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  • CentralValleyGoldens&Doodles

Oh those puppy behaviors...

MOUTHING

& BITING

Copied from the Baxter & Bella Curriculum

Puppy biting is one of the biggest puppy parent problems we hear about – let’s talk about what it is, why it happens and some of the training tips & tricks you can use to help! Why do puppies mouth? Puppies mouth and bite for three main reasons: to explore and learn about the world around them, strengthen their jaws & initiate play. Their mouths are moving constantly when awake and will do so until they lose their baby teeth and adult teeth take their place around 5 months of age.  Fact: Puppies LOVE quick movements. Fact: Puppies see what they want and they want it right now! Fact: Puppies love being with others - very social creatures. Fact: Puppies have razor sharp teeth. Put those four things together and we have a nightmare on our hands! Some view getting a puppy as a live fluffy stuffed animal while others are seeing more of a piranha type view! Yes puppies can be extremely cute, lovable, snuggly (not all but some) sweet and funny but they do also have RAZOR sharp teeth and move their mouths all day long except when they are sleeping and my guess then is they are dreaming about it! Puppies are constantly mouthing or biting something - it's our job to show them what they can and can't mouth/bite. I start by feeding a treat at the same time I am touching them. I repeat this several times and then move to touching them first, then treating them as they are successful at leaving my moving hand/arm alone. Finally, I pet them for longer periods and pull out a food reward when I am done. Take your time moving through this process to prevent any biting or mouthing from occurring. Teaching them "NO" is also helpful - but the immediate redirection onto something entirely different is just as important. Puppies are like toddlers and as such have very short attention spans. Be patient and consistent. They will learn better rewards come from better choices. Use timeouts for when your puppy is too excitable to redirect until he can settle himself enough to be around you again. Is my puppy being aggressive? Most likely no. Your puppy is simply doing what they know how to do. Think of your puppy with their litter mates. Notice how the puppies tackle each other, bite one another’s tails, ears and legs. They play growl and pounce. They have fun together! This is what they know. They think they’re playing nicely. When you bring a new puppy home and you have kids running around – quick movements and high-pitched voices, puppies get excited and want to play. They try to play like a puppy would play with other puppies. It’s our job to teach our puppy how to more appropriately play with us. To tell if your puppy is trying to play, look at their body language. Your puppy will show loose playful movements through their body language including play bows, relaxed ears, pouncing forward, jumping, loose wagging tail and happy demeanor. These signs may be accompanied by mouthing, biting, or play growling. Remember, whatever gets rewarded gets repeated. If your puppy doesn't like something they may growl, bark, bite or air snap to tell you so. They are trying to tell you they don't feel comfortable with your current actions. Think if you didn't have a way to express yourself? Sounds terrible right? Puppies do not speak English but they do communicate using their body language and vocal expressions. If a puppy learns biting/growling gets them their way, they will continue to bite/growl and it will most likely get worse. If your puppy learns biting is fun or gets them what they want (maybe having a child leave them alone) the biting will continue. Learning to read your puppy's body language, listening and respecting what he's trying to communicate BEFORE he feels the need to bite/growl helps with these situations. Punishing your puppy for reacting this way will not help. It will most likely make things worse.  What can we do about it? Teaching your puppy basic manners such as sit to say please, sit to be greeted, stay, down, come, drop it, loose leash walking and more, allows us to communicate with our puppy what we need them to do. We work to build a respectful relationship with our dogs to motivate them to want to do things we are asking or needing them to do. We also must teach them how to play with toys. Grabbing them, pulling them, not listening when they try to use body language to say they don't like something, all lead to our puppy getting frustrated and they will use puppy methods to say so. If you must pick your puppy up, feed a reward at the same time to help them view being picked up as positive. While biting and mouthing are parts of normal puppy behavior, we do our best to work with our puppy in a way they don't feel the need to snap at us out of frustration and we find ways to redirect any type of play behavior in this way by holding toys and chews for them to bite or mouth instead. If you puppy is already biting/mouthing and you weren't able to prevent it, use a sound to interrupt their unwanted behavior (you can load this as you would the YES marker or clicker - See Lesson 1.1) then once you have their attention, redirect them quickly onto a better activity.  Will it last forever? No. This is a phase all puppies go through. Some are more mouthy than others. As long as we don’t inadvertently reward our puppy or some way make this a fun game for them, they will outgrow it. Puppies are constantly chewing and biting to strengthen their jaws and learn about the world around them. They are also teething. Most lose teeth around 4-5 months and then adult teeth grow in. Around 5-6 months this behavior decreases dramatically. Above all stay consistent. Make sure biting ALWAYS equals the fun ending immediately for your puppy. Show your puppy what to do when your hands or arms reach for them as discussed above. Teach your puppy to play with toys and bite those instead of you. Teach your puppy to be patient and have impulse control. Our PAWSFIT page has games you can play to help your puppy learn these valuable lessons. 


