With the number of dogs in US in 2017/18 reaching 89.7 million it is time to successfully manage puppy raising issues, making our dog population a happy, well managed bunch. When you bring that new bundle of fun home it’s such a happy time, but we all know that feeling when you ask yourself why your puppy just won’t seem to stop biting you. Fortunately, this is just the puppy bitey stage which is not really proper biting but still needs to be addressed so that these early months are fun for everyone and happy bonding between family/owner and pup can take place unhindered. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome the bitey stage, one being to enjoy positive play times together using suitable play toys.
Puppy routine, play and rewards
Puppies (and dogs) like a strong routine to their life, this way they feel more secure. For working owners, it can be more tricky as dogs should not be left alone for very long periods. Often, working part-time is better matched with dog ownership although some people have successfully included doggie day care or dog walkers into their dog’s life.
Training time for pup
Remember to include training time for your pup each day. Their attention span is short at this age so 5 minutes is likely sufficient for a young pup. Of course, you can have a few 5-minute sessions scheduled for each day. Make sure these are positive sessions with a happy tone as you will have more success this way and achieve a closer bond with your pup as he/she grows up. Learning to sit, lie down and to walk nicely on the lead are all useful skills and, just by using his/her brain in a positive way, the negative puppy biting behavior is likely to reduce. If puppy biting behavior is not managed your dog may grow up to be unruly and you don’t want to run the risk of your adult dog inflicting an injury on a person, for which you would be legally responsible.
Good things happen for good behavior
Your pup/dog needs to know that bad behaviors, or behaviors that you don’t like or want, prevent good things happening such as positive attention, treats and fun. When your pup bites, ignore him/her, and when your pup stops biting treat him/her and follow up with a playing game, perhaps with a rope toy. When your pup is behaving, sometimes initiate a play or reward time rather than just ignoring the quiet behavior. This way he/she will learn that when behaving, good things may happen.
Catch that window of time for training
The critical period of time for socialization of a puppy is normally up to 14 weeks and, bearing in mind most owners don’t have their pup until they are 8-10 weeks old, this really is a short time to focus on. You should arrange to spend as much time as possible with your young dog during this time, taking them out to different places and meeting other dogs and different people. You should continue to socialize them following this cut-off point and some research shows there may be a longer span of time. However, prior to 14 weeks is generally considered the optimum time for absorbing the socialization experience.
Socialized, happy pup growing up
As your pup matures you will be pleased you put in that extra effort in the early stages. By being well socialized your pup will soon show far less interest in puppy bitey behavior and you will soon forget it was ever an issue. Enjoy your young dog as he/she grows into a calm, well adjusted, loyal individual.