puppy biting

Getting a new puppy?

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It’s the time of year when many people start thinking about new life, re-birth, flowers blossoming, trees leafing up. And why not get that warm fuzzy feeling of new baby-ness in your home, with a new puppy! 

Great idea - IF you do a bit of planning.

I love it when people write to me that they will be collecting their puppy next week, next month - even next year - and they’re researching now. Love it!

If you’re getting a new baby in the family, you don’t wait till the birth then start researching, purchasing equipment, and asking advice of friends and relations! It’s in the front of your mind for many months. You have plenty of time to work out how you’re going to manage things.

Many parents will have their newborn sleep in their bedroom with them. They don’t panic that they will have a teenage lout still there in 15 years’ time! They know that things will naturally change, move on.

And so with your puppy. When I advise new owners to have the puppy’s crate in their bedroom to ensure a full night’s sleep, I’m met with cries of “I don’t want a dog in the bedroom!” and “How will I ever get the dog out of my bedroom?”

Wrong (and fairly nonsensical) responses. The question to ask is how to settle the puppy in so that everyone rests at night. Once you achieve that happy state, you can start thinking about where you’d like your adult dog to sleep.

Forward planning!

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You don’t want to rush in without at least having an idea of the type of dog you want for your family. And if you’re offered a rescued pup out of the blue, then you’ll know whether this puppy is likely to fit your family or not. You’ll be in a good position to take the puppy or leave it for someone who would be able to give it a more suitable home.

It isn’t our responsibility to try to rescue every abandoned puppy! It’s our responsibility to choose, as far as possible, the right puppy for our home, our family, and our lifestyle.

Of course there is more variation between individual dogs than between breeds. But you’ll get off to a poor start if your idea of exercise is walking from the car to the shop, and you choose a dog bred to tramp the moors for many hours a day, just because you like the look of it. You need to put your realistic head on!

What about my older dog?

Some of you may be introducing a puppy into a household with a resident dog. You’ve so loved your friendly old dog that you’d like to get him a playmate. Do remember that your dog has an opinion too! He may have had nothing to do with the choice process, but he has to handle the fall-out when the puppy arrives. And it may be the last thing he wants - to be harried all the time by a young whippersnapper who he’s reluctant to tell off.

Think how you’d feel if your husband came home with a pretty girl on his arm and said, “I so enjoy having you as my wife I’ve decided to get another - she’ll be a great playmate for you. You don’t mind her sitting in your favourite armchair?” Yeah. Wouldn’t go down too well.

It’s essential to create boundaries to give everyone - including both dogs - peace. You’ll find detailed guidelines in this post.

Brand new to puppies?

Exciting! Lots to learn, love, and enjoy. See what one reader said about New Puppy! From New Puppy to Brilliant Family Dog - How to survive the early weeks and still love your puppy!

“We gave our kids a Westie puppy (8 weeks old) for Christmas. I delayed getting a dog because I didn't grow up with one in our house, and I am frankly intimidated by most dogs. Reading this book ahead of our puppy's arrival helped me feel calm and excited. Even reading the book, I could finally see what "dog" people were so excited by. Since the puppy came, things have been really smooth. We are still working on housetraining (two days later), but he so far he's slept through the night both nights he's been in the house without accident or waking us up. He's incredibly sweet, and I'm so glad I have this method to work with him. I actually told my husband that I wished we had read it before our kids were born as the lessons apply to children as well and took us years to learn as far as the kids go. We are going to take one of the author’s online courses now as a family.” Amazon 5* review

Good preparation PLUS a friendly, clear, force-free, guide had an amazing effect on this family and their new puppy!

The puppy starts growing up …

Yes! In time you’ll be over the baby stage and dealing with an adventurous, boundary-testing, teenage dog (that’s around 6-8 months or so)! You need a whole new set of skills for coping with this - kindly, efficiently, enjoyably. And you’ll be so glad you took the time to lay the foundations so that your dog always looks to you first for information and entertainment.

So check out this puppy page regularly to catch up with the latest educational posts on this blog. And don’t miss the Resources list below, which will give you masses of information for getting started. Many of the posts have a free guide for you!

