Marley Williams – On Her Way!

Marley was taken back to my stepmom on Friday when we met halfway in Columbia.  It was a little bittersweet since we had gotten so attached to her and were starting to get used to her routine, but my stepmom and brother were really anxious to have her back and that was the intention all along.  Still….hard to give wave goodbye to this face:




In preparation for her journey back to Higginsville, I spent a few hours writing a rather intensive, yet creative A-to-Z Guide for Marley’s training and habits.  It was six pages.  No lie.  But I suppose it’s the creative things I enjoy spending time on, and it seems to have gotten some good reviews.  So, I wanted to share it with you!  It looks much different not in WordPress, but you’ll get the gest.  Hope you enjoy it!

Date of Birth:  est. Thanksgiving 2012; November 25 sounds legit

Breed:  Shar Pei, Bluetick Coonhound

Sex:  Female, soon-to-be spayed

Hobbies:  Fetching and retrieving, chewing on ropes, drinking water, snuggling, eating puppy chow, looking precious

A-Z Guide for Training

Accidents – Marley WILL have accidents in the house if left unattended or if she isn’t taken out at least once per hour.  This will get better with age, but to save frustration and stains on your floors, it’s better to take the five minutes it takes to let her out to potty.  She doesn’t give strong cues, so pay attention and only punish or discipline her if you CATCH her in the act.  Otherwise, she can’t associate why you are punishing her.  This is VERY important, even though it’s frustrating.  See also Feeding, Pottying and Water.

– Marley is a really awesome dog.  She is smart, and will learn whatever you want to teach her.


Barking –  Marley will bark/cry/howl if left in her crate and she knows someone is in the house.  Refrain from yelling at her or giving her attention if you do not intend to let her out.  She will quiet down.  Yelling at her barks only encourages her to bark back at you.

– Marley has her own bed in her crate, and should not be allowed in any human bed.  She hasn’t had exposure to anything other than her blanket, but hasn’t chewed or bothered it.  My assumption is she will get comfortable on any bed you put as long as she has her smell on it.  (Harper liked to chew beds in his crate but Marley doesn’t seem to have the same bad habit.

Bluetick Coonhound  – One of Marley’s predominant breeds, the Bluetick Coonhound is very intelligent and bred to be extreme hunters and problem solvers.Once trained, the breed is very mindful of its owner, friendly, and quiet. They have very strong noses (hunting, etc.) and often mistaken for aggressiveness, the breed will “greet” strangers with its signature howl and will sniff the subject until satisfied. (Harper does this – he sniffs until he is bored, usually about a minute of sniffing and then he leaves people be.)  Usually this is just the way the breed gets to know its subjects. See also Jumping.

– If Marley bites or nips, boop her on the nose with a little force and a “NO!”. Open palm or just a stern finger do the trick for most issues.  Occasionally, she gets spanked and knows now when to expect it.    See also Discipline.

–Marley must be spayed to avoid breeding with random douchebag dogs, getting pregnant, and dropping out of high school.   See also Spaying.

– Marley’s mentor, can be reached at 314-xxx-xxxx for questions and training suggestions.


Car Rides – Marley is not a huge fan of car rides, but this can be worked out with some experience and rewards.  She will quiet down and sleep most of the time.  Work on getting her to enter and exit the car by herself; she will do it but it takes some coaxing, possibly with treats.  See also Companion.

– Marley is very good about chewing things that dogs are allowed to chew on, i.e. toys, ropes, bones.  DO NOT let her chew on socks, shoes, or anything a human wouldn’t chew on.  If you see her with a sock or shoe, boop her on the nose with the shoe or your hand so she negatively relates that action and always use “NO”.   Do not let her eat the toy stuffing.

– “COME” is a hard command to learn and teach.  Marley is very good about following your lead and coming when called.  However, her nose and curiosity will lead her astray sometimes (and almost certainly) and it is important to reward her when she does what is asked.  Yelling or punishing her when you do get your hands on her only teaches her to related bad things to “COME”.

