Puppy Training with Mike Miller

Dog trainer extraordinaire at PetSmart, Aventura, FL
Mike Miller gets asked dozens of questions about dogs every day. He tries to answer them all. He’s an expert at dog training, so his answers to many questions are his personal opinions based on his experience with his own 4 dogs.

How do I find the “right” dog?

Answer.It’s a big decision, both for you and the dog. As with any of life’s big decisions, you want to think it through from the start. The most important question is why you want a dog. The answer will point you in the right direction. The second most important question is can you look after a dog. Dogs need stability, activity, love and creature comforts. Price is a big issue. You can pay a lot of money for a high end purebred dog or a few dollars for a rescue dog. Age is important. If a puppy might be too much of a challenge for you, consider adopting an older dog. In a way, getting a dog is like buying a car; it’s a significant investment, so you want to do your homework first.

At what age can I start my dog’s training?

Answer. Best age is about 8 weeks. Otherwise, at any age past that, especially if the dog has behavior problems.

What’s the best way to get a dog to stop jumping up on people, especially me?

Answer.They do it for attention but it can be annoying and even ruin clothes. Ignore them; no attention and especially no treats unless all four paws are on the floor. Of course, if you’ve been away for a few days, natural exuberance will break through and you’ll probably like it.

My puppy nipping me me. Does that mean he’s aggressive?

Answer. Probably not. Just keep telling your puppy to stop, firmly. Dogs tend to perceive the world through their mouths in much the saw way we humans do with our hands.

How can I stop my puppy from nipping me?

Answer. This isn’t exactly the same as biting. It can be a form of play or even a demand for attention. I recommend “time out”, which means putting the dog in an isolated area until calm. Repeat as necessary.

Is it a good idea or a bad idea to play tug of war with a dog?

Answer. The only bad part is letting the dog to win. The human should always win and take away the toy or rope you’ve both been tugging at.

Why is it that I can throw a toy for my dog outside for hours and she never gets tired?

Answer.Dogs drain energy two ways: physical exercise and mental stimulation. A dog gets mental stimulation interacting with you, family, friends or other pets, or out for walk. In other words, pretty well all day. Exercises are different. For one thing, they’re special. Dogs will stop when they’re tired or bored.

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