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
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.