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Help! My new puppy is making me crazy!

Updated on September 18, 2014
GollyGearHope profile image

Hope Saidel is co-owner of Golly Gear, a bricks-and-mortar and online shop featuring fun, affordable and practical small dog products

Is your puppy making you miserable?

Infants sleep a lot. Humans and dogs. It's when they wake up and start moving that the trouble starts. Try to remember that your puppy knows almost nothing. You have to teach it everything you want it to know. Fortunately, it's a simple formula. There's quite a bit of time and effort involved, but the more work you put into your puppy when it's young, the less you have to do later.

Housebreaking the easy way

Crate training is the way to go. Your dog's crate (cage) should be big enough for him to stand up, turn around, and lie down. That's it. Any bigger and he'll find a way to avoid any mess he (or she) makes.

When you are not actively watching your puppy, he should be in the crate. Your puppy should sleep in the crate, preferably in your bedroom. The crate should move from room to room - wherever the family is, the puppy should be with you.

Choose a spot outside where you want your puppy to eliminate. Take your puppy to that spot, on leash, when she wakes up in the morning, 10 minutes after she eats, 10 minutes after she plays, and before bed.

When your puppy "does her business" in your chosen spot - praise! praise! praise! "Good puppy! Good go potty!" You can use whatever term you'd like, but do choose one. It's very, very convenient later in the dog's life, when you're running late, if you know your dog will eliminate on command.

Curing puppy "mouthiness"

Anyone who's ever had a puppy knows puppy teeth are sharp! Puppies do explore their world with their mouth - they have no hands!

You can teach your puppy not to bite with a few simple techniques. When you see that your puppy's about to clamp down - say "eh!" or growl at him, just like his mother would do. If he does manage to grab hold of tender skin - yelp like one of his littermates! If nothing else, it will startle him into letting go!

From the time you bring him home, teach your puppy which items are his to chew and which are off-limits. When he picks up something he shouldn't (like the shoes you forgot to put away), trade him for his bone and tell him he's a good boy.

When your puppy reaches four to six months old, she'll be teething and start losing her "baby" teeth and getting her permanent ones. Like all babies, teething can make puppies very, very unhappy. You can help soothe her need to chew. Take an old, clean washcloth. Dampen it and tie it in a knot. Put it in the freezer for several hours and you'll have a soothing toy for your dog to gnaw.

Keep in mind -

If your puppy messes up - it's your fault

Hit yourself with a roll of newspaper.

Can't you just relax? You're making me crazy!

Puppies can be perpetual motion machines that make their owners crazy. They seem to have two speeds - full and off. You have to teach your puppy to "chill!"

When the house is relatively quiet, sit on the floor with your puppy on your left side. Put the fingers of your left hand, palm up, through the puppy's collar so your arm is along the puppy's back. You may need to hug your puppy to you with your left arm to keep him in place.

Have the puppy sit quietly. If she struggles or tries to escape, calmly refuse to let her go. Don't grab at your puppy, just quietly hug her to you with your arm, keeping hold of her collar.

Praise your puppy as soon as you get an instant of quiet sitting. "Good puppy! Good chill!" and give her a treat. Reward her often and your puppy will learn that sitting quietly with you is a wonderful thing to do.

You may only get 30 seconds at first. Practise this "Sit and Accept Praise" exercise at least once daily and gradually build up your puppy's ability to be calm.

We can't even walk down the street!

Walking on leash is not a natural behavior for a puppy. They want to wander off and explore. They want to do what they want to do!

The secret to "walking nice" on leash is convincing your puppy that walking with you is the absolute best thing in the world.

Here's how: have a bag of treats with you. Go outside and start walking. As soon as the leash tightens, either with your pup forging ahead of you or lagging behind, stop and wait. When your puppy looks at you, or makes any motion toward you, say "good puppy" and reward him with a treat.

Whenever the leash tightens, stop and repeat.

You won't get very far at first, but your puppy will learn that good things happen when he does things your way!

Puppies are blank slates

Like computers, you get out of your puppy what you put in. If you spend the time training, you'll be rewarded with a terrific companion!

