September 20, 2021
Bringing a puppy home is one of the most exciting times ever! Puppies are a lovely addition to a home, but it’s important to remember that your pup’s first weeks in a new home are also some of the most critical for training. As your puppy adjusts to being the newest member of your family, keep a watch on some potential problem behaviors and curb them to help prevent them from getting worse.
Moving to a new home can be incredibly stressful for a puppy. It may be the first time they’re away from their littermates and mother, or it may simply be a completely new environment. You can tell your puppy is experiencing separation anxiety if they seem stressed out or cry when you leave your house, or exhibit extreme stress when you are out.
You can help diminish separation anxiety with crate training and teaching your new best friend how to be alone.Ready Pet Go! bacon and cheese flavored Zen Chews can also help relieve anxiety because they include natural herbs chosen especially to help diminish anxiety and promote relaxation. It’s also important to be aware that your puppy may be going through a fear period, which is a natural part of development. Learning more about getting your pup through a fear period will also help them get used to being alone.
Puppies love to jump, especially to greet owners and loved ones. Your pup may also try jumping all over you to get your attention. While this can be cute, it’s important to get a handle on this behavior early because, especially if you have a bigger dog, it will not be so cute when your dog is older. Jumping can cause injuries to both people and dogs, so training this behavior out is a must, though it can be difficult since puppies find it so rewarding.
You can train a dog not to jump by asking your pup to sit before they get any attention and only give attention when your dog is sitting, and quiet! Remember, to a puppy, your hands are play toys, so avoid swatting or pushing away when your dog jumps, since this may be mistaken as a play instead of discipline. You can also train the “Four on the Floor” method for greetings, which is a similar way to teach your dog not to jump.
Puppies, especially when teething, are basically a mouth on four paws. Much like babies, pups learn about the world through chewing on things, and will also often bite during play. If biting is not discouraged early, it can become a behavioral problem later on. Teaching your puppy that biting means “Game Over” is important for development. Giving your puppy an item to chew and trying out different training methods can also help diminish biting and get you through the teething period without permanent biting problems.
Teething and a lack of experience with training can increase destructive chewing behavior. To a puppy, anything within reach is a toy, including your hand, and a potential way to relieve the pain of teething, not to mention curb boredom. You can help by giving your puppy appropriate items to chew, keeping anything you don’t want your puppy to chew out of reach when possible, and teaching the “Leave It” command.
Puppies may become protective of objects and places they enjoy. If you notice your fluffy friend is becoming protective of toys, beds and favorite places to snooze, you can teach your puppy that there isn’t anything to fear by planning times to handle your pup’s items throughout the day, asking them to “give” an item during playtime. Reading more about resource guarding and training methods can also help you learn more about training the behavior out of your pup.
Correcting these behaviors early is critical to making sure you and your dog lead a happy, peaceful life together. Luckily, puppies love to learn and are likely to be receptive to training methods that will increase peace in your home. If you’re still having trouble, consider enrolling your new puppy in a training class at your local dog club or enlisting the help of a private, professional pet trainer to give your puppy a jumpstart on good behavior for life.
The first 16 weeks are the most important for puppies in absorbing anything new like a giant sponge, so don’t miss the boat during that key time. Also, consider subscribing to the AKC newsletter for new puppies, as it will email you every week to say so-and-so is X weeks old and highlighting what you especially need to know about that specific week’s growth. (Editor’s Note: We did it for our new Mini Bernedoodle and it was a terrific guidepost to follow.)