THINGS TO TRY FOR BITING/MOUTHING:



  • First, what is your puppy’s motivation for biting or being mouthy? If it is movement, try feeding a treat at the same time you touch them. Repeat this several times and then move to touching them first, then treating them as they are successful at leaving your moving hand/arm alone. Finally, pet them for longer periods and pull out a food reward when you are done. Take your time moving through this process to prevent any biting or mouthing from occurring.


  • If your puppy is biting your ankles, pants or sleeves, feed a treat at the same time as you move your pants, sleeves or ankle/foot. Repeat several times. Next try moving the item then treating. Repeat several times until your puppy is leaving the movement alone, waiting for the food to come out. 


  • If it’s your attention, taking away your attention by standing up and walking away will quickly send the message you do not like what your puppy is doing. You may need to step behind a barrier where your puppy can’t access you. Avoid pulling your hands away quickly as that will most likely be seen as fun for your puppy. Instead, cross your arms and tuck in your hands, then turn away from your puppy and ignore for 1-2 minutes. No eye contact or talking.

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  • Teach your puppy a common language. Start with marker training, “YES” means you’re doing something I like, “NO” I don’t like that. Covered in Lessons 1.3 and 1.4 I teach you how to do the marker training with yes and no. Immediately after telling your puppy NO redirect them onto something appropriate. If you do not help them move onto a different activity they most likely will go right back to the biting activity. Refrain from saying NO over and over. It will ruin it's meaning. If you are worried about this, skip the no and simply redirect. Some puppies view NO as attention and they will take what they can get. In this case not saying is far better. 

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  • Do not let them have free time all day. Create a routine. Play, then settle in crate, play, settle, etc. When they are out running around the yard, you are with them, then when you go in, they go in a kennel or crate. Use the crate! (Tethers and exercise pens work well too.)


  • Use a timer to remind you to keep play sessions short. End on a good note - don't let your puppy's play escalate to the point they won't redirect, listen or be polite. Stop play earlier and keep everyone happier.

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  • Teach them to relax by holding them back against your chest. Slowly rub their ears, scratch their belly and pet them. Talk to them slowly as well. Then let them go play. Repeat every two minutes or so. Hold a stiff chew (Benebone for example) in their mouth as you pet them.

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  • Teach your puppy to like toys. Replace your clothes they are biting with a rope toy. Keep long rope toys handy! Wiggling the rope toy around will help your puppy want to bite that instead of you. If your puppy bites your pant legs or feet while you walk, try dragging a rope toy along as you walk for your puppy to bite onto instead of you. You can buy long rope toys or make them out of towels or rags simply by tying knots in them or cutting strands and braiding them. Note, if you simply drop the replacement item, your puppy most likely will come right back at you. Hold hard chews like Benebones as extensions of your arm and teach your puppy they can mouth the bone, not your hands.

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  • Exchange soft for soft and hard for hard. If your puppy is biting a table leg, replace with a hard toy like a Benebone. If your puppy wants to chew a sock or pillow exchange for a durable plush toy.

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  • Find something your puppy likes to play such as fetch. Toss a ball a few feet away. Will they go get it? Engage them in a game and they will focus on that, not biting.

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  • Pull out treats and interrupt the behavior. Teach them a new sound you can use to interrupt unwanted behavior. It may be Uh-Uh, a tongue click, kiss, etc. Load this sound like you would the YES marker in Lesson 1.1. Use the sound to capture your puppy's attention when they are doing something you don't like. The sound interrupts them from continuing the behavior. Then think, what do you want your puppy to do? Put them to work in a training session. Practice cues like go to bed, stay or wait. Teach them new ones. 

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  • ALWAYS SUPERVISE your puppy while around children. Do not let your children free play with the puppy. Teach children how to get the puppy to sit to be greeted, take treats nicely and play with the puppy using toys from day one! **We know your kids will be super excited to play with the puppy. We understand and absolutely they can interact with the puppy right away - but structure the time together; have a plan so the puppy is focused on a specific task and your children are not overwhelming the puppy or inadvertently inviting the puppy to rough play which will inevitably invite biting and mouthing. That's the only way your puppy knows how to play right now. It is our job to teach our puppy a new way to play.