Here's a great start for training your puppy

The Clicker Training Kit has everything you need to get started training your dog. The book explains in detail what/where/how, while the "Quick Start" Click-A-Trick cards will let you see results in no time. Clicker and treats are also included - all you need!

Aspire to greatness! - You and your dog can do it - if you're willing to train for it!

© 2008 Hope

What's been your biggest training issue?

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    • GollyGearHope profile image

      Hope 4 years ago from Skokie, Illinois

      @fernandanad: The best option at this point is to separate the puppy from the older dogs when she's getting too much for them. Crate her for a little "time out" to regain her composure and give the other dogs a break. (You can give her a chew-toy to occupy her - it's not punishment, it's a way to refocus and take a breath.) Puppies can be very annoying (as you know) and the older dogs should have an opportunity to spend time with you without the little one getting in the way.

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      fernandanad 4 years ago

      @GollyGearHope: thanks a lot... i've been trying to stop her with a toy when she starts trying to bite... The biting has stopped little by little :) Now every time she starts barking at me or doing something I don't want her to, I turn my back at her... it's magic!!

      But now my problem is that I have 2 big dogs and she loves playing with them... but they are not interested in playing with her since she starts biting them on their legs or even face! They are starting to be aggressive :( I try to correct the little one but she gets all excited and I loose all of her attention :(

    • GollyGearHope profile image

      Hope 4 years ago from Skokie, Illinois

      @fernandanad: Puppies can't really tell the difference between good attention and negative attention - so whatever you're saying or at this point is giving her the attention she's looking for. Carry a tug toy in your pocket and, watching her carefully, intercept her when she starts to bite and initiate a good game of tug. Alternatively, give her an appropriate chewy toy. You can also deprive her of the attention she's seeking by either turning your back on her and/or walking away. When what she's doing stops getting results - she'll probably try something else. Good luck with your pup!

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      fernandanad 4 years ago

      My puppy bites a lot! I can't make her stop! I tried making a loud noise every time she starts, but she gets mad and starts growling and barking :(

    • GollyGearHope profile image

      Hope 4 years ago from Skokie, Illinois

      @tobydavis: Training people is the key! Our obedience club's motto is "We train you to train your dog!" Sounds like you're off to a great start - congratulations on the new puppy!

    • tobydavis profile image

      tobydavis 4 years ago

      No training issues yet... still preparing to get my first puppy and doing lots and lots of research first. This page has got some great tips - particularly liked the section of training the puppy to walk on a leash : clear, concise and easy to understand. It's not just puppies that need training, us new dog owners do too! ;-)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Our new Puggle puppy apparently did not get the memo about not doing her business where she sleeps. She not only eliminates in her crate but makes such an enormous mess in the crate it is a daunting task to clean it up. Any suggestions.... we are desperate...

    • GollyGearHope profile image

      Hope 4 years ago from Skokie, Illinois

      @Meganhere: Thanks, Meganhere! In the U.S., where I am, "eliminate" is the proper word and usage. I think this is one of those instances: "two great nations separated by a common language!"

      Whatever we call it - puppies should do it where they're supposed to!

    • Meganhere profile image

      Meganhere 4 years ago

      It would be 'evacuate', not 'eliminate'. Other than that, some good tips.

    • GollyGearHope profile image

      Hope 4 years ago from Skokie, Illinois

      @anonymous: Hi, Erika! It sounds like your puppy's testing the rules - as all puppies are prone to do. I would highly recommend you find a good obedience class in your area. If you don't have access to a class and trainer, there are many good resources available - including this terrific dog training kit:

      In the meantime - for the "come" or "recall," be sure never to call your puppy to you for anything but positive things. And don't chase her, that initiates puppy's favorite game. Instead, run away from her (to the treat jar!), and she should "chase" you! Be sure to reward her when she catches you - you want to reinforce the "good" thing she did.

      As to the barking - as you mentions, she wants your attention. So don't give it to her for the "naughty" barking. Turn your back on her. Chances are she'll follow, just keep turning away until she does something "good" - like sitting. And reward, reward, reward behaviors you want.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Getting my puppy to mind. When she goes somewhere she's not aloud how can I get her to come? I say come in a high pitch, clap my hands, whistle, and she does not move. The other is that she barks when I'm not giving her attention. What's the best way to stop that?