There are three main issues that you may face with your puppy. It's important to work on these issues as soon as possible.
All three of those can be extremely frustrating to deal with if you aren't sure how to handle them properly. The good news is that there are solutions.
A puppy's bark is sharp and powerful. It can certainly hinder the tranquility in your home. If you handle it right, it will only last for a short period, but if you make a few common mistakes, it can be hard to stop your pup from barking.
When you get a chance, you will want to read over our blog post on what to do when your pup is barking.
For now, just know the number one rule: don't reinforce or reward your pup for barking.
Biting/nipping is the next main issue that people face with their puppies. It's important to understand that up until this point in your pup's life, it has been surrounded by littermates that love biting all over each other. This is one way puppies play with each other.
With that in mind, don't let it surprise you when your puppy nips at your ankles or your hands. Puppy teeth are sharp, though! You can handle this well and set you and your puppy up for success.
What do you do when your pup starts biting?
There are a few things that you can do, but the best way to stop a puppy from biting is actually preventing the biting.
Generally, the biting starts very subtlely. At this point, it's not too big of a deal, and you can simply redirect your pup's attention elsewhere. That will only work for so long, though.
Eventually, your pup will want to come back and try nipping at you again. When this happens, you may want to try rolling your pup's lips over its teeth, so that it is biting itself instead of you. Again, this will only work for so long.
At a certain point, your pup will most likely become more rambunctious. When this happens, it's not going to matter what you do; the pup will continue to bite. It's time for the pup to take a nap. You can either place it in the puppy playpen or put it in its crate.
Now, I want to clarify this: you are not trying to punish your pup for biting. In the litter, before pups go to bed, they like to play with each other and wrestle. It never fails... one minute, multiple puppies are running around biting each other, and then within a few minutes, they are all lying down asleep next to each other.
Understand that your puppy is normal and it's ok for them to get a little rambunctious. It just means that your pup is probably ready for a nap.
How to Train a Puppy Not to Bite
This brings us to the last and most effective way to handle biting, which is prevention. Your pup can't bite you if it's not able to. That is why the crate and the puppy playpen are going to be very important early on in your pup's life. Anytime your pup is getting too unruly, it may be the perfect time for your puppy to take a nap!
The best way to stop biting is to prevent it.
A Common Mistake with Biting
One of the mistakes that puppy gundog owners make when it comes to biting is giving the pup a toy to redirect their attention. As far as helping eliminate biting goes, toys work very well! However, there are unintended consequences that accompany toys. We don't recommend giving your puppy any toys to play with at free will.
If you are going to give your pup something to chew on, make sure that it isn't a squeaky toy. A kong or a dental chew is ideal. For more information, you can check out our post about toys we recommend.
At seven weeks old, it might not seem like a big deal if your pup jumps on you. It actually might seem cute! But...
If you fast forward a few months down the road, your young pup won't be so small anymore. Jumping is a habit that you don't want to get started. In fact, how to stop a dog from jumping is best done by teaching your puppy to stop jumping.
It's important to understand that the things that your young pup is doing now will be the things that it does as it grows. It's up to you to change it. If you allow your puppy to jump now, it will jump when it's big.
How to Train a Dog Not to Jump
Your pup is going to jump, and when it does, you need to be able to stop it. You can...
Stepping away and ignoring will teach your pup that it is not okay to jump on you. The reason it teaches your pup is that you are neither reinforcing or rewarding this behavior. This a great tactic to start with, but it will only last so long. Pups are persistent, so you will have to be persistent too.
Once your pup is big enough, the next phase/step you can take is to hold up your knee, and as your pup jumps, it will bump into your knee. Your pup will only do this so many times before it decides that it isn't fun to jump anymore.
Just to be clear, you are letting your pup bump into you. You are not hitting the pup with your knee.
Another point of caution to add here is that you should only do this on a soft surface. Sometimes, if the pup has enough momentum, it can cause the pup to fall backward. With that in mind, it is safe only to do this on a soft surface like grass or carpet.
Holding up your knee will only work for so long. Again, pups are incredibly persistent and often become rambunctious as they grow tired. As your pup starts to get more excited with jumping, just know that putting your pup in the crate/playpen is an incredible option. This will prevent jumping altogether.
Now, you know how to stop your dog from jumping on people.
What about the furniture?
If you plan to keep your dog off the furniture, start as soon as possible.
It's easy to make the mistake of letting your puppy get away with things that you wouldn't allow if it were a big dog. Avoid this mistake. It will undoubtedly be much harder to fix later rather than now.
With that in mind, don't encourage your pup to get on the furniture.
If the pup does jump, say, "NO," and move it off the furniture. You will likely want to move also because your pup will probably come right back to where you are sitting and try again.
Have I mentioned nap time enough? As you go through the process of telling your pup "NO" to keep it off the furniture, it will only work for so long. As your pup grows tired, it will become even more persistent. At this point, it's a perfect time to put it in the crate/playpen for a nap.
Be persistent, and understand, this is a phase that your pup is going through.
The puppy stage is an exciting stage and a trying stage of the retriever training journey. Your job as a dog owner is to be very patient and persistent at the same time.
If you follow the advice in the post, then before you know it, your dog will understand what you want it to do and not do.
If you've checked out all the blogs in this series so far, then your next step is to learn about Early Retrieving! There's a little more to it than you might think.