Puppy Training in Southern California
Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, and the San Gabriel Valley
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Q.)  How old should my puppy be before we can start the training?

A.)  Your puppy is ready for training right now. Puppies are like little sponges, absorbing information and learning from it all of
the time. There is no such thing as starting too young when it comes to teaching a puppy. When you use appropriate
methods, training can begin before puppies have even left their litter mates. Of course those lessons, and your expectations,
need to be commensurate with your puppies maturation level. But very young puppies are like little sponges, continuously
absorbing information about their surroundings. They want to know how to best succeed in the world. All we have to do is
teach them in a way that helps them understand, while also building their confidence.

Q.)  I've heard a lot about "crate training," but is using a crate necessary to potty train my puppy?

A.)  Crate training is a helpful tool, and probably the easiest way to get a puppy house trained. That having been said, it's not
necessary to use a crate when potty training a puppy. What is necessary, is a willingness to supervise the puppy continuously
until you know for certain that he or she is reliably house trained. Because most people lead fairly busy lives, monitoring a
puppy's behavior 24/7 for several weeks is not always feasible. The use of some sort of management therefore, can be mighty
helpful for those times when you can't keep a close eye on your puppy. A dog crate can serve as a very effective and logical
management option for those times. Of course there are other management options, and your trainer will explain what those
are, as well as the limitations and benefits of each.

Q.)  My puppy is biting at me a lot. When I tell him to stop, he seems to get angry. Is he dominant?

A.)  NO! Absolutely not. Mouthing and nipping are very normal puppy behaviors. Puppy teeth are extraordinarily sharp for good
reason. In nature, as puppy plays, he also experiments with this nipping behavior. His mother and litter mates would protest
hard bites, which would serve to teach puppy how to control how much pressure he or she exerts. In dog training terms, we
refer to this as learning bite inhibition. It's a natural part of a puppy's learning.

Of course human skin is pretty tender, so those sharp little milk teeth can do a fair bit of damage to us. And since we don't
speak "dog," and puppy doesn't understand human language, it can be difficult for us to effectively convey to puppy what we
want him to do (stop using his mouth.) When we do try telling him to stop, his confusion is what actually makes the behavior
escalate. This confusion can be even worse if you are angry or upset when you tell him to stop, and your emotion can even
cause your puppy to worry or become a little frightened. Because he sincerely doesn't know what to do to make things better,
he may start to bounce around wildly, and growl as well, because this is natural play behavior for him.

The key to fixing this problem, is to learn how to convey what you want without confusing or scaring your puppy. Your trainer
can teach you how to effectively communicate with your puppy, using appropriate and non-threatening body language cues
that will easily make sense to him.
 And please DO NOT EVER hold your puppy's muzzle closed to try to stop this or
any other type of mouthing behavior. Doing so is guaranteed to make the behavior much worse.