Expert puppy information and training tips

Hello I am a puppy expert. I say expert, when what I really mean is , I'm "some woman on the internet who had two dogs that grew up fine, got old, died and now has a puppy again". See I told you, I'm a puppy expert.

fizz border terrier face

I have recently purchased a puppy. She is a border terrier called Fizz, she is exceptionally cute, fast, and clever. A few people (2) that I speak to on social media asked me for puppy advice and so with the multitude (2) questions being asked I felt a blog post by a PUPPY EXPERT (me) was required.

small puppy
Puppy expert in action
Things you think you know about puppies but really don't (or have forgotten - I know I did)
Puppies bite. They do not 'nip'. People tell you that puppies nip but nipping sounds painless and fun and almost friendly . Puppies do not 'nip'. They use teeth that they borrowed from a great white shark crossed with a razor blade to puncture any and every part of your anatomy they can get a grip on. They will bite the soft skin web betwixt thumb and forefinger, there will be blood. The tiny needle teeth will grab and bite into the delicate skin of your inner arm. The puppy will appear to want to snuffle into your crotch but JUST WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT will bite deep into the skin of your inner thigh (or worse!) until you squeal for mercy.
They do eventually stop biting. And this period of biting is important, they are learning 'bite inhibition', which means they are testing what hurts...your screams help in this process.

border terrier puppy

Puppies wee, and poop. They wee all the time, you might have thought leaving the back door open will mean they will wee outside, it doesn't. Puppies have no concept of 'outside'. Your job is to teach them. The simplest way is to use a crate (sounds cruel, isn't) the crate becomes the puppies den, no one likes to piss or crap in their bed, so puppies don't if they can possibly help it. You must use the crate whenever you cannot 100% supervise the puppy, do not let the puppy out of your sight when it is out of the crate or it will wee. Puppies need to go out at regular intervals, about every 30-60 minutes. BUT ALSO (and this is important) as soon as they wake after a nap, after a play time, after food. Treat the puppy or praise the puppy when it wees (or poops) outside. Clean up and ignore the screw ups YOU made by not paying attention that allowed the pup to poop in the house. Weirdly puppies over 8 weeks can go all night (11pm-5.30am) without messing up.

border terrier puppy in a crate
Puppy Prison

Puppies bite. Wait we did this! Yeah but they bite your clothes too, dressing gowns, trouser legs, shoes, anything moving. The edges of skirts will become laced with puppy ripped holes...I'm sure the bite inhibition thing is still in play. I'll be honest. This clothes biting pisses me off.

puppy sleeping
Do not be fooled - she is a velociraptor in a fur suit!
Puppies are ninjas. They can appear behind you, silently in a second. They appear in front of you equally quickly and stealthily, particularly if you are carrying a cup of tea. You will almost stand on them. You will trip over them. A lot.

Puppies can learn stuff really fast as they are like sponges. Don't be fooled by those big eyes and cute noses into thinking 'oh but they are babies, there is lots of time to learn' NO! there is now, now is the time, between 8 and 12 weeks is a window of fixed learned behaviour when puppies can learn either fear or confidence of a situation. Ensure that during this time they meet lots of new people, dogs, other puppies, children (the sort that don't mind being torn to bloody ribbons by excited puppy teeth) . Also that they have lots of new experiences and noises, banging doors, car rides, carrier bags rustling, firework sounds, TV shows etc etc
puppy party
Blurred puppy party picture
puppy in a bag
Taking her out pre-vaccinations - in a bag!
And all the time, train them! Get a decent book and decide on a style (I'm using a clicker this time around and Fizz adores it) and get on with it! Teach the basics (at 13 weeks Fizz can come to her name, sit, lay down, and give a paw when asked). We are working on the 'off' command to tell her to STOP BITING ME/MY TROUSERS/THAT CHAIR LEG and she's finally starting to get it.

border terrier puppy looking innocent
Innocent puppy face
So, that's part one of my guide to puppies, more as and when I think of something you need to know. Do you have a new puppy? Share your pictures and advice with me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, Fizz even has her own Instagram!

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