries you might have some accidents, but do not be discouraged. By following the steps below, you can show your puppy how to train itself to seek security and comfort inside its little dog home. The crate should be a place of security and comfort to it like the den is for most canine animals in the wild.

Step 1: Encourage your puppy to go into its home on its own. If necessary, toss a treat into the crate. Do not force it to go in. Your puppy may quickly back out or be shy, but that is normal. Be patient and give it some time. For now, do not close the door on your puppy, but let it go in and explore without too much anxiety and worry. Of course, feel free to give praise and/or a treat when the puppy goes in.

Step 2: Once your puppy is happy and unafraid of its new home, simply restrain it at the crate door with your hand. Make your puppy stay in its home for a few minutes at first, then gradually increase the time and be sure to praise it if it behaves well.

Step 3: Once your puppy is comfortable with this – usually after a few hours or a few days of short training sessions – simply restrain it by closing the crate door gently but firmly on it, again praising it lavishly. However, try not to be sneaky about shutting the door, this can cause the puppy to distrust both you and the crate. Slowly you can get further and further away from your puppy, always praising its accepting behavior. Eventually, your puppy will feel secure in its home with the door closed, and will sit quietly and sleep in there.

Make the crate a pleasant place to rest. A few safe chew toys and a treat can help the puppy relax and drift off to dreamland. Provide soft, washable bedding in its new home, so that your puppy is comfortable and warm. Keep the bedding and crate clean and free of fleas. It is also important that the crate is the right size for your dog, if too big your puppy may soil in it. The crate should be big enough for you puppy to stand up, turn around and lie down with water bowl. Do not put housebreaking pads or newspaper in your puppy’s home. We are trying to take advantage of the its natural instinct not to go in its home but in the back yard or other open place.

Potty Training – Directing Your Puppy

Collie PuppyLittle puppies need to “go” about every 2-4 hours. The following steps show how to train your puppy to get used to a regular daily schedule for elimination. A set schedule between the two of you allows your puppy plenty of opportunities throughout the day to “go,” while ensuring that you do not have to take it out to “go” all day and night at unpredictable intervals and odd hours.

Step 1: Plan a schedule, such as after feeding, before bedtime, and first thing in the morning to take your puppy out to “go.”

Step 2: Teach your puppy the route to the door to wherever you would like it to do its elimination, such as the back yard. When you two get to the door, praise it at the door.

Step 3: At each scheduled time of the day, go with the puppy out the door and out to the back yard or wherever you have chosen. If there is a specific spot in the backyard or other place that you want it to use for elimination, lead your puppy to that spot and let it “go” there. Also praise it as it eliminates. Very quickly, you are teaching your puppy an elimination schedule that will stay with it for the rest of its life.

When your puppy gets to 4-6 months old, you can gradually leave it in its home for longer periods of time because it can hold the urge to eliminate longer. In fact, at 6 weeks, a puppy can hold its bladder about 4 hours, by 8 weeks – 5 hours, by 12 weeks – 6 hours, and by 5 or 6 months a puppy should be able to hold it for an 8 hour work day. Soon, your puppy can be in its home all day, if necessary, until you arrive to let it out.

However, take care not to abuse the use of the crate. When you are at home and awake, supervise the puppy in person rather than using the crate. Puppies need exercise, mental stimulation and guidance from you in order to grow up healthy and happy. Too much crate time is not humane. Puppies sleep 14 hours a day or so. If the crate time is scheduled so the puppy can use it for sleep and rest, that’s ideal.

Finally, good eating habits and food choice will help housebreak your dog or puppy. Although commonly done, you should avoid feeding table scraps to your puppy. Most human food can mess up your puppy’s stools (as well as possibly cause other health problems) and therefore interfere with your housebreaking plans. Good quality, dry dog food is your and your dog’s biggest ally. The average puppy or dog will need about 2 to 3 feedings a day, and be given water 3 or 4 times a day. You should make the last watering and feeding as early as possible – no later than a couple of hours before bedtime (around 5 or 6) – to help ensure that the puppy or dog eliminates around bedtime and will not have to go overnight.

Some of the Do’s and Don’ts of Crate and Potty Training

Do…get your puppy used to its new home gradually.

Do…supervise your puppy anytime it is roaming free in your home. Supervision is what allows you to direct behavior. Chewing, elimination, barking and all other behaviors are all dependent on your direction. If allowed to be unsupervised, your puppy will begin to direct its own behavior and schedule.

Do…remove collars, tags and leads from your puppy before placing it in your home to prevent possible entanglement.

Do…remember to give your puppy food and water if you have to leave it for awhile.

Don’t…try to housebreak your puppy before 12 weeks old, they lack the muscle control at that age.

Don’t…leave your puppy in its home all day.

Don’t…let your new puppy roam through your house unsupervised. Keep an eye on it so that when it sniffs and circles – an indication it is about to “go” – you can quickly and gently guide it to the door and outside.

Don’t…punish your puppy by putting or forcing him into its home. Your puppy’s home should not be associated with punishment or anything negative.

Teach Your Dog or Puppy the Basic Commands

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Fluffy DogYour puppy, like any other puppy, is trainable. Five of the most basic commands that you will want your puppy to know are: Sit, Down, Stand, Come, and Stay. Most puppies can learn these basic commands at just about any age over 12 weeks, although they are more receptive and will learn faster when they are under 1 year of age.

