dog training Houston, Jim Burwell

Safe Puppy Socialization: 3 Tips

Who Knows Best About Safely Socializing Your Puppy?

dog training Houston, Jim Burwell

 

Every “dog professional”, whether a trainer, veterinarian, animal behaviorist, agree that puppy socialization is critical.

Let’s face it,  no one wants an aggressive puppy or dog no matter what the cause.

Early puppy socialization is the key in avoiding fearfulness and fear aggression towards people and other dogs.

But, that to has be done before the age of 5 months!

Heck, most new puppy owners don’t even get their puppy until they are 2 months of age.

That means there is just 3 months to cram in tons of people and dogs to build his confidence and social skills fast.

Friendly is what you want.

That’s why we are on a quest with Keeper: 100 people in 100 days!

Lots of dogs too!

Here’s the Puppy Socialization Rub: Vets vs Behaviorists

There are differing opinions about whether you should be socializing your puppy outside before he’s been fully vaccinated.

Springtime is high Parvo virus season so your veterinarian will say, “Wait until he’s been fully vaccinated.”

On the other hand, a dog behaviorist will say, “Start socializing your puppy as soon as possible and do it before 5 months of age.”

That behaviorist will also say the window of socialization closes by 5 months so have your puppy meet 100 people in 100 days.

The Puppy Socialization Challenge

Little puppies need tons of exposure and socialization to people, kids, dogs and all kinds of stuff that is strange to them.

The sound of lawnmowers, weed eaters, big trucks and so much more.

The sooner your puppy can get used to and comfortable with all these things, the friendlier and more confident he’ll be when he grows up.

The Big Question: How do you avoid the risk of deadly diseases and still safely socialize your puppy sooner than later?

There are safe places to socialize your puppy.

3 Tips to Help The Challenge of Early, Safe Socialization of Your Puppy

First Puppy Meet and Greet at Home Depot Where Dogs Are Welcome.

We took our new lab puppy Keeper right out of the car and put him on some towels in a shopping cart.

I held his leash to make sure he didn’t jump out of the cart.

He seemed eager to experience this new place. Little did he know he was about to meet 30 plus new people too!

We took tons of his favorite treats to make this a positive experience.

Even getting in the moving cart could have been a scary thing but he soon settled down with treats and his favorite chewy.

We also went around his lunchtime and each person that petted him gave him some of his kibble for lunch!  They loved his sign!

 

dog training Houston, Jim Burwell

 

Take your puppy to visit a friend’s dog that is vaccinated.

Let him experience supervised play in their back yard.

Make sure that meet on leashes just in case one or the other is too overbearing.

You do not want your puppy to get overwhelmed or traumatized during play.

Let them do an on-leash butt sniff first, then it’s down to the business of play!

Remember, food treats are a great way to associate good things with appropriate puppy play.

You might even try and call your puppy out of play, praise and treat him, then send him back to play.

Don’t be surprised if you get two puppies coming to you!

 

Invite known friendly dogs to play in your back yard with your puppy.

It goes without saying that the same rules apply at your home as away at a puppy friend’s home.

Leashes on for new “meets” then let the leashes drag “if needed” so that you can step on them to prevent issues.

Once all puppies are doing okay, the leashes can come off.

It’s even great to have 1-2 puppies or dogs over for a group puppy play date.

Mature dogs that play nice can be an asset for teaching young puppies the rules of socialization – how to approach and how to enjoy play.

Learning good bite inhibition with other puppies and dogs will help you deal with any puppy biting issues in your home.

Before you know it, your new puppy will be well on his way to having great social skills and developing the confidence he needs to comfortable in his new world.

A Couple of Pointers For This Social Process

  1. Our vet said we could begin our challenge a week after his first round of vaccinations so check with your own vet for your puppy.
  2. Check before you go in just to make sure your Home Depot allows dogs as they may not all have the same policy.
  3. So what are you waiting on? Get socializing!

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog

You got your dog for a reason. You wanted to share your life with a happy and loving dog. But now, your dog has big problems and life is not happy.  I can help you get that happy, well behaved dog back no matter where you live. We’ll do private lesson in your home OR we can do private video lessons where geography is no longer a roadblock.

 

 

Puppy Biting Tip You May Not Know

Here’s a puppy biting tip you may not have heard.

If you are a new puppy owner dealing with puppy biting, you’ve got to be wondering: “What’s a puppy biting tip that actually works?”
How many frantic searches on Google have you done on ways to stop puppy biting? Only to find so many, you don’t know which is best.

