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Archive for the ‘Puppy Mouthing’ Category

Puppy Teething

I walked in the door and found my older lab with blood spots all over him, was I freaked out! I searched through and couldn’t find any problems, and it dawned on me, the puppy must be loosing his teeth. I opened up his mouth and sure enough, he’s lost about 7 teeth in the last two days. We’ve only seen proof of a few laying around, normally I never see any teeth at all. I dont know what it is, but puppies get absolutely wild when they are going through that nasty puppy teething stage.

So, the question is, what can you do to help these poor little guys? Well they aren’t like kids, you can’t give them tylenol. You can however give them things that will help soothe their desires. Look at what they are chewing on, wood, socks, soft or hard? Give them what they need. If they are going for soft things, get a soft plush toy. If its harder things, try some ice cubes, that can help sooth and cool their gums. I typically avoid things like raw hides, and prefer antlers.

If the puppy is just being crazy, just put them in their crate and plan on going for an extra long walk to see if that helps tire them out. I’m sure they have issues with sleeping when they are teething. The good thing is, the puppy teething phase is short lived and lasts only a week or two at its worst. The biggest and most important thing with puppy teething is to always watch your puppy. Not only can you lose your kitchen cabinet but you can also have an injured puppy.

Wild Puppy Days

It always happens. A puppy who has been calm, comes when called, never chews on the wrong things, suddenly goes wild. A wild puppy can be the symptom of several things. First, it could be that your puppy is normal. Second, your puppy may need some new mental stimulation. Or three, your puppy might be ready for some structured exercise. Perhaps all three as well.

Today was that day for us, baby Blaze was a wild boy. He has been bothering Nitro all day, barking randomly, trying to chew on the rug, continually going to the back door when he doesn’t need to potty. My first inclination would be to walk him a little further than we have gone before, but Blaze has a cold so probably spreading that around the neighborhood wouldn’t be wise.

So, what to do when the wild puppy can’t exercise? Break out the old Kong. The kong if you have never seen one is like a rubber shaped snowman with a hole in the top and the bottom. You can fill it with any number of things. My personal favorites are peanut butter (all natural is best), banana, or just a few big treats that are hard to get out. The best part about this is it keeps the puppy busy for 20 to 30 minutes. As they get better at it, you have to do more difficult kong recipies but this should help your wild puppy get tired. And after all, they do say that a tired puppy is a well behaved puppy.

Another idea is to rotate your dog toys. I try to keep only a few down at a time so that as my puppy becomes bored with them, I can get new ones out. With teething just around the corner, I need to stock up on some soft toys in addition to my chew proof toys and antlers. For tonight though, I will be freezing some banana in a kong to hopefully give my puppy some more fun tomorrow that will keep him from having another wild puppy day.

Nitro: Puppy Teething

Oh those puppy teeth!

Update: Just after I posted this, within a week, we have started losing teeth! I haven’t seen them yet, but they are gone from his mouth. Poor little guy!

Teeth? Fangs? Needles? All of the above? You guessed it…boy puppy teeth hurt! I have more puncture wounds that I care to count. Not anything he has done viciously, but they are just sharp and he accidentally gets me from time to time as I give him treats or toys. How do I handle it? Keep that neosporin near by.

Teething has to hurt a dog, some days Nitro chews on soft toys and others hard. I dont really know why he chooses what he coes, but if he is going for the chairs, I know its a sign he needs harder things to chew on. If he is going for my socks, its time for a fleecy toy.

Somewhere around 4 months (he is 14 weeks now) his teeth will start to loosen and fall out. I’ve never actually witnessed a puppy tooth on the ground. I think they disappear :) In any case, keep a variety of toys, even some frozen ones help and look at what they are telling you by what they chew on. Try not to get mad. Remember, it hurts to have your teeth come in!

Puppy Training Basics

Puppy Training Basics

1. Teach the puppy his name.

Use it a lot, and say "Yes" whenever he responds by looking at you. Give the puppy a big hug and lots of smiles as his "treat" following the "Yes." We want to establish several primary reinforcers as early as possible, so that he doesn’t become dependent on food. We’ll save food treats for more formal training. Make sure that your "Yes" sounds different from your everyday, conversational "Yes." Make it a bright-sounding utterance.

2. Build really strong eye contact.

Make eye contact his permission-seeking behavior for anything he wants: getting out of the crate, going out the door (you can wait for the puppy to sit and give you eye contact at the door), eating a meal, etc. No verbal cues. Just put yourself in a position where he can easily make eye contact (like kneeling in front of the puppy), and then reinforce the eye contact with a "Yes") – and then give the puppy the primary reinforcer which is whatever he wants at that moment (e.g., getting out of the crate, going out the door, eating, etc.)

3. Condition the meaning of the clicker by doing a few very short sessions of freebies every day: click, treat, click, treat, and so on. All you’re teaching the puppy at this point is that the click predicts the treat (the primary reinforcer). Later, he’ll learn that his own behavior can make you click, and that’s when the operant conditioning begins. After a few days of conditioning the clicker, you can start to alternate the click with the "Yes" to work on name and eye contact.

4. Work on housetraining.

If you are absolutely religious about this, you can get the bulk (so to speak!) of it done within just a couple of weeks. After that, expect occasional "accidents" until his bladder and sphincter control improve (i.e., till he’s about 6 months old). Figure out the most likely times when he’ll need to eliminate – basically, after anything he does (eat, wake up, play, etc.). The rule of thumb is that an 8 week old puppy can hold for 1 hour (while he’s awake). After that, add 1 hour for each month of age. So, at 12 weeks/3 months, he can hold for 2 hours while awake.