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  • When children want to play with the puppy, STRUCTURE the playtime. Practice behaviors, teach tricks, play hide and go seek, hold a toy while the puppy chews it, teach a PAWSfit game, etc. When the session is over, you keep the puppy with you and the children can go about their new activities. This is important while your puppy is young. As they mature they will be able to handle being around your children better without the need for separation.

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  • Don't let children rough house with the puppy. It's too much stimulation for a young puppy to control. Instead, teach kids how to practice cues and play PAWSfit games with your pup.

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  • If your puppy is teething and mouthing to relieve sore gums, providing a cold chew toy may be the ticket. Freeze a wet washcloth with a few treats in the middle. Tie in a knot and freeze. Stuff a Kong and let your puppy chew on that.

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  • Increase your puppy's daily exercise amount. They may simply have pent up energy that needs released.

BARKING, WHINING & GROWLING

Dogs bark for a variety of reasons but one thing is for sure, there is motivation behind it. If you can figure out what is motivating your dog to bark the solution comes much easier to our minds. We can then change the motivation to help our puppy focus on something else. Please remember that barking is a dog's way of communicating and so compromising is a good option. Is it OK if your dog barks once at the doorbell then he'll be quiet after that? Be creative as you work to both manage and train a better behavior, keeping in mind we don't ask other animals to be mute their entire lives.  Now, with a brand new puppy, there is bound to be some barking, whining and even growling - we'll get to that in a minute. Your puppy just came from a litter of siblings. They do not know necessarily how to be alone. This is something very important to teach them as when living with humans they will inevitably need to spend time by themselves at one time or another. As we let them spend time alone, initially some barking and whining will occur. Most puppies will settle themselves within 20-30 minutes. It's important to let them figure this one out on their own. Any attention we give them - eye contact, speaking, walking over to them - will keep their fire alive so to speak and the barking/whining will get worse. Ignore what we don't like and reward the good in this case. See the section below (THINGS TO TRY...) for ideas of what you can do to help your puppy through this process quickly. A quick note about growling...this is a puppy's way to warn you they do not like something and precedes the more negative behavior of biting. As such, never punish a growl. We prefer that to a bite. Growling will most likely surface in one of three ways with a new puppy. First, when playing. Some puppies play growl. I like to interrupt play when the growling begins so my puppy learns to play in a more friendly way. This also prevents play from escalating into something too rough.  Second, puppies may growl if they are sleeping and disturbed. Let a sleeping puppy sleep. Instruct children never to pull a puppy from their crate. Let the puppy come out on their own. If you need to move a sleeping puppy, wake them up first by squeaking a toy, clapping your hands, or calling their name. Think how you may react if someone woke you from a nice nap by quickly pulling on you or picking you up. Most likely we'd be grumpy too. Don't expect your puppy to act any differently. If you choose not to do this, you will most likely end up with a puppy who learns growling gets them what they want - you to leave them alone - and the growling will get worse. Finally, puppies may start to resource guard - or guard things they feel are important to them. Please see Lesson 1.1 for tips to prevent any guarding from starting and Lesson 4.3 if you already have a guarder on your hands. (It may be good to see both of these lessons anyway so you are aware of this behavior. It is preventable.) 


THINGS TO TRY FOR BARKING & WHINING:


Feel free to use one or more of the following ideas. Sometimes one is enough and other times you have to do a litte experimenting as dogs are all unique, just like us. What works well for one, may not work for another, but we do our best to help them. BARKING

  • Make sure you've spent time the first few days properly introducing your puppy to their crate/pen and how to be alone. See Lesson 1.1 for help. 

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  • Figure out why your dog is barking and manage it.

    • Will closing the window work?

    • Restrict access to the front room?

    • Play with your dog because he is seeking attention? 


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  • Make sure your dog is getting necessary exercise daily. Increase it if you think it may be lacking.

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  • Is your puppy spending too much time in the crate during the day? Is there a way to give them more time with you? See the INTRO UNIT: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HOUSETRAINING section and the PREP UNIT: A SUCCESSFUL DAILY SCHEDULE for crate times and examples.

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  • Interrupt it the second it starts and redirect your puppy onto a more appropriate activity.

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  • Ignore it - (as long as you've properly introduced the crate and pen from day one - if not, please spend time helping your puppy learn to be alone first.) Don't look at or talk to your puppy if they are barking in the crate, have already gone to the bathroom and simply want out. It's healthy for them to learn how to deal with frustration appropriately. If they want your attention and bark to get it, ignoring them helps them learn that does not work. Wait for calm and reward that instead.

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  • Ditch the food bowl! What does this have to do with barking? Teach your puppy to love a Kong and watch as this simple toy helps your puppy relax when you are away. Licking relaxes dogs and the good things found in the Kong help your puppy associate you leaving with good things. 

