A puppy’s temperament is somewhat predetermined by the genes that he or she inherits from his parents and grandparents. Well-bred labradoodles and goldendoodles should be happy and content if properly cared for, with a playful attitude and a trustful nature. Even the best-tempered puppy can change temperament if care is not taken to handle him properly.
Especially during the time between 6 weeks and the time he or she reaches your home, we will spend a lot of time socializing the pup and helping him to learn to be a dog among humans. He will be exposed to people who come to visit, especially to children. He will take walks on a lead and feel grass under his feet. He will have toys to play with and spend some time alone in his crate to learn to be without his family. His house training will begin and his natural instincts will teach him to keep his home unsoiled.
The new owner needs to follow through on the lessons begun at his first home. Exposure to new situations and new people will continue. It is up to the new owner to see to it that these are enjoyable experiences. A puppy may seem aloof when he first sees a new human. The human should get down on his level and let the pup come to him rather than to grab up the pup. This is especially true when the new human is a child. Sudden moves can be scary, even to a mild mannered puppy.
Children should also be taught that the crate is the pup’s private place and that a puppy that goes into the crate on his own to rest should be allowed to do so. A puppy must never be disturbed while he is eating and some owners may find it practical to place the puppy in the crate with the food bowl. This allows him to eat undisturbed and enhances his feeling that the crate is his personal den.
One of the best things you can do for a new dog, puppy or adult, is to enroll him in an obedience class. Puppies can be enrolled in Puppy Kindergarten classes as early as 3 months of age, if they have had their shots. Obedience training for older pups and adults starts as early as 6 months. Look for a class that uses positive reinforcement and not punishment in its training.
Positive reinforcement is the method of choice in teaching your at home. When the dog is doing the correct thing, whether it is eliminating outside or quietly greeting visitors at the door (i.e., not barking and not jumping on them), offer praise and possibly a tiny treat (a single piece of his kibble). For the dog that is fearful, the worst thing you can do is to pick him up and cuddle him while he is acting afraid. This is telling him that he is doing a good thing by being afraid. Try instead to teach him something else to do, such as a “sit” or a “down” or “stay”. These are all taught in obedience and puppy kindergarten classes. Whenever he is doing something that is a good thing, let him know it by praising him to the extreme with lots of “Good boys” or “Good girls” along with an occasional single piece of kibble as a treat.
You will notice that the term “a single piece of food” is used often. Overfeeding a dog is never good so use a portion of his normal kibble allotment for the day in your training sessions instead of adding treats to his diet.
Teasing a puppy has caused many a happy pup to become a biter or to be fearful of humans. Teasing can be taking away a toy that the pup is enjoying, it can be interfering with eating, pinching or poking at him or any other physical annoyance. Young children are especially prone to sticking fingers in those big dark eyes or pulling on the fluffy ears. They see the pup as another stuffed toy – much to the discomfort of the poor pup!
Tug toys are not a great item for a small dog for several reasons. They teach the dog to defend himself in an aggressive way and they can ruin a young dog’s bite by displacing the jaw or pulling teeth out of proper alignment. Tug toys are a part of training for attack dogs!
Chasing a dog appears aggressive to the dog and will teach him to run away from you. If you chase the pup, he will continue to run, either from fear or thinking it is a game. Running away from your puppy is not a good game either. The only time to run from a puppy is if it gets away from you. Run away from the pup that is loose and run toward a safe area, preferably one that is fenced and away from the street. Better yet, drop to your knees and call him toward you. Call his name and do so in a friendly (and not in a mean) voice. A higher pitched voice is considered friendly to a dog while a deep voice is used to correct mistakes. Again obedience training will help avoid these situations because a trained dog will come, sit, go down or stay upon command.
With the information provided, we hope you are off to a good start in creating a happy puppy that will fit into your family with ease. The Bichon is bred to be a companion animal and his family will mean everything to him and he to you. His world will be safer, your relationship better and his security greater with the proper socialization and training.