Puppy Biting Tip that Works

Let me quess, you’ve tried:

  • alpha rolls (putting and holding your puppy on his back) and that didn’t work. 
  • You’ve grabbed his muzzle with a “No bite!” or 
  • yelping when he bites and the poor old stand-by of using a squirt bottle.

Nothing works with your puppy biting!

Let Me Simplify Puppy Biting for You

It’s a reality. Training puppies not to bite can be time-intensive. You can’t just do it a few times a day for only a couple of days.  Puppies need daily reinforcement to give you good behavior instead of the bad behavior they offer.  This can take weeks before they “get it.”
If you’re tired of your hands and arms being a pin cushion, try this technique. It’s works.

Link the Biting to an Undesirable Consequence

Your puppy wants to play with you and your family members. But he doesn’t know what your rules are at first so he just plays with you the way he would play with his littermates or other puppies.
That will include a fair to large amount of play biting.

Here’s what you do.

Begin to play with your puppy with petting – no rough housing.

When he bites(and he will) you say, “Oops! Too bad!” and immediately crate your puppy. Leave him in his crate for 1-2 minutes and then repeat the exercise.

Age and size appropriate family members repeat and repeat this exercise. There is always with parental supervision.

What you’ll begin to see is your puppy will start to experiment with other kinds of interaction, like “licking.” He discovers that licking is good and he gets more time with you.
Over time, the you puppy’s biting ceases and the Band-Aids can come off your hands for good!
Here’s a caveat. Very bossy puppies may take longer to come around, more so than the more submissive puppies.

Don’t give up! You and your puppy will surface as winners.

Common Sense Reminders

Until you have your puppy biting under full control, do not engage in the following with your puppy:

Games of chase: This will activate a puppy’s prey drive meaning lots of running, chasing, biting and chewing.

Playing fetch is a much better game for all family members to play with your new puppy.

  •  Rough play/wrestling: This will teach puppies how to use their mouths to grab and hold when playing with humans. The thing is, puppy biting is normal puppy activity. It’s how they interact with their litter mates. It’s how they learn the important lesson of bite inhibition. In other words, don’t bite human skin.
  • Tug-of-war games: Until you have control of your puppy’s biting, it’s best not to play tug for now. It’s a good way to burn predatory energy BUT tug-of-war must have strict rules. We talk about that in another article.

And one more important note for you:

Control Your Puppy When Not Interacting With Him

  1. Containment: Use crates, exercise pens or gates to contain your puppy when you can’t train or supervise your puppy. Too many people leave their puppy out for too long of a time and they get into trouble with biting.
  2. Puppy proofing and prevention: Keep things you don’t want chewed on out of reach, and keep your puppy on a leash. When you can’t eyes-on, hands-on supervise or he gets too crazy – crate your puppy.
  3. Redirects: When your puppy is out on leash, ALWAYS have appropriate redirects like a stuffed Kong toy or chewy. 

Don’t forget, practice makes perfect for you and your puppy so keep on working with your puppy until he finally “gets it.”

Does this sound like something you can do?  Let me know.

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog

 Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 30 years, serving over 11,000 clients. Jim takes the science of dog training and shows you how to make it work with your family and dog. He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your dog.

 

How To Leash Train Your Puppy

It can be very frustrating trying to leash train your puppy. Especially when your new puppy absolutely refuses to walk on a leash with you.

That puppy butt hits the ground, front legs go out in front like brakes. As far as he’s concerned there will not be any leash training for him!

If you think it’s hard to leash train your puppy, I’m going to show you some very simple steps to get your puppy walking on a leash.

One caveat here: make sure your vet is okay with taking him outside in front of your house and on the sidewalk. Respect your vet’s wishes as to where your puppy should be on vaccinations.

Leash Training My Puppy

We are going to go thru 2 steps to leash train your puppy.


We begin with developing a consistent puppy training exercise so that you can get your puppy comfortable with being on a leash and collar.

I’m going to teach you the exact steps to take to leash train your puppy

We start in the home with some simple exercises, then we go outside to the back patio and then when he’s ready we go out to the driveway and sidewalk.

Remember to never push your puppy past his comfort level. When you leash train your puppy you want to make it fun, easy and safe for him. The easiest was to do this is by keeping his focus on you, keeping your voice happy and make sure he’s rewarded for doing what you ask.

Ready to positively and successfully leash train your puppy?  Then click on the video below.

Click PUPPY PROBLEMS to go to the article I mention.

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog

Be sure to ask your question below.  I’m sure there are many puppy owners with the same question and I am happy to help.

Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients. Jim takes the science of dog training and shows you how to make it work with your family and dog. He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your dog.

