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8 Tips for House-Training a New Puppy You Haven’t Tried Yet

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Mar 092018

Originally posted on 3/6/2017- commentary by jme Thomas, Executive Director, Motley Zoo

Does House-Training a Puppy Seem Like an Impossible Task?

Puppy potty training (or even training an adult dog you’ve rescued) is rarely easy peasy. If you’ve been trying for weeks yet still never know what might be waiting for you when you wake up in the morning, it may be time for a fresh approach—or several! We went to dog training experts to find out their puppy tips and secrets for how to potty train your dog to go outside. They all agreed on one thing—puppy potty training takes consistency and patience. Beyond that, here are eight ideas to consider.

Find Your Dog’s Motivation

Understanding what drives and motivates dog behavior is important when it comes to puppy potty training, says Mike Ritland, a dog trainer based in Cooper, Texas, who’s worked with the U.S. military and celebrities for 18 years. “If you have a dog who’s ball driven—who nearly loses it every time you go to grab a ball—use that as a reward [for going to the bathroom outside],” explains Ritland. “If it’s food, then bring a small treat. Affection? Treat her to a good scratching session.”

Consider Crate Training

Andrew Horan, owner of Citizen K9 in Gainesville, Virginia, recommends it to all his new clients that are house training a dog, especially those with rescue dogs. “Rescue dogs come from different backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common. They were caged or crated, most likely without any training,” says Horan. “A lot of rescue dogs are averse to a crate because they don’t understand what its purpose really is.” The key is to get your dog to willingly enter it on his terms. Dogs follow food, so feeding your dog only in his dog crate is a simple way to get him used to it. Never force your dog into a crate. The Frisco Fold & Carry Dog Crate is a great option because it includes a divider panel that expands the crate area as your puppy grows.

Or, at Least Limit Roaming Space

If you’d prefer not to use a crate for puppy potty training, you should keep in mind that “the more space an untrained dog has, the more potty spots he has! Dogs do not normally potty where they eat or sleep, so confining them to one of those areas may help with accidents,” suggests Alyona DelaCoeur, an animal behaviorist, veterinary assistant, and AKC evaluator in Seattle.

Leverage the Leash

Whether he’s been in a crate, or confined elsewhere overnight, when morning comes, lead him outside with his dog leash. “If you don’t use the leash to get to the door, she will start playing ‘catch me’ or just run off somewhere,” says Jamie Thomas, Executive Director of Motley Crew Animal Rescue in Redmond, Washington. “And don’t do anything else first. Just like a person, the first thing your dog has to do when he wakes up is go to the bathroom, so don’t expect him to just kick it while you brew coffee.”

Help Them Find the Right Spot

It’s a little gross, but Thomas says this trick can turn things around when you’re house training a dog who’s having a hard time catching on to the dog behavior. Clean up any accident—liquid or solid—with a paper towel. Put the paper towel in a zip-top bag. Next time you take your dog out, bring the bag. Open it up and put it on the ground where you want your dog to go. “Let him sniff the paper towel and don’t let him move too far away from it,” adds Thomas. Can’t quite come around to this? You can always look into Simple Solution Puppy Aid Training Spray, which can be used outdoors or on dog potty pads, or try the Simple Solution Pee Post for your outdoor area.

Just Tell Him to Go Potty

David Wright of iWorkDogs dog training in Los Angeles says it’s not only possible, but relatively easy how to train your dog to poop on command. Let’s say it’s pouring rain and you’re late for your big meeting. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just tell him to “go potty” rather than being tempted to bring him back in too soon? Here’s what to do. Pick a place where you want your dog to go (stick with it while he’s learning to go on command). Once there, give him the command. It really doesn’t matter which words you use, as long as you’re consistent, says Wright. While waiting for the main event, don’t say anything else, or give him any attention. As soon as he starts to go, calmly say “Good.” After your pup relieves himself, then you can kiss, hug and play with him. If after five minutes of saying the command, you’ve had no results, go back in and try again in 10 minutes or so. The amount of time it takes for your dog to follow through on the command consistently mostly depends on your dog, but Wright says repeating the routine every time you go out will yield results sooner than you may think.

Keep Expectations Realistic

How long does it take to potty train a puppy? Well, house-training a puppy can take longer than trying to train an adult dog. “A puppy does not biologically or anatomically have the ability to withhold defecating or urinating as long as an adult dog,” notes Ritland. Figuring out where you want him to go, not so much when, is the trick at first for puppy potty training. (The same is often true of senior dogs.) Dog potty pads, such as Frisco Premium Potty Pads are especially made to attract dogs, so that question of “where?” becomes a non-issue. Reusable indoor potties, such as Wee-Wee Patch Indoor Potty, can be an environmentally friendly option. As any new puppy parent can tell you, though, a few accidents are virtually unavoidable in the early days when house-training a puppy. Be prepared to save your rug or couch by picking up a stain remover made specifically for this purpose, such as Nature’s Miracle No More Marking Pet Stain & Odor Remover.

Be Predictable

Timing is key when house-training a puppy, though not necessarily clock time. What’s important is keeping the steps in your dog’s routine in the same order every day. And don’t feed her dog food before you take her out to potty, no matter how big those puppy eyes get. “If you feed her first, she will have much less motivation to go out,” notes Thomas. “But once she knows what to expect, you will have a dog who will do what you need her to, without much effort.”

Christina Vercelletto is a pet, travel and lifestyle content specialist and a former editor of Parenting, Scholastic Parent & Child, and Woman’s Day. She lives on Long Island with her Chiweenie, Pickles, and 20-pound Calico, Chub-Chub. 

 Posted by at 7:54 pm

Dog Day Care: What to Know Before You Go

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Mar 092018

Originally posted on 4/7/2017- commentary by jme Thomas, Executive Director, Motley Zoo

As a working pet parent, you may have considered enrolling your pup in doggy day care. Or maybe you just suspect your dog could use some more playtime and socialization. In either case, a puppy day care facility may work out well. We went to pet experts around the country to round up the key points a potential dog day care customer should consider. If you have children (aside from the furry kind), you may notice similarities between this advice and common tips for using a childcare center. It’s hardly surprising, though, because after all, pet parents want the best for their dogs too! Consider this your cheat sheet for making the right doggy day care decision.

Drop in. You should visit the facility you’re considering with your dog. Show up unannounced, but not during the busy pick-up and drop-off times. “Stay away from places that do not allow clients to see the entire facility,” cautions Andrew Horan, Certified Canine Training and Behavior Modification Specialist at Citizen K9 in Washington, DC.

Chat up the staff. You’ll learn a lot by watching the staff in action, and asking them about their experience or what their favorite part of their job is. “If they don’t seem all that interested, or in a hurry, this is probably exactly how they will treat your dog!” cautions jme Thomas, executive director of Rock Star Treatment dog day care in Redmond, Washington.

See whether big and little dogs are in the same area. They shouldn’t be, says Thomas. Some kind of separation, if not by size, then by activity level or play style, is necessary. “Many larger dogs, even gentle ones, have a prey drive and play in a way that could hurt a small dog. Meanwhile, the little guys often have Napoleon complexes and inadvertently provoke big dogs.”

Respect the evaluation. Once you’ve chosen a facility, your dog will be evaluated to make sure she’s a good candidate for day care. Not every dog is. If your dog does “fail” the evaluation, don’t take it personally. Rather, enlist a certified trainer to help overcome the issues that the evaluation revealed, says Horan. Then there are some dogs who are happy to be by themselves during the day. “Don’t be upset if your dog has this personality,” urges Karin Chan, FP-MT, CCFT at Whiskers N Tails boarding, day care and grooming salon in South Bay, California. “Understand that pushing your dog to socialize frequently could cause anxiety or bad behavior. Often, we want to see our dogs happy, but fail to see that they are perfectly happy just the way things are.”

Don’t drag out the drop-off. Especially during the first week, say goodbye before you walk in, and try to make check-in as quick and no-nonsense as possible, advises Horan. Remember, just because your dog isn’t leaping with joy when you arrive, that doesn’t mean he’ll have a bad day. Again, they can be a lot like little kids, acting quite differently when their parents aren’t watching. “Many dogs are calmer, less nervous and more relaxed when their owners are out of the picture. So try not to hang around the day care area too long,” agrees Chan. And in much the same way a preschooler is dropped off with her favorite snack, sending Daisy to day care with a treat can’t hurt. One to try might be VetriScience Composure Behavioral Health Bite-Size Dog Chews.

Review the emergency care procedure. Read over the emergency veterinary protocol that they have in place, advises Mike Ritland, a dog trainer based in Cooper, Texas, who’s worked with the U.S. military and celebrities for 18 years. “There should always be at least one qualified and designated employee on site should veterinary care need to be administered,” says Ritland. He also advises that you provide a quick reference guide, preferably laminated, with your contact info, as well as any information about medications, allergies or chronic conditions. And if the facility has an outdoor play area, don’t forget your pet will need protection from fleas and ticks, such as the Seresto 8 Month Flea & Tick Collar for Large Dogs & Puppies or K9 Advantix II Flea & Tick Treatment for Extra Large Dogs Over 55-lbs.

In case of an injury, stay calm and results-oriented. If your dog gets hurt, try to keep in mind that a dog can get injured while playing at even the top puppy day cares. Dogs playing in groups inherently come with some risk. Thomas notes that most good dog day cares will offer vet support if needed, or “better yet, will tell you how they will work to prevent such an incident from occurring again,” says Thomas. “Express your concerns politely, and hopefully they will meet you with the same results-based conversation in response. Keep in mind that complaining and criticizing is not the same thing as working to improve policy.” If you do need to pick up a sick or hurt dog, it can be helpful to bring a kennel carrier he’s used to in order to get him home comfortably. Consider trying the Petmate Sky Kennel as your pet’s go-to dog kennel.

Learn about dog kennel cough. Kennel cough is the most common illness; even the best, cleanest dog kennel will probably have it go around once a year or so. “Dogs will be dogs and are going to make each other sick,” explains Thomas. So chat with your vet to best understand preventatives and possible treatment options.

Resist being a helicopter pet parent. Some puppy day cares offer a webcam service. Take a peek from your desk, sure, but keep it to a minimum. Otherwise, like any loving mom or dad, you may find yourself worrying about whether your fur baby has enough friends, or whether his new bff is really a bully, or why he’s sleeping instead of playing. Dogs are individuals, and will choose what they do, when, and with whom, notes Horan. The staff can’t, and shouldn’t try to, force a dog to play. “Please do not call and ask ‘Why is my dog sleeping?’ I promise you will get one of two answers, ‘because he is tired,’ or ‘because she wants to,’” says Horan.

Keep these tips in mind to ensure doggy day care success and remember, if you have any questions or concerns spend a little time doing your research so you and your pup can feel comfortable.

 Posted by at 6:48 pm

Do dogs like hugs?

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Mar 092018

Originally posted on 6/27/2017- commentary by jme Thomas, Executive Director, Motley Zoo

Even for people, hugs can lead to some pretty awkward moments—with strangers, co-workers, friends of friends and perhaps your own relatives. You might be totally hug aversive or hug shy, or even if you’re really into hugs, you have no way of telling the difference between non-huggers and fellow pro-huggers. Well, you can imagine what it’s like for dogs. Most dog lovers instinctively hug their own, even if they’re not big huggers themselves. But do dogs like hugs, really? Is there even such a thing as a dog hug? That’s what we’re here to find out, with some help from a couple of experts.

Do Dogs Like Hugs?

We really hate to be the ones to break this to curious dog lovers, but the simple answer to “Do dogs like hugs?” is no, according to those who know. Irith Bloom, CPDT-KSA, CDBC, KPA CTP, VSPDT, CBATI, VSDTA faculty and Director of Training at The Sophisticated Dog in West Los Angeles, CA, helps explain why. “Dogs don’t usually show affection to each other through hugs. Humans are natural huggers. We like to be chest to chest (or, to use the more technical term, in “ventral-ventral contact”) with those we love. Scientists believe humans have this propensity because we are positioned chest to chest with our mothers when we are nursing as babies, so that body position comes to be associated with comfort and affection.” Dogs don’t nurse in this position, so they wouldn’t use dog hugs to show their fondness—not to another dog friend, and not to us. In fact, much to the dismay of dog lovers everywhere, Bloom says that face-to-face hugs tend to be the most unpleasant type for dogs.