As you will see, the most common and effective method for teaching the basic commands are by using praise and treats as motivation. The basic idea is to put some treats in your pocket or in your hand, and then reward the puppy every time it correctly performs the new behavior you are trying to teach it. Follow the guidelines below to effectively and quickly teach your dog or puppy the basic commands.

Teaching Sit:

  1. Take a treat in your hand, and let the puppy sniff it by keeping it in front of or just above the puppy’s nose.
  2. Slowly move the treat up and back over the puppy’s head. If the puppy lifts its front legs then you are holding the food treat too high. Usually the puppy will be interested in the treat and will want to follow the treat, and it will have to sit to do so. If it does not begin to sit now, start over.
  3. As the puppy sits, say “Sit”, then give the puppy the treat, followed by some gentle stroking and a warm, enthusiastic “Good dog!”

Many repetitions will be necessary for the puppy to learn the association between sitting when told to and a good feeling. This is a important command to master though because as you will see later, it is the first step in teaching most other commands. You may wish to get the family involved to help with the training. Sit in a circle with the puppy in the middle, then have each family member call the puppy over and ask it to sit. Reward with treats if the puppy behaves well. This will also get the puppy socialized with the entire family!

Gradually, as the puppy understands what you want it to do, only give treats intermittently until it is weaned off the treats at least for the sit command. An alternative method you can try out is to hold the treat in front of the dog’s nose with one hand while placing your other hand on its shoulder blades. As your treat hand moves over its head your left had will slide down its back, gently increasing pressure until it sits. But do not use too much force!

Teaching Stay:

  1. Have the puppy sit.
  2. Move back six inches (equivalent to taking about a step back), and say “stay” as you hold out your right hand with palm facing your puppy. If the puppy does not stay and gets up, start over back at step 1. If the puppy stays successfully for at least 1-2 seconds, step forward and reward your puppy. Make sure that the puppy does not stand up or move as you present the reward because then you will have rewarded it for “getting up”.
  3. Once your puppy stays at six inches or one step away, repeat the first two steps but step back further – another six inches or another step, then say “stay” and hold for three or four seconds. If the puppy stays, walk back to the puppy and reward or praise it. Keeping repeating, increasing the distance by a step or two and the duration of stay by a couple of seconds each time.

You should gradually be able to get to a point when the puppy can stay for a minute or more with you standing at least 10 feet away. Be patient. It can take a week or more of daily training to get a puppy to sit and stay for 1-2 minutes. Over a few months it should be possible to increase the stay to 15 minutes or more, and to be able to leave the room and return without the puppy rising from its stay. Although stay is one of the more difficult commands to master, it is also a crucial and very useful command.

You may have an easier time if the puppy has already mastered the sit command. That is, it sits down each and every time it is asked, without the need for food inducements. An alternative method you can try for teaching stay is to start by placing the puppy on an elevated surface like a chair or a step. If your puppy is very feisty and active, you may wish to put a long leash on it so that it does not run away.

Teaching Down:

  1. Have the puppy sit.
  2. Hold the treat in front of the puppy’s nose and let the puppy sniff at the treat to rouse its interest.
  3. Slowly lower the treat down between the puppy’s front paws and say “Down”. Usually the puppy will follow the treat down to the floor and get to a lying position. If the puppy lies down give it the treat and of course add “good dog.”
  4. If the puppy does not lie all the way down, slowly push the treat backwards further between the paws. If pushing the treat backwards under the puppy still does not work, you can also try slowly pulling the treat forward. Move the treat forward along the ground so the puppy has to inch forward into a down position. Again, whenever the puppy does lie down, give it the treat, pet it, and say “Good dog” or some other praise. Whenever the puppy stands up, start over.

Once the puppy understands the down command, make sure that you vary the starting position. You should try to get your puppy to lie down from both a sit and when standing up.

Teaching Stand:

  1. Have the puppy sit.
  2. Take the food treat palm facing up and move it forward and away from the puppy as you say “Stand”.
  3. Your puppy should follow its nose and stand up. Do not pull your hand so far away that the puppy follows you, but just until it stands up. As it does, give it the treat and praise it.

Teaching Come:

  1. From a few feet away, say your puppy’s name in a happy voice. As soon as your puppy looks at you, either squat down or run backwards and say “Come.” Test both methods to see which elicits the quickest response from your puppy.
  2. As soon as your puppy starts coming toward you, say “Good dog!” If you are backing up, squat down before your puppy gets to you, keeping your upper torso straight because dogs feel insecure or intimidated if a person bends over them.
  3. Keep the hand with the treat close to your body so that as the puppy approaches you, it does not try to grab the treat from your outstretched hand and run away with it.
  4. As you offer the puppy the treat from one hand, gently grasp the puppy’s collar with the other hand. Not only will you be working on the come command, but you will also be associating taking hold of the collar with something positive so that your puppy will be more willing to have its collar held as it grows up.
  5. Finally, remember to try to do all training in a low distraction environment. This will help the puppy to concentrate. Once your puppy learns these basic commands, you will appreciate your puppy more and it will be easier to teach it other things in the future.