Puppy Behaviour and Training

Puppy School

Should I take my Puppy to Puppy School?

Yes, Puppy school is a great environment for your puppy to socialise and interact with puppies of different breeds, size and ages. It also provides them exposure and interaction with different people and teaches you how to train your puppy with the basic obedience.

Training Rules

What do I need to remember when training my puppy?

  • Do not punish puppy after it misbehaved, ONLY punish during the misbehaviour.

  • Do not say command words with an angry tone (Use a NEUTRAL tone)

  • Be CONSISTENT with your training E.g. (Don’t pet your puppy when it jumps on you then tell it off next time, it confuses the dog)

  • Have REALISTIC expectations (Don’t expect untrained dogs/puppies to immediately do what you want)

  • Be PATIENT whilst training, training takes ongoing time and effort.

  • DON’T overwhelm your puppy (Only do short training sessions of 5-10 minutes)

Puppy Play Behaviours

Normal Play Behaviours

Bowing (lowering head and raising its bum)

Presenting its front and side to owner

Tail wagging

Darting back and forth

High pitched barks and growls

Spontaneously attacks people/objects/playmates

Mouth open and relaxed

Taking turns

How to identify what your puppy's behaviours mean?

 

Puppies can play very rough with each other, that’s completely normal. Puppy play is a way of learning how to properly socialise with other dogs/puppies, their place in the hierarchy and entertainment.

 

 

Aggressive/Dominant Behaviours

Long, deep toned growls

Intent staring

Stiff posture

Lip curlings

Ears folded back on head

Snarling/snapping

Lunging

Raised fur on the back of the neck

Setting Up an Area for Your Puppy

What do I need to set up at home for my new puppy?

You will need an area for your puppy for  when you can’t supervise the puppy and for sleeping at night.

Crates

Crates should be used for travel and for sleeping in at night time. Always have bedding and a toy in the crate as well as make sure the puppy has room to turn around and that it has space for its head when inside it. It is generally recommended to do your research on which crate to use for your puppy. 

 

Fabric/Soft Crates aren’t good for puppies that are destructive since they can easily escape but they are very easy to store since they are usually foldable.

Airline Approved Crates/Vari Kennels have increased airflow and a double pinned door which makes it difficult to get out of but they take up a lot of space especially if you have a large breed puppy/dog.

Collapsible Wire Crates aren’t recommended for highly destructive/reactive dogs since the wires can be bent or broken depending on the quality of the brand. They are very easy to take with you since they collapse and fold. If you need to cover it just use a large blanket/sheet.

Fabric/Soft Crate
Airline Approved Vari Kennell
Collapsible Metal Wire Dog Crate

Crate Training

When it comes to training your puppy to get used to being in the crate there are multiple methods, it is best to combine the methods that work for you.

  • Putting puppy in the crate with some treats. (Pigs ears, toys, etc)

  • If the puppy starts to cry, whine, dig and bite at the crate whilst inside make sure you ignore the behaviour.

  • Only give the puppy attention/affection when its being calm in the crate.

  • Only let out the puppy when it’s calm inside the crate.

  • If the crying continues make a loud noise to disrupt the crying then going back to ignoring the puppy e.g. (Loud yell, clap, hitting the side of the crate with a stick. Etc)

  • If it doesn’t stop after you’ve tried all the above methods you can then do a quick tug on the ear and using a gruff, unhappy voice tell the puppy off. (This is perfectly okay to do since mother dogs correct their puppies by doing a quick snap at them and growling.)

  • Don’t use the crate as a punishment since the puppy will start to think it’s a bad thing.

Playpens/Enclosures

In a playpen you want to have bedding, toys, water and food bowls, puppy toilet training pad and some treats. The playpen should be used during the day when you’re unable to supervise the puppy and for the puppy to have some alone time. Make sure the playpen has enough space for the puppy and all the items it needs and that it’s tall enough to prevent the puppy from jumping out.

Fabric Playpens shouldn’t be used when it comes to a destructive puppy, majority already come with a zip up cover and they usually have lining on the bottom.

Metal/Wire Playpens can be climbed out of by some puppies or if in a yard can be dug out of, these are easily put together and stored away.

Fabric Play Pen
Metal/Wire Play Pen

Playpen Training

When it comes to training your puppy to get used to being in the playpen there are multiple methods, it is best to combine the methods that work for you.

  • Putting puppy in the playpen with some treats. (Pigs ears, toys, etc)

  • If the puppy starts to cry, whine or scratch at the playpen whilst inside make sure you ignore the behaviour.

  • If the puppy starts to climb over make sure you intervene, tell the puppy off and cover the top.

