Puppies begin playing with their littermates at around 4 weeks old. This play involves physical activity games, pushing each other around and biting one another. They chase one another in games that resemble chasing prey. This play biting establishes rank within the litter or pack. The stronger members bite and fight harder than lower ranking members.
About one to two weeks after a puppy moves into a human environment they will recognize their human family as their new pack members. Once that happens, they begin acting like they did with their littermates. They will bite, chew and chase family members like they did with their littermates.
We need to educate them on how to live with their new human pack members.
Prey drive is the genetic instinct many dogs have to chase. Some dogs have a higher levels of prey than others. Dogs with a lot of prey are the ones that really enjoy chasing balls; toys: kids and pant legs. This is prey drive, not aggression.
It is very important to teach our puppy that biting us is not acceptable behavior. It's our job to show the puppy an alternative behavior that satisfies the puppies drives to bite. There are a number of ways to do this.
Screaming at the puppy is enough to teach the pup that what they are doing is unacceptable.
If the pup lets go then you can praise it with a soft pat and praise such as "good dog". Give a food treat or a high value toy to play with. Don’t over do the praise because this can often put the pup back into prey drive and the biting will start all over again.
Always take a toy when taking your puppy out. Use the same toys that you leave in the exercise pen with the puppy to redirect the puppy from biting. You can redirect the puppy by either tossing it a foot or two or move it around in front of the puppy in a manner that builds interest. You will learn through experience how to redirect your puppy off of you and onto the toy.
Once you get a pup to redirect onto a toy you are on the road towards teaching that puppy that there are more interesting prey items than your hands and legs. New owners need to learn how to play tug with their puppies.
Since puppies have high energy, they need exercise and a couple of good long walks per day. The more exercise the puppy gets, the less likely it will want to bite.
Always have the puppy on a leach when in the house until they are old enough to be trained to come. This is usually around 9 months.
Puppies and Dogs Barking
Puppies bark for specific reasons, communication, defense, attention, excitement, anxiety and sadness. For many breeds, barking is part of their inherent genetic makeup and stopping them from doing it is like asking them to stop breathing.
Teaching puppies to bark only when necessary is what every dog owner wants. Inappropriate barking is not acceptable. Some of the training tips are as follows.
In order to reduce pent up energy, exercise and play will help. Your routine with your puppy should include daily walks and trips to the dog park. Since they need to run and play, don't leave them in the house all do which will only increase their energy reserves. Puppies should walk a minimum of 30 minutes a day.
You need to show your puppy who is in charge. It takes time and patience to train a puppy to stop barking on command. It is like teaching them any other trick. If a puppy starts barking when it shouldn't, tell it to "settle down." Don't use words like "No," and "Stop," as these are too general. Show it the treat and when it's responded to your command by ceasing barking for five seconds, give it the treat.
Praise your puppy once it has quieted down and is enjoying the treat because it obeyed your command. Words of encouragement, like "Good dog," and constant petting do well to show your puppy that what it's doing is appreciated.
Once your puppy has begun responding to commands like sit, stay and lie down, you should use these when controlling barking fits. A puppy is less likely to bark in a crouched position so when it barks use commands like sit, stay and lie down. When it begins to bark, reprimand it, and make it lie down.
Consistency is the key. This is one mistake most dog owners make. Use a one word command for no barking and stick to it. "Quiet or Settle" are good examples. Make sure everyone in the household is using the same word.
It is necessary to reprimand barking fits and reward good behavior. It will take some time to train a puppy to stop barking. Good tactics to use to reprimand the puppy for bad behavior are to make it sit and stay. But you must always remember to reward good behavior so that you are consistently reinforcing it.
When you puppy obeys your command of being quiet, it is beneficial to increase that time without the help of a food treat. After a few weeks of solid response, begin to slowly phase out the treats you are giving and replace them with praise and petting.
Barking should not be encouraged. Humans create reasons for their puppy to bark. They feed off of the owners energy. If the puppy is prone to barking then getting it excited and worked up will only encourage that desire. Do not get angry when your dog has a barking fit. Be calm, stern and in control and your dog will mimic your behavior.