Do write and tell me about your new puppy, his/her name, age, breed or type, especially personality - and how much you’re enjoying each other. I read every comment and every email. And I love seeing photos! And - who knows? - your puppy may end up as a poster child here or in one of my books (with your permission, of course).

RESOURCES:

Your puppy’s first day home!

New Puppy!

I know he’s only a puppy but …

Choosing a Puppy, Part 1

Choosing a Puppy, Part 2

Choosing a Puppy, Part 3

What puppy gear do I really need?

Errorless Housetraining and Crate Training

10 Ways to Stop Puppy Biting

I have a new puppy - will I ever sleep again?

I have a dog - can I get a new puppy too?

Our family’s always had dogs - why is this one so difficult? (SOCIALISATION GUIDE)

 

A puppy meets a carefully-chosen older friendly dog. These early meetings must be managed closely!

A puppy meets a carefully-chosen older friendly dog. These early meetings must be managed closely!

 

Why should I pay for training my dog?

Man teaching puppy.png

Well, this is a question I hear a LOT!

And it’s a bit puzzling to me. I’m sure that many of those who query a cost on dog training are happy to pay their dentist or their doctor, their pharmacist or hairdresser. They buy clothes and food from shops …

Imagine if they stood at the supermarket checkout saying “I can’t afford this at the moment, so either give it to me free or we won’t eat till next month”!

It’s a question of priorities really. You got yourself a dog. And you’re expecting it to train itself. All those things that annoy you about your dog are not figuring in your list of priorities to fix.

But is this a short-term thought?

The sooner you get to grips with your new puppy, or any newly-developed thing your dog is doing that you don’t like - the faster you can fix it. For a puppy and a new rescue you have to invest a lot of time in the early months. And your older resident dog? You’ll have to pick up on any new thing he’s doing and decide straight away what to do about it.

I know there are a lot of expenses with a new puppy. But people happily cough up large sums at the vet, possibly paying for a monthly program. The purchase price of the dog (especially if it’s one of the popular breeds or a “designer” crossbreed) can be very high. They pay loads for insurance, more for kennelling for holidays, they buy expensive beds and toys, get good food … but for some reason I can’t fathom, think that while their puppy won’t vaccinate himself, shop for himself, or pay his own insurance - he can train himself!

The hidden costs of failing to train your dog

Perhaps if people could see what they’re risking by missing out on this, they may move puppy training from “maybe” to “essential and urgent”.

It’s not just a question of having a dog who is a good citizen, doesn’t upset neighbours or other dogs, can be trusted round your food and belongings, and is not under your feet all day annoying you. There are real costs involved in abdicating your responsibility in this.

Hear what Laura had to say:

“As the manager of a busy veterinary practice, I’ve seen countless examples of how training can mean life or death to a dog. The most obvious examples are the dogs hit by cars because they haven’t been taught a reliable recall. It’s always heartbreaking, and especially traumatic for the owners who watch in horror as their beloved pet is hit by a car.”

She lists lots of examples of occasions where simple training could have saved the pet’s life - and saved possibly thousands in vet care.

“I remember Jake, the young Golden Retriever who got out of the yard when one of the kids left the gate open, and was hit by car. We did all we could to try to save him, but his injuries were too severe, and the owner ultimately had to make the decision to end his suffering. We all cried as we put him to sleep.”

“Then there are the euthanasias after a bite. These often involve children, and are gut-wrenching because of how preventable they usually are. In almost every case, the owner says that the bite “came with no warning”, but we know that actually there’s always signs that weren’t recognized. The body language that says clearly, “I don’t like what this child is doing to me,” or the averted gaze that says, “I’m anxious and feel threatened”.  Often the owners tell a story of escalating aggressive behavior that was unrecognized or excused until something tragic happened. Behavior that could have been much more easily handled had it been addressed at the start.”

Want to know how I teach my own puppies?

Here’s a taster course for you!

She is so right!

It can be simple to deal with what people perceive as aggression if we trainers are invited in to help. But we can’t do it by thought transference! We have to show you.