    • Buy 3 or 4 red Kongs (size appropriately for your puppy then go up one size.) ​

    • Every morning, measure out your puppy's daily food amount.

    • Place 1/4 of the food in a baggie to be used throughout the day as rewards.

    • Put the other 3/4 in a bowl and add water to soften it up. Let it soak up the water for 5 minutes. Then spoon into the 3 or 4 Kongs.

    • Freeze the Kongs, pulling one out as needed throughout the day. Save these for times you will be gone or when you need your puppy to spend time in their crate or pen. Your puppy only gets the Kong in the crate or pen.

    • Just before giving the Kong to your puppy, top with a spoonful of peanut butter, cream cheese or plain yogurt to make it more enticing.

    • By having more than one Kong, you can wash as needed and always have one ready to go for the next crate/pen time.


WHINING

  • The first night home with your new puppy, put the crate right next to you. 

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  • Put your finger through the door.

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  • Drape the crate with your sweatshirt or other clothing that smells like you.

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  • Place a Snuggle Puppy inside with your puppy. Turn the heartbeat on so your puppy won't feel so alone.

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  • When you take your puppy out for a potty break at night, keep interaction and excitement to a minimum. Go outside, your puppy goes potty, come right back inside and puppy goes in the crate. No fanfare or excessive talking.

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  • The first day home with our new puppy, introduce the crate positively by using the 10:1 rule. Lure your puppy in, feed them a treat and let them come right back out again 10 times. Then one time close the door for just a second then open it up and let them out.

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  • Teach your puppy to like the crate by practicing SHORT periods inside with the door closed. Complete simple tasks while your puppy is in the crate, then come right back and let them out. (Wait for quiet first!) Gradually build up to longer and longer times inside.

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  • Use a white noise machine, play classical music or a metronome during the day.

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  • Turn on the television during the day to create noise.

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  • Try putting your puppy's crate in the same room as you. Your puppy will want to mirror your energy level so doing something still will help them settle.

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  • If the energy level in the room is a bit crazy - kids are running around or lots of talking and moving around - putting the puppy in a separate room may be better for them.

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  • Always give your puppy something to do in the crate or exercise pen. A stuffed Kong is my go-to. If you can, come back and let them out BEFORE they are done chewing to create a feeling of, "Hey, I'm not done in here yet!" (See details above.)

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  • Teach your puppy the whining will only get them a potty break. Carry them outside without talking or other attention, let them down to potty, then carry them back inside and place in the crate. Repeat each time they whine so they quickly learn whining will only get them an on-leash potty break. 

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  • Ignore it. Don't look at or talk to your puppy if they are whining in the crate, have already gone to the bathroom and simply want out. They need to learn frustration tolerance. Most puppies settle themselves within 20-30 minutes. Keep a chart if it helps you to see the progress.

​​ **Choose the TEACH YOUR PUPPY method OR the IGNORE IT method and stick with it. See the red section above for tips on growling.

PATIENCE & IMPULSE CONTROL

Dogs naturally see what they want and they want it RIGHT NOW! This causes problems when: guests come over (puppy wants to jump to say hi right now), your medicine pills fall on the floor (puppy wants to gobble them up as fast as they can), you see other dogs out walking (puppy wants to pull and run to get to them as fast as they can), etc. Patience is not something inherant in puppies, but it can be taught. In fact, teaching this concept to your puppy creates a nice, calm, well-mannered dog you will enjoy living with for years. The best part is it's fairly simple to do!  Cues like sit, down, stay, wait, go to bed, loose leash walking, leave it and the PAWSfit Games are all parts of PUPPY PREP - The Online Puppy School and each teach your puppy if they wait for something, good things happen. When teaching these behaviors, start with short durations and work to increase the behaviors over time and as your puppy's attention span grows. 


THINGS TO TRY FOR PATIENCE & IMPULSE CONTROL:


BASIC MANNERS

  • REWARD CALM BEHAVIORS  

    • Anytime your puppy looks at a person or another dog, give them a treat. Timing matters! Be sure to reward BEFORE your puppy shows any exciting behavior like barking, pulling on leash, jumping, etc. Repeat each time your puppy looks at the person or dog.

    • If your puppy is already acting too excited, simply put a food reward close to their nose and lure them away several feet until they can calm down again. Creating distance helps them regain self-control.

    • Once you've added distance, reward again each time your puppy looks at the person or dog. This will help teach your puppy they can look at someone calmly and be rewarded for it. They will start looking to you for these rewards when they see other people or dogs.

