60–63 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Puppy
How to Navigate the Bad "Treats" Your Puppy Finds on Walks
Do you go on walks with your puppy only to spend a great deal of time jerking his head back from the ground? Does your puppy find cigarette butts, used chewing gum, and dog vomit equally enticing? If so, it's time to stop your puppy's grazing. Puppies at this age are enjoying the full development of their senses. Their strongest sense is smell and, even though it's related to taste, it's even stronger than that. So, he's attracted to stinky items and, when he finds one, he hopes the next will be just as good even if it's not as smelly.
Noticing the signs that your puppy is ready to dive can help prevent the problem. Usually, your puppy will go from a relaxed "Heel!" to a sudden plunge which can make it difficult. Noticing what is on the ground can also be helpful but it's impossible to watch the ground constantly.
How to Prevent Your Puppy from Being Tempted
Bring Along a Toy - A squeaky toy works very well to distract your puppy.
Avoid Areas with Food - This includes blocks with restaurants on them or behind them, areas behind an office building, some parks, and schools.
Avoid Overhanging Fronts - Often, people will smoke under an overhang on a building leaving their cigarette butts behind.
Avoid Trash Bins - Often, apartment houses will have a large trash bin out back and sometimes the trash doesn't make it to the bin.
Bring Treats - Bring your puppy's favorite treats on walks to tempt him away from trash.
Leave It - Work on the command "Leave It," which teaches your puppy not to pick up an object.
How to Stop a Diving Dog
There are some subtle signs that your puppy is getting ready to go for that piece of gum on the ground. He'll turn his head sharply to look at the "prey." Then, he'll rear up slightly and turn in the direction of the goodie. You can feel this as well as see it. At that point, a firm but gentle jerk on the collar will redirect his attention as will a low pitched "Heel!" or "Leave It!"
If your puppy does get into something, it's imperative to get it out of his mouth if you can. Teach your puppy the "Drop It!" command and be ready to stick your hand in his mouth if he doesn't drop it immediately. Practice getting your puppy used to having your hand in his mouth at home to avoid accidental biting. If your puppy looks up at you angelically and swallows the object, try not to worry. Do look for any signs of illness later such as diarrhea, vomiting, fever, or lethargy and take him to the vet if these show up. It's tough to understand why a dog finds vomit tasty but then again they probably are stymied at our penchant for caviar.
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