News flash: Puppies Need Management!

One of the ways to make it VERY hard to raise a puppy is to forget the fact that you have a PUPPY.  Its not a dog, its a puppy! Puppies require management 100% of the time until they are at least 6 months old (and often longer).  Yep, thats right: 100% of the time! Just like you would a toddler. Because, the fact is, there are lots of things that puppies do, in the course of being puppies, that are entirely normal but that we, the humans, do not like. But they are NORMAL, so you should expect them and plan accordingly. These irritating puppy things include but are not limited to:

  • Chewing anything they can reach
  • Mouthing and biting anyone that moves
  • Jumping all over you to greet you whether you've been gone for a 10 minutes or three hours.
  • Eating stuff that isn't generally considered edible
  • Peeing and pooping whenever they need to, no matter where they happen to be at the moment
  • Complaining (loudly!) when left alone

So, if you want to have a housetrained dog that doesn't chew your shoes and can settle quietly when you are not around only YOU can make that happen. The responsibility is on you, the human, to gradually mould the behavior of a puppy using kind and effective tools.  So, try the following:

  • Make sure your dog is well exercised and getting plenty of mental stimulation and human contact. Dogs are very social animals, after all.
  • Create a safe confinement area, like a pen or your kitchen, that can easily be puppy-proofed.  
  • Provide lots of appropriate chew items that the puppy actually enjoys.  Refresh them regularly so the pup doesn't get bored. 
  • Take your puppy out to potty every hour at first to help create good habits.  Puppies need to both develop a preference for pottying outside and, if very young, they also need time to physically develop bladder and bowel control so given them lots of opportunities to go and don't expect a puppy to "tell you" when they need to potty.
  • Make sure your puppy learns the critical life skill of being alone.  Give your pup a nice chew item and let them "practice" being alone for many, many short periods of time, gradually working up to longer absences.
  • Finally, don't reward demand barking with attention.  You will create a monster!  Instead, be sure to notice when your pup is calmly resting or sitting politely and quietly in anticipation of your attention.  
I was just being a puppy...

I was just being a puppy...