Signs of Dog Hug Distress

Think back to the last time you gave your dog hugs. Did you notice any of the following reactions?

  • Sudden yawning
  • Pulling their body away from you
  • Repetitive lip licking
  • Shaking off after you let go
  • Turning their head
  • Avoiding eye contact

These are the signs of dog hug discomfort, according to Bloom and jme Thomas, Executive Director of Motley Zoo Animal Rescue in Redmond, Washington. Thomas adds that you might also see the “whale eye,” or the whites of a dog’s eyes, which means they are nervous or stressed. And if they are really unhappy with a forced dog hug, Bloom says they will wriggle a lot, push their paws into you, or even nip at you.

How Dogs Interpret Hugs

To dog lovers, going in for a dog hug and squeezing their fur baby is a way to show how much they care. But to our canine companions, a dog hug is something much different. Bloom points out that there isn’t an equivalent in the dog world, so they aren’t going to understand that hugging equals love. “I suspect dogs interpret hugs mostly as confinement or restraint (not something most dogs enjoy—picture the last time you saw a dog being restrained to have a nail trim, or during a vet visit),” she says. Thomas agrees, adding that dog hugs might trigger a fight or flight response, because not unlike people, dogs don’t like being cornered or confined with no control over the situation. So, a dog’s inner dialogue might be: “What’s happening? I’m going to suffocate! Must. Get. Away.”

How to Do Dog “Hugs” Right

If you want to show your pup affection on his own terms, you’re going to have to be pretty flexible with your definition of a hug. Your pooch shows you love in his own ways—you just have to learn how to appreciate them and accept them as special dog “hugs.” Bloom says that some pups like to burrow into their humans, sit on their laps, lean against them, or lie on or under their legs. Thomas recalls how her dog would press her face against hers while wiggling her “little bunny tail nubbin” quickly and smiling. According to Bloom, the less pushy you are about petting or hugging your dog, the more likely he is to seek out physical contact with you.  “The key is to make sure they have an ‘escape route,’ so they can move away from when they want to. Given the freedom to leave, they will often choose to stay cuddled up with you.” So, instead of the restrictive human version of a hug, try petting them the way they want, and pay attention to their response. Be on the lookout for ways your pup is trying to show affection, and appreciate them as earnest dog “hugs” when they happen. In the meantime, you can give your pup a cuddly KONG Cozie Marvin the Moose Dog Toy that he can snuggle up to whenever he feels like it.

Can You Train Dogs to Tolerate Hugs?

If you’re worried that your dog might not react well if a stranger, or child, suddenly goes in for a hug, Bloom says that you can use treats to help him be more comfortable if this happens. “If your dog doesn’t like being touched by strangers at all, or is standoffish about being touched by most people, you will need to start at a very low level of contact, and use what are called ‘successive approximations’ to teach your dog to tolerate hugs better.” You can do this in short sessions of just 1-2 minutes, with breaks in between. Only move to the next step if your dog remains completely relaxed at the current level. If he tenses up or stops eating treats, slow down the training or go back to the last step. Here are the steps that Bloom offers:

For dogs who don’t like being touched by strangers at all, start with Step 1:

Have someone your dog doesn’t know stand near him. Give your pup treats for staying relaxed while the person is there. Do this for about 5-10 repetitions.

When your dog is okay with a stranger standing nearby, move to Step 2:

Have the person move their hand just an inch or two towards your pup, while giving treats. Let the person then extend their arm even closer, gradually, feeding dog treats each time.

Once he stays calm after having a person reach towards him, go to Step 3:

Try light levels of touch in areas like the flanks, building up to more pressure and longer periods.

Now we know better ways to show affection than by forcing a dog hug, and we’ve got some insight into what our pups are thinking. In the dog world, the cues are easy to learn. But you’re on your own when you go in for that human hug!

 Posted by at 6:44 pm

Rock 4 Rescue Concert!

