Puppy’s are the next generation of Service Dogs and need love and compassion (thanks for the idea Elaine Hendrix,) to grow into Pawsome Service Dogs. Big Paws Canine will start working with puppies at 8 weeks old. Once the puppy is up to date on all their shots, we will get them into public as much as we can. Here are a few helpful hints that are key to a well behaved puppy:

CONSISTENCY – Be consistent with the commands you use while working with the pup. If “DOWN” means you want them to lie down on the floor, do not use it to mean “get down” off an object (couch, bed, counter, table, etc). Use the word “OFF” when you want them off an object and use “DOWN” to put the dog in a down position. If your puppy is not allowed on the couch, EVERYONE needs to make sure to tell him/her “OFF” and correct the behavior in the same way. A puppy will get confused if they are allowed to do something one minute and not the next. Be consistent with your behavior and the puppy will follow without you getting frustrated.

BITING – Dogs touch with their mouths. What you may think is a bite from a puppy is more than likely the puppy just exploring. Big Paws Canine does not allow our dogs to “Bite” anything. We allow them to chew on approved chew toys. These chew toys are not made out of the materials that your household items or clothing are made of. We highly recommend Nylabones for the puppy chewing needs. Our recommendation is not because Nylabone has donated chew toys to Big Paws Canine, it is because they work and last a long time, without little bits and pieces to cause choking hazards. When a puppy wants to mouth (bite) something, tell them “NO” and offer the chew toy. Be consistent and it might take a number of attempts, but the puppy will get it.

GAMES – Puppies love to play. When you are consistent and working on the mouthing issue, make it a game with the puppy. Use your “Good Dog” voice and do not show aggravation. When a puppy is getting attention, they will instantly want to be involved. Do not use the chew toy as a tug-a-war toy, however slight resistance when they take it is good. This will also lead into retrieving objects and playing fetch (which are always fun for puppies).

ATTENTION– Puppies NEED attention. When you are consistent with your puppy, they will understand the guidelines and be very loyal. Ignoring your puppy will cause mischievous behavior and most of the time will result in behavior that will drive you crazy, such as digging and chewing on objects they are not supposed to chew. If you are walking around your yard, involve your puppy and have them walk with you. Call the puppy and work on keeping them near you. This will help when you are ready to take walks with the leash. Practice with the leash in your house or in your backyard before going out into the world. This will allow your puppy to feel safe and the puppy will know you are protecting them as their leader.

– Make sure you have “FUN TIME” with your puppy at least once a day. Roll a ball, rub their ears and scratch their belly. This helps puppies know when it is time to “ACT CRAZY” and when to calm down. Puppies sleep more than they are awake, so plan your time correctly. Do not wake a puppy to have “FUN TIME”, start Fun Time after a puppy wakes from a nap and has gone potty. This rewards the puppy for going potty in the appropriate area will help with being consistent.

– Loving your puppy is more than words. Let your puppy take a nap at your feet and give your puppy kisses. Providing clean water and a clean bowl to eat out of goes a long way. Big Paws Canine disinfects our doggie bowls just like we disinfect the dishes we eat from. A clean environment is a safe environment for your puppy. If you have clutter all over your house, there is a strong possibility your puppy will chew up that piece of mail you needed. Puppy proof your puppy area, just like you would child proof places children will be.

These are a few helpful hints to help your puppy have a better quality of life. If you would like help in training your puppy or older dog, contact Big Paws Canine from the contact page on our website.