Fix 2 Mistakes and Easily Potty Train Your Puppy

Puppy Potty Training MistakesI get it. Learning how to potty train your puppy can be a frustrating process. If for no other reason – it takes a lot of your patience and a lot of your time. In fact one of the reasons puppies end up in shelters is because the owner “thought” their puppy was difficult to potty train. My hope is that with just these few simple tips you will be well on your way to successfully potty train your puppy.

Let’s take a look: There are two big mistakes you are probably making all the time when trying to potty train your puppy:

First big mistake: You are probably allowing your puppy to have free roam of a large space (kitchen-breakfast area) or worse yet the entire house. As one client said: my puppy ended up “ninja shadow pooping” all over the house.

Second big mistake: You put your puppy outside alone and “assume” he will go potty and completely empty both his bowels and bladder.

Both of these big mistakes can set your puppy up to fail miserably at house training. Why? Your puppy doesn’t know “not to potty in the house.” He just knows he has to potty. Not going potty in the house is something you have to teach your puppy. The good news is that I can actually make it easier for you than you think!


Fixing Mistake Number One


I have found that puppies do best if they have a safe place to stay when you can’t supervise them. That would be their crate with just enough room to stand up and turn around. Most puppies instinctively don’t want to soil where they sleep.
Crating can dramatically help your efforts to potty train your puppy. If you are feeling guilty about crate training and want to learn more about the advantages, check out my article here on the benefits of crate training. Buy a wire crate large enough for your puppy as an adult but use a divider panel to limit his space in his crate while he’s a small puppy. You should become a master at controlling your puppy and his environment. This should take care of the first mistake you are probably making.


Fixing Mistake Number Two


Are you putting your puppy outside alone to go potty? Why is this bad? This teaches your puppy to go potty when you are not around. This means if you don’t crate or supervise your puppy in your home, he’ll sneak off and go potty when you are not around and it’s okay. You’ve not been “around” when you’ve put him in the yard to go potty, so it’s okay to go potty without you there!
Do this instead:

  • Routinely take him to the same spot outside every day and immediately reward him with a high value food treat each time he goes. Outside.
  • Also, take him out on a leash. This will help you to help him stay focused and not get distracted with lizards and leaves.
  • Make sure that you don’t hurry his business and cause him to not to finish. If you do, that means he will be more likely to make a mistake inside. This is where your patience and time comes in.

All Summed Up.  Now, let’s take everything we went over and make a concise list of things to remember

Here’s Your List

  1. Crate train your puppy to keep him safe when unsupervised. This immediately sets him up to succeed.
  2. Routinely take him out for potty breaks on leash to keep him focused. This will most likely include middle of the night potty breaks for a while. Remember, your puppy can only hold his business 1 hour for every month he is old.
  3. Routinely take him to the same spot every time. It will pay big dividends later.
  4. Develop a reward history for going every time in the correct spot using a “high value” food treat. This increases the likelihood that your puppy will learn that peeing/pooping in that spot works for him so eliminating there becomes a stronger behavior. Yea!

There, that wasn’t so bad, was it? If you’re diligent, avoid the two big mistakes above and focus on these four things to remember, you can really get your puppy potty trained more quickly and that will make everyone happy! I know you have questions so be sure to ask them below. Your question will help others who are wondering the same thing.

Remember: “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients. If you’re still having puppy training problems with your new puppy this will help you. Jim takes the science of dog training and shows you how to make it work with your family and puppy.

Puppy Potty Training Mistakes

Please Don’t Make These Mistakes Potty Training Your Puppy!

Puppy Potty Training Mistakes

 

It is entirely possible to not have a single accident when potty training your puppy.

When we found Sammy 9 years ago at 8 weeks of age neither Leila or I personally had had a puppy in a long long time. So it was an adjustment to our lifestyle.

So, of course, I took what I teach my clients and we followed the pattern. Sammy never had an accident in the house as a puppy and to this day at 9 years of age, he’s never soiled in the house.

Now most of you won’t believe me when I say that and here’s why.
You don’t understand how to set your puppy up to succeed. Instead you make numerous mistakes and actually are inadvertently teaching your puppy to potty in the house.

In this video I’m going to explain two mistakes you’re making, and how to easily fix those 2 mistakes so you can set your puppy up to succeed at being potty trained.


Now there is a lot more you can learn about successfully potty training your puppy.

I want you to go read this article for lots more help.

If you have more questions, just put them in the comments and be as specific as you can so it not only helps me answer you better, but helps other with the same issues.  See you there!

Thanks for letting me share my puppy training knowledge with you.  Don’t be a stranger. 