    • At home, pay attention and reward good behavior your puppy offers on their own. If you notice them laying down on their bed, drop them a treat. If they come settle by your feet while you are working or relaxing, give them a reward. It can be praise, attention or petting as well. Use a variety of rewards. Figure out what your puppy loves and offer those things for nice calm behavior as often as you can.


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  • Play MAKE A CHOICE and ONLY IF YOU'RE NICE - See PAWSFIT GAMES

    • These games are short and simple. Play them with every meal you feed your brand new puppy. Teach children how to play these games as well as they give structure to the time they spend together.

    • While you're on the PAWSfit page, check out the other patience and impulse control games as well.


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  • Expect SIT TO SAY PLEASE for EVERYTHING - See Lesson 1.1

    • sit for attention​

    • sit to greet a guest

    • sit to have a toy thrown

    • sit for food bowl to be given

    • sit to get out of the door

    • and more!


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  • Teach "WAIT" - See Lesson 1.9

    • Wait means your puppy can't cross a boundary line until released. You draw the boundary with your arm. It is less strict than a stay meaning your puppy can move around behind the line, they just can't cross it until you say the release cue. I use this frequently with puppies and lengthen it out as my puppy gets older.


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  • Train "LEAVE IT" - See Lesson 2.15

    • This teaches your puppy to take all attention off of something. This is very helpful because again, puppies see what they want and they want it right away. A solid leave it can save your puppy from harmful foods, plants, trash as well as rushing up to people or when they see other dogs you would prefer they ignore.​


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  • Establish LOOSE LEASH WALKING - See Lesson 2.8 and Lesson 2.9

    • Pulling is a problem of low patience and a lack of impulse control. ​Commit now to never follow a pulling puppy and spend time daily training your puppy to walk loosely on leash. Stop when your puppy pulls. Go when your puppy puts slack back in the leash. Feed a high value food reward when your puppy is in the "kitchen" - the area directly to your left side. Mix up how many steps earn them a treat. Keep walks SUPER short in the beginning.


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  • Train DOWN STAY and GO TO BED - See Lesson 2.4 and Lesson 2.11

    • Both of these are behaviors your puppy can learn to hold for over an hour at a time. They start with a second but grow longer with each training session. Think of the behaviors you can prevent by using a down stay or go to bed cue. I use go to bed when the doorbell rings and a down stay while eating dinner. The possibilities are endless. 


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  • Puppies JUMP. They are very social animals. They don't know jumping is not your favorite thing. Here are a few ideas to help teach your puppy a more polite behavior - in addition to the above exercises:​

    • Use MANAGEMENT. Step on the middle of the leash and hold the end with one hand when a person approaches. Use your other hand to feed small bits of food continuously when guests first arrive.This way your puppy can't practice the unwanted behavior. Your puppy should be able to sit, stand or lie down but not jump.

    • Use a TARGET HAND whenever your puppy approaches you. Hold your fist low enough (right at your puppy's chest) so they have no need to jump. The second they go to your fist, lure them into a sit. Then you can redirect them onto new behavior.

    • Scatter treats on the floor when guests first arrive to keep your puppy grounded then immediately redirect onto a favorite game like tug or fetch.

    • Toss treats to a location you prefer your puppy be when guests visit, such as a couch or dog bed. Keep tossing treats to keep your puppy distracted - instead they are doing a better behavior and not thinking about jumping on your guests.

    • Post a sign on your front door teaching the people to please ignore your puppy until he is sitting - sometimes training the humans is harder! We made a sign for you! It's in our Resource Library.

    • Teach your puppy to dance on his back feet instead of jumping on people. This gives them something specific to do and lets them do the natural behavior of jumping but without touching people.

    • Refrain from saying OFF repeatedly as this may be viewed as attention to your puppy and may inadvertently reinforce the jumping behavior. If possible, wait for your puppy to put their paws on the ground, then offer attention. 

    • Be creative! How can you change your puppy's motivation to jump on people? We'd love to hear your ideas!

    • Give your puppy more exercise throughout the day. Under exercised dogs have pent up energy making it hard for them to sit still or concentrate.​


HOUSETRAINING 

Housetraining is critical in having our puppy live in our home with us and helps foster a healthy relationship between us. When our dog keeps our house clean and eliminates outside, we are all happier right? Puppies keep their sleeping area clean but they do not realize that means your entire house. So we start by training your puppy in a small space and gradually adding space when your puppy can keep the current living space clean and accident free. The nuts and bolts of housetraining are pretty simple. We reward our dog for going outside and we watch them like a hawk inside to prevent accidents. Ok, so watching them 100% of the time may not be so simple, but it is doable and oh so important.  Puppies need to be one of three places throughout the day. First, they can be inside with you under careful supervision, outside with you or finally in a small confined space for times when you can't watch them. This last situation helps them learn to hold it as puppies do not like to mess in their sleeping area. Young puppies need more potty breaks throughout the day than older dogs and they must be taught room by room that each area of your home is considered living space. This takes time - up to a year even - and necessitates patience and persistence. Accidents will happen! Don't panic. Simply clean them up and try to do better next time. 


