For the first week; Falcon was fairly low key. He followed me around. He slept a lot. He was perfect in every way. Then one morning I let him out of the crate and he attached himself to my leg. When I tried to get dressed; he grabbed my pant’s leg and pulled for all he was worth; shaking the pant’s leg back and forth. While I was trying to finish getting dressed he found a roll of paper towels and decorated three rooms by unrolling them all.
Suddenly; he appeared to be all teeth.
This is not unusual. I have lost track of the times desperate puppy owners have called to tell me their puppy is aggressive. When I ask how old the pup is; it is often in the 3-to 5-month range.
When I ask for more information I am told the puppy is biting and it hurts and the owner assures me this puppy is biting harder than any other puppy they ever had and they are absolutely convinced the behavior is abnormal. Most people assure me the puppy was sweat one day and the next it was Demon Puppy.
Most of us don’t get puppies very often; so, by the time one dog dies of old age; we have often forgotten what it was like to own a puppy. By the time an old dog dies; it is often perfect in our eyes and we can’t imagine it any other way.
But, the truth is puppies bite and they often bite really hard and their teeth are like a thousand needles. As a matter of fact, puppy teeth could probably be used as a form of torture. Imagine the Liam Neeson movie in which, instead of pulling out someone’s fingernails to make them talk; you tie them up and leave them alone with a puppy.
So, if you get a puppy; be prepared for some minor bloodshed and the loss of some household items. Your puppy is not being bad; he is being a puppy.
How do you survive this stage? With a lot of patience, a good crate behavior and lots of management tools.
When Falcon grabs my pants to help me get dressed, I generally just let go of the pants so he falls backward and doesn’t get to play tug. Then I give him something else to put in his mouth like a toy or a bone so he has that to chew on while I get dressed. I often suggest clients leave their pups in the crate or an xpen while they are getting dressed just to alleviate the frustration of getting dressed.
If you know your pup is going to do this; be proactive and give him something to do; or just don’t let him in your dressing area.
You cannot have too many chewing options for your puppy. He basically needs to be chewing all of the time so he isn’t chewing on you.
I will talk more about the importance of puppies playing with other puppies as well as great chewing options in other posts.
But for now, just know you are not alone and this too will pass.
There is of course always a caveat. There may be a puppy from time to time that has a more serious issue. Always consult a trainer with behavior experience or a veterinarian if you are truly worried.