This article was reviewed by professional dog trainer Shelby Semel, an advocate of Positive Reinforcement Dog Training.
We have also included some of our training tips and photos.
There are several things we as puppy parents unintentionally do that mess with our dogs’ emotions.
No matter how hard we try in our effort to be perfect, some of our human ways can lead to one confused pup.
And sending mixed signals to our pups will make them more likely to misbehave. But is it really bad behavior, or just bad communication?
Here are fourteen common puppy-parenting missteps you can easily avoid.
Warning !!!! This is why I tell my puppy owners DO NOT take your puppy out of your home until all 3 sets of vaccines are done !!!
Please do the same…. parvo means death !! It’s an old post but this rule still applies!!
Dog owners in the Fraser Valley are being reminded to vaccinate their pets after an outbreak of canine parvovirus.
Animal control officers have confirmed 16 recent cases of the deadly disease in the Chilliwack area.
The extremely contagious virus is spread through canine feces and without treatment dogs can die within three to four days.
Puppies and adolescent dogs are most at risk of infection, but the disease can be prevented with a simple vaccine.
News of the outbreak has many dog owners in the Fraser Valley flocking to veterinary clinics for the vaccination.
If your dog isn’t vaccinated against parvo, you should avoid parks and public places where the nasty virus can live on the ground for several months.
Parvo vaccinations cost about $50, a small price to pay considering treatment can cost thousands of dollars.
Officials said other Lower Mainland communities could also see a spike in the disease and are encouraging all dog owners to get their pets vaccinated.
1. “COME HERE NOW!”
How many of you have called to your dog and a wild west standoff ensues? Well, what exactly are you calling them for?
We often expect our pups to come even when they know there’s no incentive to do so.
Instead, ensure that “come” works every time by rewarding your dog with a puppy party every time they obey this all-important command.
The key-word here is reward.
Puppy parties should involve anything your dog finds rewarding–a nice belly rub, a yummy treat, their favorite toy, etc.
The key-word here is reward. Unless your dog absolutely, 100 % lives to take a bath, a puppy party should not involve bath-time.
They most certainly won’t want to come when called if they’re punished once they get to you.
Never punish your dog for coming when called.
Even if your dog is coming back after an hour-long escapade through the neighborhood, they still get a puppy party.
Remember to always issue a recall command with a pleasant tone and a smile on your face;
No dog wants to come running to an angry tone and a scowling face. They will learn quickly not to trust you.
2. Jump Around
Do not allow your dog to jump on guests, period. Even if you have a friend that insists “Oh it’s okay! I’m a dog person!”
Don’t allow your dog to jump up and greet them.
Your pup doesn’t know the difference between a twenty-year-old who is a “dog person” and seventy-five-year-old Grandpa who just had a hip replacement.
If you have a dog that jumps, warn your guest before they come over.
Ask your guests to turn away from your dog and ignore them until your pup is sitting quietly.
Teach your dog that they get lovin’ when all four paws are on the floor, and not before.
3. Rubbing Their Nose In It
Rewarding your dog for going potty outside is an integral first step to house training.
A key part of house training your dog, however, is preventing indoor accidents from happening in the first place.
Yelling at your dog, rubbing their nose in their mess, or giving them a spanking doesn’t teach your dog to potty outside—
it teaches him to be fearful of you and to have accidents out of sight.
While house-training,you should always be within sight and constantly monitored.
Kennel your dog or puppy while you can’t monitor them, keep them on a leash,
or if they are small, have them in your lap while you are on the couch or at the computer.
Don’t wait for your dog or puppy to do the potty dance or assume the squat position—
set your dog up for success and offer your pup plenty of opportunities to go potty in the right place.
Here, we use bell training as an effective way to communicate with your puppydog,,,
we have it hanging on the door to go outside, and our pet family rings the bell to go outside.
This requires much patience and consistency, and can be learned with treats within two weeks to two months!
We also have the door to go outside to our fenced yard, open at all times, when weather permits.
Also, remember, that your puppy will always need to go potty when awakening, so make sure you use your key phrase, “do you need to go pee?”, take their front paw, shake the bell, and go outside with puppy.
When he/she does their business, that’s when you do the “649 happy dance”, and treat your puppy.
Pretty soon, your puppy will know how to ring that bell, and know how to let you know, “hey, I need to go!”
4. Playing Fast And Loose With Leash Rules
Pulling on the leash is inherently rewarding for dogs. Why? Because it gets them where they are going.
Don’t allow your dog to strain the leash and drag you from place to place. If your dog is pulling, make like a tree and stand still.
Once the leash relaxes and your dog is looking at you, continue your walk.Another option is to turn around and walk the opposite direction.