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog

 

 

Before Getting Your New Puppy Answer 5 Critical Questions

Before Getting Your New Puppy Answer 5 Critical Questions

If you’re like most folks, pretty much all common sense flies out the window when thinking about getting your new puppy.

Before Getting Your New Puppy Answer 5 Critical Questions

Practicality is replaced with excitement thinking about that cute little furry puppy and that sweet puppy breath.

Emotions definitely have the greatest impact on you and your plans to get a new puppy.

You can be so swayed by your emotions about this decision to get a new puppy; you fail to think about the practical, common sense aspects of this important life changing decision.

And believe me it can be very life changing!

Here are a couple of examples of exactly what I mean when I say, “Your emotions can have a powerful impact on your decision making process.”

  1. It’s Christmas time and what could be cuter than a brand new puppy under the tree.
  2. The kids have been constantly bugging you that they want a puppy.
  3. A rescue puppy at a shelter or rescue event grabs your heart and the guilt gets the better of you.

These are just three examples on how emotions can quickly sway your decision making process.

The problem is, once the emotional high of getting that new puppy settles down, you NOW have a living, breathing, biting, jumping, peeing, pooping and sometimes barking puppy on your hands! Now you might be thinking:   “Oh my gosh! What have I done?”

Let’s Go Through a Good Exercise on Reality vs. Emotions

Let reality take a front seat as I ask you 5 critical questions you should be asking yourself BEFORE getting your new puppy.

We will simplify things first by just focusing on two things.  Time and Money

Simply put, if you have the time and the money, getting your new puppy shouldn’t be a problem. However, it’s a little more complicated than that.

So listen up as I give you the bottom line with these 5 critical questions.
 

Question #1

You may think you have the time and money to get your new puppy but is it the right time in your life for a new puppy?

Do you have vacation scheduled, overtime commitments or out of town work schedules that will be taking critical time away from your new puppy’s need of a consistent daily schedule?

A new puppy needs to know you’ll be there every day to teach him what to do as well as when, where and how to do it.

Question #2

Will your budget accommodate the added expense of food, vet bills and grooming costs?

Question #3

If you work all day and the kids are in school, who will take your new puppy out to potty frequently enough to set him up to succeed in house training? Who will you trust with this responsibility?

Question #4

Do you have the time to commit to a good obedience training program?  This is critical to begin teaching the manners you expect of your puppy soon to be future adult dog.

Manners like “Sit, don’t jump or bite” and “don’t chew my stuff” are critical.

It will also take time for you to understand and implement a good house training program to get your new puppy house trained now.

Question #5

If you have kids, it will be important to take the time to get them involved in your new puppy’s training.  This is especially true if the kids created the emotional pressure in the first place.

Kids can quickly lose interest as the newness wears off. You better understand that the responsibility for the puppy could be right back in your lap.

Even if you have the money, think about the impact the constant needs of a new puppy will have on your schedule. It’s like having a new baby. You just can’t leave it alone for long.

 If You’re Still Determined

 If you’ve answered these 5 critical questions then you need to get ready for that sweet puppy breath and those warm kisses.

Great Puppy Training Tip

One Great Puppy Training Tip

A quick puppy training tip is simply this: start puppy training from the very first day you get a new puppy.  It is one of the most important things to do with your brand new puppy.   I really wanted to emphasize that to those of you thinking about getting a puppy.

Why? Because your new puppy will form lifelong behaviors (good or bad) within the first 2 weeks to 4 months of his life with you.

Great Puppy Training Tip

Yup, that fast. It’s really so much easier to begin training good behavior from the beginning, than having to go back and fix what you broke.

What That Training Should Include

One critical “life skill tip” on which you must focus to achieve a lifetime of great memories with your new puppy, is this: Teaching him house manners.

Let’s break it down into normal puppy behavior and how to turn that into good house manners:

  •  Your puppy has only learned to greet his litter mates by sniffing crotch and butt, then immediately engaging in puppy social play as they hump, jump, bump and carry on.

Your “house manner rules” should be very clear:  sit quietly to greet.

Your house manner rules should require your puppy to learn to play nicely with children and don’t bite when they run and he catches them. Not a bad idea either to teach children how best to play with your puppy. That way it sets him up to succeed.

  • Your puppy sees everything as a chew toy! He won’t discriminate between your good shoes and a chew bone and if it smells more like you- that’s even better!

Your house manner rules should teach your puppy to appreciate and leave your valuable stuff alone. Constant supervision and redirects to appropriate toys works best. Crate him when you can’t supervise his activity.

  • Your puppy will tend to go potty when he feels the need to go no matter where he is, unless you teach him differently.

 Your house manner rules should be very specific about not using your home as his toilet area.

