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"Why do puppies CHEW SO MUCH?!" by Jean Marcellus, PCE Trainer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brian Adam   
Monday, 03 December 2012 14:47

Why do puppies like to chew on people’s hands, face or other body parts SO MUCH?  This is called 'mouthing'.  But they're not just playing, they're testing you! (trying to figure out where they fit in, in “the pack”).

They learn this behaviour at a very young age - between 3 & 8 weeks old - by interacting with their litter-mates & their mother. If you've ever watched a litter of pups, you've seen them growling, wrestling, chasing & biting each other.  While it LOOKS like play, there's LOTS of LEARNING going on at the same time.

By the time they're7-or-8 weeks old, they've learnt which of their brothers & sisters they can push around, and which they need to respect without question. Even the most dominant puppy, eventually learns its' mother is leader of the pack!  (A well-placed "GROWL" at the appropriate time, ensures that!)  And if ignored, the discipline escalates by snapping at the pup. This teaches them, that their mother’s warning growl really means business.

Once the puppies are placed in their 'Forever' homes (with their Human family) they'll again use testing behaviours to find their place in this NEW pack.  WE in turn, must assert ourselves as 'Pack Leader'.

The quickest & most effective way to communicate with your puppy is to imitate canine behaviour.  When your pup starts to mouth you or a family member, I recommend growling at it (just like its' Mama would).  Your growl should be a low guttural tone, not too loud, but should it sound like you mean it. If done correctly, they should immediately stop the unwanted 'mouthing'.  When that happens, verbally praise them with: “good gentle”. smiley  Jean

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 January 2013 22:43

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