Book Review: Puppy Training

Photo Credit: With permission of Alexandra Santos

Recently I read a Kindle book on the subject of house training a dog, written by Alexandra Santos. I recognized her from a Pet Professional Guild webinar I attended on August 6, 2019 titled Fear Learning and How to Work With Fearful Dogs.

Santos is a professional canine behavior consultant who graduated from the Animal Care College in the U.K. with a Diploma of Advanced Canine Psychology. She has previously written Puppy Problems and Puppy and Dog Care books, among other things. During her fearful dogs webinar I was impressed with her force-free philosophy, compassion for dogs, and her deep understanding of psychology.

“Where is the toilet?”
Photo: Happy Buddha Dog Training

Naturally, I felt compelled to read her new book, Puppy Training: How to housetrain your puppy effectively. With my iPad in hand I settled into an easy chair, my dogs resting at my feet, and opened the Kindle app.

The software ran flawlessly, allowing me to easily flip page by page through the book. It was my first experience reading a Kindle version book and I was impressed, in spite of my preference for the tactile experience of turning pages.

Call me old fashioned.

The ebook is only 38 pages long so it was easy to digest in a short time, even while I took notes. It was organized in logical order, as follows:

About the author
Chapter 1 – Physical causes of house soiling
Chapter 2 – Behavioral causes of house soiling
Chapter 3 – Times when your puppy likely needs to urinate or defecate
Chapter 4 – Elimination is intrinsically reinforcing
Chapter 5 – Management at home
Chapter 6 – Training program at home
Chapter 7 – Training program outdoors
Chapter 8 – How and when to stop rewarding

It was quickly apparent that this book was well suited not only to puppies, but to newly adopted dogs or those who suddenly began having house soiling problems. The writer’s prose was clear and simple, appealing both to the typical pet steward and the training professional.

As a certified professional (force-free) dog trainer and behavior consultant, I read this book with a pretty solid understanding of house training a dog…and yet I learned more.

As an example of the comprehensive nature of this book, I had never considered how hormonal imbalance, obesity or physical deformities could affect house training or the onset of soiling problems inside the home. Nor have I read this previously in books or articles regarding house training.

Now I am better able to help my clients.

All other house training topics are also covered systematically, with important points in bold face so they jump off the page and catch the reader’s attention. I think that would be especially helpful to pet guardians who just want some help, without feeling information overload.

They do not want to become training professionals. They just want their puppy to not ruin their carpet.

“I am still learning”
Photo: Happy Buddha Dog Training

Santos devoted considerable attention to the use of indoor puppy pads, and how to make the gradual transition to eliminating the pads and teaching a dog how to only go potty outdoors. Her advice was clear, simple, progressive and detailed enough to keep pet owners on track.

People and their pets are thus set up to succeed, force-free.

In my practice I enjoy helping people with their new puppies or adopted older dogs and provide a comprehensive portfolio full of training materials, including advice on house training.

Today I updated my resource material so each new client has a hotlink to this book, as I believe it provides invaluable solutions to a common source of frustration for dog owners, at the cost of about one U.S. dollar.

How many puppy owners would pay one dollar to protect their expensive rugs from soiling?

If you have brought a new dog into your home, whether a puppy or an adopted older dog, this book will help you make the transition much easier for all concerned. If you are a professional, you may find referring clients to this resource will help them avoid the common frustrations of house soiling issues which occur when things are not done in an optimal manner.

Let’s all work together to set dogs and their families up for success!

Full disclosure:  I have no financial relationship with Alexandra Santos, or Amazon.  I wrote this blog in the interest of helping pet owners and pet professionals, without any expectation of financial benefit to me.

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Tips on How to Brush a Dog that Every Dog Owner Should Know

Unlike cats, our dogs require us to groom them by brushing their hair regularly. Grooming is a fundamental process that your dog needs for him to have some good health. However, you can’t just brush your dog with any brush that you come across in the shop.

You need to use the right grooming brushes for you dog. Even with the right brush, you still have to know how to brush a dog the right way depending on the type of coat that your dog has.

The Positive Effects of Brushing Your Dog Regularly

You may be wondering why it is important to brush your canine friend on a regular basis. Well, there are several reasons why you need to do so but we have decided to consider just a few of those reasons in this article. Here they are:

1. Brushing Your Dog Regularly Removes Loose Hair

As a dog parent, you will have to spend some of your weekends just vacuuming hairballs from your floor and furniture. Although brushing your dog will not stop him from shedding, it will remove all the loose hair from your dog’s coat before the hair shows up on your couch or yogurt. 