  • Only give the puppy attention/affection when it’s calm/happy in the playpen

  • Only let out the puppy when you can supervise it.

  • If the crying continues make a loud noise to disrupt the crying then going back to ignoring the puppy e.g. (Loud yell, clap, hitting the side of the playpen with a stick. Ect)

  • If it doesn’t stop after you’ve tried all the above methods you can then do a quick tug on the ear and using a gruff, unhappy voice tell the puppy off. (This is perfectly okay to do since mother dogs correct their puppies by doing a quick snap at them and growling.)

  • Make sure you leave the puppy in the playpen for long periods of time whilst at home every day for 1-3 hours so the puppy can get used to you being away.

Training with Treats

When training with treats make sure you gradually stop using them all the time, otherwise your puppy will start to expect treats every time they do a command and get frustrated.

Common Behaviour Problems

The best way to stop behavioural problems is by preventing them in the first place. Don’t have the belief that the puppy will just grow out of it, you need to train the behaviour out as soon as possible since the more you ignore it the worse it’ll get.

If you are struggling with training the behaviour away then you should seek an experienced dog trainer to help you.

Excessive Barking

 

Excessive barking is when a dog barks continuously for an extended period of time. There are many different causes as to why your dog is barking:

 

  • Attention Seeking

  • Excitement

  • Separation Anxiety

  • Fear/Limited socialisation

  • Boredom

  • Predatory/Aggression

  • Territorial

Whining/Crying

 

Whining and crying are problem behaviours

typically seen in puppies.

It is a form of communication used by a litter, even before their eyes are open.

It is a sound normally (although not always) associated with distress, submission, insecurity, fear or pain.

There are many reasons as to why your puppy is crying/whining:

 

  • Attention Seeking

  • Loneliness

  • Pain

  • Fear

  • Anxiety

Destructive Behaviour

Destructive behaviour includes but is not limited to:

 

  • Chewing

  • Tearing things up, such as furniture and plants 

  • Scratching at doors / barriers 

  • Digging

 

These behaviours can be caused by:

 

  • Exploration/Investigation

  • Teething

  • Boredom

  • Anxiety

  • Dietary

  • Hunting

Digging

 

Owning a dog that digs can be an extremely frustrating and costly situation. Some dogs dig single holes in the same area, whereas other dogs perform extensive excavations that span the entire back yard. Some dogs do it to escape but many dig simply for enjoyment. There are multiple causes for why your puppy is digging:

 

  • Genetics/Breed of puppy

  • Boredom

  • Escape

  • Separation Anxiety

  • Shelter seeking

  • Over-feeding (Dog buries excess food, bones etc)

Jumping

 

The problem often originates from allowing the jumping during greetings and interactions during puppyhood. The behaviour is unintentionally strengthened through both verbal and physical praise. There are some causes as to why your puppy is jumping:

  • Attention seeking

  • Excitement

How to Control Excessive Barking

  • Cover up the noises that start the barking (Turn on radio or tv)

  • Use a sudden, loud noise such as a yell or clap to interrupt the barking and tell the puppy off.

  • Remove the dog from the area to calm it down

  • Water bucket/hose/spray bottle when it starts barking

  • Tell puppy off with a gruff unhappy voice.

  • Quick tug on ear and tell puppy off with a gruff unhappy voice.

How to Manage

Whining/Crying

  • Respond/praise when quiet

  • Ignore puppy

  • Squirt with water

  • Take to your Veterinarian if physical health is a concern

  • Provide enrichment (Give toys)

Treatment Methods

  • Make sure there is nothing around to destroy or make it impossible to reach(No shoes, rubbish, plants etc left out)

  • Supervise your puppy/Puppy proof your house

  • Provide enrichment with toys, raw chicken bones (no necks), pigs ears etc.

  • Distract puppy with something else before it starts biting

  • Improve diet

  • Put a bad taste on the objects (Chilli, citronella, bitter bite etc.)

  • Punish when caught in the act, remove object, gruff tell off and quick tug on ear if needed.

Treatment Methods

  • Remove from environment (Place in pen, put inside when unsupervised)

  • Provide an alternative place to dig (Sand pit with toys buried inside)

  • Providing a kennel/bed underneath shade

  • Restrict access to area/fence it off

  • Interrupt the digging with a loud sound or use a water squirter.

  • Tell off when caught in the middle of digging.

Treatment Methods

  • Ignore puppy completely when it jumps on you

  • Train puppy to only jump when you command

  • Physically blocking (Lift your knees up or kick your foot up behind you)

  • Punishment (Use a lead to pull the puppy off you, squirt with water, gruff unhappy voice)

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