Puppy Issues & Housetraining
(for older dogs too!)
Click Housetraining Tips to find all of our resources for house training in one place, including House training 101 PDF, a free step-by-step guide to successful house training.
Click here for Mouthing and Chewing Tips
Help! Our puppy bites at feet, and pant legs! Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93oyVd-bZwA for an effective (and positive!) way to deal with this problem!
Read Proper (and Improper) Handling of Young Puppies and An "aggressive" puppy?? To learn more about what to avoid when handling your puppy!
If your puppy (or adult dog) is growling when you pick him/her up, this terrific article explains the reasons behind the growling;
Providing your puppy with broad-ranging, appropriate socialization opportunities is the single most important part of your job as a new puppy parent. Doing so decreases the likelihood of problems in the future - particularly fear-based behavior problems.
Read The Importance of Socialization and http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/puppy-socialization-stop-fear-before-it-starts to learn more, and get started!
When should you get started socializing your new puppy? Read the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior Position Statement on Puppy socialization for their opinion: https://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Puppy-Socialization-Position-Statement-FINAL.pdf
"Help! My puppy is "shy" and seems afraid of new people"
It's crucial to allow a shy puppy to become completely comfortable with a new person, on their own terms. Strangers/people she seems "shy" of, should completely ignore her so she can make her own choice, in her own time, to approach, or not. This will prevent her from becoming more "sensitive" and will make all the difference. See this article ; http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/pets/dog-behavior/how-to-socialize-your-puppy?page=all The whole article is good, but pay special attention and follow the advice under the section heading - "What to do if your puppy is shy". Read more on the subject of fear in dogs (and pups!) at our Fearful Dog Archive
My Dog is Scared of Everything Emphasizes the importance of an early (and properly executed!) socialization plan!
Next, click Checklist for Socialization by Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS for a guide to follow that will help you to keep track of the socialization bases you've covered properly with your puppy, and which ones still need some work!
This section provides information about the behavior known as resource guarding, which is characterized by a dog's (or pup's) defensive reaction i.e., running away, stiffening, growling, snarling, snapping when in possession of a valued resource such as food, toys, chews, sleep/resting space, etc. It is a very common (and normal!) behavior in both adult dogs, and puppies.
Resource Guarding - What It Is, How to Prevent It
Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nyt2WLdQGs&feature=em-subs_digest for a prevention exercise to get started on with your puppy (or adult dog)
Teaching your pup (or an adult dog) to drop objects (happily!) on cue:
Building trust will lead to decrease in guarding behavior: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8F471ykE_w&feature=emb_logo
Thank Your Dog for Growling - Growling is nothing more than a communication from your dog that s/he's uncomfortable with what's happening. Pay attention, and never punish your dog for letting you know!
Sticking your hands in your pup or dog's food bowl while he's eating...is this really a good idea? We say no! Read https://paws4udogs.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/i-stuck-my-hand-in-his-bowl-when-he-was-a-puppy/ to learn why we never recommend it. The article includes suggestions for a far better way to teach your pup or dog to feel good when you're around their food bowl!
Concerning behavior at food bowl while eating
Help for a Resource Guarding puppy (this is a Q&A regarding a 6 month old dog, but the same applies for an older/adult dog)
The Q&A at the following link discusses growling from a dog when her human tries to pet her while she's eating. This Tip also mentions tension between the dogs who live together in the home (also resource-related); Click here to learn more.
**For more information about dog/dog resource guarding (also a very common problem!) click Housemate Problems
Training your pup (or adult dog!) to be comfortable in a crate is one of the most important things you'll teach him for many reasons. Among the most important, crating provides protection, and prevents him from engaging in (or continuing to engage in) unwanted behaviors!
Some people perceive the use of crates as cruel, but the process done correctly is both fun and rewarding for your pup/dog! What's really cruel is the reality that dogs lose their homes and their lives everyday due to ‘behavior problems’ that could have been easily prevented from developing (or from continuing!) through the proper use of a crate. There's no doubt that crate-training (done properly) plays a crucial part in healthy dog-human relationships. The resources below contain valuable suggestions for how to go about the process.
Note: If you decide to use an alternate confinement solution instead of a crate (like an ex-pen for example), follow the same steps outlined in the articles and videos below to teach your dog or pup to comfortably enjoy their confinement area.
Some great articles:
Excellent videos showing the technique known as "shaping" to teach a dog or puppy to enter their crate happily:
Help! My dog barks from her crate at 5am!
What to do if your dog (or puppy) is upset inside their crate: