How to Correct Common Puppy Problems
One of the most exciting things for kids and adults alike is getting a new puppy. They are small, cute, and fluffy, what’s not to love. Most families are head over heels in love with their new pup… that is until the puppy starts chewing up the furniture and going to the bathroom in the house. Below are some tips for addressing common puppy behaviors, it’s never too early to start training!
Chewing is a normal behavior for puppies. Just like human babies, puppies also go through a teething process around 3-8 weeks when they first get their teeth and then again around 6 months when those teeth are replaced with permanent teeth. During those times your puppy will be more inclined to chew to relieve discomfort, but dogs of all ages will continue to chew throughout their life. The key is not to stop chewing but to redirect your puppy to chew only on appropriate objects.
First you’ll want to set you puppy up for success by putting away as many objects as possible that you don’t want your puppy to chew on. For instance keep your shoes in the closet or in another room behind a closed door to prevent your puppy from getting to them in the first place. Second make sure to provide plenty of chew toys for your puppy.
“Finally if you do find your puppy in the act of chewing on an inappropriate object you should tell your puppy ‘no’ in a firm tone, take away the inappropriate object and give him/her something appropriate to chew on.”
When your puppy starts chewing on the appropriate object, praise him/her so your puppy can start to associate what is and is not allowed to be chewed.
Another common issue with puppies is nipping. Some nipping is the result of the puppy trying to use you as a chew toy during teething and some of it is because dogs use their mouths in play. Puppies learn through their litter-mates how to mouth during play without being too rough. It’s your job as the owner to further teach your puppy not to use his/her mouth while playing with humans.
When puppies play with each other if one of them bites too hard the other will let out a yelp and play will stop momentarily. Through this process puppies learn how hard is too hard for play biting. You can use a similar method while playing with your dog.
“If you dog bites let out a high pitched yelp and stop play for a few moments, then resume play.”
If this method doesn’t seem to be working with your puppy you can also try implementing short time out sessions when your dog nips or try coating your hands in a deterrent such as bitter apple spray. Bitter apple spray has a very unpleasant taste and your puppy will not want to chew on your hands if they are covered in the spray.
Potty training can quickly turn into a serious nightmare if it’s not gotten under control quickly. After all nobody enjoys cleaning up accidents in their house or the unpleasant aroma. Crate training is extremely helpful during potty training so take some time to find your puppy an appropriate sized crate and get him/her comfortable with being in the crate.
With potty training your puppy the first thing you want to do is prevent accidents. It’s best to get your dog on a schedule. Instead of leaving a bowl of food for your puppy out at all times feed your puppy in meals. What goes in on a schedule, goes out on a schedule. Next set up a schedule for potty breaks, it’s best to let your puppy out first thing in the morning, last thing at night, every time after coming out of the crate, about an hour after meals, after play time, and every couple hours in between.
“This way you are giving your puppy plenty of opportunities to make the right choice and go potty outside and fewer chances to make a mistake and go potty inside.”
It’s also important to go outside each time with your puppy. By going outside with your puppy you’re able to reward your puppy for going potty in the correct place which will reinforce the behavior.
Next while your puppy is in the house he/she should not be left unsupervised. I suggest using a leash to tether your puppy to your side. That way if he/she does start to have an accident in the house you can quickly correct it and usher the dog outside, praising for going potty outside. If you are not home or are home but are unable to supervise your puppy it is best to have him/her in the crate. With the correct sized crate your puppy should be deterred from going potty in there.
Training a puppy can be a lot of work and time consuming but the end result of a well behaved puppy that grows up into a well behaved dog is worth it. If you need assistance with any aspect of training your puppy check out our training programs, we’re here to help.