A puppy reacts and responds to its environment by behaving in ways that are self-rewarding and make it feel good. Unless the pup is worked with and shown that certain behaviors are unwanted and have consequences, the animal may mature into a dog that no one wants to be around.
The following information will help clients recognize puppy behaviors that could turn their pup into a bad-mannered dog.
Problem Puppy Behavior: Biting
Puppies don’t bite because they want to harm.; they bite because they feel things with their mouths. Unfortunately, part of their investigation of the world around them includes nipping and mouthing. Usually this behavior ends about the time they are five months old, but if they aren’t taught that biting is inappropriate, the behavior may continue into adulthood.
While you are examining the puppy, remind the client that if their puppy is nipping and mouthing, they should try the following:
- Every time a puppy nips, respond with a sharp, startled noise such as “Ouch!”
- Say “no” every time a puppy is being corrected.
Problem Puppy Behavior: Barking
When an adult dog barks, it serves a purpose. They bark to let us know they are, for example:
- Protecting their territory
- Issuing a warning to something unfamiliar, such as a stray dog, cat, or vehicle
- Alerting to the presence of a stranger.
When puppies bark, they are also trying to communicate, but they need to be trained to stop barking when commanded. Telling the pup “It’s OK” could be a cue that they need to stop barking and listen to you.
Inform the client that if their puppy is barking excessively, they can try the following:
- Materials needed: treat and squeaky toy
- When the pup is quiet, give it a treat for good behavior
- When the pup is barking, squeak the toy to distract. When pup responds to the toy and begins his search, give the treat
- Repeat a few times a day.
Remind the client: If you leave home and you learn your puppy barked the entire time you were gone, its behavior may be a sign of boredom. In this case, before you leave home, exercise the animal so it is tired and learns to nap while you are gone.
Problem Puppy Behavior: Whining
Puppies whine because they are trying to communicate a need. They may be thirsty, hungry, want to play, or just want your attention. It is up to the owner to try to figure out what they want. If, for instance, they have checked their water, offered food, and taken them for a walk, but the whining continues, try involving them in a play activity. By redirecting their attention, the owner teaches the animal to rely on them for its needs.
Problem Puppy Behavior: Jumping on People
Jumping up is fun! Not only does it feel good, but it brings the puppy into closer contact with the owner! However, jumping is not a habit that should be encouraged. One of the ways to stop a puppy from jumping up on people is to ignore the behavior. This means no verbal and no physical correction.
Tell your clients, when a puppy jumps, they should:
- Immediately turn around
- Step back and away from the pup.
Since the puppy is jumping up to get your attention, when your response is to ignore it, the pup isn’t getting what it wants and the behavior will often stop.
Working with a puppy to establish good behavior is key to having a well-mannered adult dog. If left unchecked, correcting unwanted behavior will only become more difficult as they get older.
A healthy puppy requires more than just food and a bed. Talk to your Henry Schein representative at 855.SCHEIN1 or 855.724.3461 for additional information to share with clients on raising their pet!