2. Brushing Removes Mats

remove matted dog hair

Matted hair is one of the things that your dog hates. This is because they are painful and can always lead to skin infections and irritations. They are also unhygienic. If your dog’s hair coat is prone to mats, then brushing the dog regularly will prevent mats from getting serious. Brushing will also prevent new mats from forming.

3. You Can Monitor Your Pooch’s Skin

As a responsible pet owner, you should always examine your fury baby’s coat spots, lumps, fleas and ticks. However, if your dog’s coat is a thick one, then monitoring his skin will be a little bit difficult.

Fortunately, when you brush your dog’s hair, you can see his skin even if he has a thick coat. This is because you will be able to separate his hair on one area from the other so that you can spot potential skin problems. 

4. Brushing Enables You to Bond With Your Dog

As long as your canine friend does not have any skin infections, then brushing his coat will feel like a massage to him. He will, therefore, enjoy this brushing session that will be so relaxing.

Whenever your dog sees you carrying a brush, he will always come running to you. Your dog will also enjoy having a one on one time with his favorite human-who in this case is you. Brushing will offer you an excellent opportunity so you can spend some quality time with your pooch and build trust. 

5. Your Dog Will Look Sharp

Even dogs deserve to look their best. Once your dog’s coat is good looking, then it means that he is healthy. As long as your pup is looking sharp, then the chances are that he is also feeling healthy and strong.

How Often Do you need to Brush Your Dog?

Regardless of the breed of your pup or the type of coat he has, he will still require regular brushing. However, the frequency of brushing will depend on your dog’s breed and his individual needs.

If you brush your dog regularly, regardless of his coat type, brushing will keep his coat and skin healthy. Although most dogs require bathing once a month, it is recommended that brushing should always be done more regularly in between the baths.

Veterinarians recommend that short and medium haired dogs should be brushed at least once a week. However, long-haired dogs should be brushed daily to prevent tangles and mats from developing. 

Choosing the Right Brush for Your Dog

dog brush tools

There are several varieties of combs and brushes available that you can choose to ensure that you give your dog the best brushing experience. The type of dog brush you choose will depend on the type of coat your pup has. Here are the various types of brushes that you can choose from.

  • Bristle Brushes: These types of brushes can be used on all types of coats. Bristle brushes vary as some have large spaces between the bristles while others have short spaces. Bristle brushes also differ in terms of the length of the bristles. If you have a dog with long hairs on his coat, then you need a bristle brush with long bristles. If your dog’s coat is coarse, then the brush you choose should have stiff bristles. 
  • Wire Brushes: If you own a dog with medium to long hair, then the best type of brush to use is a wired-pin type. There are some wired-pin brushes with rubber tipped ends while others don’t. If your dog’s coat is curly or woolly, then this type of brush is the right for your dog. 
  • Slicker Brushes: These types of dog brushes have bristles made of fine wires. These types of brushes are useful in removing tangles and knots.
  • Dog Comb: A brush is not enough to keep your dog looking great. You need a dog comb to give your dog that perfect look. Sometimes a brush will not remove all the mats and that is why you need a comb. 

How to Brush Your Dog

how to brush a dog

1. Use a Slicker Brush or a Pin Brush to Brush Your Dog’s Body

The brushing technique that I want to show you is called line brushing. It is the best way to brush your dog as it allows you to get all the way to the skin while brushing your dog. This ensures that you are not just brushing the top coat and missing the undercoat that is close to the skin. To brush your dog, start from his neck and work your way downward. You should brush in sections. 

2. Use a Dog Comb to Deal with Mats, Knots and Tangles

Once you have felt that you have brushed a particular section, you should then comb that section using your steel comb.

Once you are done with that section, take your slicker brush and repeat the same process. If you come across knots, break them with your fingers. If the knots are so thick that your fingers cannot break them, then you can use the corners of your comb to break them. 

How to Brush Dog’s With Different Coats

Brushing Short Haired Dogs

For short haired dogs like Labradors and greyhounds, you need to be gentle while brushing their coat. To remove any tangles, ensure that you gently comb your dog in the direction of his hair growth. After that, brush in the opposite direction so you can remove the dead skin cells. Brushing gently will also massage your dog’s skin and activate the circulation of blood.

To wind up the grooming session, brush again in the direction of your dog’s hair growth so that his hair is perfectly combed. If your dog’s coat is short but wiry, then you should use a bristle brush with firmer bristles. You can also use a slicker brush. 