Here’s a great story from Laura that had a happy ending:

“We treated a young Lhasa Apso who growled when his owner tried to get him off the bed, or when anyone came near his food or water bowl. The vet tried to convince the owner that Jack needed training to address these behaviors. The owner would say, ‘Jack is a good boy. He just doesn’t like some things’. Unfortunately the owner’s grandchild tried to lie down on the sofa near him one day, and Jack bit her on the lip. She required sutures, and Jack was brought in to our hospital the next day to be put to sleep for aggression. He was adopted by our lead vet and after a few months of training, he became the favorite “example” dog at the puppy training classes. Unfortunately, they don’t all have happy endings like this one.“

It just shows that a bit of knowledge of how to train a dog can turn even the most serious cases round. But why wait till your child is bitten? Why not teach your dog AND your children how to behave round each other from the start?

Bites cost money

And you should know that if your dog does bite someone, it could end up costing you a massive amount of money in legal fees and fines. In UK law a dog doesn’t even have to bite! It’s enough for them just to frighten someone. Your dog could be taken away from you and killed because you didn’t understand him and his motivation.

This sort of expense far outweighs the costs of some simple training! Not to mention the distress all round.

Accidents in the home

Your puppy is waiting for you to guide him! Avoid dramas and expensive accidents with a bit of training | MINI-COURSE | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #newrescuedog, #doghealth, #dogbehavior, #dogimpulsecontrol | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

You don’t even have to venture out to find that a little training could save a lot of upset and sadness for your family and your dog - and even save your dog’s life.

Debbie the animal first aid trainer told me of:

“A Jack Russell who was a window barker - he got caught in the blinds and hanged himself.”

What a thing to come home to …

Then there was the bin-raider Debbie came across who ate a cooked chicken carcase and got a blockage - this is a life-or-death issue, and the vet treatment will be urgent and costly.

What training would have saved all these dogs?

  • Recall is an obvious one. It’s not just a question of yelling the dog’s name and expecting a result - it has to be taught methodically!

•    Correct socialisation with children, management, and education about this new species in your home for the whole family.

  •    Resource Guarding: can easily be made worse by the owner if they plump for a method they saw on the internet that involves challenging the dog and coercion. It’s a simple issue when you know how!

  •    Window-barking can be quickly solved by a bit of in-home management and Impulse Control training for the dog.

•    And stealing, countersurfing, hoovering - all can be fixed with teaching Impulse Control, and the owner learning to read their dog and manage situations safely.

Should I push dog training up my to-do list?

From all this you should be able to see that there is a real material value to training your dog! Not only will she become more amenable in the house and on walks, more fun, more rewarding, more entertaining for the children, but you should avoid the catastrophes listed above.

You don’t hesitate to get schooling for your child. Why should your dog not get the same courtesy and privilege?

A quick Google search will reveal that the costs of employing a professional force-free dog trainer - whether in group classes, 1-1 consultations, or online courses - is a lot less than you may expect. In most cases it’s much less than what you pay to have your car or your teeth serviced, much less than the purchase price of your dog, and sometimes cheaper than the fancy bed you bought!

So have sense and include dog training in your list of outgoings, before your dog makes your life an emotional and financial misery. And do keep in mind that dog trainers - like plumbers, mechanics, and doctors - need to eat and pay rent, and deserve a decent return for all the training and study they’ve put in.

If you like playing Russian Roulette, carry on saying you can’t afford training

But when you can remove all the petty annoyances so easily - not to mention the major disasters - resulting from lack of training, you’ll all enjoy a much better life with your dog.

New dog? Resident dog creating difficulties? 

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ZZZs are worth £££s and $$$s

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“You have to help us - he’s shredding our hands,” wailed the girl on the phone. 

“He just goes mad - he’s vicious!

She was talking about her new puppy - a Cocker Spaniel crossed with a Poodle (a difficult mix at the best of times). I asked the puppy’s age. 

“He’s eleven weeks. OW! Scamp, NO! Get off! Oh no, my jumper …”

 “How long has Scamp been awake?” I asked.

“Only three hours,” she replied.

“Then there’s your problem. Put him straight to bed. Now.”

With a puppy as young as Scamp, one hour of being awake is usually quite enough. Time to put him away in his crate for a ziz. 

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With my latest puppy Coco, I would shut him in his crate at nap time, put a blanket over the top and three sides to make a cosy den, leave the room and shut the door. There’d be a bone or chew toy if he felt the need to do something. If there was a lot of noise outside I would play soothing music to mask it.

