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ADVANCE™ is scientifically formulated to help improve pet health.  Read all the latest articles and news, as well as get tips and advice on puppy, kitten, dog and cat nutrition and health care topics.  Brought to you by the experts at ADVANCE™ premium pet food.

Ouch! Puppy mouthing and biting behaviour

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This is an image of a puppy with a toy.

Sharp puppy teeth

Spend a few minutes with a young puppy and you’ll soon become aware of just how sharp those puppy teeth are.  Puppy play can quickly turn rough, but it’s important to remember that your puppy isn’t trying to hurt you.  Puppies are learning about the world, and they use their mouths to explore.  You need to help your puppy learn appropriate behaviour, so that play time is a fun and bonding experience for you both.  Let’s take a look at what you can do.

Sharp puppy teeth

Spend a few minutes with a young puppy and you’ll soon become aware of just how sharp those puppy teeth are.  Puppy play can quickly turn rough, but it’s important to remember that your puppy isn’t trying to hurt you.  Puppies are learning about the world, and they use their mouths to explore.  You need to help your puppy learn appropriate behaviour, so that play time is a fun and bonding experience for you both.  Let’s take a look at what you can do.

Play fighting

Puppies aren't able to use their hands, so they use their mouths instead.  It's normal for puppies to bare their teeth, growl, nip and bite their litter mates.  In fact, play fighting begins to develop in puppies from 2 to 3 weeks of age.  Puppies also mouth on things around them which often includes their mum.  It's often mum who is the first one to let a puppy know if a bite is too hard, or play is too rough as she starts to teach her litter 'bite inhibition'.  A puppy's litter mates also help with this too.

Learning bite inhibition

It's important to teach puppies to inhibit their biting when interacting with humans and other pets.  What might seem cute while your puppy is young can become a serious problem as your puppy grows.  You don't want your puppy biting hard or biting children.  Bite inhibition is something that every puppy needs to learn, and they'll need your help.  That way they learn how to control themselves so they can develop into a well behaved, balanced adult dog.

What should I do if my puppy is mouthing and nipping?

Think about how you play with your puppy, and encourage gentle play right from the start.  Remember that your little puppy will grow, and you want them to be well mannered around people of all ages.

A range of safe and appropriately sized chew toys are a must for every puppy.  When play becomes more vigorous, redirect your puppy by placing a chew toy in their mouth.  Your puppy then learns that this is an appropriate item to mouth on.  In the early stages, you'll need to redirect your puppy a lot so be consistent and have plenty of chew toys on hand.  

If your puppy bites you, make a short sharp yelping sound just like a puppy in pain would.  Your puppy is most likely to be startled and stop biting you.  At the same time withdraw your attention from your puppy and ignore it.  This shows your puppy that when they bite, the fun and play stops.  When your puppy is calm, gently praise and reward them. 

Positive reinforcement

Remember not to punish your puppy, as this affects the bond you are trying to develop with them.  It also gives your puppy attention when they are displaying undesirable behaviour which can back-fire on you and actually encourage the behaviour that you don't want to see.  When your puppy engages in well-mannered play, offer food rewards and verbal praise to reinforce the behaviour.  

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Common puppy feeding queries

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This is an image of a litter of puppies.

Feeding your puppy

It can be argued that nothing plays a more important role in healthy puppy growth and development as nutrition, so let's look at some common puppy feeding queries. 

 

Feeding your puppy

It can be argued that nothing plays a more important role in healthy puppy growth and development as nutrition, so let's look at some common puppy feeding queries.  

How much to feed my puppy?

Use the feeding guide found on pet food packaging as a starting point.  This will show you the total daily amount to offer your puppy.  Keep an eye on your puppy's body condition so that you can fine tune the amount fed, if needed.  Have a chat to your veterinarian if you're concerned about your puppy's body condition or growth rate.  

How often to feed my puppy?

In general, younger puppies should be fed smaller meals more frequently.  This is to help allow them take in enough food for growth.  Their stomach capacity is small, therefore they require frequent meals.  

Start off dividing your puppy's total daily food into four small meals.  Over time, the number of meals can be gradually reduced so that by the time your puppy reaches adulthood, they will be on one or two meals per day.  Ensure that your puppy has free access to a continual supply of fresh drinking water in a suitable sized container.

Should I feed my puppy a home-made diet?

It can be tempting to feed a pet a diet made up of human food and table scraps.  However, it's a challenge to create a home-made diet that is complete and balanced, especially in the long term.  Puppies need a complete and balanced diet that is specially formulated to support their healthy growth and development.  A high quality super premium pet food such as ADVANCE™ provides this peace of mind.

In addition, some human foods can be toxic to pets such as grapes, raisins, onions and chocolate. 

Should I feed my puppy dry or wet food?

Dry and wet foods are equally nutritious.  The feeding of both dry and wet foods is known as ‘mixed feeding’.  This method of feeding provides a pet with taste and texture variety and enables them to get the benefits that each feeding format offers.

Different size puppies have different nutritional needs, so remember to choose a formula that is tailored accordingly.  ADVANCE™ has a range of puppy diets to suit the various breed sizes, so you can be sure there's a diet that’s just right for your puppy.

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Toilet training? Help is at hand!