– Take Marley with you when you run errands to get her used to the car, and also to be socialized.  Harper loves to run errands and will sit quietly in the car while you’re in the store;  Marley does the same.  See also Car Rides and Socialization.

– Puppies NEED consistency!  See also Routines.

– Marley is getting very good at knowing when to go in her crate, also by saying, “CRATE”.  She goes in willingly or with a little encouragement, and feels safe while there.   She has not tried to escape yet.

A common misconception is that dogs don’t like their crates.  Crates are meant to keep your furniture in-tact and your things nice. DO NOT risk letting her roam free in the house while you are away unless you can deal with the consequences.  As she gets older, she may be left out with a proven track record but not before two years of age, most likely.


Dairy – Dairy products (milk, cheese) are bad for dogs.  They upset their digestive system.  Don’t give Marley those items.

– Discipline is very important in Marley’s success.  If she potties in the house and you catch her, put her nose in it for several seconds and tell her “NO”.  Immediately take her outside to potty and correct her.  Boops with items she’s chewed or spanks for being aggressive is acceptable, but be wary of her defensive characteristics.  It’s genetic, and should be remembered if she is scared and tries to bite out of fear.  Ask Brian for more elaboration.  See also Boops.


Electric Fence – Kacey and Brian have grown attached to Marley, and would hate to see her run over, and even worse for Dad – scaring away the deer and turkey that he loves to watch on the property.  I would suggest spending $200 on an electric fence and collar for her so she doesn’t roam too far.  It would also give her humans some peace of mind.  :)  For example:  SportHunter 800 by SportDOG – SD-800.

– Marley is pretty good at entertaining herself with bones and rope toys, but she is a puppy and needs stimulation.  Without some mental stimulation comes destructive behavior like chewing on furniture, etc.

– Marley needs exercise.  This can mean fetch outside, running with Colton or evening walks with Cheri.  Just remember to ask her to sit before putting on her leash!  See also Leash.


Feeding –  The vet assumed Marley will get to be about 50 pounds, give or take.  She currently eats around 1.5 cups at breakfast and dinner, per the puppy feeding instructions.  She should eat at routine times, and should go out to potty approximately 15 minutes after she completes a meal.  Marley is fed in her crate for both meals, and is locked in until you are ready to take her out immediately to potty.   See also Accidents, Pottying and Water.

–  As a hunting dog, Marley is very good at retrieving.  She should be asked to “SIT” before you throw something to prepare her and teach her patience.  Upon returning the item, she will playfully growl and want to play tug-of-war.  Ask her to “DROP” in a stern voice and she should loosen or drop the item.  Make this a routine as she learns to make this process a habit.  See also Sit.

– Marley is NOT allowed on any furniture that isn’t specifically for her.  No beds, couches, or chairs.  If you want to snuggle with her, lie on the floor or ground with her, on her level.  She has been broken of getting on the couch at our house; don’t let her at yours.


GOOD GIRL! – Marley is told she is a “good girl” quite often, and has started to recognize it when she is given positive reinforcement with some squishing of her face and loves.

–  Marley knows when she is guilty.   Punish and drop it because she will in about five seconds.  Holding a grudge against her only frustrates you.   She can’t reason like a human.


Harper – Marley’s best friend and dog mentor.  He loves her no matter how much he growls and tries to eat her face.

– If Marley is spayed at the proper time, humping should not be an issue.  But before that, it is NEVER acceptable for her to hump, and should be reprimanded if you catch her doing so.  Seriously.


Ice cubes – Cheap, refreshing treats.  Marley enjoys them, and are good in the summertime to avoid heat exhaustion.

– Many times, if you ignore Marley or don’t show her attention, she will get the picture, lie down, and snooze or entertain herself.  Just don’t ignore her if she just drank or ate a lot.  Just like with people, sometimes not saying anything and letting her self-soothe helps produce a mellow dog.  See also Quiet.


