Why Is My Puppy Chewing Furniture? Here is How to Prevent It.

Why Is My Puppy Chewing Furniture? Here is How to Prevent It.

Dogs Chewing Furniture: Understanding the Behaviour and Finding Solutions

As a dog parent, it can be frustrating and costly to see your pup constantly chewing on your furniture. Not only does it damage your belongings, but it can also pose a threat to your dog’s health if they ingest any harmful substances. The solutions to this problem might surprise you!

So why do dogs chew on furniture? There are several reasons for this behavior:

1- Teething: Puppies go through a teething stage just like human babies. During this time, they experience discomfort and soreness in their gums as their baby teeth are replaced with permanent ones. Chewing on furniture is a natural way for them to alleviate this discomfort.

2- Entertainment: Puppies when they are left alone for long periods of time, they may start chewing on furniture out of entertainment and they don’t know the difference between your furniture and their new toys. We need to teach them!

3- Anxiety: Some dogs may chew on furniture as a coping mechanism for anxiety or stress. This could be due to a change in their routine, fear of loud noises, or separation anxiety.

4- Lack of appropriate chew toys: Providing your puppy with alternative chew toys can help redirect their chewing behaviour away from your furniture while they’re teething

So, what can you do to prevent your puppyfrom chewing on furniture? Here are some solutions:

1- Confinement. Wether you use a crate an ex- Penn or a baby gate you need to create a safe space where your puppy can spend time when you can’t supervise. This space should be puppy proofed.

2- Supervision. If you’re puppy is out of his/her designated area make sure your supervising.

3- Make sure your puppy have enough sleeping time. Puppies sleep on average of 15 – 20 hours per day. The lack of sleep can create excessive chewing and restless behaviors.

4- Keep your play time and training sessions short and sweet. Start teaching patience and self control by adding structure and little rules to every game. Puppies get more tired when you make them wait for things than when you rile them up and play endlessly. When you exercise or play too long with a puppy, they tend to get more cranky, aggressive and frustrated.

5- Address any underlying medical conditions: If your dog is chewing excessively, it could be a sign of a dental issue or other health problem. Schedule a visit to the vet to rule out any underlying conditions.

While dogs chewing on furniture can be frustrating, it is a common behavior that can be managed with the right solutions. If you’re still struggling to prevent your dog from chewing on furniture, consider seeking the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist for guidance.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved June 2023

     

     

    How Can I Discourage and Stop My Puppy From Barking Excessively 

    How Can I Discourage and Stop My Puppy From Barking Excessively 

    Puppies are a lot of fun, but when fun turns into too much stimulation, they can also be quite vocal. Barking is a natural behavior for dogs, but excessive barking when it gets out of control is not. It can also become a nuisance and cause disturbance to both you and your neighbors. Fortunately, there are ways to discourage your puppy from barking excessively. 

    The first step to addressing excessive barking is to understand why your puppy is barking in the first place. There are different reasons why your puppy might be barking excessively. Here’s a list of the most common ones: 

    1. Overexcitement and/or overstimulation. This could be triggered by you coming home, you getting their leash, playing with too much excitement or too much stimuli overload in the environment. This is usually caused by the lack of self control. This barking will often be with a wagging tail, happy mood, spin in circles, some nipping and running to play chase, ears perked and head held higher. 

    2, Attention barking (usually reinforced unconsciously by humans). This barking is usually high pitch, annoying and relentless. Their tails may be straight or wagging, with their ears down/natural or at attention. Be careful with this behavior. If your dog is  barking to get your attention or treats and they get what they want when they bark, you’ll be reinforcing and encouraging the excessive barking. Be aware that negative attention it’s still attention and will reinforce the barking. 

    3. Triggered by a noise or sight (ex: a dog passing by your house or the mail man coming in). This type of barking usually triggers an automatic emotional response in your dog that spirals up into an uncontrolled barking. 

    4. Territorial barking (guarding or protecting). Your dog feels the need to protect your house. These barks will usually be deeper and may have a growl associated with them. They will also be fairly continuous and incessant. With territorial barking the body posture is usually leaning forward, tail is up and wagging, ears and and eyes are up and alert. It could be followed by a bite. This may happen at a later puppy stage 4 months and older. 

    5. Fear barking. Insecure/fearful dogs will show body language leaning backwards and backing up while their barking. Tail might be between the legs and tense, hackles raised, and low head posture. Some insecure/fearful dogs might bite and lunge when you turn your back on them and move away. 