Don’t forget to mark and reward your dog when they’re walking politely on the leash.
A dog that walks at the side and offers eye contact is a dog that deserves a reward!
Your dog may look like a yo-yo for a while while they’re learning that pulling won’t get them where they’re going.
Also note, your dog will NOT learn how to loose-leash-walk on a retractable leash.
If your dog pulls forward on a retractable leash and the leash extends, your dog just learned “pulling gets me there faster!”
PLEASE REMEMBER WITH OUR SMALL PUPPIES, THAT YOU MUST USE A HALTER WHEN TRAINING, NOT A COLLAR!!
Their tracheas are too small, and you can cause serious damage dragging a small puppy by it’s throat!
Picture attached of the COMFORT HARNESS.
It’s not the time Fido gets to sniff all sixteen rocks that Buster from next door peed on yesterday, or their personal time to roll in the grass by
Coco’s house. Potty time is potty time. Your dog only needs the length of the leash to do their business.
Teach your dog that social hour starts after business gets done.
This is especially true for those night time potty-breaks.
It might be cute the first time, but eventually you won’t want to take Fido out at 3 A.M. to look at the stars.
Take your dog to do their business and put your pup right back to bed. You will thank yourself later.
SURPRISING USES FOR VAPORUB
Put some of it where your dog has been using the bathroom, where you don’t want him to. It will keep them away from the spot.
6. “GO TO YOUR ROOM!”
So, your dog is less than eager to spend time in their kennel…
well, how many times have you used the kennel as a form of punishment?
The kennel should be a cozy place that your dog is eager to visit….
where your pup eats their dinner or gets a peanut butter-stuffed Kong.
Never use the kennel as a form of punishment!
Here is a photo of one of our pen setups, where our puppies go ONLY
when we have to go out.
They are self contained, and have everything our puppies need, such as
bedding, newspaper for potty, food, water and their treats.
They accept that this is nap time, and they have a rest until we return.
Our pets are ONLY in their exercise pens, or kennels, when we are not home, and we can’t take them,,,,
example: a very hot day, and you’re going grocery shopping, or to the doctor’s…
When kennel training, always call your puppy to go into their kennel, because they KNOW they’re going to get something special…
Ours LOVE the Busters tasty Beef Liver treats, made locally here in Prince George.
Any kind of treat that your puppy or dog won’t choke on, when you leave.
We prefer to offer our pet family, treats that are all natural, NO GRAINS, or preservatives, and 100% pure.
They do well with beef and chicken products, but we find that EVERY time we offer a pork product, our dogs get chronic diarrhea!!
7. Back Talk
Petting, talking to, playing with, and even scolding a barking dog, reinforces the dog to bark. Do not give a dog attention while they’re barking.
The best remedy to a Barking Betsy and how we control it, is every time they are barking unnecessarily,we use our plant sprayer, and give them a
squirt of water across the room, and say, QUIET, in a firm tone of voice.
Our adults are so trained now, that every time we go to grab our plant sprayer, they run outside through their doggy door!
The babies are learning, so when we squirt them with a light spray of water, they look upwards towards the stars with a whimsical look on their face,
like”what was that, and where did it come from”. So cute, and funny,,,,but VERY effective!!
And don’t forget to praise the peace and reward Betsy when she is being quiet! This is when we offer her a liver treat or a new toy.
Our dogs ONLY get a treat when they have earned it.
Dogs are like children; they often have a short attention span.
Remember, barking can be inherently rewarding for some dogs, especially for many smaller breeds.
8. Giving In To Their Begging
Those big eyes peering at you from under the table can be pretty hard to ignore.
It can be especially hard when you find a warm, fuzzy face in your lap.
Do yourself, and your guest, a favor and never feed your dog from the table.
You are wrong if you think your pet won’t remember you giving them that
piece of steak fat during last night’s dinner.
It only takes one time!
Not feeding your pet from the table doesn’t mean your pup can’t enjoy
some healthy human scraps every now and then—it simply means that
your pup doesn’t get to enjoy them at the table or while you are eating.
Reward your dog for staying away from the table during mealtime and consider teaching your dog “Place.”
Ask your dog to go to their bed, or “place,” and provide them with a treat-filled toy or their own dinner once they’re lying down.
Dogs need an outlet for their energy.
If you aren’t providing one, your dog will provide one for himself and, odds are, you won’t like whatever they choose.
Make sure you are giving your dog plenty of exercise.
A large majority of dog-related problems can be attributed to your dog not getting enough stimulation or exercise.
If your dog is running around the house and has a bad case of the zoomies, it’s time to take them out to play.
