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American Blue Lacy Dog Blog

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Puppy Stuff ~

  • Never hit a young puppy.
  • Praise exuberantly.
  • Be consistent with your dog, rather than harsh.
  • Don’t allow biting, but only correct after 14 weeks (yelp and replace hand with toy before that)
  • Never correct a dog after the fact.
  • Dogs need new experiences with other people, dogs and places, when very young to get socialized.
  • Praise exuberantly.
  • Dogs need successes and less correction before full maturity so they can develop confidence.
  • Train your dog in order to establish communication and give it purpose, and make it tolerable.
  • Dogs need to be in a dominance hierarchy with everyone; if you are not above your dog, you will be below it.
  • Praise exuberantly.
  • Dominance over a dog is achieved with leadership, never harshness.

Reinforcing Good Behavior

Puppies want attention. They will do a lot to get that attention — even if it is negative! Thus, if you scold your puppy for doing things you don’t want it to do, and ignore it when it is being good, you are reinforcing the wrong things. Ignore the bad things (or stop it without yelling or scolding) and enthusiastically praise it when its doing what you want, even if it’s as simple as sitting and looking at you, or quietly chewing one of its toys. This can be difficult to do, as it is essentially reversing all your normal reactions. But it is very important: you will wind up with a puppy that pays attention to you and is happy to do what you want, if it understands you.

Crying at Night

Your puppy wants to be with the rest of the “pack” at bedtime. This behavior is highly adaptive from the standpoint of dog behavior. When a puppy becomes separated from its pack it will whine, thereby allowing it to be found and returned to the rest of the group. This is why so many books on puppies and dog behavior strongly recommend that you allow your puppy/dog to sleep with you in your room to reduce the liklihood of crying at night.

Try moving the crate into your bedroom. If your puppy whines, first make sure it doesn’t have to go outside to eliminate. This means getting up and taking it outside. If it whines again, or doesn’t need to go outside, bang your hand on the crate door and say something like “NO, SLEEP” or “NO, QUIET”. If the puppy continues to whine, try giving it a toy or chew toy and then simply ignore any continued whining. If you don’t reinforce the whining by comforting it (other than to take it outside — which is OK), it will eventually learn to settle down. Also, be sure to have a vigorous play session JUST BEFORE you are going to go to bed. This should poop it out and it will sleep much more soundly.

Alternatively, you can designate a spot for your puppy on the bedroom floor. Keep the door closed or put a leash on it to keep it close to the bed. When it whines or moves about, take it out to eliminate. Otherwise, as above, say “NO, SLEEP.”

Puppies that cannot sleep in the bedroom for whatever reason may be comforted by a ticking clock nearby, and a t-shirt of yours from the laundry.

Puppies and Small Children

Keep puppies and very small children apart or under close supervision. Small children do not understand the need for keeping fingers out of puppies’ eyes or refraining from pulling painfully on their tails, among other problems. So keep children 6 years or so and younger away from the puppy until it is grown, for the safety of the puppy.

Teach your children how to approach a puppy or dog, to prevent being jumped on. They should understand that they should put out their hands below the pup’s chin, to keep it from jumping at a hand above its head. They should not scream or run away, as the puppy will then chase the child.

Teething

Around 4 to 5 months of age, puppies will start to get their permanent teeth. There are several things you can do, both to ease the pain and control the chewing.

  • Make some chicken soup (low sodium variety or make it yourself) ice cubes and give them to the puppy.
  • Soak a clean rag in water, wring it out and then freeze it (rolling it up helps) and give it to your puppy to chew on.
  • Soften the kibble a bit with water.
  • Discourage biting on your arm or hand for comfort.

Puppies lose their teeth in a distinct pattern: first the small front teeth come out. Then the premolars just behind the canines. Then the molars in the back come out (and you’ll see adult molars behind those erupting as well). Finally the canine teeth come out. Sometimes the adult canines erupt before the baby canines have come all the way out.

During this time, some discomfort, including bleeding gums is to be expected. Your puppy will want to chew more during this period of time, but it may also be too painful to do so (hence the suggestions above). You will probably find few if any of the teeth your puppy loses, as puppies typically swallow them.

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