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House training should start immediately

| Sunday, Aug. 7, 2005

Dear Dog Talk: I have a new adopted dog arriving on Saturday. I've been reading your book, "Adopting a Dog," which is really a great read. It is exactly what I was looking for.

I was just reading the section about Lucy and house training. You said that when you took Lucy to your house to train her, you put her immediately in the crate. Do you recommend that I do that with my new dog once I get him home• Should I proceed exactly as you did with Lucy?

The foster mom says that my dog is probably housetrained (he's 1 to 1 1/2 years old), but she can't exactly be sure because she has 12 dogs at her house now. Thanks for your help!

Dear Adopter: Thanks for writing and for reading "Adopting a Dog." I'm glad that you are enjoying the book.

Actually, what I said in "Adopting a Dog" was this: "The first thing I did when I brought Lucy to my house was to bring her to the area in my yard where I wanted her to eliminate."

I wanted to give Lucy the chance to urinate and/or defecate in the correct area right from the beginning. It was only because Lucy did not go to the bathroom outside during the designated time that I crated her as soon as I brought her inside. Had I brought her into the house and not crated her, she most certainly would have eliminated in the house. An undesirable start!

I do this procedure with any new dog that joins my household. It doesn't matter if it's a new puppy, an adult dog (housetrained or not) or even a temporary boarder. It only makes sense to initiate a pattern of having the dog go to the bathroom in the appropriate area right from the onset.

I do recommend that you employ the house training system that I outline in "Adopting a Dog." After a few weeks you will have a pretty good sense of how well house-trained your new dog is -- and also whether or not he is safe to leave loose in the house without chewing inappropriate items.

Good luck with your new adopted dog. I hope that he turns out to be a great addition to your family. Drop me a line sometime and let me know how things are going.

Dear Dog Talk: My daughter, to whom your books are her bible, trained the most outstanding black Labrador retriever I have ever seen. My husband and I were the recipients of this well-trained dog when my daughter went to grad school and could no longer take care of him.

Now Coal is at death's door, and we got a new puppy from the Golden Retriever Rescue Society. Charlie's mother was a golden retriever, and his father was a chocolate Labrador. The mother dog had 10 black puppies that look like full-blooded Labrador retrievers.

I have been reading your books, "Puppy Preschool" and "Dog Talk," and have put your philosophies into action. They are wonderful.

I have a question about pronunciation of the "Nhaa!" command. Do you have a personal Web site where you have a sound recording of the word• That would be very helpful. Thank you so much. Signed, AKA Scarlet O'Hatra, Duchess of Drama

Dear Duchess: Unfortunately, my Web site www.the-real-dog-talk.com does not have sound recording capabilities. However, this is only because I don't know very much about computer programming. I'm sure that someone who knows what he or she is doing could easily do it. I really need to get someone to help me improve and update my Web site. If there are any computer people out there who can help me (inexpensively), please drop me a line.

At this point in time all I can tell you about "Nhaa" is that the sound comes from deep in the throat. It's not grrrrr. It's a guttural "no," but the o-sound is more like the "a" in cat or hat. Try it: "Nhaa!" Remember, you're trying to sound like a tough mother dog who is teaching her pups "Cut it out!" Good luck!

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