Even though you’ve set your house manner rules, you will discover that your puppy has an unquenchable thirst for exploring and getting into everything.

Your Puppy is an Opportunity Seeker

If you leave your dinner plate on the coffee table as you make your way to the kitchen to refill your water glass, you may return to find that last piece of pizza you so badly wanted – gone!  Opportunity taken!

If you leave the front door open, he will inquisitively go through it to explore.  Opportunity taken!  And, the list goes on.

The good news is that your puppy can learn your crazy house manner rules and more – if you teach them and are very consistent every day.

Start your house manners training the day you get your new puppy. You’ll be glad you did. Take advantage of his opportunistic nature by trading things he wants for things you want.

Be extra careful and pay attention to your new puppy so that he doesn’t develop any bad habits like chewing on the couch or coffee table. Have plenty of chew toys like a stuffed Kong toy or Nylabone ready for a quick redirect.

How you handle the correction (never harsh) will have a lifetime affect on your relationship with your new puppy.

Getting a new puppy is a full time job, but well worth the effort to end up with a well-trained dog.

Thanks for letting me share my dog training knowledge with you.   Don’t be a stranger.  Feel free to chat with me below.  I’d love to hear what you think about puppies at Christmas.

Remember:  “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients.  Jim takes the science of dog training and makes it work in your home with your family and dog.

new puppy barking

New Puppy: 3 Assumptions New Puppy Owners Make Which Create Unwanted Puppy Behavior

Did you get a new puppy this past Christmas?

Now is right about the time when all those Christmas puppies that were brought into homes at 8 weeks of age are beginning to behave in ways that are not so cute.
At 16 weeks of age, the honeymoon is over!

I consistently see three “not so cute” behaviors in a new puppy that are a direct result of assumptions those owners have made about raising or training their new puppy

Here are the top three:

• Peeing and pooping in the house
• Jumping, chasing and biting family members – especially the kids
• Barking in the crate

new puppy barking

Peeing and pooping in the house

These new puppy owners usually assume that peeing and pooping in the house is a normal part of the house training process. They usually do not use the crate to aid in the house training process even though it’s a great way to limit your puppy’s space and teach him to hold his business.

The same owner might also, out of convenience, leave food and water down for their puppy to “graze at will” throughout the day. If you never know when your puppy last ate, you can’t begin to determine when he needs to go. Some how this new owner seems to think their puppy should be able to let them know when they need to go potty.

While some puppies do learn to go to the back door, it does take watching your puppy’s “every move” to anticipate he needs to go out and potty instead of assuming he will some how tell you he needs to go. It’s a learning process for you and your puppy. A very simple and effective house training program can make all the difference in this process putting you light years ahead of the game.

Jumping, chasing and biting family members – especially the kids

Lots of kids and even some adults like to wrestle and rough-house with their new puppy. They usually assume it is a great way to exercise and bond with their puppy. All seems fine until the puppy starts chasing and biting the kids.

If your puppy was approximately 8 weeks of age at Christmas and is now about 14 weeks of age, this is when your puppy will start developing his protective-aggressive characteristics. If you continue to encourage biting with rough play during this period, over-aggressiveness and sometimes fearfulness can develop in your puppy.
Instead of rough-housing with your puppy, train your puppy to problem solve doggie puzzles. You can also help your new puppy to burn predatory energy by playing games like fetch or tug-of-war.

Who should play these games with your puppy? Age-appropriate children can play these games with the puppy as long as there is adult supervision. You should always establish rules to the game designed to teach your puppy appropriate play.

Wrestling and rough-housing encourages wild and abandoned play and unsolicited jumping and biting for attention. Obedience training teaches a puppy to listen to it’s owner and to respond to commands like sit and down instead of jumping. Getting age appropriate kids involved in supervised obedience training will help as well.

Barking in the crate

Is your puppy anxious in the crate? Does he bark and whine incessantly every time you crate him in the house? Then it’s probably driving you nuts and costing you many nights of restful sleep. New puppy owners assume lots of hands-on holding and lap time is the best way to love their puppy. This then begins to create guilt in the minds of many new puppy owners when it comes time to crate their puppy. Too much holding and lap time with the new puppy can quickly begin to send the message that “this is how life will be.”

With the harsh reality of having to crate at times, this confinement leaves a bad taste in the mouth of a puppy accustomed to the “lap of luxury.” Unless you make some needed changes, the good life with no structure begins to “set the tone” for the months and years ahead which includes getting what he wants by speaking up. Barking to get out of the crate is born.