THINGS TO HELP WITH HOUSETRAINING:


HOUSETRAINING BASICS

  • Use a crate to confine your puppy when you can't watch them 100%.

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  • It is important to go outside with your puppy to mark and reward the second they finish going. Your puppy will not associate a treat with going potty if you wait to give it to them until they come back inside. They will think the reward is for coming back inside. This often leads to puppies who go outside, don't actually go, then come back inside and potty on the floor.

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  • Dog doors are great tools. I do suggest putting go potty on cue and having successful potty breaks on leash outside before letting your puppy use a dog door. Why? One, when you travel you'll want your puppy to be able to potty on cue and two, if you never have your puppy go potty on leash, they may refuse to do so and that is a problem when you are not at home. 

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  • If you live in an apartment building without your own private yard, using a balcony or indoor potty yard (a small bathroom or exercise pen with pee pads or litter box) works well until your puppy is fully vaccinated and can walk on the ground outside.

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  • Set a timer every 30-60 minutes during the day (depending on your puppy's needs) to remind you to take them outside for a potty break.

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  • Puppies will need to go during the day:

    • when they first wake up​

    • right after you release them from their pen or crate

    • after eating or drinking

    • when they change activities 

    • if they are more excitable for some reason or another

    • when they start sniffing and circling or wandering to a different part of the room

    • you notice pacing and whining


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  • It is normal for puppies to go outside and need to go again in ten minutes. If this is a regular occurrence, learn to stay out longer with your puppy to let them finish.

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  • Keep track on the Housetraining Chart found in the PREP UNIT PRINTABLES section when your puppy goes so you know what to expect. Recording times consistently for the first few weeks helps you know and anticipate when your puppy will need to go. This especially helps with knowing when to stay out longer for your puppy to defecate.

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  • We suggest your puppy sleep in their crate until at least 12 months old.


  • Puppies can hold it in a crate during the day one hour for every month old they are in age. At night when they are sleeping they will be able to hold it longer. Day and night crate times are different. 

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  • We don't allow free roam of our home until the puppy is at least 12 months old and we are confident they are completely housetrained. 

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  • Part of housetraining includes teaching your puppy what is and is not appropriate to chew on. Giving them a variety of chew toys and mixing up what toys are available each day keeps your puppy out of trouble and away from chewing on your furniture. 100% supervision and redirection are also needed to successfully achieve this particular concept of housetraining. Crate time when you cannot watch them 100% is required. Giving them appropriate chews in the crate teaches them what they can chew on and they grow accustomed to chewing on those items only.

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  • If your puppy gets something they are not supposed to have, swap it out for a higher value item. Do not give attention to the item they have stolen. Instead, walk by with a better thing (food works well) and encourage your puppy to come once you know they know what you have in your hand. Feed the reward to your dog as you scoop up the stolen item and put it away.

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  • Use gates, pens and the crate to keep your puppy out of areas of the home where you can't immediately supervise. Close all doors to help make initial training areas smaller. 

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  • Once your puppy can keep one room of your home clean and they consistently go potty outside, add another area to the space. Continue making the living space larger and larger so long as your puppy is successful in keeping the new space clean. This takes up to one year and depends largely on the size of your living space.

ACCIDENTS

  • Puppies are in-the-moment creatures. If you don't catch them in the act they will not connect any sort of punishment to going potty in the house. Simply clean up the mess and remind yourself to watch them 100% when out and about in your house.

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  • If you catch them starting, startle them by slapping a wall or clapping your hands, then rush them outside to finish. When they go, mark YES and reward with praise or treats. 

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  • We don't recommend punishment for housetraining accidents even if you do see them going. This will only encourage your puppy to hide from you when they need to go. 

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  • Always use an enzyme cleanser to completely rid any indoor accident area of the smell so your puppy won't continue to use the same area to go potty again.

THE BELLS

  • Once your puppy has been taught to ring the bells, they may need help finding them when out playing. Stand by the bells and stare at them. When your puppy comes over to see what you are doing, mark and reward when they look at the bells. Do this several times. Then mark and reward when your puppy rings the bells. Then take them outside to potty.

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  • For puppies who find the bells fun and want to play with them, remove them from the wall after a successful potty break then hang them back up again when it's about time your puppy will need to go again.

