Puppies - Helpful Hints

PUPPY BECOMING TOO INDEPENDENT? This is usually caused by giving too much freedom too soon. Doggie doors and dry self-feeding too early in your puppy’s life causes your puppy to feel that he or she doesn’t need you unless he or she wants affection or play. Also, the more time your puppy or adolescent (up to 2 to 5 years of age) spends outdoors without supervision, or with other dogs, the more independent he or she will become toward you.

ENCOURAGE DEPENDENCY AND RESPONSIVENESS TO YOU. Having your puppy SIT before anyone gives a treat, biscuit or meal leads to your puppy sitting before you throw a toy and SITTING to be PETTED BY COMPANY. This “pay as you go” plan works well for teaching the puppy that YOUNG CHILDREN are small people and shouldn’t be played with like a fellow puppy (jumping up and play biting). We have worked with children as young as a year and a half at having a puppy SIT for the CHILD for a biscuit and take it gently, but young children should never be left unsupervised with a puppy or adolescent dog.

YOUR PUPPY OR DOG BARKING AT YOU? Your puppy or dog feels in control of you and feels that you will, on demand, feed, play or pet or let him or her in or out. Ignore this type of barking or give him or her something else to do (something calming, like heeling or stay), isolate briefly with a treat and a toy (isolation is not a punishment) or have him or her sit before going in or out.

TANKING UP ON WATER followed by FREQUENT URINATION? Add warm water to dry food and let it sit until moist and soft but not soupy. Keep an ample supply of fresh water available at all times. If tanking up on water continues, see your veterinarian. This could be a symptom of a serious condition.

YOUR AGING DOG. Aging dogs become insecure with failing health, hearing and/or eyesight. Treating your aging dog like a puppy by gently requiring a sit (provided sitting is comfortable) before any treat, biscuit or meal, helps him or her to feel more secure. Gently helping a hard of hearing dog learn to respond to signals can also help provide a substitute for the vocal communication the dog misses. Using treats works well for older dogs. Your aging dog might have aches and pains and deserves to not be pestered by children or other pets.

CONGRATULATE YOURSELF if you have taught your dog to continue to accept occasional confinement in a single room, section of the house, or shipping crate. If your dog is ever sick or injured, loses bowel or bladder control or needs to be separated from young children or other pets, the necessary confinement won’t cause an emotional upset. Shipping crates are also a secure home away from home if you ever move or travel and can’t be with your dog every minute.

More Helpful Tips

Tease and trade instead of taking things from your puppy. Substituting a toy or a treat for every stolen object or retrieved toy that your puppy brings you will prevent him from becoming possessive and playing “keep-away”.

Clapping your hands and calling as you run or move away from the puppy will ensure his returning to you with that toy that you threw, and will also help him toward coming when called.

Have your puppy sit before and after going out the front door. This will prevent him or her from feeling out of your control once out the door. Having the puppy sit a few times with praise, petting, quiet play or treats when you first begin a walk helps your puppy feel that you are on the walk together. Turning away from distractions with praise, play or treats as you walk keeps his interest on you.

Going through the front door first, ahead of your puppy makes your puppy feel that you are in charge. Having your puppy Heel closely to your left side crossing streets, with sits at each curb, will make it less likely that your puppy will go into a street if he ever gets loose. Even stopping to sit the puppy at the first street you cross could help to keep your puppy on his own block if he ever accidentally gets out of your house or yard.

Moving, visiting and traveling are very upsetting to inexperienced dogs. Keep your dog or puppy under close control, watch housetraining and confine your dog when you can’t be with him. Supervise closely for at least two weeks after moving, or a month if you have an emotional or a young dog (under 3 years of age).

Turn a handshake into a wave! Is your dog becoming a pest, touching with his paw or wanting to shake hands all the time? Either teach him to wait for a command or say “wave” and step back out of his reach when the paw comes up. Wave your hand at him, without touching, and praise and treat him for his new trick. He will soon be waving his paw up as high as he can reach without trying to touch. This is especially valuable for therapy dogs, where you can say, “wave hi” and “wave bye”.

As dogs age, they begin to feel more insecure. Treating your aging dog more like a puppy, having him sit (or follow any command or trick he can do comfortably) for every treat, biscuit, meal, and toy can make him feel more secure. Using hand signals like raising your hand with a toy or treat to have him sit and beckoning to him and clapping hands for him to come can make him feel that you are still communicating with him as his hearing begins to decline.

from SallyTerroux at TerrouxDogTraining.com, (303) 424-7703