Since there aren't any books entitled, "The Ninja Whisperer" or "The Strong-Willed Ninja," I've had to borrow bits and pieces of advice from a variety of resources-and yes, a few of them are for dogs. Don't judge. You don't know my son. And for the record, I love dogs...more than some people. Training a puppy is a lot like raising a kid. Puppies need an Alpha leader, clear boundaries & rules, rewards for being good and lots of love. HELLO! I wish more parents raised their kids like dogs. And don't worry, every time Ninja pooped anywhere outside of his diaper or the toilet-I was more than half tempted to rub his nose in it, but I didn't! (Nor would I do that to a dog.)
I've compiled a list of things I do with Ninja that could be used for puppy-training or, in my case, child-rearing.
1. I use the spray bottle method on him. I'm serious. It helps keep him away from any "no-no" areas around the apartment (and keeps me from smacking him every 5 minutes). Most of the time I use it when he's climbing on the counters, climbing on the back of the couch or the kitchen table and when he's terrorizing the kitty (who we initially bought the spray bottle for...lol.) Since he thinks it's fun to rile me up to the point that I use the water, he now gets sprayed for his 1st offense. I won't even tell him to stop, I just spray him. Back of the head, his ear, his hand...he hates it. *sigh* (It's the simple things in life that make a me happy...muahahaa!) This method could easily be abused and made fun, so Daddy is not allowed to use it...
2. He has a leash. He has a real one. A 6-foot, cable dog leash for "medium sized-dogs." (We can no longer use his cutesy Monkey harness "tail" as a leash since it took Ninja 3 wears before he figured out how to unhook himself, with me unaware that he had until he was running away-true story.) With this new leash I have been known to tie him to road signs during parades, to tent stakes at the beach and into his stroller when we go anywhere I think he would try to escape (like an aquarium)-->he can get out of his stroller's seatbelt and take off running in about 10 seconds-true story.
3. He gets crated at night. Okay, not crated. Stop dialing DCFS. But he does get locked in his room at night for fear of what he could do to the rest of our apartment (or himself) while Daddy and I are asleep.
4. Stop. Turn. Sit. Stay. One-word commands are my best friend. I don't know why they intimidate Ninja so much, but he actually listens to them. (I use that word loosely. Correction: he listens three out of five times, which is pretty good for Ninja). For example: EVERY time I get him juice (or anything that has to do with the fridge) he starts this hyper crap & will be running around the kitchen trying to "help" me get the fridge door open, get the juice, then close (slam) the door and then throw his cup at me and the whole time he's pushing me and tugging at my clothes and shrieking about juice and "mommy, mommy, mommmmmmmy!!!" STOP. TURN. SIT! *Points at the line where the dining room floor meets the kitchen floor.* He goes and sits. Works every time.
5. I double gate. Other parents use gates too, but I use two for Ninja because there is not a gate for sale high enough for this kid. Ninja can climb/jump/shimmy/army crawl his way into anything better than anyone I know.
So, yeah...I love my Ninja Dog.