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  • You may choose not to use bells.That is completely fine. Be sure to take your puppy out on regular intervals throughout the day to go potty.

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  • Some dogs naturally give signs they need to go out while others are not so obvious at all. This is normal. 

CRATE TRAINING

Crates are helpful housetraining tools. They encourage your puppy to hold it until let out as most puppies do not want to soil their sleeping area and crates prevent your puppy from doing inappropriate things elsewhere in your house. If your puppy has never been in a crate before it will take a little time to train them to love it but most puppies figure this part out fairly quickly and successfully. There is a small percentage of puppies who truly panic when in too small of a space and may do better in an exercise pen or small puppy-proofed room. Signs your puppy is panicking in the crate include excessive barking, drooling, panting and desperately trying to escape the crate. This is pretty rare so if your puppy is simply barking because they want out to be with you, it's better to ignore it and let them self-soothe. By not rewarding the barking with attention, this behavior decreases each time until your puppy readily settles quickly when crated. Take your puppy potty right before crate time to help ensure any barking or whining is not because they need to go potty. Most puppies settle themselves within 20-30 minutes. Notice that says most. Some will cry longer and some will fuss for shorter time periods. Letting them get over the frustration on their own is a healthy life lesson and a puppy who settles in their crate will be calm when left alone - a wonderful life lesson. Always give your puppy something to do in the crate. Benebones and stuffed Kongs appropriately sized for your dog are great diversions and help your puppy associate the crate with good things!


THINGS TO TRY TO HELP YOUR PUPPY ENJOY CRATE TIME:



  • Spend time during the first day introducing your puppy to the crate in an appropriate way. Please see Lesson 1.1

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  • If your puppy has an accident in the crate clean it up with a bleach/water solution and dry thoroughly before returning your puppy to it. Don't panic. Accidents happen - we just don't want it to become a pattern. Assess why it may have happened. Was your puppy inside too long without a break? Are they not feeling well? Did you change his food?

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  • If your puppy barks or whines when in the crate ignoring it is very effective in getting your puppy to settle quickly on their own, so long as they went potty before going in the crate and they are healthy. Keep a chart so you can see the daily progress and stay consistent. Never let out a barking puppy. Wait even for one second (hopefully more) to open the door. We don't want your puppy to learn barking or whining means they get out, being calm does.

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  • If your puppy cries for 20 minutes then quiets down, try to leave them in for another 10-15 minutes so they experience being calm in the crate for a decent amount of time. 

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  • Puppies may need several breaks when being crated at night for the first time. If you are working with a breeder, ask them for your puppy's current sleeping schedule so you have an idea of where to start.

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  • Put the crate right next to you for the first few nights to help your puppy feel more comfortable.

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  • Most new puppies will need at least one break during the night. Take your puppy outside quietly, praise when they do their business then come right back in and back to bed. No fanfare. Try to take them out BEFORE they bark. If needed, set an alarm around the time they wake each night. 

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  • Each night lengthen out the time between potty breaks until finally you are sleeping 8 hours again. Unit 1 & 2 lessons outline nighttime potty breaks for you if needed. 

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  • During the day puppies can realistically hold it in the crate one hour for each month old they are - two months equals two hours, three months equals three hours, etc. 

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  • Only leave safe chew toys in the crate when you aren't there to supervise. Benebones and appropriately sized stuffed Kongs are good choices. Avoid plush toys with squeakers inside as the puppy may chew through it and swallow small pieces.


  • Ditch the food bowl! Teach your puppy to love a Kong and watch as this simple toy helps your puppy relax when you are away. Licking relaxes dogs and the good things found in the Kong help your puppy associate you leaving with good things. 

    • Buy 3 or 4 red Kongs (size appropriately for your puppy then go up one size.) ​

    • Every morning, measure out your puppy's daily food amount.

    • Place 1/4 of the food in a baggie to be used throughout the day as rewards.

    • Put the other 3/4 in a bowl and add water to soften it up. Let it soak up the water for 5 minutes. Then spoon into the 3 or 4 Kongs.

    • Freeze the Kongs, pulling one out as needed throughout the day. Save these for times you will be gone or when you need your puppy to spend time in their crate or pen. Your puppy only gets the Kong in the crate or pen.

    • Just before giving the Kong to your puppy, top with a spoonful of peanut butter, cream cheese or plain yogurt to make it more enticing.

    • By having more than one Kong, you can wash as needed and always have one ready to go for the next crate/pen time.


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  • Some puppies settle more quickly with the crate covered, while others prefer it not covered. You may need to experiment what works best for your puppy.

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  • During the day, feel free to move the crate around with you. Some puppies do better when they can see you while others do better when they cannot.

