Monday, March 28, 2011

Jet is 16 months old and still a puppy!

Time has really flown by because our puppy Jet is now 16 months old! She's about 50 lbs and has grown a big puffy tail. She is still a puppy in many ways, even if she looks like a grown up dog. She still has to sleep in her crate at night and be crated while Jenn and Eric aren't home, just to keep her safe and out of trouble. And I keep waiting for her to not have sooo much energy all the time. Jenn says that Jet is in her energy peak which is when 9 month-18 month old teenage puppies really require lots of activity, physical exercise, and benefit from continued reward based training. So Jenn and Eric are keeping Jet busy. Eric took Jet to Family Dog 2 at Paws4Ever that Jenn instructed. Jet learned to hold her stays, improved her loose leash walking manners, and learned how to do a little bit of Rally.
Rally is super cool for young dogs to continue their basic training skills in a fun way. You and your person practice heeling on a course set up with obedience skills. Here's Jet giving Eric great attention.
Now, Eric's taking Jet to Jenn's class called K9 Cross Training. It's for dogs that have already taken some basic classes and want to learn more skills in a creative setting. Jet's currently working on learning to ride a skateboard. That sounds so cool!
Boy, after all this training and keeping Jet active, this is the best part! A tired Jet!
Keeping your teenage puppy in fun, reward based training classes, providing lots of exercise, and containing them when you can't watch them are things you can do to get you through those most challenging months of your dog's adolescence.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Help for Your Puppy's Destructive Chewing

So your puppy is chewing you out of house and home? I've got some suggestions to keep your stuff intact. First of all, I do have some experience in this area. Jenn says that I was one of the worst chewers she has ever seen. I even tried to chew the mortar around the bricks of the fireplace! Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. And, I did eat part of a hat that some unlucky person left on the coffee table on one memorable occasion. Anyway, I'm here to suggest ways to help set your puppy up for success in managing their chewing habits.

1. You need lots of proper, durable, non-edible chews for your puppy to chew, like Nylabones, Kongs and marrow bones. Puppies will imprint on what you give them when they are very young. So don't give your puppy old shoes to chew on or you will have an adult dog with a shoe fetish. And stay away from plush toys unless you want them vivisected.
2. Put your valuable stuff out of puppy's space and supervise/crate your puppy so they are chewing the right things. Dude, if you leave your stuff on the floor and are not watching your puppy, you can't blame them when they chew up your favorite socks.

3. You need to redirect your puppy if they are chewing something they shouldn't. If you catch your puppy with your cell phone in their mouth, don't turn it into a chase game. Calmly go get a toy and trade them.

4. Use a taste deterrent spray like Bitter Apple to pretreat your stuff. If your stuff tastes bad and puppy chew toys taste good, puppy will naturally gravitate to their own toys. This is also helpful if you have children/toys. You can treat the kid toys with the taste deterrent and puppy will learn that the kid's toys taste nasty.

5. Exercise helps too as tired puppies don't have the energy to rip the house apart, so don't forget exercise as a helpful part of puppy chewing management.

So, some consistent management on your part can go a long way to help your puppy/teenage dog navigate through their chewing phases which can last up to 18 months.

And, check out this article from Nylabone for more tips, "How to Prevent Destructive Chewing".

The Nylabone Company is offering a $2 off coupon for their non-edible chews. I really like the super tough Dura-Chews. Not the Flexi-Chews that are too soft for me.