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The Latest Information & News Gathered by CONNOR LAW

Guest Article of Interest
for Pets

Guest Article of Interest
for People

How to Potty Train Your Dog or Puppy




Stock Adobe

Humane Society of the United States

Tuesday October 16, 2023

By Irina Meshcheryakova

House training your dog or puppy requires patience, commitment and lots of consistency. Accidents are part of the process, but if you follow these basic house training guidelines, you can get the newest member of your family on the right track.

To potty train your puppy, establish a routine

Puppies do best on a regular schedule. The schedule teaches them that there are times to eat, times to play and times to do their business. Typically, a puppy can control their bladder one hour for every month of age. So if your puppy is 2 months old, they can hold it for about two hours. Don't go longer than this between bathroom breaks or they’re likely to have an accident.

Take your puppy outside frequently—at least every two hours—and immediately after they wake up, during and after playing, and after eating or drinking.

Pick a bathroom spot outside, and always take your puppy (on a leash) to that spot. While your puppy is relieving themselves, use a specific word or phrase that you can eventually use before they go to remind them what to do. Take them out for a longer walk or some playtime only after they have eliminated.

Reward your puppy every time they eliminate outdoors. Praise or give treats—but remember to do so immediately after they’ve finished, not after they come back inside. This step is vital, because rewarding your dog for going outdoors is the only way to teach what's expected of them. Before rewarding, be sure they’re finished. Puppies are easily distracted and if you praise too soon, they may forget to finish until they’re back in the house.

Put your puppy on a regular feeding schedule. What goes into a puppy on a schedule comes out of a puppy on a schedule. Depending on their age, puppies may need to be fed two or three times a day. Feeding your puppy at the same times each day will make it more likely that they'll eliminate at consistent times as well, making house training easier for both of you.

Pick up your puppy's water dish about two and a half hours before bedtime to reduce the likelihood that they'll need to relieve themselves during the night. Most puppies can sleep for approximately seven hours without needing a bathroom break. If your puppy does wake you up in the night, don't make a big deal of it; otherwise, they will think it is time to play and won't want to go back to sleep. Turn on as few lights as possible, don't talk to or play with your puppy, take them out to the spot where they relieve themselves and then return them to bed.

Supervise your puppy

Don't give your puppy an opportunity to soil in the house; keep an eye on them whenever they’re indoors.

Tether your puppy to you or a nearby piece of furniture with a six-foot leash if you are not actively training or playing. Watch for signs that your puppy needs to go out. Some signs are obvious, such as barking or scratching at the door, squatting, restlessness, sniffing around or circling. When you see these signs, immediately grab the leash and take them outside to their bathroom spot. If they eliminate, praise them and reward with a treat.

Keep your puppy on leash in the yard. During the house training process, your yard should be treated like any other room in your house. Give your puppy some freedom in the house and yard only after they become reliably house trained.

When you can't supervise, confine

When you're unable to watch your puppy at all times, restrict them to an area small enough that they won't want to eliminate there.

Browse Dog Crates on

  • The space should be big enough to comfortably stand, lie down and turn around. You can use a portion of a bathroom or laundry room blocked off with baby gates.

  • Or you may want to crate train your puppy. (Be sure to learn how to use a crate humanely as a method of confinement.) If your puppy has spent several hours in confinement, you'll need to take them directly to their bathroom spot as soon as you return.

Mistakes happen

Expect your puppy to have a few accidents in the house—it's a normal part of house training. Here's what to do when that happens:

  • Without a lot of drama, immediately take them to their outside bathroom spot. Praise your pup and give a treat if they finish there.

  • Don't punish your puppy for eliminating in the house. If you find a soiled area, just clean it up. Rubbing your puppy's nose in it, taking them to the spot and scolding them or any other punishment will only make them afraid of you or afraid to eliminate in your presence. Punishment will do more harm than good.

  • Clean the soiled area thoroughly. Puppies are highly motivated to continue soiling in areas that smell like urine or feces.

It's extremely important that you use these supervision and confinement procedures to minimize the number of accidents. If you allow your puppy to eliminate frequently in the house, they'll get confused about where they’re supposed to go, which will prolong the house training process.

Make plans for when you're away

If you have to be away from home more than four or five hours a day, this may not be the best time for you to get a puppy. Instead, you may want to consider an older house-trained dog who can wait for your return. If you already have a puppy and must be away for long periods of time, you may need to:

  • Arrange for someone, such as a responsible neighbor or a professional pet sitter, to take them for bathroom breaks.

  • Alternatively, train them to eliminate in a specific place indoors. Be aware, however, that doing this can prolong the process of house training. Teaching your puppy to eliminate on newspaper may create a life-long surface preference, meaning that even as an adult they may eliminate on any newspaper lying around the living room.

  • If you plan to paper-train, confine them to an area with enough room for a sleeping space, a playing space and a separate place to eliminate. In the designated elimination area, use either pet pee pads, newspapers (cover the area with several layers of newspaper) or a sod box. To make a sod box, place sod in a container such as a child's small, plastic swimming pool. You can also find dog litter products at a pet supply store.

  • If you have to clean up an accident outside the designated elimination area, put the soiled rags or paper towels inside that area afterward to help your puppy recognize the scented area as the place where they are supposed to eliminate.

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Uncertain Times Call for Creative

Estate Planning Strategies


Kiplinger· Getty Images


Tue, Sep 19, 2023     7 min read

By Lindsay N. Graves, Esq

Flexibility in the estate planning process is key so you can adjust your plans to address changes in your goals or accommodate legislative shifts.

Does the thought of estate planning trigger a surge of anxiety? If so, you’re in plentiful company.

