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Behaviors Puppies DO & DO NOT Grow Out of

The most common question I get about puppy problems is: How much more do I need to tolerate before my disobedient, unruly & excitable dog grows out of this stage? Well, let's talk about "What Behaviors Puppies Grow Out Of."

Many times people just wait for their dogs to grow out of the "Puppy Phase" and with many dogs that is all it takes. Other dogs... well, it requires a lot more.

Here are the things that your dog MAY grow out of as well as the things that REQUIRE training & will increase rather than decrease over time if not properly addressed.

Good News... your puppy will probably grow out of:

  • Play Biting

  • Potty Accidents

  • Clumsiness

  • Chewing

Play Biting - Puppy biting tends to peak at around 3 months old, then starts to decline. Although if you engage in rough physical play those “excitement nips” can become very rough and occur outside of playtime. Switching your dog’s focus from rough play to calm training, using short, structured training games can be helpful.

Potty Accidents - Toilet training can seem daunting, but with good supervision, most puppies improve rapidly as their bladder matures and their attention span increases.

If your rescue dog has poor toilet control, they too can respond rapidly to a toilet training program.

Clumsiness - Clumsiness is very common in large friendly puppies. And it can be a problem in homes where a large breed puppy is sharing floor space with a toddler. As they mature, most puppies do learn to step around babies rather than walking straight through them, and life gets easier! In the meantime, we think about the levels of supervision and putting management techniques in place till we get over the exuberant phase.

Chewing - The chewing phase is long!!! In some breeds up to two years. The good news is that for most dogs it does end. Eventually! In the meantime, providing your dog a variety of chew toys, of different types, will help. And young dogs should not be left for long periods unsupervised until they have outgrown this phase. Even adult dogs will sometimes chew and destroy furnishings or the fabric of buildings when they are feeling distressed. This can occur with long periods of isolation. A lot of people need help learning the strategies to manage puppies and young dogs appropriately to get through those developmental stages. Once you get through the puppy yaya times and the behaviors subside you may be golden.

NOW- Here is the list of behaviors that your dog will NOT grow out of and may actually intensify without training:

Running Away

Crate Potty Accidents

Refusing to be Caught

Barking & Whining

Pulling on the Leash

Not Listening

Running Away - Running off during walks, sometimes for hours at a time, is a very common problem. It starts when a young dog's growing independence is not

accompanied by a growing bond with, and interest in, their owner. When training goes right, the owner becomes the center of the dog's world. The source of so much fun, that the dog never wants to be far from them. When training goes wrong, the dog discovers they can have much more fun on their own.

Crate Potty Accidents - Occasionally I hear from a puppy parent that has got themselves into a particularly difficult situation. They have a young puppy that pees and poops in its own bed. This can be a difficult problem to fix but it is a very easy one to avoid. All puppies have a powerful instinct to keep their bed clean and from being very small will move away from the ’nest’ area to empty themselves. Bed wetting in this situation is usually the result of the puppy being forced to stay in its bed, until it can no longer hold it.

Refusing to be Caught - If you've ever spent an unhappy half hour trying to catch your dog at the end of a walk, you'll know just how infuriating this can be! It happens because the dog doesn't want the walk to end. And it's usually an easy one to fix. You need to make the return to the vehicle or being leashed, a cause for celebration.

TIP: Start at home with some very high value rewards. Warm roast chicken is usually a winner. Leash your dog, feed, and unleash your dog. Repeat many times. Progress to the garden or yard. Then to open country with the dog on a long line. Put the leash on as well as the line. Feed, and take the leash off again. Keep practicing and always, but always reinforce the end of a walk with some high value treats.

Barking & Whining - Some dogs will give up making a noise in a crate or kennel if nobody ever responds to them. But not many. And those that do, may get worse before they get better. It's not unusual for a dog to bark throughout the working day if left alone at home. And the way to avoid this un-neighborly problem, is to train your dog how to relax on their own.

Pulling on the Leash- If your dog pulls on the leash, you'll almost certainly be aware that this is a problem that is not going to go away on its own. When we do exercises to stop our pups from running away it also translates into working with a dog on a leash. When there is a bonded human at the opposite end of the leash, we can communicate how the walk is going to occur.

Not Listening - Not listening tends to be coupled with other problems, such as running away as well. Doing exercises that require your puppy to be fully focused on you and trying to figure out what you want them to do next will increase their desire to look to you for information rather than just rolling off what ever stimuli is in the environment.

Getting your dog's attention is critical, and it's something worth focusing on.

TIP: You can make a start today, by practicing some simple short games with your dog - rewarding them for eye contact or a nose touch for example. Make sure you play those games throughout the day, so that your dog starts to realize you are a team!

Have fun, and keep your dog engaged! Teach, Train & Maintain those skills and behaviors you love to see. bnadog.com 07/24/21

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