Training a puppy

Over this past summer I got a little rat terrier puppy. She is adorable, but I cannot seem to break her of some of her bad habits.

She chews on everything. I have tried supplying her with chew toys of all different types, but she continues to chew. She’ll chew on the wooden legs of the furniture. Hell, she’ll chew a piece of paper into a million freakin pieces.

I also have been unsuccessful in training her not to crap in the house. I’ve tried scolding her and putting her in her kennel, or outside. But she just doesn’t seem to get it. Actually I think she does get it because she definitely acts like she did something wrong and knows it, even before I start getting on to her.

Oh yeah…and garbage digging. That one really pisses me off.

So, how do I train these bad habits out of my new puppy (she’s around 10 months to a year old) without resorting to smacking her. My other dogs learned quickly, but they are much much bigger and I wasn’t quite so hesitant to give them a little swat on the bottom to help them learn. She is just so darn small I’m afraid of swatting her.

Any ideas or suggestions are appreciated.

Thisshould help you with part of the problem. And quite cheaply.

Firstly, you have a dog, not a puppy. I mean, the animal is basically full grown and sexually mature. It is a dog.

Secondly, crate training is the way to go. Keep her in the crate anytime you are not directly observing/interacting with her. Do this for a month or so.

Thirdly, enroll in some group training classes. If you do not have the time or finances for this, give her to someone who does.

Housebreaking a dog is easy. Don’t punish bad behaviour, praise good behaviour.
A dog needs to be let out just when it’s waked up, after playing, eating or drinking. If you take it out right after one of these things, wait patiently for the dog to do its business and then praise it (yes, using that silly very happy voice), it’ll quickly learn. Of course, this also means being attentive to the dog’s needs.

As for chewing, I got good result smearing Sambal Oelek on stuff. When Buster was a pup, he quickly learned that chewing stuff other than things offered for the purpose was a bad idea. Very spicy/hot stuff is not something dogs like.

Great information. Thank you for the link.

Is there anything in particular I need to look for while looking for a class to sign up for? I believe my local Pet Smart has classes of some sort. I mean are they all basically the same? I know we also have local companies that you can leave your dog with for 2 weeks and they train them, but I am hesitant to go that route. I would prefer a class where I and the dog learn together, but I’m not sure if that is actually more beneficial from the dog’s stand point.

No help from me but I’ve also been interested in the PetSmart/Petco group training classes. My dog is very anti-social and insecure around strangers and other dogs and I’ve been thinking of enrolling her in one of the puppy classes. If you go this route please post your experience! :smiley:

I would look for a local group class. Word of mouth is often helpful in choosing. Obedience “clubs” are a good resource. I signed my daughter up to take her dog to the Westmoreland County Obedience Club and she had excellent results. Typically, lessons are an hour or so once a week for a total of 6 to 10 weeks. Basic Obedience is what you should investigate.

ETA: (Nothing specific against PetSmart, but I have no info +/- about them)

Training classes are fun and a great way to bond with your pet, but I’m not sure they are going to offer much help with your issues. The training classes I’ve been to focused on obedience training, not really much at all on house training. The classes are out ther but they often times are exclusively for puppies so you may have missed that window.

Some of these suggestions may help;

-Potty training
Make sure you are giving the dog plenty of opportunity to do her thing outside. That means you will have to take her for walks. Longer walks first thing in the morning, after meals, and before bed. Shorter trips plenty of times in between. If you are just letting the dog out on her own you are missing opportunities to reward her for going outside and if she’s very connected to you or another human inside the house she’s likely going to just wait near the door until you let her back inside. Dogs really enjoy walks and it’s good for your health too.

Make acceptable things to chew on available and give her a lot of variety to choose from. As soon as she begins to chew on something she should not (you’ll know because she is never left unattended with such temptations around) calmly interrupt the behavior and substitute a suitable chew toy. When she chews the toy, tell her what a good dog she is and rub her back. Offer her a really tasty chewie if necessary to get her attention off the chair leg or what.

The only fool proof method I’ve found to prevent a garbage raider from getting at the trash is to keep it in a location that’s inaccessible to the dog. Put child locks on cabinets or a heavy lid on the can. This is a hard one to train since it tends to happen when you are not at home. Providing adequate exercise may also help to reduce the occurances. If your dog has plenty of other outlets for her energy she may lose at least some interest in the trash.

I would strongly disagree. Obedience is obedience. Telling your dog to sit & stay and having the dog respond to the command is obedience. Telling the dog to only eliminate in a specific area is also obedience.

My point is that a training class for adult dogs may not include potty training as part of the curriculum. So methods for conditioning the dog to eliminate in a specified area may not be discussed. I’m sure there are some that do, but this something worth asking about before registering for a training class.


Place a bit of bacon grease or a hot dog in the bottom of the trash can. Inflate a balloon inside the trash can so that it jams in place. Put some papers or such over balloon. Leave room and wait for pup to teach himself to stay out of trash.

Don’t leave the house, you don’t want pup to overcome shock of balloon bursting and get to the good stuff. Also don’t wan’t pup eating balloon pieces.