Saturday, August 1, 2015

New Puppy - Day 2


I cannot thank you enough for providing such great suggestions.  Posi is much more accepting of the smaller airplane crate.  She has even already slept in it.  I am sure we are still in for a long and wining evening but how great that she likes her surroundings.  I even took her out in the crate to pick up the kids from swimming and she did fine!  This is my new method of transporting her around the house and she seems to be ok with it.   We also bought her a play pen.  It is not exactly what you had in mind but she likes being in it and has taken a few naps in the space already.  
We have been playing lots of playpen and crate games with her and she seems to like them and loves finding her treats.  

All in all a successful first day.

We made it through the night.  There was a lot of crying and howling from both dogs (Cocoa in response to Posi) but it all worked out.  Posi did end up settling down in the crate although she woke up several times.  I finally got up at 4:00 with her and she did have to pee.  

She is a biter.  We are doing our best to distract her with chew toys and bones but she is biting us and the furniture already.  Do you have any other strategies?  Do you believe in holding their mouth closed and saying no?  Please advise.

Judy's Response:

Biting is normal for puppies, and it typically happens as a defensive behavior and one that escalates when they are tired.  What you may not realize is that most young puppies really don’t like to be petted on the head (or at all in some cases).  Remember their experience to date has mostly been other puppies and mama (who would pick them up by the scruff),  AND the only way the puppies have to interact is with their mouth, combine that with the fact that their teeth are like needles and it can be a bad combination.

So what to do.  
1) Use your hands less to move and position the puppy, instead clap your hands to get your puppy to come with you and reward them with a bit of food (dropped on the floor if she’s got an alligator mouth already)
2) to her collar/harness which she should wear all day, attach a short length of clothes line (usually 3-4 feet) which you are going to let her drag around.  You will use this clothesline to reposition her, move her around and prevent her from getting at the kids ankles WITHOUT having to grab her.  
3) start doing all the Click and Treat exercises outlined in the OMG! Article which you can read here .  This will help her to understand a) what she’s going that’s good and b) hands coming at her have food and are not going to grab her 
4) finally, often puppies get overtired like toddlers and this is when they become most mouthy, this is the time for some crate (or ex-pen) time or to have her tethered nearby.  By the way, anytime she is restrained like this she should be given a long lasting chew toy like a bully stick, Kong filled with peanut butter and frozen, or a frozen bone BUT if she has one of these items no one should approach her or try to take them away (especially the kids!).  We always take the dog away from the bone (remember that drag line in #2), not the bone away from the dog.

And no, grabbing her muzzle and telling her NO is not a recommendation I would make, in fact it will typically escalate the issue.

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