In the course of a day, I talk to many new puppy owners. There are some themes that come up over and over again. Here are some tips to help smooth the way with your new puppy:
Puppies try to engage with you by using their mouths. Our job is to teach them that they do not engage people in that way. If your puppy nips you, growl “ouch” at him. If he looks at you without using his mouth, praise softly and resume petting. If he continues to nip, stand up and take your attention away from him completely. If he stops using his mouth, praise quietly. If the nipping continues, put puppy in his crate for some quiet time. He is over stimulated.
If your puppy nips you and you respond by putting a toy in his mouth, you have just rewarded the nipping and will see nipping increase.
Puppies do not need to spend every minute with you. In fact, it is not good for them to.
A dog will be left alone periodically throughout his life. He should learn that it is just fine and you will return to them. A puppy should spend 2 hours in the morning, 2 hours in the afternoon and perhaps even an hour in the evening in his crate. That is in addition to overnight. This allows your puppy to sleep undisturbed and get rid of his need to chew by only chewing what you have given him. When your puppy is out in the house with you, you must supervise him completely. If that is not possible, back in the crate. A house line is an excellent tool for managing an active puppy without getting into unnecessary power struggles. Step on the line if the puppy is heading toward something inappropriate and praise quietly when he looks back at you. You are the good guy all the time!
Understand the difference between using a crate for house training and confining a puppy for extended periods of time when you need to be out of the home. Training does not happen when you are not home. Confinement is meant to keep the puppy safe until you can return and continue the house training process.
Wait outside for 5 minutes when on a toilet trip. If the puppy doesn’t go, return him to his crate for 15 minutes. Do not assume he doesn’t have to go. He may well go the second you get him inside. Puppies need to toilet after eating, sleeping, or playing. They can hold it for longer periods of time as they mature.
Don’t hesitate to call the office, if you have further questions.