    Once you have identified the underlying cause of your puppy’s barking, you can start working on a solution to address the behavior:

    1. Socialize your puppy

    Puppies that are not properly socialized may become anxious or fearful in new situations, leading to excessive barking. Socializing your puppy from an early age can help him become more comfortable in different environments and around new people and animals. Take your puppy for walks in different places, introduce him slowly to new people and dogs, and expose him gradually to various sights and sounds.

    2. Provide structured play and start teaching your puppy self control.

    Puppies that have excess energy and no self regulation may bark excessively as a way to release their pent-up energy. Providing structure play and teaching self control exercises will keep your puppy calm and content, reducing the likelihood of excessive barking. Take your puppy for exposure walks, play structured games where they slowly learn boundaries, and socialize them with well behaved older dogs that will teach them how to calm down.

    3. Teach your puppy the “quiet” cue.

    Teaching your puppy a “quiet” cue will teach him to understand when it’s time to stop barking. The quite cue is based on calming your dog down not on punishing your dog for barking. You can learn this technique in my online course Pawmos The Art of Dog Training

    4. Learn Behavior Training 

    Behavior Training is a powerful tool for training puppies. Rather than punishing your puppy for excessive barking, focus on self control exercises and activities.  Behavior Training is NOT about letting your dog misbehave and then correct, punish or redirect that behavior with treats. It’s about not letting the behavior to happen in first place when possible. The way to do it is to keep your dog in a sound state of mind or  “green zone”. Or bringing him/her back to “green zone” if he/she is already out of control. This will allow your dog to get better at social skills and coping skills in different environments

    Excessive barking can be a frustrating behavior to deal with, but with knowledge and consistency, you can help your puppy learn to bark less or stop barking . Understanding the underlying reason for your puppy’s barking, providing structured exercise, teaching the “quiet” command, and using Behavior Training will effective discourage and stop excessive barking.

    © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved June 2023

       

       

      What Should I Do If My Puppy Exhibits Aggressive Behaviors?

      What Should I Do If My Puppy Exhibits Aggressive Behaviors?

      Getting a new puppy is an exciting and fun experience, but it can also come with its own set of challenges. One of the most common issues new puppy owners face is behavior problems, such as aggression. Aggression can be a serious problem if not addressed properly, as it can lead to injury to both humans and other animals. In this blog, I will discuss what you should do if your puppy exhibits behavior problems, specifically aggression:

      – 1. Identify the type of aggression. Aggression is a very general term. Here are some different types of aggression: Aggression because of lack of Social skills, Leash aggression, dog to dog aggression, human aggression, Stranger aggression, Fear aggression, Resource guarding (food, toys or humans), Territorial aggression, Trigger aggression (hats, uniforms, gender etc), Conditioned aggression (water sprays bottles, canes, brooms, sticks etc), Dominance aggression, Redirection aggression, Pure aggression (killer instinct)  and probably other types that I haven’t mentioned. As you can see there is a wide range of different types of aggression that are treated very differently.

      – 2. Identify the cause of the aggression The next step in addressing your puppy’s aggression is to identify the cause. When does the aggression start and why? Is your puppy under stress? Is it fear based? Is your puppy being dominant? Is your puppy in pain? Is your puppy overstimulated or frustrated? Is your puppy getting enough sleep or down time? Understanding the root cause of the aggression will help you develop a plan to solve the issue.

      – 3. Knowing the difference between Behavior Training and Obedience Training will save you a lot of time, money and energy. Going to a basic obedience group class will not make much of a difference. Once you have identified the cause of your puppy’s aggression and consulted with a professional, it’s time to implement training and behavior modification techniques. These can include Behavioral Training, coping skills, desensitization, counter-conditioning and management strategies.

      – 4. Consult with a professional If your puppy’s aggression is severe or you are unsure of how to address it, it’s important to consult with a professional. A dog behaviorist, dog trainer with aggression experience or a vet behaviorist can assess your puppy’s behavior and provide guidance on how to address and solve the issue.

      – 5. Be consistent and patient Addressing your puppy’s aggression will take time and patience. It’s important to be consistent with training and behavior modification techniques and to give your puppy time to learn new behaviors. Consistency is key in ensuring your puppy understands what is expected of them.

      – 6. Stay calm and present. It’s important to stay calm and present when addressing your puppy’s aggression. Getting frustrated or angry will only make the situation worse. Instead, stay patient and positive. 

      Addressing your puppy’s aggression requires knowledge, patience, consistency, and most likely the guidance of a professional. By identifying the cause of the aggression, consulting with a professional and implementing a behavior modification plan, you will be able to overcome your puppy’s aggression issues and become a well-behaved and happy member of your family.

          © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved May 2023

         

         Why Dogs Eat Poop? Here’s How To Stop It

         Why Dogs Eat Poop? Here’s How To Stop It

        Dogs eating poop, also known as coprophagia, is a common but unpleasant behavior that many pet owners struggle with. While it may seem disgusting to us, it is a normal behavior for dogs and can stem from a variety of reasons. In this blog, we will discuss why dogs eat poop and what can be done to stop it.

        Why do dogs eat poop?

        • Nutritional deficiencies: A lack of certain nutrients in a dog’s diet can lead to coprophagia. Dogs may eat feces to supplement their diet and get the nutrients they are missing. If you suspect your dog is eating poop due to a nutritional deficiency, consult with your veterinarian to determine if a change in diet is necessary.

        • Instinct: Eating feces is a natural behavior for dogs. In the wild, dogs would eat the feces of their pack to keep their den clean and eliminate any parasites or diseases. Some rescue dogs from puppy mills learnt this behavior because they lived in a kennel 24/7. 

        • Boredom or anxiety: Dogs that are bored or anxious may turn to eating feces as a form of entertainment or comfort. Providing your dog with mental self control and structured exercise can help prevent boredom and anxiety-related coprophagia.

        • Attention-seeking behavior: In some cases dogs may eat poop to get their owner’s attention. This can be a learned behavior, and it may be more likely to occur in dogs that figure out ways to get attention from their owners through doing unwanted behaviors. 

        • Medical conditions: In some cases, coprophagia may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as an intestinal parasite or a gastrointestinal disorder. If your dog has been eating feces and shows other signs of illness, it is important to take them to a veterinarian for a thorough examination.

        How to stop dogs from eating poop

        • Management and scheduling: Teach your dog to do poop on leash at certain time windows. As soon as he/she is done say ‘let’s go’ walk away and reward. If you keep it up long in enough (sometimes a year) it tends to disappear. Dogs do what they practice and they stop doing what they don’t practice. Create a new habit right after poop time and imprint that new behavior in your dog.

        • Proper hygiene: Keeping your yard and home clean and free of feces will reduce your dog’s exposure to it and decrease the likelihood of them eating it.

        • Enhance their diet: Adding digestive enzymes or probiotics to your dog’s diet can help improve their digestion and reduce their interest in eating feces. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best options for your dog.

        • Provide plenty of structured activities and exercise: Make sure that your dog is getting enough structured activities, walks and exercise to keep them happy and in a sound state of mind.   

        In conclusion, coprophagia is a common behavior in dogs that can stem from a variety of reasons. With proper training, management, and attention, it is possible to discourage your dog from eating feces and prevent this unpleasant behavior from happening in the future. If you are concerned about your dog’s behavior, it is always best to consult with a trainer/behaviorist to implement a sound strategy and with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions. 

        © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved December 2022 

        How to Stop My Dog Marking Inside My House

        How to Stop My Dog Marking Inside My House

        One of the challenges that dog parents or guardians face is dealing with a dog who marks inside the house. This behavior can be frustrating, embarrassing, and even damaging to your furniture, carpets, and walls. Fortunately, there are ways to stop this behavior and keep your home smelling fresh and clean.

        Why do dogs mark inside the house?

        Dogs mark inside the house for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common include territorial marking, anxiety, and marking to claim an object as their own. Marking is a way for dogs to communicate with each other and to leave their scent in a specific area. This behavior is especially common in male dogs, but female dogs can also mark.

        How to stop your dog from marking inside the house

        • 1. Spay or neuter your dog: One of the most effective ways to stop marking is to spay or neuter your dog. This can reduce the urge to mark and help curb this behavior.

         

        • 2. Supervise your dog: If you catch your dog marking, interrupt them by making a a sound to stop it immediately. Using an indoor leash to keep your dog close to you for a couple weeks might be necessary in combination with some kind of confinement such as a crate or a room.

         

        • 3. When you walk your dog outside on a leash keep the walk going and don’t let your dog mark. Once they pee for the first time, the rest is marking and it’s not necessary. If they need to pee again at the end of the walk that’s fine. Marking can become a habit for some dogs. Don’t let them practice it as much as you possibly can. 

         

        • 4. Clean up the marks thoroughly: Clean up any marks with an enzymatic cleaner specifically designed for pet urine. This will remove any scent that may trigger your dog to mark again.

         

        • 5. Use deterrents: You can use deterrent sprays or motion-activated devices to discourage your dog from marking in certain areas.

         

        • 6. Reduce stress: Try to identify what might be causing your dog stress and eliminate it. This can include changes in their routine, introduction of new pets or people, or a lack of mental and physical structured acitivities.

         

        • 7. Provide plenty of structured activities and exercise: Make sure that your dog is getting enough structured activities, walks and exercise to keep them happy and in a sound state of mind.   

