Pooch Pawsitive Dog Training - Puppy Jumpstart, Group classes, private lessons, behavior counseling, dog walking
Priority #3 - Nipping, Biting and Chewing
Puppies are going to chew. It's biological. They are not trying to get you mad at them!
Puppy nipping, biting and chewing are normal behaviors in the dog world, but are not normal in our human world. We just need to teach our pup to chew 'legal' things and inhibit (not complete) their bite when they play with us or other puppies!
- They are teething until they are about 6 months old.
- They are exploring the world with their mouth.
- They normally play with other puppies with their mouth.
- When they have tons of energy, they play with their mouth!
Here are some tips to get through this puppy phase:
Give your pup exercise! A tired dog won't have the energy to want to nip and mouth you! Physical exercise is great but be careful not to overdo it when they are young.
Give your puppy legal things to chew on: Kongs (stuffed with his meals or other food), bones and other interesting chew toys are perfect ways to keep you puppy occupied and lets him get the chewing out of his system! (see photo)
It's normal for puppies to play with other puppies by nipping and biting each other. When puppies play with puppies of a similar age, they learn by consequence: "If I bite too hard, my playmate runs away (that's not what I wanted to happen.) But if I play with an open mouth, then my playmate stays and plays with me (a good thing!)" This is called Bite Inhibition. We want them to learn this social skill when they have their little sharp puppy teeth, not when they have their big, strong adult teeth that can actually hurt others! Attend a supervised Puppy Playgroup with puppies of similar age so that they can practice this and burn off some energy! Click here for the current Puppy Playgroup schedule.
Top 5 Priorities for your new Puppy!
Everyone wants to have a happy, social well mannered pup! Get these five priorities off to a fast start and you'll teach your pup basic social skills and how to live in our 'human' world. .
- Nipping, Biting and Chewing
- Learning to be Alone
- Being handled
Priority #1 - Housetraining
The secret to successful housetraining is to supervise your pup and give him consistent reinforcement (rewards) for doing the right thing.
Puppies go to the bathroom at three predictable times:
You shouldn't leave your pup locked in a crate for longer than he can hold it, otherwise he'll be forced to go to the bathroom where he sleeps (which is not what we want to happen.) If you have to leave your pup alone all day, you'll want to set up a long-term confinement area. (see photo)
- after they wake up (from a nap or from overnight);
- after they've eaten or had water; and
- during a play session.
Click here for a free Housetraining Schedule.
When in doubt, take them out!
Long-term confinement area
Priority #2 - Socialization
During the first 16 weeks of their life, puppies are very impressionable. It's very important that you expose your pup to the things in your world so he gets used to it, but to do so in a safe, controlled manner. Click here for a free Socialization Checklist!
Here are some tips for creating a confident social dog:
When your pup meets new people for the first time, have the person sit on the floor (or get low to the pup) and hold out a treat. Let the puppy approach the person at his own pace. By offering a treat to the pup, the pup learns that "good things happen when I see a stranger." Don't overwhelm your pup by OOHHING and AAHHING over the pup…he might get scared. This is especially true for the pup meeting children!
Let your pup play with other puppies his own age. Puppies are learning their social manners and and bite inhibition. Puppies playing with puppies will correct each other. It's best for your young puppy to attend supervised Puppy Playgroups with pups under 20 weeks of age to ensure that they are all in the same social developmental stage. Once your pup has learned his manners, then he can socialize with the older dogs.
Priority #4 - Learning to be alone
It's not uncommon to get your puppy when you have time for it when he first comes home, such as during Christmas break or summer vacation. But imagine what the puppy thinks when everyone goes back to work or school? (Where did my family go???!) Sometimes this can cause panic in a puppy, so it's best if you let him get used to being alone for short periods of time and gradually build up to a longer day alone. Here are some tips:
Start by leaving your pup alone in a separate room. Gradually increase the amount of time he's alone. Then leave the house for a few minutes, gradually increasing his time alone.
Don't make a big deal of leaving or coming. It's best to be neutral and calm so your pup doesn't react to the drama.
Give your dog something fun to do about 2 minutes before you leave. Your pup will be so engrossed in the Kong that he won't notice that you've left. Also, it also teaches your pup a positive association with you leaving. ("Good! Please leave so I can get my stuffed Kong!")
Priority #5 - Being handled
You've heard of the dog that puts up a fight when you want to clip their nails, goes to the vet or groomer? Here are some exercises that you can do with your pup right now to help him enjoy being handled.
When your pup is tired and maybe sitting with you, gently, and briefly, rub his feet, ears, tail, belly, teeth etc. so he gets used to it. When you rub his feet for 1 second, give him a treat. Slowly increase the amount of time you are touching and pressure you are using. You want your pup to learn that good things happen when he has his feet touched! Click here for a free Handling checklist!
Next Step - Obedience and Manners Training!
Start training your pup the moment they come home to get good habits off to the right start! Seek out certified, professional dog trainers for group classes or private lessons. Click here for Pooch Pawsitive's Puppy Classes and private training options.
Congratulations on your new Puppy!
Get your pup off to a fast start with these five priorities!
Call us at 401-714-5652
Puppy chewing a 'legal' Kong toy!
Need more help with Housetraining or Biting and Chewing problems? Come to our Puppy Jumpstart Workshop at Rumford Pet Center.