Six Common Puppy Problems

Six Common Puppy Problems
    Six Common Puppy Problems
    NPS Photo

    Six Common Puppy Problems

    1 LEAVE IT!
    Some people get quite frustrated when their puppy won’t release an object, especially if it is something that they shouldn’t really have in the first place, such as their owner’s shoe, or a child’s favorite toy. Of course, it is easy to advise everyone to tidy away any items they don’t want the puppy to get hold of, but, in practical terms, this is not always feasible or possible.
    Teaching your puppy the leave command will help him to develop some self-control in other areas of his life, which can be
    very useful.

    To begin, hold a low-value treat, such as kibble, in one hand, and a high-value treat, such as a piece of chicken or cheese, in the other, which is hidden behind your back.
    Hold the hand with the kibble in above your dog’s head, and wait quietly while he investigates your hand with his nose or his paws. Don’t let him have the kibble, but the second he looks away, reward him by giving him the
    high-value treat from behind your back. Repeat several times, gradually building in the word ‘Leave’ as you present your hand, and rewarding your dog for looking away from it.

    You can start to move your treat hand closer to your puppy’s nose and repeat the process. Once he understands
    the concept, you can begin to make things more challenging by keeping him on a lead and putting a handful of treats on
    the floor, covering them with your hand and rewarding him with a treat from the pile when
    he looks away from them.

    You can also encourage your dog to leave something, such as a ball or a favorite toy, by putting an identical ball or toy in your back pocket and offering it as a swap.
    When your dog runs up to you, with the ball in his mouth, simply remove the identical one from your pocket, and get his attention by throwing it up in the air and catching it.
    You can also pretend to throw it, but don’t actually release it until the dog has dropped the ball he is holding. Once he has released the toy, you can throw the identical one for him, and build in the leave command, so that he begins to understand that letting go of an object doesn’t mean the end of fun, but is a signal that the game will continue.

    2 TOILET TRAINING
    Teaching a puppy to be house-trained takes a lot of time and patience, and the key to success is to provide plenty of opportunities for him to toilet in the right place.
    Keep taking your puppy outside regularly, particularly after he wakes from a nap, or has had something to eat. Be very quiet and boring as you stand with him, and wait until he goes to the toilet. Give your puppy lots of praise when he does go, and never tell him off for getting things wrong, as it just means you weren’t quick enough in taking him outside.
    If your puppy seems to be toileting very frequently and is drinking a lot, or you don’t seem to be able to create positive associations with toileting outdoors, then it is probably worth taking him for a check-up at the vet’s to see if there’s
    a medical cause, and to seek further advice.

    3 BITE CONTROL
    Puppies love to chew, but they have very sharp teeth, which can feel like needles, so it’s important for them to realize that it’s not OK to chew their owners.
    When playing with your puppy, it’s a good idea to keep a toy with you at all times, so that if he does get a little rough you can give him a toy to chew on.
    Avoid those hands-on, rough-and-tumble type games, which will just encourage him to get over-excited and bite at your skin. When playing with or handling your puppy, as soon as he places his teeth on your skin, stop the game and remain very still. If the mouthing and biting continue, turn away and cross your arms so that he can see the game is over.
    Always praise your puppy for being calm, and end a game as soon he starts mouthing.

    4 SEPARATION ANXIETY
    It’s natural for your puppy to want to be with you all the time, but teaching him to feel confident on his own for short periods will really benefit him in later life. It’s a good idea to try to encourage your puppy to settle on his bed, or in his crate, for short periods, while you are doing something else such as watching TV or preparing a meal. You can also put up a baby gate to keep you and your pup separate, in different rooms. The baby gate means your puppy can still see and smell you, but he will not be able to physically be with you. Throwing treats on the floor to keep him occupied, or giving him a stuffed Kong to chew while he is on his own will also help.
    You can find lots of tips and advice on dealing with separation anxiety on the Dog School website, under its training videos section or look out for a class in your local area.
    For more information visit www.dogstrustdogschool.org.uk

    5 PULLING ON THE LEAD
    Walking your dog should be a pleasurable experience, but if you have a big dog who pulls on the lead it can be physically tiring for you, and frustrating for the dog. It’s worth bearing in mind that while pulling on a lead might not seem much of a problem when your puppy is very small, it can be far less fun when he is fully grown! Spend some time getting your puppy used to wearing a soft, well-fitted puppy harness so that if he does pull, the collar will not hurt his throat and restrict his breathing.
    Always begin teaching loose lead walking in a calm, quiet environment where there are very few distractions, such as in your own hallway or garden. Get your puppy used to standing quietly at the side of you, and feed him treats when he does so, to help build positive associations with being at your side on a loose lead. Don’t forget to practice with the puppy on both sides — you can give two different words to help him, such as ‘Heel’ on your right side and ‘Close’ on your left.
    Training sessions should be short and enjoyable, so keep calm and if you move off and he starts to pull, don’t tell your
    dog off, or try to pull him back towards you, but simply stand still and wait until he gives you some attention and comes
    back into position at your side, so that you can reward him with treats and praise. Once your dog understands, you can start to walk him in areas with more distractions, or closer to other dogs. Keep things fun, so vary the speed at which you walk, and try changing direction frequently, giving lots of praise to let him know he’s in the right position.

    6 FEAR OF OTHER DOGS
    If your puppy is afraid of other dogs, don’t try to force him to interact with them. Remember that distance is your friend when it comes to training, so don’t take him closer than he can cope with. Once you are at a distance where your puppy feels safe and confident, you can distract him with a game,
    praise, and food rewards. To help your puppy overcome any fears about other dogs it’s advisable to enroll him at a puppy socialization class so you can benefit from the expertise of a professional trainer who can help him learn to interact with other non-reactive dogs.

    Hassan Anzit
    @Posted by
    writer and blogger, founder of Our Dogs Are Loved .

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