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Posts Tagged ‘puppy training’

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.

Puppy Barking at Other Dogs

Our puppy who is almost 5 months old is now barking at other dogs.  He acts like a total maniac!  I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help fix this puppy barking problem.  The biggest thing is that I want him to look at the other dog but not bark.  Many trainers will retrain the dog to look at them, but honestly, dogs will be in our lives and I want Blaze to look just not act like a fool.

Rule #1:  Always have yummy treats

If you dont have treats, you can’t fix the problem, trust me.  You wont need them forever, but initially you do.

Rule #2: Dont correct

The puppy is young, he doesn’t know, he just wants to play :)

Rule #3: Reward that first look without a bark.

Its rare that dogs will look at freak out immediately. They usually do some posturing first.  Your goal is to reward before that posturing even.  Use your clicker or marker word “yes” and get that treat in as fast as you can.  The trick to this is being very aware of your surroundings.  Make sure you are on the look out for other dogs and dogs behind fences so that you can practice the behavior.

As your dog gets more advanced and begins checking in with you rather than barking when they see that other dog, then you can ask if your dog can say hello or just feed a treat and be on your way.  Over time you can fade out the treats just don’t do it too soon or your puppy barking problem might return!

Crazy Puppy Syndrome

It always happens. That lovely sweet, calm, do no wrong 12 week old puppy turns into a 16 week old terror. One day we woke up and this happened to us as well, our sweet Blaze started jumping on the furniture, jumping on me, pulling the toilet paper around the downstairs, rushing to see people. What happened? Well, they are dogs, and that’s what they do.

Here are some ways we are planning on combatting some of these crazy puppy days.

1. Make sure your puppy is getting mental stimulation

If you haven’t invested in some good problem solving toys, now is the time! I highly recommend then kong wobbler. Its a toy that you fill up with dog food or treats and the dog has to work to get the food out. Another great toy is a kong, you can stuff it with anything (my favorite is banana and then freeze it) and that will keep your dog busy too.

2. Make sure your puppy is getting appropriate exercise.

I always say a tired puppy is a happy home. You have to be careful not to over exercise puppies as their bones are still growing and can be damaged. Increase the distance or pace you walk your puppy and pay attention. If they seem tired then certainly stop or take a break.

3. Let them get it out!

Sometimes puppies need to be puppies! Let them have the crazies or sniff and run outside (hopefully fenced in or on a long line). Let them play with some friends. Blow some bubbles for them, let them chase something.

4. Puppy Training

Puppy training with a crazy puppy can be hard if you are trying to do sit stays, work on something active, fun and engaging. Try the cheeseball game (toss treats between your legs then run the opposite direction), or the come game, or run and then ask for a down. Use your imagination!

5. Take them somewhere new

Find somewhere they have been, maybe a playground and let them explore.

6. Beware of the tired monster!

Sometimes puppies get over stimulated just like kids and go wild. If that is the case then dont do the above things and instead put them in their crates for a nice nap time. You just have to know your puppy. Over the next few months you’ll go through periods of the crazy puppy syndrome but with consistency and training you will make it through with a well behaved puppy.

Our first basic obedience class

We joined into a regular basic obedience class. Blaze did a puppy kindergarten which included mostly socialization with some basic commands. I’m a big believer in keeping pet dogs in training for the first year of life, not necessarily consecutively but 3 or 4 classes is good. It keeps them socialized as well as forces you to practice their obedience commands.

So this class is mostly older dogs (over 8 months) and large dogs. Blaze is the youngest and smallest. The dogs were all pretty hyper, nervous, stressed. We heard lots of barking, whining, jumping, panting, etc. In my classes I always encouraged just feeding dogs for relaxation and looking at the owners. I think it helps calm the dogs to do that for the first five minutes.

Blaze immediately saw friends he wanted to play with and began barking at them to get their attention. So I just ignored him and when he stopped and looked at me (like why aren’t you letting me go over there) I said “yes” and gave a treat. This lasted for about the first few minutes of class and he finally decided it wasn’t worth it, he would just look at me and get food.

We learned sit, down, come and a bit of stay. All of these were easy for Blaze. His struggle was just paying attention to me. I have a game I like to teach dogs early on called gotcha. I pinch their hind area (not hard but in fun) and when they look I say “yes” and give a treat between my knees. This helps them learn to zip around and come to me when they are distracted. Its helped me numerous times with his older brother Nitro.

Another thing we practiced was the come game. The instructor held Blaze by his chest up off the ground slightly and I teased him with some food and ran away from him. I then called him and as he came running, I ran backwards until he caught me at which point I grabbed his collar and gave some food.

I’m hoping next week will bring more relaxation with all the dogs and more focus. No matter how calm or attentive your puppy is, getting them around 8 other crazy dogs will always pose a challenge.

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.