Exercise is the MOST important activity for your dog.
It is the one thing you cannot skip!
Walking with your dog is the single most powerful tool to help you connect with all aspects of your dogs mind.
By mastering the walk, you have the ability to truly bond with your dog as her pack leader.
The walk is the foundation of your relationship.It is also where a dog learns to be a dog.
She learns about her environment, about the other animals and humans in it, about dangers such as cars, and about things to be avoided such as
bikes and skateboards. She gets to pee near trees and really get to know her territory.
Never think you can substitute having a big backyard for going on a primal walk with your dog!
Also, allowing your dog simply to roam around all day by herself isn’t providing her with the structure she gets when she migrates with her pack
leader. A structured, regular walking schedule is vital, especially for dogs with behavior problems and issues.
Does your dog only listen if you have a treat in your hand?
Do you keep your hand in the treat pouch during a training session or move towards the cookie jar before you issue your dog a command?
If you answered “yes,” you are one of many humans guilty of bribing your dog.
Many people begin training a behavior by luring their dog into position.
Using a lure is okay in the initial stages of training a command, however, there is a fine line between a lure and a bribe, so it’s important to phase out the lure as soon as possible.
11. Chew On This
Dogs don’t just have a desire to chew, they have a NEED to chew!
Providing your dog with plenty of chews and toys is the first step, but
unfortunately not the last.
Dogs need constant reminding of what is okay to chew and what isn’t.
Keep anything you don’t want your dog to chew off the floor!
If you do catch your dog chewing on something off-limits, redirect him
with a few cues (sit, down, touch), and then replace the item with one of
While your dog is learning, reward them with treats and praise each and every time you catch them chewing on one of their toys.
Your pup will soon figure out that their Nylabone means chew time AND treat time.
Keep your pup interested in their toys by putting them on a rotated schedule—an old toy can become a new toy if your pup hasn’t seen it in a while!
We offer a variety of chewies, and toys, and we rotate them every day, to prevent boredom!
12. Nipping Enabler
Mouthy puppies can be sweet and funny when they are little, but nipping can become dangerous fast.
Don’t allow your dog to make teeth-to-skin contact with anyone, ever.
When dogs first learn how to play, their litter mates and mother teach them what an acceptable mouthing pressure is,
and what kind of wrestling is tolerated among other dogs.
We also find, that after reprimanding the puppy, to immediately, give the puppy something that it CAN chew on…
Always have a variety of chewies available…we use real bones, bully sticks and baby carrots.
As a puppy parent, it is your job to teach your dog the appropriate way to play with humans.
Even if it’s a playful accident, let your dog know that nipping isn’t okay by exclaiming “OUCH!” and by walking away.
Don’t play with your pup for fifteen to thirty seconds. Your dog will soon figure out that if they don’t play appropriately, the game will end.
13. Growl About It
Growling is one of the few ways a dog can communicate that they feel threatened or scared. You should never punish a dog for growling.
If your dog is growling at something or someone, immediately remove your dog from the situation and DO NOT punish them.
Your pup just let you know that they feel threatened or scared, and that is something you should be grateful for.
A dog that doesn’t growl is a dog that bites without warning. Additionally, don’t encourage your dog to growl during play.
Growling should mean one thing, and one thing only: “I’m uncomfortable, and or, I am not happy with what you’re doing,,,.”
We, at Morkiebabies, immediately respond by seeing what the issue is…
We, as the “Alpha”, take control of the situation, by being abrupt, loud, and taking over any aggression that may be appearing.
We handle our pack, by ALWAYS diverting the situation, to a positive atmosphere again..
In this picture, you can see Teddi trying to be dominate over his bone in the corner of the couch.
We removed the bone, and had the pack follow us, to go outside, to divert their energy somewhere else, and the bone has been forgotten! 🙂
14. Submissive Peeing
If you have ever been greeted at the door by a dog that stops and pops a squat, you have been greeted by a dog that submissively pees.
Submissive peeing is one way little Buttercup can say “I’M BUTTERCUP AND I AM NOT A THREAT!”
If your dog submissively urinates, there are a few things you may be doing that unintentionally make the matter worse.
Petting, talking to, or even looking at a dog that feels the need to submit can drive the pup to submissively urinate.
If you think your dog is about to submit, look away and ignore him.
Give Buttercup a couple seconds to calm down and allow some of the excitement to pass.
Never scold your dog for submissively urinating, as that can make the matter much worse.
Dogs are EXTREMELY Intelligent:
If you have the time to invest with them, it is amazing what they can learn.
Here is a video to show you how smart a puppy dog can truly be! Enjoy. 🙂