How Long Does It Take To Housetrain A Dog?

How Long To Housetrain A Dog?

One of the most common questions I get from new puppy owners is how long does it take to housetrain a dog? To answer this question, I shot a quick video which is presented below. The most important thing to realize is that puppies are infants. Babies do not know anything so don’t expect them to know what to do just because a dog litter box or pee pad is put in front of them.

New dog owners must actively train and teach their pets what to do and that is why we produced our indoor potty training with a dog litter box program which teaches people step by step on what to do.

Patience and ACTIVE training on the part of the dog owner will ensure that the puppy makes good progress towards being fully housetrained whether just outdoor or both outdoor and indoor using a dog litter box like my Lhasa Apso dogs Chester and Roxie.

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How To Trim Dog Nails An Easy Way

How To Trim Dog Nails

I’m always amazed by how many dog owners avoid trimming their dog’s nails and rather pay a groomer or vet instead to do that task for them.  In fact, many dog owners I’ve talked to, even within our own small dogs outings Meetup group, even fear clipping dog nails.

Although I have caused a bit of bleeding when trimming dog nails beforein the past, I’ve since learned how to do it safely without hurting my Lhasa Apso dogs Chester and Roxie with no more bleeding incidents.  Initially this job was a challenge especially with my boy Chester since most of his dog nails are black and therefore the quick where the blood vessel is within each nail cannot be seen.  But now it’s a breeze without any problems and takes just minutes to do.

Video On Clipping Dog Nails

So I thought it was time to shoot a new video on how to trim dog nails which takes just minutes at home.  In this video, I show a cross sectional diagram of a dog nail and where clipping should be done.  Then I show the viewers the position I like to use these days to trim dog nails with both my Lhasa Apsos and I in very comfortable positions during this grooming task.

You will actually see me clipping dog nails with Chester and how he fully cooperates since he now knows that I won’t hurt him (plus he knows that he earns a treat each time for any grooming task we do!).  His sister Roxie (shown in the introduction and ending of the video) also cooperates in the same way although we don’t show any nail trimming with her on this video.

Here is the short video

As mentioned in the video, it’s a good idea to trim dog nails on a frequent basis to allow the quick to recede.  It’s also good to walk your dog on hard surfaces on a regular basis since surfaces like concrete will help grind down the dog nails too.

One thing I did not mention in the video is to check whether your dog has dew claws.  These are single extra dog nails that might protrude from the back of the paw.  Some dogs have them while some do not.  Many breeders have dew claws removed while the puppies are young and this was the case for Chester and Roxie since these additional dog nails seem to serve no function.  My previous Lhasa Apsos Pepper and Max did have them so I had to remember to trim their dew claws as well.

Of course in order to have your dog cooperate with you for clipping nails and any other grooming task, it’s important that there is at least a basic level of obedience developed.  This is where our free basic dog obedience training video will be helpful.  To access it, just use the box below to request it.


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Small Dogs Social Group To Run Through Winter

backyard coldest winter ontario dogs

Small Dogs Social Group

Last winter, my small dogs social Meetup group took the 3-4 months of the cold season off as a hiatus.  But now that we’ve grown  with my Lhasa Apso dogs Chester & Roxie making a lot of doggie friends this year, a few of our members have been discussing about the possibility of continuing with get-together events throughout this coming winter.

Seeing how happy our small dogs are whenever they are together at our outings, I think it would be a shame if they could not see each other for 3-4 months.  It’s just too long a period without seeing their friends.

There’s no doubt that once our small dogs become friends, they do remember each other right away even after an absence.  For example, when we ran our first outing this past spring after the long winter, Chester & Roxie welcomed their friend Emmy back at the dog park right away even though they haven’t seen each other for about 4 months.  This is a big deal especially for Chester since he has not been known to be too friendly to some dogs he has never met before but he was clearly happy seeing Emmy again.

So for this upcoming winter, we are going to try and run some outings at some of our favourite dog parks as well as trail locations since not all of our dog members are comfortable at dog parks because of bigger dogs there.  The only precaution we’ll have to take is scout out locations a few days before each event to check for access and road/trail salt conditions.   We want to minimize the exposure of road salt to our dogs since their paws get irritated with salt.