Brushing Medium Haired Dogs

Medium haired dogs are prone to tangles and knots. Before brushing your medium haired dog, use a comb to eliminate any tangles and knots on his coat. The ideal type of brush to use is a bristle brush with long bristles.

However, the brush should have blunt prongs to prevent it from scratching your dog’s skin. Brushing should be done in the same way you would brush a short haired dog. However, if your dog has a lot of tangles on his coat then you should use a slicker brush. 

Brushing Long Haired Dogs

Maintaining your long-haired dog’s coat will be a time-consuming task. You need an appropriate brush on this one. Before brushing your pup’s coat, make sure that you have removed tangles and knots. You can use a comb or a pair of scissors.

For the best brushing experience for both you and your dog, you should slightly moisten your dog’s hair using some type of hair conditioner. Also, ensure that you use a brush with longer bristles. However, when brushing against the hair growth, you should use a brush with short and gentle bristles. 

Brushing a Dog with Curly Hair

Curly haired dogs require special types of combs and brushes to avoid painful combing sessions. You should use a blunt comb to avoid hurting your dog. Should you come across difficult knots then you should not be afraid to use a pair of scissors to remove them.

When brushing your curly dog’s hair, brush against the natural direction of the hair growth. This will help your dog’s hair to maintain its curl. After that, you should then use the same brush in the direction of hair growth to massage your dog’s skin. 

Winding Up

To keep your pooch looking his best and feeling healthy, you need to brush his coat regularly. Brushing will also help to promote a strong bond between you and your dog. Every dog owner should, therefore, know how to brush a dog. Although the frequency at which dogs should be brushed varies from one dog to another, the results or regular brushing will never vary. 

The post Tips on How to Brush a Dog that Every Dog Owner Should Know appeared first on Hello Cute Pup.

7-Year-Old Dog Pit Bull Spent Over 1,000 Days in a Shelter. Will He Find His Furever Home?

A resident of Valley Animal Center in Fresno, CA for 1,001 days (that’s almost 3 years for you math whizzes), Marmaduke has finally been happily united with his new person.  On Friday, August 2nd, 2019, the big moving-out day arrived at last for this 7 year-old shelter dog who had been awaiting adoption since 2016! But finding a forever home for this lovable American Staffordshire was a group effort to say the least.


The Valley Animal Center is a no-kill shelter with the goal of reducing euthanasia on treatable and adoptable animals through adoptions, spaying and neutering, and humane education. They rescue a lot of animals with health problems and behavioral issues other shelters consider unadaptable.

When Marmaduke first arrived at the shelter in 2016, he was without any obedience training and was a bit stubborn. He also had skin allergies that required a special diet and medication, as well as a home with pet-friendly synthetic grass. With so much maintenance required, the odds of adoption were really stacked against this poor guy. Still, the Valley Animal Center staff were determined to show the world Marmaduke’s fun-loving sweet side.

With the help of Creature Coach Animal Training and many volunteers, Marmaduke learned basic commands and obedience training that greatly increased his chances of being adopted. His trainers and caretakers came to learn pretty quickly that he was obsessed with tennis balls and he loved walking and trotting alongside people.


Now, with the training he needed and the proper medication to manage his condition, Marmaduke was all set for his furever family. Still, no one was biting on his adoption, so the passionate shelter staff took to social media to make the senior pup’s charms known.

Soon, word of Marmaduke’s plight spread with people reaching out to cover his adoption fee and the cost of transition training classes for a potential new family. Marmaduke was now a social star but still had no one to take him home.


Finally, on his 1,001st day living at Valley Animal Center, the lovable Marmaduke caught the eye of a visitor on a routine walk through the shelter. Though he continued to visit and exchange emails with the staff, it was fate that he and Marmaduke would end up together.


Sure enough, shortly after that 1,001st day the papers were signed and Marmaduke was ready to go home! Now that he’s out of the shelter and into a loving home, Marmaduke is getting spoiled with all the walks he could ever want, and he doesn’t even need to share his tennis balls anymore.

Marmaduke’s success story was so celebrated, it even made its way to Good Morning America where it got the anchors all choked up. Live on air or not, who can blame them?

Marmaduke’s fairy tale ending is sure to bring a smile to your face, but what’s even better is knowing that the Valley Animal Center staff of 28 continues to care for around 400 homeless animals, ensuring even stubborn and high-maintenance animals have someone to love them. Here’s hoping that means we keep seeing more stories like this one from them!

(H/T Valley Animal Center, ABC30)

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