About Puppies

Puppies under 12 weeks are more open to new experiences than at any other time in their lives.
Puppies that have gone through an early learning class are more likely to remain in their first homes.

Puppies are mostly clean little slates and can be taught appropriate companion dog behaviors easily, preventing major problems later.

Puppies’ owners learn to develop realistic expectations, knowledge and effective tools to manage their dogs.
Puppies are practically fearless and can be acclimated to children, people, noises, events and situations that might frighten them later.
Puppies’ owners learn how to communicate with their dogs by using a reward-based training method.
Puppies learn their place in your family and how to cooperate with you, a skill that will serve them well all their lives.
Puppies and their owners begin to develop a relationship based on trust and mutual respect.
Puppies learn foundation behaviors, such as paying attention to their owners, targeting, impulse control and coming when called that will be the basis of more complex behaviors later.
Puppies’ owners learn what is normal puppy behavior at each developmental stage and how to manage their dogs through it with understanding but not permissiveness.

Puppy Questions? I’m Glad You Asked:

Can I give my puppy “people food”?

Dogs are omnivores with a preference for meat. I have a friend who would say dogs were on a “seefood diet”—see food, eat food–steak stolen from the counter or someone’s lunch remains on the ground. It’s all food, not necessarily the kind we want them to ingest. However, you choose what goes into your pup’s body. Feed a high-quality diet—raw, canned, dry, or homemade—and use bits of chicken, liver, cheese, and hot dogs for training.

How long can I leave my puppy alone?

Once your puppy is comfortable in the crate, the general rule is one hour of alone time for each month of age, topping out at four hours, depending on your pup’s housetraining status. Small breeds will need a potty break after a couple of hours.

How do I stop my puppy from biting the leash?

The first step is not to reinforce this behavior by tugging on the leash or scolding. Instead, snap on the leash and quickly give your pup a treat. Repeat many, many times. On walks, distract them by walking quickly and encouraging them to move along with a happy voice. Tossing an occasional treat in the grass will keep their little brain off the leash.

When should I spay/neuter my puppy?

This question is best discussed with your vet. Neutering at six months was the practice until relatively recently, when some breeders began to advise puppy parents to delay the procedure until the pup was at least 12 months old.

Is it ok to let my puppy sleep on my bed?

 Letting your pup snuggle up against you and sleep on the bed is a wonderful way to bond with your dog and lets you get some sleep.  When morning comes and they begin to stir, be ready (shoes, treats) to pick them up and quickly carry them outside for that first potty break of the day. If having the pup on the bed is not for you, keep your pup’s crate on a chair next to your bed. Puppies don’t do well in isolation far away from you.

How do I stop my puppy from nipping my hands and ripping my clothes?

When those needle-sharp puppy teeth hit your hands, say nothing but turn your back to the pup for a few seconds. Grab the nearest chew toy, wiggle it in front of your little shark, and shower them with praise when they grab it instead of you. If the pup gets really excited and persists, go to the nearest room and shut the door. Count to 10, come out, and give your pup a chance to make a better choice. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Why won’t my puppy listen to me?

Dogs don’t have language like humans. Words must be followed by (not said simultaneously with) an action or the puppy won’t understand. Find a good trainer to show you how it’s done.

Do I have to put my puppy in a dog crate?

A lot of people see dog crates as little prisons that limit the puppy’s freedom, but that’s exactly what a curious pup needs to stay out of trouble when unsupervised. Crates are enormously helpful when housetraining or when your pup needs a cozy retreat from the hubbub of a busy household.

Why is my puppy out of control?

Whatever your puppy is doing may appear naughty and beyond your control, but it’s all normal. They’re doing the best they can with what they’ve learned in their short lives. Plus, they have lots of energy. Instead of thinking how do I control this pup, think of controlling what they want– your attention, food treats, chasing a ball, tugging on a fleece rope, searching for food in the grass—all good things that come from you. 

Why does my puppy bark all the time?

Make sure you or someone else is not rewarding the barking with attention or yelling. Keep a barking record to determine what may be triggering the behavior.  

How do I stop my puppy from destroying the remote, shoes, furniture, kids’ toys?

A puppy’s teeth are its fingers. It’s how they explore the world. Keep anything you don’t want to be chewed out of the pup’s reach; do not give the pup total freedom in the house, and make the pup comfortable in a playpen with chew toys and stuffed Kongs. 

When will my puppy stop pulling on the leash?

Humans are way too slow for a young dog who has major sniffing on the agenda. They won’t stop unless you make polite leash walking super rewarding. A

Why won’t my puppy come back when I call?

The short answer is that your pup found things outdoors that were more fun than returning to you. It may be they figured out that every time you called, they were put on the leash and taken away from the fun. Find a good trainer to help you.

How do I stop my puppy from hurting my kids?

Your pup may see the kids more like litter mates. They’re unpredictable in their movements: they run, they shriek, they wave their arms and hands; in short, they act like kids. The noise and motion may excite your pup to respond in kind, except that he uses his teeth. Ask a trainer to teach your puppy and kids how to behave around one another.

Why does my puppy go potty in the crate?

Puppies like to keep their sleeping areas clean, but they will eliminate in the crate if there’s enough space for a bathroom.  Another reason could be that they were left in the crate too long and just couldn’t hold it. Be sure to clean the soiled area with an enzymatic cleaner.  

What are the best puppy toys?

Your pup needs toys that have different textures, that squeak, that dispense food, that bounce and roll.

Change them out every few days, so they don’t get boring.

Why does my puppy pee on the floor right after a potty break outside?

Puppies sometimes get distracted outdoors before they’ve emptied their bladders completely. If this has happened more than once, bring them inside and immediately crate them for 10 minutes. Then it’s back outside to finish the job. Be sure to wait until the last drop is out before giving a treat and a big puppy party.

Why does my puppy hate the car?

The motion of the car may be upsetting your pup’s immature digestive system. If the car gives them a tummy ache or makes them throw up, they will try to avoid it.

I have littermates who ignore me. How can I make them listen?

It’s fun to see littermates romp and entertain each other, but what’s also happening is that they bond with one another instead of with you. Enroll them in separate puppy classes or work with a private trainer to convince them that focusing on you earns wonderful things even when the sibling is in the picture.