Any noise from the puppy before falling asleep would be totally ignored, so he quickly didn’t bother to make any. If your puppy is bored, sleep will soon waft over him!

When I returned a couple of hours later, my blissfully relaxed puppy would be stretching and smiling and ready to start the adventure again. Check out this piece for exactly how to achieve this blessed state!

As he grew he was able to manage longer times of being up and doing. 

Getting frayed and fractious, bitey and snappy, is a sure sign of an overtired puppy who is unable to control himself. Time to pop him in his crate or playpen, leave him in peace and wait for him to awaken refreshed.

Older Dogs

And the same goes for older dogs. They need their beauty sleep! And they need much more than they’re usually allowed. Research has shown that an adult dog needs 17 hours of sleep a day to be mentally and physically healthy. 17 hours! How many dogs get that much sleep?

If your dog seems to be on the go the whole time, running himself ragged, chasing birds, chewing up anything he finds, alert at the smallest sound - you need to organise proper nap times, just as you would for a young child. Make them part of your routine so that your dog’s internal clock gets in sync with them.

At the moment I am working, so my dogs are all snoozing. They no longer need to be confined to a crate as they were as young puppies. There are many beds here and they are free to sleep where they will. 

How well do you feel after a good night’s sleep? Your dog needs much more than you do to feel as good! Check out this post to find out more. | FREE BOOK! | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #puppynipping, #newrescuedog, #doghealth, #dogbehavior, #dogsleep, #overexciteddog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

So Cricket the Whippet is sunbathing on the grass outside. Rollo the Border Collie is dozing in the shade. Coco is on a hammock bed near me, and Lacy is on the floor just behind my chair. 

Not only are they going to awake rested, but I can work undisturbed. I can pay lots of attention to them when I’m ready, and I know nothing in the house or garden will have been damaged.

Early crate training ensured that the only chewing they ever did was of the approved items (bones, toys) which lived in their crates. Establishing early habits like this is hugely helpful later on. The chewing habit doesn’t have to be broken because it never got out of hand!

Start on Day 1

So start as you mean to continue, with lots of naps throughout the day for your young pup or new rescue dog. This will build a lasting routine for your puppy, and help to build feelings of security and confidence for your new rescue dog (who doesn’t need to brave the big bad world yet. Not until she knows this is home and you can be trusted to keep her safe.)

Always start from where you are! We can’t alter the past. We can just assess the present situation, see where it needs to improve, and change the future.

Dogs need to sleep much longer than most people think. Find out how to get some much-needed peace and calm from your over-excited dog | FREE BOOK! | #newpuppy, #dogtraining, #puppynipping, #newrescuedog, #doghealth, #dogbehavior, #dogsleep, #overexciteddog | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

So your present dog, who races round all day and never sleeps, will need to start with short naps - gradually getting longer - with you still around. Feeding all meals in the crate will help her to love the place, and a foodtoy to lick and slurp while dozing off will be ideal. 

Teaching her how to relax on her mat will help her learn how to switch off. This book will show you how, in easy steps.

Yes, you can have a calm house and a relaxed dog. The first step is to sort out sleeping times.

Sleep is the great healer!


Check out our Free Courses and Courses pages to see how else you can help your mad dog become your Brilliant Family Dog!

Your puppy’s first day home!

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“How do I ensure the most successful first day home? I want Finn to feel like this is home but I also want to start off on the right foot, from the moment we pick him up and the long drive home.” Maria

What an excellent question, Maria! You have obviously planned your puppy carefully, and thinking about that exciting first day you have reflected on the importance of getting it right. You’re setting the stage for your new puppy’s life.

For those just starting on this journey, first read my series on How to Choose a Puppy here

Getting things ready at home

1. The most important thing is to make a comfy den for your puppy. Somewhere he can feel at home, somewhere he is fed all his bowl-meals (you’ll be mainly feeding him by hand!), somewhere he is safe and may not be pestered by children, visitors, or other household pets. He needs to be in a quiet place to be able to switch off and sleep properly.

