Puppy habits

Puppies will develop bad habits, this is all part of the process of them growing up. It’s important that you know what to do to help make these puppy habits go away. Here at Happy Hounds we have been asked numerous questions. Mainly on how to stop a puppy from biting, whining, jumping up and toilet training. The biggest piece of advice we can give you is to be patient. These processes take determination and time. You will not fix these problems overnight and every puppy is different. So it’s figuring out what works best for your puppy. Here at Happy Hounds we are more than happy to advise you.

The Biting

I think we all agree that this is the habit most owners want to get rid of as soon as possible. Those tiny razor sharp teeth can really hurt sometimes especially when your pup is at the age of 3 to 4 months and getting bigger by the day! There are various ways to teach this lesson, the overall goal is to stop them mouthing and biting people altogether. Firstly let’s teach our puppies that our skin is very sensitive. That they must be very gentle when using their mouths.

Biting inhibition is a dog’s ability to control the force of his mouthing. Trainers believe that a puppy that has learned to be gentle when playing with people is much less likely to bite hard or break the skin if they were to ever bite someone out of fear or pain. Puppies learn biting inhibition whilst playing with each other. If you watch puppies playing together you will see them biting each other all over. You will then notice when a puppy bites another too hard, the pup that’s been bitten will let out a loud “yelp” sound and will stop playing.  The offender will be taken back by the “yelp” and will also stop playing for a moment. However in no time the pups are back to playing the game. Now this is what we recommend that YOU do when your pup bites you too hard. Through this interaction puppies learn to control intensity of their bite so no one gets hurt and they can continue to play. If they can teach each other that, then they can learn to do the same with people.

What to do

You’re playing with your puppy, everything is fine until he really nips you and it hurts. This is when you let out a high pitched “yelp!” and immediately stop playing. You could also try just physically turning your back on them. All the fun that you were just having together must immediately stop. I have personally done this and then the puppy has licked me afterwards as if to almost apologise because he realised he bit me too hard. That is what you want! You then need to make the judgement call of when it’s time to go back to the play. Another way to help puppies learn bite inhibition is to play lots of tug of war, this is a great game to play. Be positive when they are doing what you want them to do, lots of praise. For example if they are playing nicely and grabbing that tug of war and really going for it, good boy! Yes! Always reward puppies when they are doing what you want them to.

As I mentioned before this takes time, doing this once won’t magically stop your puppy from biting. What it will do is teach them, learning takes time. Make sure everyone in your household is providing the same rules, otherwise the pup can become confused. This is a phase that will eventually go. Be patient!

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