Jumping – Marley is prone to jump on people when she greets them.  Do not allow her and tell her “NO” and “DOWN”.  A light kick or knee to her will also do the trick.  Being super excited when you let her out of her crate will cause her to jump; sometimes ignoring her is best as well.   Marmee is 82 and can’t take a large dog jumping on her.  See also Bluetick Coonhound, Ignore and Socialization.


Kacey  – Marley’s other mentor, can be reached at 314-xxx-xxxx for questions, training suggestions, and general knowledge.


LAY DOWN! – One of the first commands Marley learned.  Ask her to “SIT”, and then point towards the floor or tap the floor and say “LAY DOWN”.  It may take her a few tries if she’s excited, but keep at it!

There is no room for laziness with a growing, active puppy.  She is just like a child, and needs activity.  If you want to sleep in, get up at a reasonable time, let her out to potty, and then put her back in her crate.  She will learn but dogs are not for the lazy.

– Marley is a quick learner.  However, she is an easily distracted puppy and will need constant coaching, reinforcement and reminders.  Plan on that for the next year or so until she matures a little.

– Marley is learning to walk without pulling on a leash.  It is recommended that a small pronged collar be used when she is on a leash to maintain control and discipline.  This is not torture; it is a training method and does not hurt the dog due to the excess skin that protects their neck.  Even though Higginsville is a rural town, she still needs to be on a leash in public.  It’s just polite.  See also Exercise.


Mornings – Add at least a half hour to your morning routine to let Marley eat, and go both #1 and #2 before you leave for school/work.  This is imperative to her not having accidents in the house or her crate while you’re away.  Typically she’s been going out at least three times per morning, can hold until lunch or after school/work, and then as needed per water and food given.  See also Routines.

– Like all good mutts, Marley has qualities of several dogs, both good and bad.  Luckily, we believe she is very smart and has the best of several worlds.


NO! – Use this for most things.  Sometimes, Marley may think it’s her name but she responds and learns.


Opportunity – Marley has the opportunity to be a wonderful dog for you.  One that stays around the house and does what you ask.  But you must teach her and work with her.


Pack Leader – Someone has to be the pack leader.  Be consistent, and don’t undermine each other with her training.

– Mike, Cheri, and Colton MUST have patience with a growing, smart puppy.  She is like a child and will test your willpower and patience.

– Marley doesn’t mind her paws being cleaned with a towel and will sit for you to do so.  Do not let her bite the towel, and make a habit of wiping off dirty paws when she comes in the door.  PAW! is also a trick she knows.  After asking her to SIT!, ask for her PAW!  She will shake.  See also Shake.

– Phrase used when any puppy is having some problems, even like when things are going their way.  Example – “Marley has such a rough life as she has to choose between the rope or bone to chew…#puppyproblems.”

– Clean up after Marley’s poop.  It’s gross to walk in a yard where bombs are waiting to be stepped in.  She will get more control and ability to hold her bladder and bowels, but you must take her out to avoid accidents.  We suggest picking a spot to take her to away from the house so she gets in the habit of using that one spot rather than tearing up your yard.  See also Accidents, Feeding, and Water.

– Marley will need practice to improve her brain and learning capacity.  Just because she may not get “LAY DOWN” on the first try, make her do it.  You’ll feel satisfaction as well, and she will be rewarded for listening and performing.


Quiet – Marley will be quiet if you are.  Yelling at her to stop barking or howling does no good.  See also Ignore.


Rewards – Marley loves treats and will try to snatch them out of your hand.  Work with her to be patient, open your palm like you would feed a horse (see Mike Williams for tutorial).  Too many treats leads to digestive problems and diarrhea, so be cognizant.  Don’t forget that positive snugs can work just as well sometimes.  See also Treats.

–  It is crucial for Marley to have some sort of routine, even if it’s only a morning routine to get her started.  Start that on Day 1 back at your house and even on the weekends.  She’ll form habits just like a human would.  Her shots and monthly medicines should also follow a routine; we like to use the first of the month as a timeline.  See also Consistency, Mornings and Veterinarian.