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Puppy 03 puppy feeding time from Advancepet on Vimeo.

Toilet training

Toilet training your puppy is a process that will require time and patience.  Like all training, this should be based on a positive reward based training method.  Remember that every puppy is unique, so they all learn at their own pace.  Supervision and regular trips to the toilet area are key when it comes to successful toilet training.  Ideally, you want to avoid mistakes from happening in the first place.  Here we discuss our tips for toilet training success.

Toilet training 

Toilet training your puppy is a process that will require time and patience.  Like all training, this should be based on a positive reward based training method.  Remember that every puppy is unique, so they all learn at their own pace.

Your puppy has a small bladder and bowel so they will need to be taken outdoors to toilet regularly, otherwise accidents will happen!  Supervision and regular trips to the toilet area are key when it comes to successful toilet training.  Ideally, you want to avoid mistakes from happening in the first place.  Here we discuss our tips for toilet training success.

Regular toilet trips

To set your puppy up for success, take them out every hour during the day as well as anytime you see signs they may need to go.  These include sniffing, walking away or in circles, scratching at the floor, waiting by the door or being restless.  When your puppy relieves themselves in their toilet spot be sure to praise and reward them.  Young puppies will need to be taken outdoors to toilet at least every 2 to 3 hours during the night so set your alarm for the next few weeks!

If accidents happen

If you catch your puppy in the process of toileting inside, calmly pick them up and carry them outside.  

Never ever punish your puppy for toileting inside as this will only confuse your puppy and delay the process of toilet training.  These puppies tend to toilet out of sight of their owner for fear of being punished, for example, under the sofa, behind the TV, in another room etc.

Even in the rain

Teach your puppy that it's possible to go to the toilet outside when it's raining or the grass is wet! This means that initially you will have to take your puppy outside in the rain and wait until they go to the toilet.  Praise and reward for a job well done!

When you're out

If you need to leave your puppy alone while you're at work, confine them to an area such as the laundry or kitchen.  You can also create a suitable space using a puppy play pen.  Provide some comfortable bedding or use their crate leaving the door open, fresh water and a range of chew toys. 

Create a toileting area away from the puppy’s bed, as puppies naturally want to toilet away from their sleeping area.  Use whatever surface your puppy will be toileting on long-term.  For puppies that are likely to toilet on grass, use a litter tray containing turf.  For puppies that will live in a more urban environment, you could use a litter tray containing concrete tiles.  Materials such as newspaper or commercial pee pads can be used in a pinch, but they have the disadvantage of not helping the puppy develop a preference for the surface they will eventually be toileting on.  If you can use that type of surface now, you can help your puppy make the connection.

Consistency is key

Ensure that every member of the household is consistent when toilet training.  This will help your puppy learn faster.  Remember to be patient, and if you can maintain a good sense of humour during this period, that's an advantage!

Follow these tips and your puppy will be well on their way to being toilet trained.

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Crate training your puppy

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This is an image of a puppy sitting.

Have you considered a crate for your puppy?  

By nature, dogs like cosy, enclosed spaces to rest in, especially if they're feeling unsure about things.  A crate provides this safe refuge for a puppy, who can seek it for some time out.  A crate is also a great way of teaching your puppy the boundaries of the house while keeping them safe and secure.  Crates can be made of various materials such as plastic or collapsible fabric or wire.  A crate should be big enough so that your dog can stand up, turn around and lie down.     

Have you considered a crate for your puppy?  

By nature, dogs like cosy, enclosed spaces to rest in, especially if they're feeling unsure about things.  A crate provides this safe refuge for a puppy, who can seek it for some time out.

A crate is also a great way of teaching your puppy the boundaries of the house while keeping them safe and secure.  Crates can be made of various materials such as plastic or collapsible fabric or wire.  A crate should be big enough so that your dog can stand up, turn around and lie down.                                                                                                                                                               

How do I 'crate train' my puppy?

Initially, your puppy may need to be ‘crate trained’ and this should always be done in a positive way and at a pace that suits the puppy.  Ensure that the crate looks inviting and let your puppy go over and investigate it.  

 

You can place food rewards around the entrance of the crate, as well as place a few inside.  Offer your puppy verbal praise to encourage them to view the crate as a great place to spend time.  Your puppy will soon be keen to explore.

 

Once they enter the crate, don’t close the crate door just yet, let your puppy enter and leave the crate as they would like.

With practice, your puppy will become more comfortable spending time in their crate and you can close the door.  If your puppy whines, ignore this behaviour and let them out as soon as they are quiet.  Slowly build up the amount of time your puppy uses their crate. 

Using the crate at night

When your puppy is happy spending some time in their crate, you can start to use it at night.  Provide your puppy with chew toys to help them self-settle in their crate.  Remember that young puppies will need regular toilet breaks every 2 to 3 hours, so set your alarm clock.  Trips to the toileting area should be done in a quiet and calm manner, so as not to signal to the puppy this is play time.  Once puppy has relieved themselves place them back in their crate to settle. 

With some practice and patience, your puppy will come to view their crate as a wonderful place.  They now have a safe place to go when they need a rest or some time out.  A crate can come in handy for other reasons too such as if your pet needs to be confined, for example, after surgery.  A crate also makes a great portable home, which can help a pet feel settled if you go on holiday together.

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