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Oct 062014
October 18, 2014
7:00 pm

2014 Events Gone By:

Rock 4 Rescues Charity Concert

October 18th, El Corazon will be hosting an awesome night of rock, to benefit Motley Zoo! -All Ages

Doors open at 8pm

Come support local musicians, while rockin rescue!

Amanda Hardy

Black Powder County


Jamie Nova

DJ Ratticus

 Posted by at 7:11 pm

Better Pet Photography

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May 142014
May 18, 2014
1:00 pmto3:00 pm

For the first time ever, Brooke Mallory Photography is going to reveal her must-know pet photography secrets for animal rescue!

Sunday, May 18th, 2014 – 1pm – 3pm
Motley Zoo Animal Rescue / Rock Star Treatment
16715 Cleveland Street, Redmond, Washington 98052

FREE for any animal rescue volunteer or foster!
Suggested donation for non-volunteers/fosters: $5

This class was designed for animal rescue volunteers and fosters who are looking to take their animal photography to the next level, in a way that will help their fosters find their forever home!

** FREE “How-To” Pet Photography Guide!
** Refreshments and snacks provided


Brooke Mallory is a Seattle, WA professional photographer who specializes in pet photography. Working in animal rescue since 2006, Brooke developed her craft while working with some of the most difficult rescue cases, capturing the spirit of the animal on film in order to help them find their forever home.

As a Motley Zoo Animal Rescue photographer, Brooke’s make-over photography sessions have helped animals get adopted within days! Learn her secrets during this hands-on class!

FOR ALL SKILL LEVELS: This class is perfect for all skill levels from the beginner looking for a place to start to the more advance photographer wanting to perfect their animal handling in front of the camera!

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC: While this class was designed for Motley Zoo Animal Rescue foster parents, we are throwing the door open to the public! Bring a friend!

BRING YOUR CAMERA: You will have a chance to practice what you have learned on actual Motley Zoo Animal Rescue adoptable cats and dogs, right alongside Brooke! So bring your cameras! Cell phones are fine too!

** Please leave your animals at home!



learn more at our facebook page:

 Posted by at 7:41 pm

Cat Clicker Training

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May 142014
May 19, 2014
6:30 pmto8:30 pm

Did you know cats can be clicker trained? Can’t possibly imagine how this works? Come learn how with this informative session, and work hands on with Motley Zoo Roadies available for adoption!

Open to the public- please bring a minimum of $5 donation to help our Motley Zoo animals!

Current MZ volunteers and other animal welfare agents can attend gratis. Please rsvp if so.


Learn more at our facebook page:

 Posted by at 7:37 pm

Redmond Petco Adoption Event

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May 142014
May 17, 2014
11:00 amto3:00 pm

Where: Redmond Petco

When: May 17th,  11am-3pm

Join us in helping to spreading the word of pet adoption at the Redmond Petco this weekend. Come out and visit our adoptable friends and meet our great volunteers!

As always, not all of our available pets will be able to attend. If you want to meet someone in particular make sure ask for an application at email hidden; JavaScript is required and arrange for a meeting so that we can do our best to make sure they can be there to meet you!

 Posted by at 7:34 pm

Redmond PETCO – Adoption Event

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Apr 032014
April 3, 2014
11:00 amto3:00 pm

Join us in helping to spreading the word of pet adoption at the Redmond Petco this weekend. Come out and visit our adoptable friends and meet our great volunteers!

As always, not all of our available pets will be able to attend. If you want to meet someone in particular make sure ask for an application at email hidden; JavaScript is required and arrange for a meeting so that we can do our best to make sure they can be there to meet you!

 Posted by at 6:57 pm

Redmond – All The Best Petcare – Adoption Event

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Mar 202014
March 29, 2014
11:00 amto3:00 pm

Join us in helping to spreading the word of pet adoption at the Redmond All The Best Petcare this weekend. Come out and visit our adoptable friends and meet our great volunteers!

As always, not all of our available pets will be able to attend. If you want to meet someone in particular make sure ask for an application at email hidden; JavaScript is required and arrange for a meeting so that we can do our best to make sure they can be there to meet you!

 Posted by at 7:35 pm