Sit – Marley’s first trick, and does this very well.  Must be asked to sit prior to putting on the leash no matter what.  SIT should also be asked on a regular basis to earn rewards and treats and before she retrieves.  This teaches patience.  See also Leashes and Fetch!

– Puppies don’t need the square footage a human does, so perhaps shut doors and only let her roam around one level of the house to avoid accidents.  Marley stayed mainly in the den of our house and only played out of our sight when we were cooking dinner.  Or she and Harper were playing in the sitting room or dining room.  If you stick to this, it will help her feel comfortable in those rooms and she won’t wander around when she gets older.

– Another trick Marley knows.  Ask her to SIT! And then ask for her paw by saying, “PAW!”  See also Paws.

Shar Pei
– Marley’s other predominant breed is Shar Pei, characteristic of her face, wrinkles, and short tail.  Like other fighting breeds, they can be stubborn, strong-willed and very territorial but this can be managed by early training and socialization.

The Shar Pei is often suspicious of strangers like Coonhounds, which pertains to their origin as a guard dog. It is a very independent and reserved breed. Nevertheless, the Shar Pei is extremely devoted, loyal and affectionate to its family and is amenable to accepting strangers given time and proper introduction at a young age. If poorly socialized or trained, it can become especially territorial and aggressive. Even friendly and well-socialized individuals will retain the breed’s watch dog proclivities (like barking at strangers). Shar Peis are very loyal and loving to its family while being very protective and independent.

– Very important for both Coonhound and Shar Pei breeds.  As territorial dogs, they must be properly introduced to strangers and other pets.  Small animals should be avoided (we make no guarantees on the cats).  Aggressive behavior should not be tolerated, and corrected.  See also Jumping.

– Must be done before April 15 to ensure she doesn’t cycle, and to prolong her youthful demeanor.  Spaying later or not at all prematurely ages your dog and you’ve seen what happens to the cats.


Treats – Many puppy treats are high in fat, which affects their stomachs.  Marley actually responds better to positive love and snuggles rather than treats at this point.  She gets distracted at the smell and loses focus.  Use treats to reinforce good behavior, but do it in small doses.  DentaStix and Nylabones are good options but make her work for them by sitting, fetching, or lying down.  See also Rewards.


Umbrella – Marley knows the feeling of rain, and to avoid the wet dog smell, she will walk with you under an umbrella but usually on a leash.  It’s good to take her out with and without, and could save your sanity in a rainstorm to just use a leash.  See also Leash.


Veterinarian –  Marley’s first vet visit was very successful.  She was well-behaved and see also Vaccinations for future needs.  She will also need Heartgard for heartworms and Frontline for fleas once a month starting on April 1, 2013.  You will typically get these from the vet because the cheap ones at regular stores like Wal-Mart DO NOT WORK.  Approximate cost for Heartgard per year = $80; Frontline per year = $140.

Something else to consider is having her chipped so you can find her if she’s lost.  See also Routine.

– Marley needs another two rounds of puppy shots.  Her next round of Dhpp (distemper) should be between March 18-23, 2013.  Her rabies vaccination can be administered at the same time of her spaying.  She should have a yearly checkup so her vaccinations can be current and she isn’t a threat to other dogs or humans.


Waste – See also Pottying.  Marley will poop, and will poop a lot.  She normally has to go out for #2 about 15 minutes after eating.  This will get better with age, but to avoid accidents, just take her out on a schedule and she will go.

– Marley LOVES to drink water but cannot hold her bladder very well, thus needs to be taken out soon after a long drink or at least once per hour to avoid accidents.  See also Accidents, Feeding and Pottying.


Xylophones – Marley hasn’t learned to play the xylophone yet, but has expressed interest.


Yes – Yes, you are near the end.


Zany – Marley is a zany dog, but she is very lovable.  Please take care of her!