Ignoring your puppy when barking (no feedback-don’t look at, talk to or touch your puppy) in the crate tends to be the best solution for teaching quiet. Letting your puppy out after a short period of quiet tends to reinforce being quiet. Puppies soon learn that quiet gets them out while barking gets them nothing. Slowly prolong the periods of quiet required before letting your puppy out.

Once you’ve achieved “no barking” don’t be surprised if your puppy starts up again (we call that spontaneous recovery) down the road to see if he can get any mileage out of his efforts. It won’t last.

Simply ignore your puppy as before and know you are now well on your way to success! I think the trick to your success in achieving a quiet dog is extreme patience.

So, what did you think? Did any of this ring true? It’s not too late to start training now! Remember, I’m here to help.

“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8700+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.

His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is your must have easy, step-by-step process to helping your dog. Your dog must and wants to understand what you expect of him. But you have to empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you must empower him to be successful at living in a human home. Ground Rules gets you there. Grab them now.

 

Puppy Training: 5 Critical Tips for Training Your New Puppy

Christmas is a big time for people to get puppies. I want to emphasize to those of you thinking about getting a puppy that the most important thing to do is to start puppy training from day one. This is truly critical to your new puppy and his life with you.  I have a complete step by step “nose to tail” video series for you also.

Why? Because your new puppy will form lifelong behaviors (good or bad) within the first 2 weeks to 4 months of his life with you. Yup, that fast. It’s really so much easier to begin training good behavior from the beginning than having to go back and fix what you broke.

Here are 5 critical life skill tips that you must focus on teaching him if you want a lifetime of great memories with your new puppy.

First Tip: Understanding house manners

Your puppy has only learned to greet his litter mates by sniffing crotch and butt, then immediately engaging in puppy social play as they hump, jump, bump and carry on.
Your House manners should be very clear that your puppy learn to sit quietly to greet.

Your puppy’s play includes running, chasing, biting and chewing on his litter mates. That’s how puppies play naturally.

Your House manners should require your puppy to learn to play nicely with children and don’t bite when they catch them. Not a bad idea either to teach children how best to play with your puppy. That way it sets him up to succeed.

Your puppy sees everything as a chew toy! He won’t discriminate between your good shoes and a chew bone and if it smells more like you- that’s even better!

Your House manners should teach your puppy to appreciate and leave your valuable stuff alone. Constant supervision and redirects to appropriate toys works best. Crate him when you can’t supervise his activity.

Your puppy will tend to go potty when he feels the need to go no matter where he is, unless you teach him differently.
Your House manners should be very specific about not using your home as his toilet area.

Even though you’ve set your house manner requirements, you will discover that your puppy has an unquenchable thirst for exploring, getting into everything. If you already know this then you’ve discovered your puppy is an opportunist.

 If you leave your dinner plate on the coffee table as you make your way to the kitchen to refill your water glass, you may return to find that last piece of pizza you so badly wanted – gone!

 If you leave the front door open, he will inquisitively go through it to explore.  And, the list goes on.

The good news is that your puppy can learn your crazy house manners and more – if you teach them and are very consistent every day.

Start your house manners the day you get your new puppy. You’ll be glad you did. Take advantage of his opportunistic nature by trading things he wants for things you want.

Be extra careful and pay attention to your new puppy so that he doesn’t develop any bad habits like chewing on the couch or coffee table. Have plenty of chew toys like a stuffed Kong toy or Nylabone ready for a quick redirect. How you handle the correction (never harsh) will have a lifetime affect on your relationship with your new puppy.

Second Tip: Getting up close and personal with family, friends and strangers

I think micro-managing your biting puppy around your family or friends, that just want to pet a cute puppy, should not be what you have to think about all the time.

The best way for you to get your puppy okay with everyone is to start working on this the day you get your new puppy. There will be many opportunities for your new puppy to willingly accept pets, hugs and belly rubs.

In order for him to conform to your personal need of close contact, immediately begin to socialize him to children and adults alike. You can never have a puppy that’s too socialized. Don’t you agree?

I remember when we first got our black Lab Sammy. I had him up at Randall’s shopping center asking everyone coming out of the store if they would pet my puppy and give him a treat.

Remember, your puppy’s window of socialization closes somewhere between 3 ½ to 5 months of age. Plan to map out a strategy to achieve maximum socialization by 5 months of age. A good rule of thumb is 90 kids and adults in 90 days

Since you probably got your puppy from the breeder at about 8 weeks of age (2 mos.), that’s when the socialization clock starts ticking. Beginning the day you get your puppy, all family members should be touching his ears and paws as well as examining his mouth (teeth) and private parts while associating food treats with the process.

