4 common new puppy problems you may be experiencing
February 3, 2021
If you’ve recently got a puppy and are finding things tough, don’t despair as you’re not alone. It’s really common for new puppy owners to face challenges in the early months. Here’s four common new puppy problems that you may be experiencing.
My puppy keeps peeing in the house
As young puppies have tiny bladders they need to pee and poo often. In the early weeks it may seem like your puppy is peeing every few minutes, giving you very little time to get them out the back door and into the garden. Don’t despair – accidents in the house with a new puppy are normal, even when you are being super vigilant. It can take several months to toilet train your puppy, with no accidents in the house during the day or night.
- Read our guide to puppy toilet training.
When your puppy pees in the house you need to use the right cleaning product to get rid of the smell. Regular household cleaning products that contain ammonia should be avoided. This is because your puppy’s pee contains ammonia, so using an ammonia-based cleaning product will just make it worse. The smell of ammonia will also attract your puppy to pee again in the same spot. This can hamper your toilet training efforts.
Instead, use an enzyme cleaner to get rid of all traces of your puppy’s pee. If you are feeling creative you can make your own using vinegar and baking soda. Alternatively you can buy online, or from a pet shop, a specially formulated product designed to tackle pet odours*.
My puppy cries at night
Did anyone warn you that you can say goodbye to a good night’s sleep when you become a puppy parent? For the first few months anyway. Just like a baby, your puppy won’t sleep through the night for a while and they will cry at night.
A common question among new puppy owners is ‘should I leave my puppy to cry at night?’ Just like human parenting, there are different schools of thought on how to resolve this new puppy problem. Understanding why your puppy is crying at night can help you to make the right decision.
Your puppy will have been used to living with their mum and litter mates before coming to live with you. This means that your puppy won’t be used to sleeping on their own. They will be relying on you for comfort.
Many new puppy parents find it helpful during the first few weeks to have their puppy in their bedroom at night. That way your puppy will know that you are close by and this may help them to feel less anxious. If you are crate training your puppy, you can place the crate in your bedroom.
Secondly, your puppy may be crying at night to let you know that they want to go to the toilet. When they are young, puppies need to go to the toilet often. It takes a few months before they are dry through the night. Responding to your puppy’s cries if they need to go to the toilet is important for two reasons. First, puppies can become anxious if they have to go to the toilet where they are sleeping. Secondly, it can create bad habits in your puppy and slow down the toilet training process.
- Read our guide on getting puppies to sleep
My puppy chews everything
It’s normal behaviour for dogs to chew. Puppies chew as a way of soothing sore gums when teething. Adult dogs enjoy chewing because it helps to release endorphins which make them feel happy.
It’s good for your puppy to have something to chew on, but not so good if this happens to be your favourite shoes or a leg of the dining room table! Stock up on a selection of things that your puppy can chew. Dental sticks and rawhide chews can be great for puppies to get their teeth into. You can also buy chew toys. Just make sure these are made from good quality hard rubber and won’t fall apart after one chew. Chew toys like Kongs*, which you can fill with something tasty like cream cheese, are great for keeping puppies happy and entertained.
- Read our guide to puppy teething and biting
My puppy cries when I leave the house
You may have noticed that your puppy follows you everywhere you go – even to the toilet. This is because they are social animals. They not only love company, but they can also get anxious when left alone. Your puppy will want to make sure that you are close by at all times.
Your puppy’s dependence on you will lessen as your puppy grows. However, in the early months you may find it challenging to do simple things like popping to the shops or doing the school run without having your puppy in tow.
- Read our guide to leaving puppies alone
In the early weeks and months with your new puppy, consider recruiting a willing friend or family member to puppy sit when you need a break. If you work, think about using a dog sitter or book your pup into doggy day care.
To prevent your puppy crying when you leave the house, you will need to teach them that it’s OK to be left alone. This should be done gradually so that your puppy gets used to being apart from you.
- Read our guide to training dogs to be left alone
In summary, the early months as a puppy parent can be stressful and exhausting. But as you settle into a routine, most new puppy problems will soon pass.
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