UK Standard Parti Poodles
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CREATING HEALTHY HABITS

This is a guide only; each dog and owner have their own ways and means of teaching, but we hope that if there is one thing to help someone here then it was worth it.

With any habit it is better to prevent than to undo - poodles learn very quick watching everything that goes on around them, so START AS YOU MEAN TO GO ON.

You may also find our Puppy Training section helpful as well.

Bedtime

Know in the beginning where you are going to want them to sleep, whether it be a crate or a specific area. You must remember that a crate is a bed and also a training aid, not their very own house.

The first night, make the crate or bed area up to be nice and cosy, using the bedding that you were given with the smell of their litter mates.

To minimize upset and noise I would have them close to me for the first few nights as they acclimatize to the new environment.

Make sure your puppy has been out, been to the toilet and had its last mad run around, so that it is not wide awake. With a treat and a positive command (not too upbeat) get your puppy to follow you of its own accord to its bed; this way it will be a positive place to sleep.

Waking in the Night

Some puppies will wake in the night for just a few days - others for many weeks. This is normal. Listen and learn the cry - a whine, moan or whinge should be ignored. Mine have been known to howl and the minis scream, and although the pups live in my house, they still come from their siblings and up to the bedroom with myself and husband and dogs.

Your puppy may need the toilet; take them outside for a wee, do not talk to them other than the toilet command, definitely do not start to play and then place the puppy back in its bed. Unwanted behaviour in the night is best ignored if you can. However, if you can't, just give the crate or bed area a gentle knock and use a command word that you have picked for letting your puppy know you do not like something.

When your puppy is quiet you can reward it. I do not give treats myself during the night; poodles are very clever and can learn to make a noise and then be quiet to get that treat or your attention.

Most undesirable behaviour will stop after just a few nights; but make sure you have informed your neighbours that you have a new pup and they may hear it in the night, explaining that in the long term there will be no noise at night.

Chewing

Chewing is a common problem in dogs. Around 4 to 6 months and then again at 9 to 11 months old your puppy will be teething, this will increase their urge to chew to relieve the discomfort. Make sure you have plenty of nice alternatives to your shoes, like nylon bones and other safe chew toys.

Plenty of exercise will help take their mind off this discomfort, however if you do catch your puppy in the act of chewing incorrect items try to defer their attention to something else, like a nice treat. Where possible get the dog to leave the item rather than taking it away yourself, and remember that they cannot help themselves.

Mouthing

Mouthing is not chewing, this is something they do with their litter mates and is partly exploring and learning your tolerance on how hard is hard enough. In my opinion NO mouthing on human flesh should be allowed, as big teeth can be a big problem. Now is the time to stop it. If the puppy starts to mouth you during affection, place your hand with a small amount of pressure over their nose and make your negative sound (mine is "ah"). As soon as they relax praise in a calm manner. Another way I have seen to prevent puppies from mouthing skin, is to rub your arm and hands in butter and allow them to lick, teaching them that skin is to be gentle with.

If the puppy mouths you during play, drop the toy or stop what you are doing and turn away. Do not resume play for at least a couple of minutes; this will teach the puppy that mouthing or nipping stops play.

Do not allow people to play rough games with them as this will encourage nipping and mouthing.

Jumping Up

When your puppy is excited or pleased to see you it is common for them to try and jump up. Prevention is easy. Never give your puppy attention during this excited or anxious state; but wait until they are calm and then go to their level and make a fuss of them. If they return to jumping, walk away and repeat. NEVER give attention when you first walk into your house. Let them settle, make a cup of tea or anything for 5 or so minutes, do not speak to them or even look at them. This will help them to learn their place; but more importantly allow them to calm themselves in situations rather than needing you to calm them.

Digging

Every dog loves to dig, it is natural. Set aside an area in the garden where you will allow them to dig, bury a scented toy or filled kong a few inches down and have fun playing digging games together a few times a week. If your puppy digs outside of this area take them back to the designated area and play games together, then the puppy will soon learn where this activity is allowed. Remember that digging is natural to a dog.

Separation

Dogs are pack animals, so it can be hard for them to adjust coming from litter mates to be an only dog. To the puppy you will become its pack. When it is left alone it is normal for them to want to call you back. Do not be tempted to return; the puppy will learn that making those noises brings you back and so will continue. After a few days with your new puppy it is good practice to leave them for a short period each day alone. Do not return to cries - simply wait until the puppy is quiet then return with a treat. Repeat this every day, gradually increasing the amount of time you leave them.

It is important to start this early as adult dogs can get very distressed and vocal over separation.

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