Puppies In General
There is nothing in the world cuter than a puppy. Who
doesn't love the little ball of fur with the boundless energy and oh-so-endearing puppy breath? Puppies are like a blank
slate. They bring nothing into the relationship. They don't have any training or knowledge of what we humans expect
from them. I heard a comedian say one time that the reason God made babies so cute is so you don't kill them.
I think the same is true for puppies! This page is about common puppy misbehaviors and how to help your puppy (or dog)
understand what we humans want from them.
Crate training is one of the easiest ways to avoid many, many
puppy problems. It can help with housebreaking and to prevent destructive behaviors that can be both frustrating and
costly! It can become a dog's very own space, and a dog really does like it. It becomes their den, a spot in the
home that is theirs and theirs alone. The crate should be no bigger than to give the dog room to stand up and turn around.
Any bigger and they will use one end as a bathroom and the other end to sleep in. Some crates come with dividers you
can buy, or you can try putting a cardboard box in the back to block off the extra room.
A couple of tips is when you are crate training, your pup should
be put in for short times when you are home as well as when you leave. This will help them not associate the crate with
being left alone every time. Also if you say the same thing, like I use "Kennel UP!" everytime I crate a dog, they will
learn to crate on command. This makes things way easier. Speaking of crating...the way to get a lot of dogs to
go in willingly is to toss a dog treat (like a Milkbone) to the back of the crate. When they go to get it say "GOOD
Kennel UP!" and close the door.
Ready to get started? Here is a great article to get you there!
If You Could Bottle That Energy...
Puppies, like children, have an excess of energy. Many
parents have thought if they could find a way to bottle that energy, the riches that would come would be phenominal.
There are no truer words.
A lot of times people think that having a big back yard will
automatically take care of burning energy for a dog. This is not further from the truth. A dog gets outside and
lo and behold, at best, they mostly sit around or at worst, dig a few holes to burn off that energy. That is the
problem, if a dog doesn't expend enough energy in constructive play, they will find ways to burn that energy and chances are,
you aren't going to like the ways they come up with.
Pups and dogs need structured playtime and mental stimulation.
It is best to go out there with them and throw around a ball for them to fetch, or take your dog for a long walk in order
to help with that energy.
For some ideas of things you can teach your dog that are useful
or fun, try this website!
For some ideas of activities you and your pup may like, here
is a website with all kinds of links to fun activities and sports to do with your
I read once that if adults had to go through teething like babies
do, we would demand morphine. A dogs teeth are pointier and sharper than a human's so think how much more that must
hurt! Four to five months is when chewing behaviors seem to really increase and are at their worst.
Dogs chew for a lot of reasons. Obviously, puppies chew because their teeth are hurting. It really does hurt when
their teeth come in. Adults can chew because they are stressed, because they are bored, etc, and they remember being soothed
by it as a puppy.
What I do for wayward chewers (some dogs come off the track, and
they are stressed in a home, they don't know what's going on, they have never seen many household items before and they go
through a phase of chewing EVERYTHING!) is I crate when I'm not home, and otherwise put important stuff up, out of harms way,
and make sure they have a compressed rawhide (I never give knotted rawhides, the dog can chew off the knot and swallow it
and block their intestines), kong, nylabone, or even a washrag that you have wet and frozen available for them to
chew on. If I see them chewing on my stuff, I give a very firm NO! take it away and give them a rawhide instead.
If they start chewing on it, great, I say "GOOD DOG!" give a pet and go on my way. Also, just as important when I see
them chewing on their own items I say "OH GOOD DOG" and play a little game or give a good petting to them. This way
you are teaching what you don't want, but also what you do want. Listen from other rooms...you can tell the difference
when a dog is chewing on a rawhide or something else. I can hear a dog chewing on an unapproved item from 2 rooms
away by now LOL!
There is not a dog alive who hasn't stolen something, ran up to
their human with a gleam in their eye that says "TEE HEE! CHASE ME!" and taken off with the contraband. Although
it is tempting, do NOT chase the dog. It makes it a big game that they will be wanting to play over and over.
This is where the "DROP IT" command
comes in really handy. Don't chase them, but make them drop it, retrieve the item and put it up out of harms way.
If you walk into a room and your pup is chewing on something that
does NOT belong to them, say a firm "NO!" and take it away, substituting one of their toys for the stolen item. If they
start chewing on it, great, I say "GOOD DOG!" give a pet and go on my way. Also, just as important when I see them chewing
on their own items I say "OH GOOD DOG" and play a little game or give a good petting to them. This way you are teaching
what you don't want, but also what you do want. Listen from other rooms...you can tell the difference when a dog
is chewing on a rawhide or something else. I can hear a dog chewing on an unapproved item from 2 rooms away by now LOL!
Again, this may take a while for the dog to grasp, patience and consistency will get both of you through this. And remembering
to put your stuff up out of harms way goes a LONG way too!
Barking in general...some dogs tend to love the sound of their own voice
more than others. I say "boy you just love to hear yourself talk, don't you?" and some hounds are definitely on that
list. So is my lab mix, Mimi. She used to barkbarkbarkbarkbarkbark with no space in between, VERY ANNOYING!
What I would do is clap my hands, or make a sharp noise and say "HUSH" Usually the dog is shocked into silence for a
second, and I step in with a training treat and a "GOOD HUSH!" Gradually I increase the amount of time that the dog
has to be silent for a treat. As they learn the HUSH command, life gets easier. If you give a treat and your
dog goes right back to barking, do the sharp noise and the HUSH command again. They can have a treat, whatever,
but make sure that as time goes on, you gradually increase the time of silence you require to get a treat. More than
twice you have to tell the pup, remove them from the situation. Put the dog in another room and block access to that
one, bring the dog in if you are out...whatever to break the attention on barking and let the dog know that they are gonna
quit barking one way or another so they may as well hush and take their treat. This one can take a while to learn, so
be patient and consistant, and remember, they all "get it" eventually.
Some pups (OK, ALL pups) get really excited when people come over.
Sometimes they make a nuisance of themselves! Jumping up, barking, sniffing and getting WAAAY too personal. They
are just greeting people in the doggie way. We have to teach them to greet people in a way that people like.
If your pup is going whack-o and bothering the guests,
it is tempting to want to just crate them, and get them out of the way. But, try keeping him or her out, but leashing
the dog, and having some tiny treats in your pocket, and make the pup sit and be calm and give them little
treats throughout the visit for being calm. When your guests arrive, put the dog into a "sit"and
then if she is calm your guests can give a pet (not all excited but a calm greeting) and give a little treat. Keep your
pup right by you and if she starts to get away, say "NO, BY ME" and put him or her back into a sit. You can increase
gradually the time they have to sit to get a treat. But you do have control over the dog so they
can't bother your guests as long as they are leashed.
It is kind of hard to be paying attention to the dog when guests
come over and you want to be doing other things, but it is a short term thing. Once the dog learns how to
act you can be paying attention to your guests like normal, only you won't have them in the crate trying to drive