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I favour a robust wire crate. It need only be big enough for the size your puppy will be as an adult - big enough for him to stand up, turn round and lie down again, as lying down is mostly what he’ll be doing in there. You can half cover it with a cloth or put it in a cupboard space under the kitchen worktop to make it cosy. And you can use either a custom divider or a big cardboard box to make the space just big enough for your puppy. 

All naps will be taken in this crate, and he can sleep in it at night, in your bedroom. Now you have somewhere where you know your pup is safe and can’t be chewing the telephone wire, peeing on the carpet, or demolishing your furniture. He may protest to start with, but as long as you know he has had his needs met, regard the crate as soundproof - both ways!  He’ll quickly learn that being in the crate means rest and sleep. 

2. For travel you’ll need either the same crate if it’s small enough to move easily, or a custom car crate. Again choose a wire crate - I don’t use a soft crate till I know the dog is content in a crate and won’t chew or attack it. I’m not convinced about the safety of car harnesses and always travel mine in well-built crates with escape hatches on the inside. 

For the journey home you may want to shroud the bottom half of the crate with plastic sheeting on the outside (that pup can't reach) so that any vomit stays inside! Or one of those airline crates that split in half would be excellent for this.

On the day!

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3. Take your puppy’s new collar and id tag with you and put it on him before you leave his old home. Better to be sure, in case of accident or drama on the journey home. And puppies are much wrigglier than you may remember - always slip a finger or thumb through his collar when you’re carrying him.

Your pup’s breeder should give you - along with any paperwork - his worming schedule, a blanket that’s been with his mother, a week’s supply of the food he’s been on, a diet sheet - maybe a toy or a bowl. Breeders who care will also give you photos and info about the parents, perhaps some pictures of your puppy when tiny, and the benefit of their experience of puppies of this breed or type. They should also tell you what the pup is used to toiletting on - grass, concrete, gravel …

4. For the journey home, park your puppy in his secure crate with lots of washable bedding or screwed-up paper to make it cosy. Ignore wails and cries, throwing up and peeing in the crate. You need to focus on the road and not get anxious yourself. The journey cannot be avoided so get it over with fast! Gentle music on the radio may help, and covering the crate so he can’t see out of the vehicle will also probably help. Placing the crate in the body of the car, not the back end, will minimise swinging and lurching and maybe prevent carsickness. 

Arriving home

5. If you have eager children at home waiting to greet the puppy, ensure they keep cool and don’t overwhelm this poor scrap. He’ll be exhausted after his journey, and is being constantly bombarded with strange sights and smells and people. 

6. If he’s in a mess from the journey just wipe him over - don’t bathe him now. He needs to keep his own scent and a bath would be too stressful. 

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7. You can take him out on a lead to the garden to see if he needs to relieve himself. Don’t worry if he doesn’t. If he’s scared bring him right back in again. Get my Errorless Housetraining Cheatsheet and get it right from the start.

8. Introduce him to his new den, and put his mother’s blanket in there along with some chewables. Feed him a light meal in the crate, try the garden again, and have some gentle play with him before he crashes for the night. Puppies need an astonishing amount of sleep, and a young puppy should only be awake for an hour or so at a time. 

Feeding

9. Stick to the food he’s already on for a week or so, then start to change to a better food. You can research those in advance. Breeders often get free packs of food from canny manufacturers, so you’ll want to improve on that. Here’s a good site which gives you the lowdown on dog food ingredients. It’s geared for the UK market but is very educational and would be well worth a visit wherever you live. 

For a free no-obligation trial of some excellent home-cooked food (UK readers) go to www.butternutbox.com/brilliantfamilydog They provide instructions for how to change your puppy on to a new feed.

The first week

10. By all means have some visitors to admire your new puppy, but be sensible! Give him a day or two without visitors. Then ensure your puppy wants to go forward to greet them. If he hangs back or hides, on no account force people on to him. As you’ve planned so carefully in choosing your pup, he’s likely to have been well-socialised in the litter.

You’ll probably be visiting the vet for a check-over and some jabs. Make this visit as gentle and calm as possible - don’t pass him round the waiting room of ooh-ing and aah-ing people! 

And while he can’t yet go out for “walks” you should certainly take him out and about with you on your errands. He gets used to travelling in the car on short journeys, and you get to carry him about to see new places, things, people, and dogs. He doesn’t need to meet the dogs yet, but he does need to see them. 

