Your Puppy Questions Answered
You have a lovely new puppy but maybe you're getting lost in all the information that is available on Google. I want to stress that every puppy is different, unfortunately, there is not a textbook answer to solve all puppy questions and even if something worked for your neighbour and their puppy it doesn't mean it will work for your puppy.
I've come up with some common puppy owner questions, I hope this helps.
Why does my puppy eat their poo?
I know this isn't what you want to read but poo eating is perfectly natural and normal. There are many reasons why your new puppy is eating their poo. It's best to get to try and work out the why instead of getting frustrated with your new addition.
Diet- Your puppy may be on the wrong diet, changing diet can stop many puppies' eating poo.
Taste- If your puppy is eating cat poo then it's probably that it tastes nice as dogs love the taste of cat food and what goes in must come out.
Attention Seeking- Some puppies may do this as attention-seeking behaviour, they only have to do it once to know you'll rush over and make a fuss over the situation. Presto!! Eating poo= Attention from you!
Why does my puppy have mad half hours where they run around all crazy?
Your puppy is experiencing 'Zoomies', it's like your puppy has turned into a little gremlin, running around, big crazy eyes, unable to slow down. This is normal. It's best to think of these moments as a way for your puppy to release all that energy. Zoomie's can be triggered by lots of different things and again it depends on the dog. If you are worried about those mad zoomie moments and you know it happens at the same time every day, give your puppy something to do like a stuffed kong, an enrichment game then they can put their energy into something more constructive.
Why won't my puppy sleep through the night?
This really will depend on the puppy, it's a tough question to answer without knowing any context about your puppy but there may be some common reasons as to why your puppy isn't sleeping through the night.
Attachment Rating- Some puppies are a lot more attached to their humans in the day time, following their human from room to room and enjoying every nap on their lap. As cute as it is, it's important to create a little bit of distance from your puppy occasionally throughout the day times. If your puppy is used to be around you 24/7 and then they are expected to sleep all night on their own in the kitchen then you haven't prepared them well for this. Using a crate or playpen for your puppy's nap times can help, preventing your puppy following you around the house- baby gates are great for this. If your puppy is used to spending a little time on their own and they get used to the fact you come and go then it'll make during the night that little bit easier for them. Location- Location of your puppy during the night can make a big difference. Sometimes having the crate right next to the back door isn't the best option, maybe there is a draft, maybe every night foxes come into your garden, maybe the pipes for your heating are under your kitchen floor and when they come on they wake your puppy up. Change the location to see if that makes a difference.
Toilet Time- Some puppies are just can't hold their toilet in all night, they need toilet breaks in the middle of the night, this is fine and it won't last forever.
When will my puppy be toilet trained?
If you are 100% committed to toilet training your new puppy then you should get quick results. It really is down to us to fast track our puppies toilet training. I find keeping a toilet diary helps, simply log down every toilet each day to see if there is a pattern forming. Keeping your back door closed so that your puppy learns to go to the back door and sit and wait to be let out. If you keep the back door open, it doesn't help toilet training as you can miss your puppy going outside and doing their business, for now, I recommend that you go outside every single time with your puppy as you need to reward them straight after they toileted.
When can I get rid of the playpen or crate?
This is a question that I get a lot and again it depends, Luna my 2-year-old beagle still uses her crate, she takes herself off there for naps and that is where she spends time when we are out of the house. I still use it for several reasons, she loves it, she can't practise any unwanted behaviour such as barking at passers-by if she's in her crate when I'm not there to supervise her. I say to my clients that once your puppy is toilet trained and you know they won't chew your house to pieces then that can be a good time to think about getting rid of the playpen or crate but you don't have to.
How much should my puppy be sleeping?
A LOT!! The truth is puppies should sleep on an average of 15-18 hours a day, that means they should spend most of their day asleep. As they get older they will need less sleep but new puppies should spend the majority of their day asleep. If this isn't the case for your puppy then look at your routine, does your puppy have somewhere comfortable to sleep, do the kids keep waking the puppy up? There could be a number of reasons why you're new puppy isn't sleeping enough but when they are asleep don't wake them up, sleep is very important for a growing puppy. More sleep= Happier puppy.
When will my puppy stop biting?
This is a very difficult question to answer without knowing your puppy. It feels like you've taken home a little shark and not a cute little puppy, biting again is normal but there are ways to make it easier.
Chews- Invest in some decent chews, I sometimes turn up at clients houses and the chews that they have just aren't cutting it for the puppy. I am a big fan of long-lasting edible chews rather than the synthetic bones bought in pet shops. Giving your puppy the right outlets to chew can help reduce the biting on you.
Enough sleep? Puppies who aren't getting enough sleep can be even worse land sharks, address this and hopefully, you'll notice a difference. Diet- Maybe your puppy is on the wrong diet, food affects behaviour. Perhaps something in the food doesn't agree with your puppy and it's causing an irritation which results in excessive biting?
Handled too much? Sometimes we handle our puppies too much, picking them up, restraining them on our knee and they have no other way of telling you that they don't want that other than mouthing. Take that as a sign that you should put your puppy down. Training- Working through cues such as leave it, drop, going to a mat can be great to start working on impulse control.
Why does my puppy go out to the garden to the toilet and do nothing then come straight back inside and wee on the floor?
Again another question with many possible answers. Gardens are quite distracting places for puppies, it may be worth keeping your puppy on a lead for toilet time so that they can't wander off and get distracted. Did you spend long enough outside? This can be a factor as to why your puppy is coming back inside to wee, give them plenty of time outside to sniff and choose a wee spot before rushing them back indoors. They may find the garden a little scary, depending on the time of day, weather etc, if that's the case try to make the garden a fun positive experience with treats and playing games. I often find that puppies who have access to a toilet pad indoors may wait to do it on that rather than outside in the garden. My rule is if you are with your puppy and able to keep your eyes on them and supervise then no toilet pads should be used, take them out to the garden regularly and avoid the confusion.