Don’t Try This At Home

Some games that may seem like fun can actually teach your puppy bad behavior:

  • Don’t play rough games, such as wrestling and pretend fighting, with your puppy. Dogs play this way with one another, but these games can teach your pup that it is OK to be rough with humans.
  • Never chase your dog. Chasing teaches your puppy that it is fun to run away from you, which can endanger her later.
  • Don’t encourage your dog to bark at or tease wildlife or neighbors’ pets. This teaches a dog that it is OK to scare or hurt other animals

Give Teething Pups Something to Chew

Puppies are born without teeth and get their first set at about 6 to 8 weeks of age. When their adult teeth start arriving in their first year, puppies sometimes chew like crazy to help speed up process. So it is important to give your puppy a proper chew toy, to keep her from rearranging the legs of your furniture.

Opposites Attract

You own a wonderful dog of your favorite breed, and now you’d like to add a second dog to the family. Everyone suggests getting a dog of the opposite sex, but you want another dog just like your current one. Besides, you know several same-sex dogs that coexist peacefully. Unfortunately, many do not. A Boxer breeder I knew had two female Boxers that were best friends – until a passerby petted one through the fence. At that point, the second dog jealously attacked the dog receiving attention, and the two had to be separated thereafter. Though fights happen between males and females, they erupt most frequently between same-sex dogs.

“In both males and females, hormones can drive behavior and cause dogs to act differently toward each other,” says trainer Sue Pearson, owner of Spot and Co. in Iowa City, Iowa. Thus, spaying or neutering might ease tension between same-sex dogs, but opposite-sex spayed-or-neutered dogs present the safest option.

Polite Goes Both Ways

When an acquaintance reached down and good-naturedly but roughly ruffled my dog’s ears, I could tell she didn’t appreciate his roughness, so I politely asked him to stop. Even friendly dogs feel uneasy if people go beyond certain boundaries when meeting them.

Trainer Harriett Browne of Worthington, Ohio, says owners must ensure their dog’s welfare, as well as the safety of those the dog meets. “If that means asking someone to back away, you should do it immediately upon sensing your dog’s discomfort,” Browne says, adding that this avoids a situation where the dog might feel she has no recourse but to growl or bite.

Alert owners also monitor the behavior of the person saying hello. Though some dogs happily accept any attention, many dislike rough greetings, such as someone playfully shaking them or ruffling their fur and ears. Others resent any kind of restraint. “Some dogs find a grasping hug threatening, no matter how well you know them,” Browne says.

Socializing your dog with a variety of people in differing environments acquaints the dog with general human behavior, but owners must still take care, Browne says. Greeting should be polite from both dogs and people to make sure neither has reason to feel uncomfortable.