11. Build a routine of naps, food, garden visits, play … and more naps. This routine doesn’t have to be timebound, but the order should become predictable. He’ll be on four meals a day to start with, and most of those will be handfed by you, or in a foodtoy - not just slapped in a bowl.

Learn how to teach your new puppy

12. Lastly - and importantly! - learn how to teach your new dog. It’s important you find only a force-free trainer to work with, who will have small, calm, classes, and teach only through kindness and love. 

Stuck for a local class that fits this description? No worries! Check out this mini-course and enjoy training your puppy at home with me, with four specially-selected training videos. It’s much better value than a conventional local puppy class - you can take part for as long as you like!


I hope that helps you with your planning, Maria - and I wish more people thought ahead as you have!

 

 

 

10 Ways to Stop puppy biting

Babies explore the world with their mouths, puppies do the same. The only difference is that babies have gums, while puppies have needles! 

Everyone seems to expect a bit of puppy nipping when they get a puppy. According to my oft-quoted maxim that “What you expect is what you get”, this can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

I can also add that “What you accept is what you get”! And I find many new puppy-owners accept a level of savagery from their puppy which astonishes me. I’m often shown arms covered with scratches and nasty bruises. And I’m here to tell you that this is totally unacceptable!

 

Help! My puppy thinks my toddler is another puppy!

This is a frequent cry from first-time puppy-owners - or first-time-since-they-had-children puppy-owners. The perfect family home - full of joy and laughter - that they anticipated when they brought a puppy into their midst is crumbling about their ears. They start to regard the puppy as the enemy, instead of a welcome friend. He’s a nuisance, and has to be kept under increasing control. This is not a good way to start any relationship.

When the puppy is very new and very tiny and wants to play roly-poly with their small child, this may elicit approving nods and smiles from the parents. But they soon learn that the puppy develops at a much faster rate than their baby, and is also armed with sharp claws, sharp teeth, and an astonishing ability to jump high! It’s only when their puppy hits teen-weeks (about fourteen weeks and up) and they realise these games are getting out of hand - when their toddler’s happy gurgles turn to wails of pain and fear - that they decide Something Needs To Be Done. And by now it’s all become a well-established habit. 

The answer is simple, but multi-faceted. There’s a lot going on here.

I can honestly say that my own puppies learn that dogs’ teeth never touch human skin - very, very fast. And they will never have been yelled at. Here’s how it’s done:

 

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Ten ways to stop puppy nipping

 

1. The ideal age to get a puppy is eight weeks. There are many reasons for this, but for the purposes of this post we’ll focus on how this lowers the chances of the puppy nipping and biting us. By six weeks or so, the bitch has usually had enough of her pups and will often be separated from them for most of the time. But this doesn’t mean they’re not learning! The time from six to eight weeks of age is prime socialising time. They find out what works with their littermates and what doesn’t. Now puppies have a thick fur coat, so the immature jaw control doesn’t do them any damage. But a pup will soon tell his brother if the play got too rough, and the biting too hard. A puppy who is bullying his littermates will become Billy-no-mates until he learns to tone down his enthusiasm. He’ll learn this quickly - and what he’s learning is called Bite Inhibition. He can use his mouth with exquisite control - he can grip without biting, touch without ripping. This is one major reason for getting your puppy at the right age. 

 

2. Once he arrives with you, the puppy should have a safe den (a crate is ideal) where he can retire or be taken when tired, and which is totally out of bounds to children and other animals. A young puppy should be going down to sleep every hour or two throughout the day, and all night. To find out how to get your pup to sleep through the night from Day 1, read this post.

 

3. Never leave any child alone with any dog, not even for a moment. If you have to leave the room, take one of them with you. 

 

4. The same goes for any older dog in the household. They didn’t choose to get a puppy - you did. So to maintain harmony in the home, you need to protect your older dog from endless puppy attention. A general rule would be a maximum of twenty minutes a day of free play, which would be closely supervised, in five-minute bursts. The puppy is not free to pester people, children, or other household residents, whenever he feels like it. Protect older dogs, cats, and small children from too much attention. How much is too much? That depends on the victim. When they say it’s enough, it’s enough.