Winter Dog Walks

Since winter dog walks will be in cold temperatures, these outings will likely be shorter in duration and less frequent as we will not run any of our midweek walks during the winter due to lack of light and even colder temperatures at night.  But our small dogs group members feel that even if our dogs were to get together for say 20 to 30 minutes once per week or every other week, it’s better than having them to wait 3-4 months without seeing each other.

Our winter dog walks will therefore be during weekend daytime hours.  Chester and Roxie do not do a lot of winter dog walks during the week because of colder temperatures and road salt.  They actually do not have to go out at all since we also exercise indoors together running stairs and they are both fully potty trained to use an indoor dog litterbox.

We also go out in our backyard area a lot during the winter since it’s enclosed plus the big benefit is that there is no road salt in the back to irritate their paws.  Chester and Roxie use to play with their neighbourhood doggie friends out in the back all year round, even during the winter.  Here is our video showing this winter fun.

In fact, we are going to try and run a few small dogs social play sessions here in our backyard area for our dog group members this winter. One of our new neighbour doggie friends lives right next door so it will be really easy for him.

For our other members, they will just have to carry their small dogs from the visitors parking area to our home since the laneways here are heavily salted during the winter. But I think it would be worthwhile as a dog get together. It worked really well with our neighbourhood dog friends so Chester and Roxie’s other doggie friends from the small dogs social group should like it as well.

Although some of our dog members will not be coming out much during the winter, I’m sure that there will be a core group of regular dogs coming since their owners realize that we should do everything possible to give our pets the opportunities to see each other even during the colder months of the year.  Dog socialization is important for the well being of our pets.

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Are Dog Owners More Motivated & Committed?

dog owners motivation commitment

Dog Owners More Motivated And Committed?

I run a few different Meetup groups and during the spring and fall seasons, we run hikes/walks each week both during the week as well as on weekends.  We usually go on nice nature trails both in the local Mississauga area as well as further up north and west where some really nice conservation areas are.

We get nice turnouts at both weekday and weekend outings especially since the fall season weather is favourable for hikes right now as it’s not too hot nor cold and the ground conditions are dry for the most part.  We cancel days when it’s too wet out there.

Our main general social Meetup group, GTA Free Spirits and our Mississauga GTA Small Dogs Outings group partner up for these outings as we have members from both groups usually coming out. For the weekend hikes, it use to be just for members of GTA Free Spirits but we decided to recently open these outings up to our small dogs group.

For our hike at Heart Lake, we had 22 people of which 7-8 came from out dog group.  So one third of the attendance were dog owners who brought their small dogs out with them.

For our Etobicoke Creek hike, we had 8-9 dog owners out of the 16 people who came out.  So in this case, about half of the group were dog owners.

Now here’s some more interesting numbers.  GTA Free Spirits is the much larger Meetup group with over 1,100 members while the Small Dogs Outings group has only about 150 members.  The small dogs group is able to generate one third to one half of the attendance for these two weekend outings with a membership of only 150. GTA Free Spirits has seven times the members as our dog  group and therefore should be able to generate seven times the numbers in terms of attendance.

Our midweek walks are even more revealing.   On average, we get about 6-8 dog parents coming out for each weekday walk with only 2-3 from GTA Free Spirits.  So even with a significantly smaller membership at our dog group compared to our general social group, the dog owners out number the non-dog owners by a wide margin each midweek.

Added Motivation And Commitment With Dog Owners

Does this all suggest that dog owners, the responsible ones, are more motivated and committed to coming out?

The numbers would suggest that this is true.  Perhaps as a responsible dog owner, we have more motivation and commitment to come out since our dogs are involved.  We want to keep them physically healthy so bringing them out to these walks are great.  But we also recognize that these outings also benefit our dogs’ well being too when they get to socialize with their doggie friends on a regular basis.

So for the dog owners, the health and social benefits are not just for us, the people, but also for our pets as well.  This gives us the added motivation and commitment to come out in my opinion.  For myself, this is definitely true as I am totally committed to keeping my two Lhasa Apso dogs Chester and Roxie as healthy as possible both physically and mentally.  I would feel too guilty if I did not do everything possible to keep them healthy.

The non-dog owners at GTA Free Spirits maybe does not have this added motivation and commitment like the dog owners do and the attendance numbers at both the weekday and weekend hiking events, especially with the weekday ones, reflect this.

