Updated: Feb 17, 2022
Puppy owners are concerned with present puppy behaviors: chewing, biting, and potty training.
Trainers tend to focus on the future: handling, socialization, and exercise. All these areas are important in teaching your puppy Puppy Manners.
The Front End –
Your Puppy’s Chewing and Biting
Chewing and biting are normal puppy behaviors.
Your puppy needs to chew and bite, so give him appropriate things to chew. Spray them with a particular scent such as chicken broth or beef broth so he knows what is his.
Put a taste deterrent on things you don’t want him to chew. The more he chews on the legal stuff (his toys), the less he chews on the illegal stuff (everything else – including you!).
Teach him how to trade the illegal stuff for the legal stuff — offer him something better (a treat) than the item he has in his mouth, and praise him for releasing it.
Don’t play roughhouse games with him or teasing games with your hands.
If you’re petting him and he bites down too hard, say “ouch” and walk away. Give him LOTS of exercise — if he’s tired, then he’ll sleep and not chew!
The Front End again – Your Puppy’s Brain
Puppies don’t pop out of the womb knowing how to behave in our human world. They do what comes naturally to them as dogs until we show them what pleases us. Puppies need to learn self-control, puppy obedience, to be left alone, and to listen to you – you can teach him these in a gentle, loving way.
The Middle – Your Puppy’s Body
Playing is what puppies love to do. You can be his best playmate and create a trusting and loving bond with him – plus it’s good exercise for him. Hide and Seek is a great game– and it’s the beginning of the Come command. You hide and someone holds your puppy so he can’t follow you. Then you call him to come to you, and when he does, you give him lots of praise and treats.
The Back End – Puppy Potty Training
Potty training can be summed up in one sentence — take him where you want him to go when he has to go and then reward him when he goes there. Here are more tips.
Feed him on a set schedule rather than leaving the food down and letting him eat when he wants. What goes in on schedule comes out on schedule.
Keep a diary so you can predict when he needs to go.
Crate training helps your puppy learn how to “hold it” until you take him out — he doesn’t like to eliminate in the same place he sleeps. BUT he can’t hold it forever, so take him out often until he develops muscle control. Take him to his potty area every two hours and also when he wakes up; after he eats or drinks; before and after a play session; and if he smells the ground, acts uncomfortable, or asks to go out.
My award-winning Puppy Potty Training book is FREE with Zoom or in-person lessons. Contact me for more information.
Please read my other articles on puppy socialization and training.
Begin Puppy Socialization as soon as You Can
History of Puppy Socialization
Importance of puppy socialization, habituation, and enrichment
Puppy Socialization and Immunization
Precursor to Puppy Socialization - One Hour in the Lives of my Dogs
My book on puppy socialization
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Disclaimer: This article is for information only. It does not replace a consultation with a dog trainer, dog behavior consultant, or veterinarian and may not be used to diagnose or treat any conditions in your dog.
If you need help with puppy or dog training, we do both private in-person and virtual lessons via Zoom. Please contact us by calling or texting (310) 804-2392 or sending an email to caryl@DoggieManners.com . We look forward to working with you.