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Training Your Dog

How to Tackle Naughty Chewing, Unwelcome Accidents, and Other Misbehaviors

The Martha Stewart Show, January 2011

The arrival of any new pet in the home is greeted with a euphoric honeymoon period that's full of cute, cuddly goodness. But somewhere between the carpet-staining accidents and the chewed-up sneakers, a hard reality sets in: This whole pet owner thing can be downright frustrating.

Fortunately, a little training can go a long way toward adjusting a dog to its new home, making your job a whole lot easier. Marc Morrone, author and owner of Parrots of the World, gives solutions for some of the most common dog misbehaviors.

Chewing Problems
If your dog chews everything from footwear to furniture, it's simply because she doesn't know any better -- she thinks everything in your home is there for the gnawing.

While you're watching, you have the power to stop her from chewing on household items. But when you're not around, keep her in a crate to prevent her destroying the house!

An Appetite for People Food
It's natural that a dog might try to steal food right from the counter or dinner table -- after all, how is she to know that it's not up for grabs?

The trick to preventing this behavior is keeping the dog away from tempting situations. When you're cooking or eating, keep your dog in her crate or in another room. Try occupying a hungry dog with a peanut butter-filled Kong toy.

Bladder-Control Issues
It's not just puppy territory -- even older dogs in new homes will have accidents on the floor, often in their own crates.

No matter the age, the solution is the same: Keep your dog in a crate lined with shredded paper when you can't monitor him. The dog may have accidents in the crate at first, but this will cease over time as the dog realizes how unpleasant his life becomes when he eliminates in his own home.

An Exploratory Nose
Sniffing is what dogs do, and most of the time there's nothing wrong with that. It only becomes an issue on walks, when curious sniffing can sidetrack your dog and prevent him from getting down to business.

During walks, carry treats in your hand and periodically wave them to catch the dog's attention. With a tasty treat tempting your dog, he will do his best to keep up with you.

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