So maybe it’s time more members of GTA Free Spirits become dog owners!



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Stocking Up On Dog Litter Box Supplies

dog litter box indoor potty training purina second nature

Dog Litter Box Supplies

I recently went away on vacation to big island Hawaii using Buffalo, New York as my starting point for my flights.  I simply drove down from Mississauga, Ontario to take advantage of the cheaper flights.  When I returned back to Buffalo, it was during business hours which made it perfect timing to stock up on dog litter box supplies for my two Lhasa Apso dogs Chester and Roxie.

From the Buffalo airport, I went on route 90, connected to 290 up towards Niagara Falls.  At the Niagara Falls Blvd exit in Tonawanda district of Buffalo, there is a large retail section west of the highway.  In this area are the two pet supplies retailers I usually visit, Petco and Petsmart.  They are 3 minutes drive from each other.

So once again, I went to Petco first to buy up all of their existing stock of the Petco brand of dog litter.  Then I went over to Petsmart and did the same thing with their stock of Purina Second Nature dog litter.  I loaded about eight large bags of dog litter in my car.

Since I was away from Canada for ten days, my declaration limit was $800 which was way higher than what I needed for a duty free purchase.  I was quite happy with the eight large bags as this dog litter box supply will last us through the winter for sure.  If I was not able to get so many bags from these two pet stores, I was prepared to go to another Petco further north off Military Trail in Niagara Falls since I had to pass by there to the border anyway.  But I did get enough already.

So this means that I won’t have to return to Niagara Falls, New York during the winter and can wait until spring 2016 to come back to restock my dog litter supply. The photo above is my stock of dog litter in my garage with the orange bags being Purina Second Nature while the white bags are the Petco brand.  We usually like to mix these with a brand called Fresh News that is a non-clumping cat litter that we buy from our local Global Pet Foods store.

Stock Indicates Higher Interest In Indoor Dog Potty Training

I noticed that not only was there a nice supply of dog litter on the shelves of both Petco and Petsmart, there was also a significant increase in dog litter boxes as well as the type fitted with artificial grass turf.  We have one of those too since it was given to us as a promotion by the company since they know I’m a dog blogger but we haven’t used it yet.  All of this stock at the stores indicate that there is higher interest in indoor potty training for dogs.

I’m not surprised with the cold winters on both sides of the border. Dogs who are dual trained to go potty both indoors and outdoors enable a much greater flexibility for their owners as well as the dogs’ bladders.  If the weather is too darn cold out there like it was last winter for many days, dogs simply have to use their indoor dog litter boxes instead of freezing outside just to go pee.

But this summer also had some hot heat wave days where it was just too hot to go outside during the daytime.  There were some days Chester and Roxie did not go outside until about 8 pm at night when temperatures were cooler.  So during the daytime, they simply used their indoor dog litter box whenever they needed to.

For more details on this type of potty training, see Potty Training Dogs With Litter Box.

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Even Some Dog Owners Procrastinate

small dogs meetup group dog friends procrastinate

Dog Owners Procrastinate

As of today when I write this, my Small Dogs Outings Meetup group has 152 members.  Assuming that each member has at least one dog, this means that potentially we have at least 152 small dogs in our Meetup group membership.  At the same time, I know as the sole group and event organizer for all of our outings at this group, there’s no way that we havehad anywhere close to 152 different small dogs out with us.

I was able to pull out some stats that the Meetup website provides and learned that about 50 of our members are active meaning that they have attended at least one single event with us.  Regular members who come out are even fewer.

My estimate is that we have about a dozen or so regular small dogs who come out with us and that is okay with us.  My initial objective with our Small Dogs Outings group was to get some regular doggie friends for my two Lhasa Apso dogs Chester and Roxie since having a social life is important as well as healthy for dogs.

With a dozen or so regular doggie friends, that’s quite adequate for Chester and Roxie.  Of course, we’ll always welcome more as our other group members come out more.

But having only one third of our Meetup group membership does say something.  To me, this means that even dog owners can procrastinate.

Small Dogs Meetup Group

I assume that the main objective for anyone joining our Small Dogs Outings Meetup group was the same as my own objective, ie., getting some small dogs as new friends for their own dogs.  The more each dog comes out with us, the more he or she will become familiar to the other regular dogs in our group.  Just like with humans, that’s how doggie friendships are developed.

