So puppy training is going as well as to be expected lately… Maisie loves to chew pretty much anything she can get her little puppy teeth on. Our arms, the trim in the kitchen, toys and more. Here’s a photo I snapped of her yesterday after she destroyed the tennis ball on the end of this pull toy. She’s such a little nugget!

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But we love her so much already! We’re working on training and potty training is… well, getting better. She still at times will just squat and pee and she particularly loves the family room carpet. (The one we put in just 6 months ago. Of course.)

So when I received an email with an opportunity to interviewpet expert Andrea Arden, who is currently on Animal Planets hit shows Dogs101, Cats101, and Pets101, it seemed timely and I was all over it. I wasn’t able to do a live interview due to my crazy schedule but Andrea was nice enough to respond via email. I asked a few new-puppy related questions so if you are thinking of getting a puppy or in the throes of it, check out Andrea’s responses – she has some great advice! Note – Andrea is also working with STAINMASTER, a product that is definitely useful when dealing with puppy potty training.

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Question 1:How can I get my puppy to understand that carpet is NOT grass? Our puppy is potty trained on hardwood but she thinks the carpet in our family room is a place for her to go.

Answer: Housetraining comes down to good doggie time management. That is, making sure your pup is in the right place (outside) at the right time (when they need to eliminate). That means that until your pup is house trained you should make sure that play time indoors is scheduled for just after they have gone potty outside. Also, keep your pup on a leash during indoor supervised play. This way you can prevent accidents by keeping your pup close by. As an added benefit, on leash supervision helps keep your puppy safe and your belongings safe by preventing them from running about and chewing potential harmful and valuable items. When you cant supervise your pup, have them rest in a properly sized crate with a couple of food stuffed chew toys (such as a Monster Mouth, Busy Buddy Twist n Treat, or a white sterilized bone). These toys act as pacifiers to keep your pup happily occupied.

This sort of diligent time management will prevent the practice of unwanted behaviors (i.e. eliminating on carpeting indoors and chewing inappropriate items). However, even the best doggie time managers may slip up and accidents will happen. Clean up and the prevention of future accidents will be much easier withSTAINMASTER PetProtectcarpet & cushion system because you have the triple benefit of resisting difficult pet stains, reducing pet odors when cleaned, and easily releasing pet hair when vacuumed.

Question 2:Any tips on helping her to learn not to jump when she gets excited?

Answer: Dogs jump up for many reasons including being happily excited, being nervous, in an effort to grab things from us, and because for some dogs, jumping is just plain fun! Until this problem has been resolved it is best to keep your dog on leash whenever possible (if he has access to people) so you can step on or hold it to prevent your dog from practicing this behavior and having it become a stronger habit.

In addition, make an effort to set up as many brief (3-5 minute) practice greeting sessions with family members and friends as you can so your pup has plenty of opportunities to build strong learning muscles in regards to how to greet people politely. Start with your pup on a leash tethered to a stable object. Approach your dog without saying a word and simply wait forher tooffer a sit. This may take a few moments, and they may jump or bark at you. Simply stay calm and ignore anything other than sitting. When they sit, say yes! and offer them a tiny treat. Walk away and repeat.

Typically, within 10-15 approaches,your pup should be sitting automatically when you walk up to them. Be sure to say yes and reward each time. The word yes is what is called a behavior marker. Think of it like taking a sharp focus picture of the behavior so your dog understands exactly what it is they are doing that you like and which earns them a tiny reward. Plan for practice sessions with family members and friends so your dog learns to generalize their understanding of how to respond when someone approaches. Then, start practicing with your dog at the front door and out on walks. With time your dog will have developed a strong habit of saying hello in this polite way and the behavior of jumping to greet will be a thing of the past!

Question 3:Any advice on curbing play biting/nipping?

Answer: All puppies mouth and nip. Some puppies mouth and nip a lot. Some puppies mouth and nip so much that they seem like little biting machines. All of this is normal and programmed by nature as a way for your pup to investigate, learn, and play.They dont have hands and therefore seem to explore everything with their mouths.Most pups mouth very little in the first few days to weeks of life in their new home. But, as they become more comfortable and develop at a rapid pace, mouthing and nipping tends to increase, especially as they move into the teething period (as they grow new teeth). Although nipping and biting will greatly reduce once the teething process ends (adult teeth set at about five to eight months of age), your guidance is required in order to avoid your pup from learning to use their mouths to get attention and play with humans or to drive people away. Otherwise this behavior can continue on, even with an adult dog.

Observing how a pup spends the first eight weeks of his life with his mother and littermates can provide insight into the most effective means of teaching our puppies the social skill of inhibiting the force of his bite. If he bites too hard, the other dogs will yelp and move away, which temporarily eliminates the pups access to mothers milk or to playmates.Similarly, keeping your pup on leash during supervised play allows you to gently move your puppy far enough away for a brief time-out in response to your puppy biting you too hard and, eventually, at all. Your puppy loses access to the things he wants, and the fun of play immediately stops if he uses his mouth inappropriately. Your reaction should be neutral, and unemotional. By moving away from your puppy or moving your puppy away from you, you are executing a mini time-out. Time-outs can be very brief, lasting maybe as much 10 to 30 seconds, after which you resume play. It is through repetition that your pup learns.

The archaic response to grabbing the pups mouth and holding it shut while saying something like no biting is likely to escalate the situation, frighten your puppy, damage your relationship, and increase the potential for aggression in the future.

When children are interacting with the puppy, the puppy should be tethered or an adult should be holding the leash. The child should be taught to calmly step away when the puppy bites or nips. Puppies learn very quickly that chasing and biting after running and yelling children is very fun. Obviously, this is not a habit that a puppy should learn, and having the puppy on leash is simple prevention.

Be considerate of the fact that a pup needs an outlet for his desire to mouth and chew. Access to safe chew toys, playtime with people, and playtime with other dogs is important for the lifelong physical and mental health of your dog and to give your puppy an appropriate outlet for mouthing.It is also wise to give your pup plenty of time to rest throughout the day. While rigorous, prolonged play periods may tire your pup out, they might also over-stimulate him. An overtired pup tends to have a harder time showing self-control, especially in regards to mouthing. So be sure not to allow play to get too wild, provide alternative things (not your hands and clothing) for your pup to mouth, and be sure your pup has plenty of time to rest in between playtimes.

Question 4:My puppy loves to chew sticks when she’s outside. Should I allow this?

Answer: While many dogs chew on sticks and are fine, doing so may cause injury to their mouths orintestinalblockages. You can easily redirect your dog to safe toys. There are so many wonderful options available now, such as rope, tug, or squeaky toys used for fetch and tug games. Some of the most useful types of toys are those which are hollow in the middle and can be filled withyourdogs normal meals or a small bit of special treats. These sorts of toys serve to keep your dog happily occupiedhuntingfor their food and prevent them from searching for and chewing on less desirable objects, such as sticks!

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