         

        • 8. Consult with a veterinarian: If your dog is marking due to an underlying medical issue, a visit to the vet is necessary.

         

        Marking inside the house is a common issue for dog owners. However, with a little patience and the right training, you can help your dog overcome this behavior and keep your home smelling fresh and clean. By understanding why dogs mark, and using the methods outlined above, you can work with your furry friend to stop this behavior and maintain a happy, healthy home.

         

        © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved March 2023

        Never say NO to your dog?

        Never say NO to your dog?

         Should I ever say No to my dog?

        There’s an advice very often given to never say No to your dog under the mantra : “Never tell your dog don’t do that, instead teach them what to do”

        The problem with this is that your dog never has a clear understanding of what not to do.  And that’s not fair. 

        Another problem is that in order to stop your dog from doing unwanted behaviors, you have to micromanage by constantly reinforcing alternative behaviors in a helicopter parenting style.

        Let me give you an example: If I go to a bank and you teach me 5 different things to do in a bank, but you never tell me that I should not rob it. Well, you can probably keep teaching me 10 other alternate behaviors and skills, but I still don’t really know that I shouldn’t rob a bank. Why wouldn’t you tell me that in first place instead of trying to micromanage every move I do with alternative behaviors?

        Teaching boundaries is the art of teaching your dog not to do things or doing things in a controlled manner out of independent thinking not out of micromanagement. 

        Can I teach boundaries without punishing or harsh corrections?

        You can teach boundaries and say no to your dog in a kind way without hurting your dog or without getting mad at your dog, but the focus should be on providing clarity on the boundary not on the alternative behaviors.

        Teaching boundaries does not mean punishing your dog for doing the wrong things. I don’t use or advocate for those methods. There are ways through cognitive learning and by using basic body language techniques through which you can comunícate boundaries to your dog effectively and in a kind manner. And by the way you don’t need to dominate your dog or use Alpha theories to teach boundaries. For more information about dominance myths read this article: Alpha Dominance Theories. Myth? Or Science? For further scientific proof here is a great article from an actual scientist Mark Bekoff: Dogs Display Dominance: Deniers Offer No Credible Debate.

        We need to have a clear understanding that boundaries are not part of learning methodologies based on Reinforcement. Boundaries are part of social behavior skills based on self control and a clear understanding of what is and what is not acceptable. 

        What are learnt boundaries? 

        A learnt boundary is you going to a bank and not robbing it; or you going to a store and not stealing; or you waiting in a line and not pushing everyone around to get in first.  

        You don’t get rewarded for not doing those things and you should not need to be offered an alternative behavior. You should have a clear understanding to not to do those things. You should also have the self control skills for not doing them.

        Here’s an example with my dog: A boundary is when I put my food on my coffee table and I teach my dog not to eat it even if he is laying down right next to me.

        My dog has a clear understanding of what not to do and he’s perfectly fine with it. He is not stressed because there is no confusion. Not only I’m very clear with boundaries, but I also taught my dog the self control skills needed to let things go.

        A boundary is not telling my dog to go to his place and stay there because I reinforced that behavior one million times. That’s obedience training. These are two very different concepts. Obedience training is about teaching new behaviors not about teaching behavioral skills.

        Why are boundaries so important?

         The lack of behavioral training is a huge problem because there is no clarity, there is no self control skills and involves helicopter parenting. Helicopter parenting kills independent thinking, autonomy and agency on your dog. It’s also exhausting and very time consuming on the humans. 

        Self control is very different than impulse control. 

        When you impose obedience training and helicopter parenting over behavior training with the mantra: “Never tell your dog don’t do that, instead teach them what to do” think what you are really doing. 

        You are basically going through a byzantine labyrinth of alternate behaviors in order to stop your dog from doing unwanted behaviors. This is based on impulse control not on self control. Impulse control is micromanaged . Self control is autonomous thinking. 

        Let’s be clear that when you condition your dog to do an alternative behavior with 1 million repetitions, you’re not giving  him/her a “choice”, which is the magic word used to convince people of these methods.  There is no choice here. Is either you do what i want or I’m gonna repeat this 1 million times and manipulate the environment until you do so. Then I’m going to convince my self that it was your choice. 

        It’s perfectly fine to use this method if your purpose is to teach your dog new skills, tricks or behaviors. I use it all the time and positive reinforcement is the best way to go. The focus here is on learning and reinforcing new behaviors.

        But this method and this mantra is a very inefficient way to teach boundaries. This is because your dog never learns what he or she is not supposed to do. Boundaries and rules are very necessary and needed information in order to adapt to any environment. They are also the best way to have independent thinking and autonomy without having to be micromanaged. 

         

        © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved March 2023