The two thirds of our group membership have yet to attend a single event with us and are really missing out in terms of allowing their small dogs to make new friends.

But I’m not going to push them because as I said, we are quite happy and grateful for the dozen or so small dogs in Chester and Roxie’s new pack.  We can see that all the regular dogs have become more comfortable with each other each time we go out and they are happy to see each other.

Chester even allows someof them to chill out right beside him which he has never done before.  This clearly means that he has accepted his doggie friends.

So to the two thirds of themembers of our Meetup group as well as other dog owners out there who have yet to come out to any event designed to help get dogs socialized, you might want to think about what your dog is missing out on whenever you see groups of other dogs playing.  Remember the reason why you joined Small Dogs Outings Meetup group in the first place.

mississauga small dogs meetup groups

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If My Dogs Can Do This So Can Your Dog

small dogs agility training lhasa apso

Small Dogs Agility Training

My Lhasa Apso small dogs Chester and Roxie learned how to do some agility relatively late when they were nine years old.  We started out with hurdles and then the ramp.  Here is the agility ramp blog post and video from last year when they were just learning how to do the ramp.  Notice that they were still being led on leashes.

Now, both Chester and Roxie can do the hurdles as well as the ramp without the need for leashes.  In fact, they are so good at them that they have been very successful as assistant coaches to help teach their doggie friends from our Small Dogs Outings Meetup Group how to do these agility apparatus.

Their dog ‘students’ have been puppies, adult dogs and even one senior one who is eleven years old and has never been on agility apparatus before.  This older little dog discovered that she really enjoys especially the hurdles with Chester and Roxie.  Roxie is shown in the above photo leading a 3 year old Shih Tzu over the ramp.

Here is our latest video showing Chester and Roxie go through a morning workout with the agility apparatus at one of our local leash free dog parks.  As you can see, it is both physically and mentally stimulating for them.  In other words, agility training is a very healthy activity for dogs!

Remember, my two Lhasa Apso dogs did not start doing any of these agility training until they were nine years old.  And most Lhasa Apsos are not known for doing agility either.

So if my two dogs can do this, so can your dog.

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Video Proof Dogs Happier In Groups

small dogs groups pack animals

Dogs Happier In Groups

My last post featured some photos of our Mississauga GTA Small Dogs Outings Meetup group going out to Sawmill Creek in Mississauga, Ontario for our Midweek Walk.  Since I had a feeling that we would have a record high of dogs coming out (and we did at 11 dogs), I brought out my old camcorder to shoot some video footage.

The overall video footage taken was pretty good and I was able to turn it into a pretty entertaining clip showing the initial gathering when all the dogs arrive and meet their friends to the walk on the trail and finally just relaxing and mingling at the end of the walk.

Throughout the video, you can get the impression that our dogs were very happy not only checking out an interesting nature trail but also being in a group with their friends.  I think this video is proof that dogs are happier when in groups.  After all, dogs are naturally pack animals rather than isolated creatures.

Some of our small dogs, especially the younger puppies, like to play wrestle with each other while the older ones just like to hang out with the group.  Both of these observations can be seen in this video clip.

Although we have had quite a lot of photos from our small dogs outings, this was the first video we took at an event.  Each time I watch the video, I get a real sense of personal satisfaction that I’m providing a very important element of happiness for my two Lhasa Apso dogs Chester and Roxie.  I can clearly see that they both enjoy being out there with their friends even if only to chill out and be among company.

When our dogs are in their group, they really are in their own little world.  They don’t really care which humans are present around them anymore.  Even if they are not directly playing with each other, they like to at least watch each other.  And with 11 small dogs out, each dog had a lot of other dogs to watch!

Groups For Small Dogs Important

I think having groups is especially important for small dogs who might not have a chance to meet many other small dogs.  Many small dogs (like my boy Chester), are intimidated by big dogs.  So when a group of small dogs are together, it makes them feel more secure and safe in numbers.

I feel sorry for some of our neigbboorhood dogs who live isolated lives because their owners never gave them a chance to get socialized.  As a result, these dogs spend their lives in isolation in fear of all other dogs no matter what size.  I don’t think a dog’s life was meant to be like that.