Begin to socialize your puppy to places you will eventually take him. Take your puppy to the veterinarian; have them give him a cookie then leave. If you will eventually require the services of a professional groomer, do the same thing and put him on the groom table while he listens to the dryers, gets a food treat and gets comfortable with the environment.

If your puppy gets stressed by groomers, vets or strangers he will be more likely to bite. So if your puppy missed the opportunity to get that much needed socialization by the time he is 4 to 5 months of age, you will need to ramp up your socialization process. You must commit to doing the work, remembering to take it at your puppy’s own comfortable pace.
They are not all built the same. Some take readily to people while others shy away and need more time.

Third Tip: Potty in the right place

Now you’ve probably heard this before. Your puppy usually won’t potty or soil in his den or crate where he sleeps. When you finally get your new puppy to your home don’t make the mistake and assume that cleaning up potty mistakes is going to be a natural part of your house training process. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Don’t make the assumption that your puppy should be able to “tell” you when it has to go potty. Until your puppy is closer to 4 months of age, there is not a strong connection between their brain and their bowels and bladder. When your puppy has to go, he squats and goes right there. Your job is to be proactive, not reactive.

The key is managing your house training process with crates, exercise pens, leashes and hands on supervision. Okay, but what if you’re saying, “I already do that!” If you are really using these things “correctly” it is entirely possible for your puppy to never have an accident in your home. Not using these tools correctly sends a confusing message to your puppy.

Fourth Tip: Help your puppy develop confidence being alone in his crate

Puppies are “pack animals” and that is probably the one trait that closely resembles our family orientation. Your puppy is no different.

Your puppy, especially in a new place, will not do well being by himself, at last at first. So an important part of raising your puppy is to teach and condition him that being by himself in his crate is okay. In fact, you will not be available 24/7.

To condition your new puppy to being, “okay” by himself, randomly crate him for varying lengths of time when you are home – nights and weekends.

When we were training our lab, Sammy, we would crate him in a bedroom, shut the door and let him stay there for 30 minutes, an hour or sometimes two hours. We put his crate in different rooms where he could also see us. He quickly learned to not worry about being crated.

We also downplayed our departures and arrivals. It’s important to build on the amount of time you leave your puppy in the crate. The most important message is “you always come back.” One other note – never let your new puppy out of the crate when he is whining or barking. Once your new puppy is quiet, then let him out of the crate.

Some physical activities that will help your puppy cope better with his time alone are:

  • Exercise on walks will help to manage his energy
  • Games like fetch or tug-of-war, all with specific rules
  • Doing sits and downs (obedience training) creates mental fatigue

All of these activities will give your puppy novel sights, sounds and experiences to process in your absence. In some extreme cases puppies can develop a separation anxiety disorder caused primarily by spending too much time with the owner and not enough time alone. Make sure you integrate alone training into your puppy training experience.

Fifth Tip: Appropriate play with humans

Puppies naturally play with their teeth so teach your age-appropriate children appropriate play with your new puppy.

Instead of playing chase, play a game of fetch, tug-of-war or hide and seek – all with rules to teach kids, train puppies and keep your puppy’s mouthing to a minimum.

When playing with age-appropriate family members, it is best to always have rules to every game you play with your puppy. With tug-of-war for example, the game rules should go like this:

  • Start the game with a “Sit!” command
  • Offer him his end of the tug toy with “Take it!”
  • Now the fun begins and when you are ready to end the game,
  • End the game with a “Sit!” command
  • Collect the tug toy with, “Drop it!” and “Good Boy!”

Game over. Always maintain control of the tug toy. Any attempts in biting or mouthing human flesh during the game results in a time out in his crate for two minutes.

Since your puppy uses his teeth for many things like eating, chewing on things and initiating play with his litter mates, it’s going to be very important that he learn not to mouth human skin.

Teaching your puppy a “Drop it!” or “Leave it!” command is the best way to retrieve tug ropes and tennis balls from your puppy during games thereby preventing your puppy from challenging you over the toy. Use a food treat initially to swap for the toy as you say, “Drop it!” Eventually wean him off the food treats.

Remember, the habits and rules you set in the very beginning with your puppy will be forming a life-time of behaviors. You have a golden opportunity to make them good behaviors.

P.S. Your puppy is even learning when you are not formally training, so be very careful!

I am excited to share my dog and puppy training knowledge with you. I truly hope you found some great suggestions for helping your puppy. Don’t be a stranger. I’d love to hear what you think or if your have questions

Remember: “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”


Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8700+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.

His Nose to Tail Puppy Training is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your puppy understands what you expect of him because you know how to teach him. You empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home. The result – one awesome puppy and one happy family.