Estate planning can be one of the most intimidating, complex and emotionally charged financial necessities a family takes on together. There is little room for error, as savers look to safeguard their legacies and protect their families for generations to come. And while money and emotions are always entangled with one another, those feelings intensify as people face their own mortality during the planning process — and revisit the idea often as they seek to maximize long-term opportunity.

Those stressors are present even if everything else is calm and stable outside the boundaries of our lives and families. In reality, families now have to piece together effective estate planning strategies inside a tempest of political volatility and tax law uncertainty. In this climate, households need creative and sophisticated strategies that stand the test of time, while remaining flexible in the face of ongoing legislative and environmental changes.

Tax changes are always on the ballot

While it may seem dizzying to keep tabs on the endless proposed changes discussed on Capitol Hill, there are some tax legislative changes that bear greater impact on your financial and estate plans.

The estate planning landscape has seen significant transformation over the past few years, as legislators respond to the ever-changing challenges and needs of Americans. One important change happened via the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017. This increased the estate tax exemption from $5.6 million to $11.18 million, adjusted for inflation. In 2023, that amount is $12.92 million per decedent. For a married couple, that means the estate tax (aka the “death tax”) wouldn’t kick in until their total assets exceeded $25.84 million. As recently as 2008, the estate tax exemption was only $2 million per decedent (or $4 million per couple).

Recent passage of the SECURE Act 1.0 and 2.0 implemented changes to inherited IRAs, required minimum distributions (RMDs), trusts and more. One key change was the elimination of the “stretch IRA” for non-spousal beneficiaries (some exceptions apply). Under pre-SECURE Act law, a child of the IRA owner could stretch distributions out over their lifetime, effectively reducing or delaying income tax on those distributions. Under current law, they must withdraw the entire account within 10 years of the original account owner’s death. Rightfully so, this had led to a rise in converting traditional IRAs (tax-deferred) to Roth IRAs (tax-free) during the owner’s life.

The 2024 presidential election is already heating up, and each party’s platform could have implications on your estate plan. Every year, the president releases the administration’s budget plan, known as the Greenbook (it gets its name from its distinctive green cover), which includes proposed tax law changes. While all these proposals won’t pass, it’s important to take note of what the administration is thinking.

For example, the current Greenbook would eliminate certain grantor trusts, eliminate the step-up in basis upon death and limit the annual gift tax exclusion to $50,000 per donor, rather than $17,000 per donee. In fact, even without any congressional action, the estate tax exemption is scheduled to roll back to a projected amount of $6.8 million to $7 million ($5 million indexed for inflation from 2017) after 2025.

This gives individuals only a few years to take advantage of the higher exemption unless the president and Congress agree to extend this provision. Extending at the current level will depend on who is in control of the White House and Congress after the 2024 election. When it comes to navigating these changes, strategic and advanced planning makes all the difference.

Creative strategies and advanced planning to protect your legacy

While navigating these tax changes can be a challenge, they also present real opportunities for strategic planning. For instance, the estate tax exemption changes could drive higher-net-worth individuals to set up some kind of grantor trust, like a spousal lifetime access trust (SLAT). Another strategy, and one that works best in our current higher-interest-rate environment, is a qualified personal residence trust (QPRT). This involves gifting a property to a trust but allows you to retain effective ownership for a period of time (e.g., 10 years).

At the end of the term, the property passes to the trust beneficiaries. By retaining control for a period of time, the value of the gift is reduced below fair market value. Think of it as making a gift at a discounted value. The ideal individual is someone who has a family vacation home that they want to pass to the next generation but isn’t ready to give up complete control.

A lot of tax-advantaged estate planning strategies involve giving up control of some of your money to protect it. After years spent accumulating wealth, it can be difficult to trust in the process enough to relinquish control. Particularly in times of market turmoil, emotions are even higher, and individuals who are already watching their account balances go down due to the markets and economy don’t necessarily want to give more money up by funding their trusts.

It is important to think opportunistically about where your money is going and not panic just because the market is down. One approach to calm the waters is to revert to long-term planning — focus on the signal (e.g., markets steadily rise) and not the noise (e.g., daily market fluctuations).

Be flexible and diligent

When you are going into the estate planning process, flexibility is key. You should be clear about what your goals are and ensure your documents are drafted in a way that will offer your future self some flexibility to adjust the plan for changes in those goals, or external factors such as legislative changes.

One way is by providing broad distribution standards in your documents. This gives the trustee greater ability to make distributions as times and lives change.

A few other ways include providing powers of appointment, which allows the beneficiary some control over who receives money in the future; naming a trust protector; providing the power to change the trustee; or providing reimbursement provisions for grantor trusts, which allows the trust to make distributions back to the grantor to cover tax liabilities paid for by the grantor on the trust’s income. As Congress and the IRS continue to see individuals taking advantage of tax loopholes, laws will continue to change.

It is also important to be aware that many of the acts and changes that are proposed or talked about may not ever come to fruition. This is where it is important to work closely with a trusted adviser who will know when, or when not, to make a move and can filter through what is “media noise” and what actually needs to be addressed.

Finding a balance between being proactive in adjusting your estate plan, but not overly reactive to news that you hear, is crucial.

Many individuals think of estate planning as a once-and-done event, but that could not be further from the truth. It is crucial to revisit all of your estate documents on a regular basis to ensure they are consistent with not only your overall goals, but with the current laws that are in place as well. Staying informed and in contact with your financial adviser will put you in a better position to protect your legacy and your loved ones now and into the future.

Marshall Financial Group, Inc (“Marshall Financial”) is an SEC-registered investment adviser with its principal place of business in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. For additional information about Marshall Financial, please request our disclosure brochure as set forth on Form ADV using the contact information set forth herein, or refer to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website ( Please read the disclosure statement carefully.

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