This time of year, we begin getting A LOT of calls about puppy behavior. Lots of people get puppies for the holidays and, after the newness wears off, some naturally occurring puppy behaviors begin to take a toll. The following are a few simple hints and tips to help you and your puppy be successful. Also, make sure to see our previous piece on Dog Bonding for additional great ideas.
Chewing/Biting – Puppies chew for two main reasons: to alleviate the pain from teething and as a means of exploration. To help off-set this natural desire, provide your puppy with lots of appropriate and safe chew toys, limit their access in the home to “safe zones” and when you catch them chewing a beloved chair or one of your hands, remove them and encourage play on a doggie toy.
Crying – Having typically been with mom or a sibling, puppies are not used to being alone. Crying is how puppies call their litter mates and mothers – to communicate fear or needs. Make sure your pup has had lots of exercise before you try to leave, give them a safe toy to chew on like a puppy Kong with treats inside and a t-shirt or towel with your scent. Breeders who are knowledgeable will often send home a blanket or stuffed toy that has been with both your puppy and the litter. IF you breeder did this, place that item with your puppy to help provide security. Cover the crate if you are using one, turn on soft music and leave.
Wait 15 minutes, usually the crying will stop. Crying in the middle of the night may signal a need to go outside. Take the puppy outside, let them do what they need to and pop them back in their crate.
Jumping – Jumping is typically a result of a pup’s attempt to be social and often they get rewarded for the behavior, albeit unintentional. By rewarding your puppy before they jump, you will teach them that when their paws are on the ground, you reward them with attention.
Digging – Puppies typically dig for two reasons: boredom or to get to something they desire. Provide lots of appropriate toys to alleviate boredom. K-9 Coach is proud to offer an extensive line to help. If they are digging in a certain spot, take some time and investigate that area of your yard. You may have a rodent issue or other animal that you will need to either remove or limit access in order to prevent the digging from reoccurring.
Fears – Puppies are very young and have fears that parallel that of a toddler or young child. Provide your puppy with support. Do not force them to meet strangers, other dogs or objects if they are showing fear or hesitancy. Slow, positive introductions that are respectful of your pup’s needs are best.