 

5. Supervision should be active, not simply a distracted presence in the same house. When puppy and child are both loose at the same time, this should be the parent’s focus. Clever manipulation of sleep and mealtimes may minimise these times a lot, and allow the adult to devote all attention to either the child or the puppy (or, occasionally, themselves!). You have to be sure that you spend time on your puppy and not just drop him into the mix as a tagalong: this puppy is not going to train himself!

 

6. Both child and pup need to learn manners and boundaries. In neither case is this done by shouting, saying NO, or scolding. Showing and encouraging is the way to go.

New Puppy? Puppy biting? New Rescue Dog? | 10 Tips to stop puppy biting | FREE GUIDE | #newpuppy, #newrescuedog, #dogtraining | www.brilliantfamilydog.com

 

7. No-one should ever play with the puppy without a soft toy in their hand. The pup should always be encouraged to play with the toy, down at floor level - not leaping up to grab it from the hand. Releasing the toy is rewarded with another quick game, or a treat if playtime is over. Teeth on skin causes the game to stop for a moment for all sides to regroup and remember the rules. Then the game can resume. If the puppy has gone wild and over the top, this is a sure sign that he’s tired and is no longer able to make rational decisions: an hour or two’s napping in his crate will restore equilibrium. And if your toddler is also screeching and squawking, it looks like you’re going to get a peaceful couple of hours while they both have a nap!

 

8. No-one may interact with the puppy at all unless all his four feet are on the floor. This gets easier as time goes by, and you’ll have a shorter and shorter time to wait before you can address your pup. Start on Day 1, at eight weeks old! No attention is given till feet are all on the floor. The split second the feet arrive on the floor you reward with attention - down at his level. He’ll learn very fast!

 

9. Teach the puppy which games or parts of games are acceptable. It’s quite possible for a dog to understand that they may chase something but not bring it down. Think Border Collie - these amazing dogs can replicate their instinctive hunting patterns by stalking, flanking, driving and chasing sheep, but they never close in for the kill. Friendly chase games in the garden are great for using up lots of energy from both the child and the dog. A very mouthy puppy can be encouraged to carry a soft toy in his mouth, so there’s no danger of grabbing. Teach your children to play statues the moment the pup gets over-excited and tries to grab a trouser-leg or sleeve. Once the “prey” is still, the hunt is over, and pup will let go - especially if a moving toy is whizzed past his nose. It goes without saying - but I’ll say it anyway - that such games must always be very closely supervised.

 

10. Practice makes perfect! The more you play controlled tug games with your puppy, the better he’ll get at instantly releasing the toy when you ask (to start with, just hold a tasty treat to his nostrils and wait for him to let go) and waiting patiently for the game to start again. He’ll learn that the opportunity to play is dependent on demonstrating impulse control.

 

You got a puppy for your family because you wanted your children to enjoy their childhood with a dependable friend - perhaps as you did when you were a child. But don’t toss natural safeguards out of the window!

 

In time your adult dog will be your growing children’s very best friend. But while he’s still a baby your puppy needs a lot of guidance and management. You can’t expect to toss the puppy into the family and let him sink or swim. You were already busy every moment of the day before your puppy arrived. So you’re going to need to carve out some time for playing with him and teaching him what he can do to please you, while still having a whale of a time being a dog.

If you haven’t been near a dog training school for years, you’ll be glad to know that many have changed beyond recognition! The very best schools now teach mostly through games, and they are entirely force-free. You should feel that you and your children are welcome at the class, and you should also feel confident that the trainer could “train” your toddler in the same way as they show you how to train your puppy, without you being concerned for your child. No doubt you teach your toddler with kindness and patience. There’s no need to act differently with your puppy - who’s merely another toddler in your family, and who has to be managed, and learn to follow the rules, just the same as the other children. 

 

You simply have to show him how.

PUPPY BITING? NO SLEEP? PUDDLES?  “New Puppy!” the latest book in the Brilliant Family Dog series of dog-friendly training books will save your sanity and have you loving your puppy again

If you want a step-by-step guide to everything about your new puppy, get New Puppy! the latest book in the popular Brilliant Family Dog series.

 

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10 ways to teach your puppy to stop biting

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