 

Puppy Biting

Puppy Behavior: Puppy Problems or Just a Puppy Being a Puppy

In many cases the cuteness of a puppy simply can’t override bad puppy behavior like jumping and biting. As I sometimes say, ” That cute factor has a short shelf life!”

And for some new puppy owners, simple things like jumping and biting or ” just being a puppy” can cause that puppy to be sent back to the breeder, given away or worse yet taken to a shelter.

You don’t have to let your relationship with your puppy get to a decision-making point” like this owner who recently said, “My adorable Golden Retriever puppy had hit a point where she was really hard to handle, and I felt overwhelmed– like a failure as a dog owner! I just can’t keep my puppy, but…”

 

Puppy Biting


Puppy owners want to know, no they need to know: Is the behavior they are experiencing with their puppy (usually between 8 – 16 weeks of age – and sometimes older) really bad behavior, or is it just a puppy being a puppy?

Before I answer that question, maybe it would be good to help you understand what makes your puppy tick.

So let’s break it down this way.

Puppy behavior, to a large extent, is determined by three things: instinct, personality and “owner input.” Let me explain.

Instinct is a puppy’s natural predisposed way of exploring his environment to determine what’s good, what’s not, what’s harmful and what works for him.

If you have a new puppy you will observe and experience your puppy using his instinct, i.e. exploring with his nose and mouth. He may jump on you and play bite you or other family members. Nothing and no one is sacred. Everything is a chew toy to a puppy unless of course you put it up so your puppy can’t get to it.

With no opposing thumbs for picking things up – puppies just use their mouth. It’s instinctive for a puppy to use his mouth to grab your hand or arm to say, “Let’s play!” or to bite and chew as they explore this vast new world into which they have just been dropped.

Personality is a puppy’s temperament or character. We’ve had a few real “characters” around the house in our day! Puppies are born with a certain temperament or personality. You could say puppy temperament or personality determines just how vigorous or energetically they “instinctively” explore their environment and test their relationships with all family members – just like they would do with their litter mates. Some puppies that are “strong-willed” cannot be played with in the same manner you would play with a softer puppy.

Strong willed puppies have a hightened degree of intensity at which they use their nose and mouth to explore their environment and test their relationships with all family members, just like they would do with their litter mates.

Here’s where it gets tricky. The bossier the puppy, that puppy usually bites more. This is where owners of strong-willed puppies get very frustrated and make mistakes. What are the mistakes these new puppy owners make?

New puppy owners always compare their new puppy with the previous dog they raised as a puppy. The previous dog was usually a much softer dog so the expectation is that all puppies are easy going. Not so true.

  • New puppy owners forget that the last time they raised a puppy they were single or married with no kids and now they have kids that bring a whole new element to puppy training. Now it becomes critical to manage/supervise all interactions between your kids and your new puppy for safety’s sake.
  • Plus, if you are married you probably had spousal support with the first dog. And now in many cases it is the “stay at home mom” that bears the responsibility to raise and train the new puppy along with the kids.
  • On a recent lesson one new puppy owner suddenly acknowledged to me, “I realized that I am 15 years older than last time I had a puppy and my new puppy is just getting started!”

There’s a lot to be said about raising a puppy when you are older because it speaks to our thinner patience and in some cases our skin is thinner too! Thin patience and thin skin don’t bode well with a bossy puppy that bites hard.

Finally we get down to owner input. Owner input is the behavior a new puppy learns by interacting with its owner. For example, allowing the puppy to jump reinforces jumping. Your puppy may want attention and jumps to get attention. If you look at, talk to or touch your puppy – even to correct him, that’s attention and it reinforces jumping.

Beware of your owner input. It is critical to shape or reward behavior you want and ignore the behavior you dislike. If you don’t like jumping, teach your puppy to keep all four feet on the floor. Rapidly rewarding “four on the floor” BEFORE his has a chance to jump is how you do that. Working him on leash for better control in the house is excellent puppy control. When you can’t supervise him, crate him. It’s that simple.

Before you get frustrated to the point of making a decision, call a trainer that uses positive reinforcement methods. Your puppy is relying on you to make all the right decisions to teach him and keep him safe and in his forever home with you.

Thanks for letting me share my puppy training experience and  knowledge with you. I truly hope you found answers and hope for helping your new puppy.  Don’t be a stranger.  I’d love to hear what you think.  Please come over to my Facebook page to let me know how this article impacted you and the way you think about puppy training.  Are you looking at it a little differently?  Remember:  

“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8700+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad.  Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.

His Nose to Tail Puppy Training is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your puppy understands what you expect of him because you know how to teach him.  You empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.  The result – one awesome puppy and one happy family.