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  • Playing music or the television when you are not home helps some puppies not feel so alone.​​

LEASH WALKING

Puppies see what they want and they want it right now. They do not come equipped with patience or impulse control. This must be taught. As such, when you put a puppy on a leash and they see something, they will pull to get it. If we follow, they learn pulling works and they will continue to pull. This behavior is also a natural opposition reflex meaning when they feel pressure on their neck they want to push into it. Think of someone pushing you - you want to push back; or when someone pulls your arm, you want to pull it back. Dogs react the same way on leash. If they pull on leash and you pull back, they pull harder. Stopping anytime your puppy puts pressure on the leash stops this game. You only move forward when they release the tension in the leash. This way, your dog learns in order to get what they want the two of you must move together without pressure on the leash. This is one skill that definitely takes practice and patience, but once it's taught is a very enjoyable activity to do together and good exercise for both of you.


THINGS TO TRY FOR LOOSE LEASH WALKING:


TIPS

  • Walks will be super short in the beginning, as in down your driveway and back. To really exercise your dog let them run freely in a safe enclosed area. 

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  • Short successful (as in loose leash) walks are more valuable to training than distance. Wait to jog with your puppy or cover long distances until your puppy's joints are fully developed, usually around 12-18 months. We recommend asking your vet when it is safe to run with your puppy.

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  • Puppies have short attention spans. It's better to end a walk before you or your puppy become frustrated. Keeping walks short helps with this.

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  • Alternating between attention steps and time spent sniffing is a good option to practice loose leash walking and let your puppy just be a dog for part of the walk. Still, end the walk BEFORE your puppy is done - either physically or mentally.

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  • The leash is new to your puppy and they may think it's a fun toy! Distract your puppy with food sprinkled on the ground while you attach the leash to teach your puppy to stand calmly while you do so. Repeat when taking the leash off. Another option would be a sit stay while you take the leash off. If your puppy wants off leash, use that as motivation and wait until your puppy is sitting calmly to release them. You may need to wait or try a few times before finally detaching the leash. The more consistent you are with this rule, the faster your puppy will learn. 

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  • Use a high value food reward to keep your puppy focused on you, not biting the leash. 

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  • If your puppy insists on mouthing the leash try soaking it in vinegar then let it dry or use a light weight chain leash.

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  • Letting your puppy drag the leash around your home (no stairs allowed) will help them get used to it and forget about it.

​​ EQUIPMENT

  • ​4-6 foot leash

  • Long line (20-30 feet)

  • Poop bags & holder

  • Flat buckle collar (I start all puppies out with just a flat collar and leash)

  • Front Clip No Pull Harness (for dogs who already have a habit of pulling)

  • Gentle Leader (for dogs who are constantly smelling the ground)

  • Retractable leashes are NOT recommended

SOCIALIZATION

Don't allow your fears of parvo or other diseases to prevent you from properly introducing your dog to the world all around them. As it relates to risk, it's important that you recognize the seriousness of it, without unduly jeopardizing the long-term consequences of critical socialization. As such you must properly manage, minimize and mitigate the risk involved. This means carrying your puppy when out and about until they are fully vaccinated as well as introducing new things, smells, sights, sounds and people on a daily basis at home. Puppies have a critical socialization window that starts to close around 14 weeks. While it's important to socialize your dog throughout their life, if this does not take place during this early stage of life, your dog may experience phobias that prove difficult to change. We want your puppy to learn when they see something new, how to respond. If they startle, we are looking for a quick bounce-back meaning they realize, oh, no big deal. I'm fine.


TIPS FOR SOCIALIZING YOUR NEW PUPPY



  • Only neutral or positive experiences count as effective socialization.

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  • If your puppy startles at something, don't give unnecessary attention to the reaction. Simply walk past the item or move away from it and continue on your way.

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  • You can also touch the item yourself to show your puppy it is fine but do not force your puppy to do the same. Let them approach the item on their own terms.


  • Change a fear into a happy feeling by feeding your puppy a yummy treat the second they see the trigger but BEFORE they react to it. You may need to create distance for your puppy to be able to see it and still feel calm about it. The timing of the reward is VERY important. We do not want to reward the fearful reaction (barking, shying away, etc.) If your puppy has already reacted, simply do a U-turn and walk the other way. Reward your puppy for attention steps as you do so.

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  • Each lesson in Units 1 & 2 give you a variety of socialization ideas. Make it a goal now to complete these sections daily.

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  • Field trips are set up as mini scavenger hunts and help your puppy experience many different things. They are mobile and printer friendly. Carry your puppy on these excursions until they are fully vaccinated.


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