64–67 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Puppy
How to Curb Your Puppy's Tendency to Bark at Everything
Is your puppy suddenly acting like he's a guard dog at a palace? Does he bark his head off at sounds you can't even hear? Dogs bark at things for several reasons including a perceived a threat, a sign of boredom, or a cry for attention. Barking is also a form of communication between dogs and they have distinct sounds and volumes for different expressions. A dog barking in a high pitch is often excited, a dog sort of gurgling in a lower pitch is usually content. A dog emitting a low growl is issuing a warning.
All breeds except the Basenji bark. Some are more vocal than others such as those bred from guard dogs. Puppies are looking for work at this age and, in the case of incessant barking, warning their owner of impending danger is their work. The trash truck is an enemy, the doorbell is an enemy, the dog barking down the street is an enemy.
There are two approaches to stopping barking - deterrents and training. Often the best result is to use both.
Get a Ultrasonic Deterrent - These make a sound undetectable to human ears which discourages barking.
Use a Citrus Collar - This sprays citrus near your puppy's face when he barks and acts as a deterrent.
Hire a dog walker - This will ease boredom if you're away.
Acupuncture - This solves many problems, from depression to colds. It can also help with behavior problems such as excessive barking by relaxing your puppy and balancing their system.
Leave Things to Do - Leave interactive toys and Kongs out for your dog if you're going out to keep your puppy busy.
Leave the Blinds Down - If your puppy is barking mostly in reaction to sights outside, closing the blinds will help stop him.
Make Sure You're Established as Alpha - Obedience training helps to establish this as does actions such as deciding when you pet your puppy or when he can, or can't, get on the couch.
Train Your Puppy to Bark - Yes, this will actually help. Train your puppy to bark on command. Hold a treat up to your chin and say "Speak!" When your puppy speaks, reward him. Next, say "Whisper!" in a very soft voice and reward when your pup figures out how to lower his voice. When he barks on his own, use the "Whisper!" command.
Train Your Puppy Not to Bark - Now you can train your puppy not to bark. Start with "Speak!" then command "Whisper!" and, finally, say "Quiet!" in an even softer voice. Most puppies will find this exercise fun and will easily figure out what you want him to do. Be sure to praise and reward whenever he accomplishes a command.
One of the most frequent reasons dogs are given up to shelters is excessive barking. This is sad considering that we can easily fix this problem. It's also ironic since it's often our own behavior that is causing it.
Lack of a human Alpha in the household confuses a dog and makes him think he is responsible for protection. We encourage barking when it's fun and then wonder why they continue later. We leave our dogs alone all day and wonder why they get bored and bark. And incorrect training exacerbates the problem. Yet, some view this problem as entirely the dog's fault. And we all know it's (usually) unfair to blame it on the dog!
Advice from Other Dog Owners
Start Training Your Puppy Right Away
Even though the old saying goes, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks," in reality you can start training a dog at any age - if the dog is nine weeks, nine months, or nine years old.
Even if you bring home a very young puppy, training and working on wanted behaviors starts immediately after the dog comes home with you. You would start teaching the dog to recognize her name and get her used to a set schedule of when you go outside, when she's fed, when it's time for walks and when it's time for bed time. Even playtime can be training - you're teaching her what she can and cannot play with, not to bite your hands, and rules for your games (such as, when you bite me, the game ends).
Formal training, such as sit, down, and come, can be started at a very young age as well. It's never too early to "shape" behaviors using positive rewards. A good time to enroll into a class is around 6 months old - puppy class.
~Chris & Brian C., owner of German Shepherd
Dealing with a Puppy That Chews Everything in Sight
Try offering your puppy a variety of chew toys. Notice the texture and softness of what he usually chooses to chew on (that he's not supposed to chew on) and try to pick a toy with that texture and softness. But don't get any toys shaped like any of the inappropriate items he chews. Dogs don't know the different between a chew toy shaped like a shoe and a real shoe.
Also, redirect the behavior. It's very simple to do this. All you need to do is when you see him chewing inappropriate items, show him the chew toy and encourage him to chew that instead. Praise and richly reward him for chewing the right things. Whenever he chews the wrong things, just redirect.
~Tiffany C., owner of Papillon mix
Tips on Housebreaking a Puppy
The best thing I found was crate-training at night, and when you're away from home. I didn't keep my dog crated when I was home with him, I locked him in the kitchen the first week, staying in there to play with him. On the second week we slowly let him have more freedom in the house.
We were always watching, and after all activity (sleeping, eating, playing) took him out right away. I took him out as much as every 15-30 minutes. We took him out the same door always, out to the same spot (by a big field we have beside our yard), said 'go potty, go potty' (he's 2 now, and still goes to the same area to poop) and petted/praised like crazy when he did (good BOY, good potty!) Then right back inside....no playing right after potty. If we played, it was inside, then back out to play, so he'd 'get it' that that trip out was for potty alone. When you pair whatever words (like "go potty") to the action, I think it helps...and he'd go potty on command after awhile. That's nice when you're getting ready to go somewhere in the car, and need him to go!
If he had accidents when in the crate, I never scolded...never. Just cleaned everything up. Nature's Miracle worked wonders for me; it cleans spots and odors great. We would never rub the puppy's nose in it if there were accidents in the house. That's what worked for me.
~Donna C., owner of Labrador Retriever
Training Your Puppy to Sleep Through the Night
My trainer told me that puppies can usually hold it longer during the night, when they are sleeping.
If your pup is waking up and crying to go out at night, you might try pushing her potty breaks back a little. If she normally wakes up at 12, wait an hour, then take her out at 1. If shes fine with that, push it back another hour, til 2, and so on. That's what I did with my dog and it worked well and quickly. Instead of taking her out at 5, I'd wait til 5:30. Then 6, then 6:30, etc. She was sleeping through the night by 12 weeks or so (but I'm sure every pup is different).
~Dana S., owner of German Shorthaired Pointer