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Puppies are magical, they ooze oxytocin–how could we not be enchanted with a cute, sweet puppy?

We can’t help but marvel at their little nose, the tiny paws (that might turn into giant paws soon!), and the puppy breath, who can resist the puppy breath? Puppyhood seems like a dream! This little woof, fresh and new and full of life fits so perfectly into your family… until we say “WHAT WERE WE THINKING?!”

Dreamy puppy turned naughty? Here is why.

Young beautiful brunette woman holding a cute puppy pet over isolated yellow background stressed with a hand on her head, shocked with shame and surprise face, angry and frustrated. Fear and upset for mistakes.

I have people that tell me often that their vet recommended our puppy class, however, their puppy was so perfect that they don’t need any help. I congratulate them on the perfect puppy and tell them that if anything changes especially around the 3-month mark I am here for them.  I hear back from many people as their puppy reaches their first teenage stage at three months and becomes an unruly puppy with all their own opinions and their newfound free will. 

Usually,  once your puppy starts this phase, we start setting up boundaries and structure and teaching, you, the owner how to follow through. I also start working with you to teach your dog how to settle and to defuse the power struggles that seem to pop up, most days during this stage.  

This teenage stage is hard regardless, so it’s something we stay very consistent through and I am here to remind you that you’re not doing anything wrong-this is hard!  

Now, what do you think would happen if we started supporting and teaching your puppy from day one?  Our puppy manners course will teach our cute dogs our expectations and set up the structure and boundaries they will need throughout their life, not just in the teenage stage, and it can make this stage be a bit more manageable. 

Puppy or Pirahna? 

Golden retriever puppy playing and biting owner's hand.

Puppy mouthing seems to be one of the biggest issues people deal with, even from the beginning. Typically, your puppy doesn’t know that biting people is wrong, you may have had an amazing breeder that worked hard on teaching the puppy that biting isn’t something we do. However, you still have to follow through on that expectation that your puppy doesn’t put their teeth on you, your kids, your neighbors, or anyone. This is one behavior that is non-negotiable in my book, dog’s teeth never touch people’s skin, clothing, or bodies in any way and that needs to be very clear from the start. This protects you, your dog, and others for all of the dog’s life. 

The times I see mouthing behaviors increase and when it feels the most out of control is certain times of day that I like to equate with the “witching hour” with babies, this is one time that I try not to get into a power struggle with the puppy.

If every evening at 5 pm my puppy turns into a piranha, I plan a puppy nap/downtime for 4:45 pm so I don’t even have to get to the point of piranha puppy. We do address the mouthing, we do correct for the mouthing, however, if we can avoid the time frames that it is the worst, we have more success. 

We have less correction, we have less power struggle, we have less engagement with the puppy that can think it’s the best thing in the world to push your buttons, and we have less mouthing and biting in the long run when we manage the puppy with boundaries and structure.

Our puppy manners course really teaches you what to do, how to understand the signs, and how to help your puppy learn and know that mouthing is not acceptable behavior. 

Tiny puppy-large dog: how to avoid creating “cute puppy behaviors” from becoming something not so cute in a big dog

curious gentleman german Shepherd looks up to side while resting on white background

Cute puppies always grow up, and many of them grow up to become big dogs. If your dog is destined to be a big dog ask yourself this question.

“Will this behavior still be cute when my dog weighs 100+ pounds?”  

If you pick up your mastiff every time they stop moving when they are a puppy to get them to move, will that be something you’ll want to do or even be able to do when they are larger? If you’re puppy barks at you to give them a cookie and we think it’s adorable and cute and we reinforce that with a cookie, think to yourself, will this be something I find enjoyable later on down the road, if the answer is no, set a boundary.

It is easier to set and enforce our boundaries from the start rather than set new ones later on in life. Right now all these things puppies do are behaviors (and normal ones really) that will develop into habits if we do not teach the dog what we want and do not want. 

And who really loves to go to someone else’s home to have their 2-year-old dog jump on them and mouth on their arms? I know I don’t.  

Other behaviors to think about when they are puppies include

> Where they eat, sleep, and relax. 

> How do you want them to behave with guests at the door? 

> Potty training 

> How to REALLY socialize the dog in a methodical, structured way

> and more

What to expect from puppyhood?

Cute puppies, temper-tantrums, giggles, kisses, sharp teeth, redirection, maybe a swear word or 10, potty accidents, shenanigans, bonding, and knowing the raising of a puppy can be time-consuming and difficult at some times, but with time, consistency and structure you start your puppy out with allows them to grow and develop into a healthy, happy dog. 

Puppies always grow to become our dogs, our best friends, and part of the family. As the owner the more you take care of your puppy and set them up for success now, the happier and healthier you all will be moving forward. 

Find a variety of resources and tips to help your puppy grow into your best friend! 

What to expect on the first night home with your puppy

little boy in an orange shirt looking at a golden retriever puppy that is laying on its back in the boys lap

Starting the “come” command right so they come every time you call

How to Set up a potty training routine with our potty training schedule and guidelines >

lab puppy sitting next to a pee spot

Learn more about our on-demand Puppy Manners Matter Course which you can purchase and start today!