If there’s an important message here, especially for all the small dogs owners out there, it’s to get your puppy socialized early on.  Then keep making opportunities for your dog to spend social time with other dogs whether at the dog park or on dog walks with others.  See if you can find a dog Meetup group or similar dog group in your area or create one like I did.

Hope you enjoy the video.

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Mississauga Small Dogs Strength In Numbers

mississauga small dogs meetup groups

Mississauga Small Dogs

Our Small Dogs Outings Meetup group had a historic outing last night.  We went to Sawmill Creek which is one of the nicest nature trails in Mississauga for this week’s Midweek Dog Walk.  We had a record high of eleven small dogs out with us!

Of course we took photos but since this was going to be a historic moment for us, I decided to bring out a camcorder as well to take some video footage.  I have not seen the footage yet but hope that there will be enough decent video to edit it into an entertaining clip.

Looking at some of the photos from the outing, the small dogs remind me of that Fiat TV commercial where a group of small Fiat cars scare off a bully truck.  Our group of Mississauga small dogs are much like the group of Fiats, ie. strength in numbers.

It must be a very interesting sight to see when one sees our group of small dogs coming through a trail.  We even bumped into other dogs and their owners out there who are always surprised to see so many of us.  Even big dogs get a bit hesitant when suddenly confronted by a pack of small dogs, just like that Fiat commercial.

One of our newer members actually found our Small Dogs Outings group that way when she noticed our dog group at Riverwood Conservancy a few weeks ago.  She wanted her small dog to have some friends and asked to join our group.  And now her dog is an accepted member of our dog pack.

Our member small dogs no longer have to feel alone when they are with their doggie friends on our outings.  This is even more important with those that come from single dog families.  One of our members told me that her dog cries when nobody is home and my heart just sinks.  Thankfully, my Lhasa Apsos Chester and Roxie (pictured in the middle of the photos here) have each other at home so they don’t have to feel lonely when I’m not there.  But with this other dog, you can just see how happy she is when she’s out with our small dogs group.

Of course when we do our group photo, getting them all to look at the camera, especially with eleven of them, is pretty well impossible!

mississauga small dogs meetup groups



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Best Assistant Dog Trainers Are Other Dogs

agility dog training lhasa apso small dogs meetup

Other Dogs Are Best Assistant Dog Trainers

Last year my Lhasa Apso dogs Chester and Roxie started going agility training at home when I made two hurdle jumps for them.  Agility training sessions like the ones we do are considered to be worthwhile activities for dogs especially as they get older since not only does it exercises their bodies but also their minds.  Dogs have to think and pay attention when doing agility training like hurdle jumps and ramps.

One of the local leash free dog parks we visit on a regular basis has set up some agility training apparatus including a ramp, two hurdle jumps, a series of poles and a few tubes.  I’ve trained Chester and Roxie on the ramp and hurdles so far.

This past weekend, my Small Dogs Outings Meetup group had our first visit to Totoredeca dog park with some time on the agility apparatus in mind.  Both Chester and Roxie are pretty good on the ramp now without the need for a leash to guide them up.  Same thing on the hurdle jumps which surprised me a bit, especially Roxie since before, she was never as enthusiastic as her brother on the jumps.  She would try to cheat and go around the bars instead of over them.

But at Totoredeca this time, she was just as eager as Chester to jump over the hurdles and without leashes too.  Maybe she knew she was showing off her skills to her doggie friends Emmy, MoMo and Nitro, whom are all newbies at agility training.

At first, Emmy, an eleven year old Shih Tzu who never did agility before, was hesitant to do both the jumps and the ramp but as she saw Chester and Roxie going on the apparatus, she gained some confidence.  After watching Chester and Roxie do a tandem jump over a hurdle bar together as shown above, she was willing to follow them next time.  This is proof that sometimes other dogs can be the best assistant dog trainers to have!

agility dog training lhasa apso small dogs meetup

Here’s a neat photo of Roxie with Emmy at the top of the ramp.  It’s almost like Roxie saying to her friend, “I’ll show you how to do this Emmy”.

agility dog training small dogs meetup

Nitro, a year old puppy shown below with Roxie again acting as coach, picked up both the hurdles and the ramp quite quickly after watching my Lhasa Apsos have fun on them.

agility training small dogs meetup lhasa apso

All in all, every dog had a lot of fun while learning some new skills. It was even better when doggie friends were able to help each other out!

agility training small dogs meetup group

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