I don’t use clicker training for housetraining. I do try to teach a cue, and here’s how to do that. Just as he’s starting to squat, say your cue quietly (so as not to startle the puppy). You are classically conditioning the cue. Before he’s finished eliminating, give the puppy a few quiet praise words.

He should be able to get through a 6-7 hour night within a week or so, especially if you’re careful to make clear to the puppy when we go to sleep at night. And, of course, make sure he’s empty at that time (withhold water after about 7 p.m. to help the puppy).

When you’re not watching the puppy, he should be confined to a crate or x-pen, so that he can’t make a mistake. You might also feed the puppy in his crate – partly to establish the crate as a wonderful place, and partly to protect your other dogs (and their food, which the puppy might think he can eat!) and to give them a little peace and quiet occasionally. I would also have the puppy ride crated in the car – mostly for safety and also to prevent carsickness.

5. Teach the puppy to play.

My preference is that all play is interactive with humans. I do not leave a million toys lying around but just one chew toy (like a Nylabone). The chew toy is not an interactive toy but just something to teach the puppy to chew on something approved (rather than the furniture). It will also be helpful when he starts teething, at about 4 months. Play can be with interactive toys (tug, fetch games – as long as you get the toy back – and so on) and also gentle body games ("Gotcha!", push-pull games, etc.)

6. Teach the puppy to relinquish a toy by doing exchanges, like this:
Give the puppy a toy (holding on to it if necessary to prevent his running off with it). Then show the puppy a wonderful treat in your other hand (close to his face, so that he can’t miss it!). The instant he opens his mouth to give up the toy, say "Yes" and give the puppy the treat (hiding the toy behind your back). Do a few of these exchanges each time. After a few days, you’ll be able to add a cue like "Give" (which will also be his Retrieve cue to relinquish the dumbbell). Say "Give" as he’s opening his mouth, then say "Yes," and then give the treat. Pretty soon, you won’t need to present the treat, once he knows the verbal cue. At that point, continue the "Yes" and treat (from behind your back), and then start building distance. This whole process will take about a week or so, though it won’t be absolute – especially when the thing in his mouth is just toooooo reinforcing in itself!

7. Socialize the puppy like crazy!
He’ll need exposure to all kinds of things, people, and places. You can carry the puppy in places that are not yet safe for the puppy to touch the ground in (where other dogs have been). He also needs time with you alone, without your other dogs present, so that he bonds more strongly with you than with them.

8. What To Do About Unwanted Behavior
Remember that your puppy is just doing what comes naturally – even if it’s not what you want! There are three important principles to follow with these unwanted behaviors: prevention, distraction, and interruption.

Prevention: Do everything possible to make unwanted behavior impossible!
For example, make sure there are no tempting electric cords in full view.

Distraction : When the puppy is doing something you don’t want,
divert his attention away from it to something more interesting.
For example, when the puppy starts to move towards your shoes, wiggle
a toy in front of his nose and playfully draw the puppy away.

Interruption: When your puppy is doing something you don’t like
and you can’t distract the puppy easily or quickly enough, interrupt the
behavior with a loud sound (hand clap, or slap on hard surface).
When he responds to the sound by startling, immediately ask the puppy
to do something you like that he knows how to do, and, when he does
it, c/t.

Dani Weinberg
Albuquerque, New Mexico
daniw@earthlink.net

Puppy Mouthing and Biting

Puppy Training & Puppy Mouthing
Almost all puppies mouth, its how they explore. Ever seen a baby play with a toy? He always puts it in his mouth to figure out what the object is. Dogs are the same way.



Their mouths are like our hands. Before puppy training, it is very natural for a dog to mouth people when they first come home to their new life away from their pack. In the pack, the puppies will mouth each other as well as the mom. When they get too harsh the other puppy will YELP to let them know it hurt. This is called learning bite inhibition and dogs that are taken away from their litters too early might not learn this as well. If your puppy was taken too early (before 6-7 weeks) then get your puppy with other puppies and that can help puppy training.

Stop your puppy mouthing

It is relatively easy to teach your puppy not to do this with proper puppy training. In fact, most puppies simply grow out of this behavior altogether. Remember, they are teething when they are young, so chewing feels good! Give lots of toys with different textures to help get their chewing needs appropriately with puppy training.

1. Never reinforce puppy mouthing

This puppy training technique means you must remove your attention every time this happens. Attention to a dog includes eye contact. With kids its best to tell them to cross their arms and stare at the ceiling. 30 seconds is about the time you should ignore your puppy. Don’t push your puppy away as this can become a game quickly.

2. Try yelping like a puppy

Yelping in many puppy training cases will communicate exactly what you want – that it hurts when your puppy does that. That in combination with removing your attention will likely get rid of the mouthing problem. Of course some puppies will become excited by this yelp and bite harder – if that happens, don’t use this puppy training method.

3. What if those don’t work

Another puppy training technique is using a little lemon juice or bitter apple on your hands. When the puppy mouths you, they won’t like the taste.

4. Teach him something else to do

Teach your dog to lick on the cue "no bite". Put a treat in your hand. When your puppy licks, give him the treat and say "no bite". He’ll learn this puppy training lesson fast :)

5. Grabbing a dogs mouth

The problem with this method is you really want your dog to be comfortable with having their mouths and teeth handled. If they have a negative association to your hand in their mouth, this can create more problems. Be clear about your consequences and try the above methods, if you are 100% consistent, you will see this behavior go away.