If you got a puppy for Christmas by now you are starting to see some problem behaviours – accidents in the house, chewing and destroying your stuff, nipping, jumping on you and ignoring your commands. While a nuisance for us, these are simply normal behaviours of dogs and it is up to us to teach our puppies how to confidently live in the human world.
Following are some tips to help –
This is simple yet not easy for us, since we tend to get caught up in our life and forget to supervise the puppy. Puppies have to “go” frequently, think about how often a baby needs his diaper changed and you will begin to appreciate a puppy’s needs.
To avoid accidents you need to take your puppy outside to the same spot –
- First thing on a morning
- Last thing at night
- Within 10 minutes after every meal
- When he wakes up
- After playing
Accidents will happen, but when they do, it’s usually the fault of the owner. Do NOT shove the puppy’s nose in his mess, that is just nasty and don’t hit him with a newspaper. Instead, whack yourself around your head with the newspaper for being a bad owner. Simply clean up the mess with an odour neutralizer and vow to be more vigilant.
- Chewing & Destruction
All dogs chew, they use their mouths to explore their world. Just like how we would give babies lots of toys to entertain and mentally stimulate them, we need to do the same for our puppies and adult dogs. Otherwise they will find things to amuse themselves to our detriment.
You need to teach your puppy what is okay to chew. In other words, give him plenty of appropriate things to chew right away to get him hooked on those toys and chews instead of your shoes.
- Mouthing / Nipping
Puppies under 4 months old have what I call puppy piranha teeth – fine, needle sharp teeth which makes it very easy to draw blood.
Puppies are little biting machines. They bite everything that move, things that don’t move, each other, your hands, anything. Not only is this normal, it is an important part of their development. When puppies play, they learn from their playmates’ yelps and body language when a bite is too hard. Over time, a puppy figures out how to use his mouth more gently (inhibit his bite) to keep play going. This is why it is VERY important that puppies don’t leave their litter before 7 weeks old.
Why you should allow some biting.
Your puppy needs to learn that human skin is fragile and can’t be treated as roughly as a fur coat. Let your puppy bite you every now and again so you can let him know which bites are too hard. Otherwise he won’t learn to inhibit his bite and, if he is ever startled and bites on instinct, he may cause serious injury. Puppies need to learn bite inhibition ie how hard to bite, this process takes time
- Jumping Up
Puppies jump up to say hello and because they are so happy to see us. They don’t know that they might knock us over or ruin our clothes. Thankfully, consistent anti-jump training can quickly solve the problem for good.
The key to anti-jump training is consistency. You can end jump-up greetings for good if you turn away every time.
Be patient. If your puppy has used jumping as his main way to say hello, it will take a little while for him to learn new ways.
- Ignoring Your Commands
Puppies don’t understand English, we have to teach them what our words mean, they have to learn to associate our words with their actions. Have you ever been around a bunch of people who speak another language which differs from yours? It’s just a bunch of noise isn’t it? So why do people persist in calling dogs stubborn, hard-ears or stupid, when they haven’t taken the time to teach their dogs?
Avoid problems in the first place, save yourself lots of money in damage to your shoes, clothes, furniture, phones, internet cables, etc and get the help of a positive reinforcement trainer. There is absolutely NO need to use aversives like chokers, pinch collars or electric collars or force. You can start training your pup from as early as eight weeks once you use gentle, kind methods which will not hurt nor harm him.