When I talk about “management”, what I’m really saying is “prevention”. We must manage the environment in order to prevent problems from occurring and puppies from rehearsing unwanted behaviours.

Think about life with toddlers for a moment. We would never expect a toddler to know that touching electrical outlets is “bad” or “wrong” or “dangerous”. We would simply use child-proof covers. 

We don’t let them loose in the living room and go take a work call – we ensure they are in a safe space where they remain occupied for a short time and cannot hurt themselves, like in a play yard. 

We don’t walk down the street with them and let go of their hand near a busy intersection, expecting them to know that cars are dangerous; we prevent them from stepping into the road.

Note: We also don’t let them test this concept and then yank them back to teach them not to get so close. Right?

Your puppy is brand new to this world and your expectations might be a little off…in fact I would say that 99% of people have completely unrealistic expectations of puppies, which is why so many struggles occur. 

Let’s look at some typical puppy challenges and the solutions that will save you from going completely grey before they hit six months:

The Challenge

The Solution

Puppy is chewing inappropriate objects or furniture

Better environmental management is needed. Use a LTCA to block unmovables (furniture, stairs, baseboards) or remove items from puppy’s reach and puppy proof better! 

Puppy is peeing/pooping on the floor 

Better timing and management is needed. Don’t allow full access to the home without 100% supervision. Take your puppy out more frequently and utilise a LTCA or crate when you cannot watch them. 

Puppy is nibbling on the houseplants

Houseplants can be toxic! Put them in areas where your puppy cannot access them or use a LTCA for either your puppy, or the plants! 

Puppy is jumping on the furniture

If you don’t want them on the furniture, block access to it when it’s not in use. Laundry baskets on the furniture is a great temporary solution that can be removed when you want to use it. Reinforce your puppy on their bed/mat instead of punishing them for jumping up.

Puppy is digging in the yard

Puppies cannot have free access to the yard at this age! They should go out on leash to the spot where you want them to do their business and then you reinforce heavily with a treat party when they do, and then back inside. If you stay outside with them, have them on a long line or use Dollar-store fencing to block your prize Petunias. Consider creating a specific digging pit for them if they really like it. Hide weather-resistant toys in it and encourage them to go there. Continue to manage the other areas with fencing and/or keep them on a long line and supervised until they’re a little older and more reliable. 

Puppy is jumping at you and nipping while you’re trying to work

If you’re busy, you can’t be dog-sitting! Use an LTCA for management when you cannot be active with them, and give them something to do! Walk them before you have to sit down and be occupied for any length of time. 

Puppy is jumping at the counter while you prep meals

Use an LTCA for management when you cannot be active with them, or even better, use this as an opportunity to teach them what you do want! Go watch our kitchen manners class here

Puppy is jumping on or nipping at children in the home

Children and puppies need full supervision at all times. Children are not trainers. When the kids are most active, the puppy is in the LTCA. When the puppy is most active, the children are otherwise occupied with a pen/gate between them. If there is any nipping, we gently put puppy in the LTCA and give them something to occupy them. Teach children to be calm, quiet and still near puppy if they are 6yrs+. 

Puppy growls when being moved or woken from sleep

Rather than moving your puppy when they are sleeping (no one likes that!) approach and gently call their name or make kissy noises. When they do wake, immediately give them a little treat, then encourage them to come along with you, OR if you must pick them up, do it gently and immediately feed a treat when they’re in your arms. Be sure to pick them up the right way so they’re not flailing or uncomfortable. Never allow children to wake a sleeping puppy or approach a puppy/dog while they’re resting.