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Bringing a new puppy into the family, whether it’s as an assistance animal for a relation in need or simply as a warm, energetic addition to the family can be one of the best memories you’ll ever make – but only when you get enough past the introductory period. While some families have easy, wonderful introductions with their puppy, instantly having a cuddly and affectionate friend who is quiet at night, poops where they should, and never bites or growls, many families have that moment of epiphany when they realise they have just brought an animal into their house, with all the animal behaviours that implies.
The good news is that many of these undesirable behaviours in your Australian Labradoodle or other puppy breed are very, very common, and there are easy ways to deal with most of them. Here are the most common problems people encounter with new puppies in their homes, and how to best deal with them so you – and your new friend – are happier overall.
Puppies are babies, and like human babies they cry a lot, usually to communicate their needs or anxieties. Your puppy can be taught to cry – if you only react to them when they vocalise or if you feed them treats every time they cry, they will of course learn that this is an effective way to get your attention. But even if you stay away from giving your puppy bad habits, every puppy will cry sometimes.
The main reason a puppy will spontaneously cry is because they are in distress. The two most common reasons for distress in a puppy is the need to go to the bathroom away from their “den” or sleeping area (whether a crate or simply their bedding) and because they feel alone or unsafe. Puppies often feel anxiety if left alone, especially if they are not crated and don’t have the sense of a small safe space that is entirely their own.
The best approach is to not reward crying by reacting to it in ways that give the puppy the power to command your actions with his voice, to instead reward silence, and ultimately to investigate the reasons behind your puppy’s vocalisation. If you suspect it is simply anxiety over the transition between their previous home and their new ?den,’ a little patience is probably all that’s needed.
Many puppies will instinctively guard their food, growling menacingly at anyone, even children, who approach while they are eating. If the growling is ignored (remember, growling is a warning, and is often meant in a friendly way to simply say ?back off!’) it can sometimes escalate to a bite. The best way to deal with food guarding is to leave the puppy alone. Make sure the puppy is not accosted by children or other pets while they eat. Give them a sense of food security.
The next step is to actually give the puppy more food when it growls. Showing the puppy that there is no need to guard its food because no one is trying to take it away will make a big impression on the animal. Eventually the goal is to train the puppy to let you touch and reach into his bowl without growling, and this can take some time. Be patient.
Many Labradoodles will release a little urine when greeting you or your guests, sometimes by dancing around them and sometimes by rolling over and exposing their bellies. While this submissive urination can be upsetting for you, it’s not a sign of anxiety or health issues. In fact, it’s a sign of a happy, friendly dog, and it will usually go away on its own.
Your main course of action is to avoid punishing the dog. Punish a puppy over submissive urination can have a severe psychological impact and lead to even worse problems down the line. While you don’t have to be happy about cleaning up their urine all the time, just remind yourself that there are worse things in life and be patient!
Your puppy will bring you much more affection and companionship than trouble. The thread running through all reactions to your puppy’s behaviour, you’ll notice, is patience: Don’t bring a dog into your life unless you have the time and energy to be patient with it and all it’s foibles.
If you do feel ready to take on a puppy then you can check out our labradoodle puppies available. And if you need more advice or tips, here at Tora’s we are always happy to help