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Havers Dog Behaviour Blog

My dog behaviour blog is all about dogs and owners I have helped and dog related items in the news.

Puppies volume 2

Yesterday was a very interesting day, in particular the similar behavioural patterns in two puppies.

If you read my blogs on dog behaviour, you will know I focus much closer on the human behaviour and the perceptions that brings to dogs, in this case puppies.

The question in point is this and I was asked the same question by both families. I have also been asked the same question countless times over the many years I have been working with badly behaved dogs and their confused owners.

Is it just a puppy thing, they will grow out of it?

This question is laden with forlorn hope, a desperation and a need for a light at the end of what can feel like a very long tunnel. Having a naughty puppy can feel like a very long road indeed and you can cling to even the most desperate hope that something will change for the better, you hope the puppy will suddenly, out of the blue, get it, they will miraculously understand your shouting and tellings off!

You will try anything and everything anyone suggests because you are desperate to have a well behaved puppy, the dog you dreamed of and the relationship you always wanted. Unfortunately, trying anything and everything only means you are not giving anything time to work which only increases your confusion and that of your puppy so you become increasingly frustrated with each other and you get caught in an upward spiral of stress, confusion and frustration.

Both of the families I visited yesterday were in this situation and the reason they called for help was their puppies behaviour had reached the intolerable level, the puppies were biting!

Lots of puppies bite, they explore the world with their mouths and they will put their teeth on you as part of this exploration, this does not constitute biting so why to puppies bite their owners?

The reason can be summed up in one word but there are many layers to the answer, the word is overstimulation. The puppy is pushed beyond their ability to cope. We play with puppies too much, too energetically for too long.

Both of the families I visited had books on puppy training and had read and applied the advice given yet it had not worked. There is a common thread in dog training books, the authors would all say they are different but essentially they all teach you the same thing and this can overstimulate some puppies because no book can cover every dog.

So the focus needs to be on the families who live with the puppies, in this case a Labrador and a Dalmatian. Two very different breeds yet with the same problem yet teaching the owners how to behave had the same result with both puppies! So even with breed differences, both puppies responded to the change in the owners behaviour in the same way which means that dogs share a common motivator, not just toys and treats but the need for attention and when attention is properly directed the puppy completely understands how to behave. 

Praising a puppy for being calm and relaxed is not in any book I have read, except one and that is the book I wrote. There is a link to my book here where you can read more about it and place your order. It offers a very different view on teaching puppies how to behave.

If overstimulation is the cause of a problem behaviour in puppies, the antithesis is to be calm and relaxed with your puppy and to praise good behaviour without again adding stimulation. Puppies find the world over stimulating without any additional help from you.

If you would like help and advice with your puppy, please get in touch. You can ring 01530 242209 or you can fill in the contact form. Thank you for reading!


Steven Havers