Keeping Your Cool
Puppies (and dogs) are experts at reading body language. They are all too aware of when you are upset. There will be times when your dog will do things that greatly upset you. If you fly off the handle at every incident, she will come to think of you as unpredictable, which is not reassuring for a dog. The stress you put on her will come out as excess chewing, nipping, excitement, and possibly even aggressive behavior. Read the behavior and training chapters for more information, but try to remember that she is a pup (or a dog), and accidents happen. Get help. Give yourself a time out to cool off. Understand and appreciate that you, your pup, and your family are going through a major transition. Anyone who said this would be fun and easy is wrong — it is hard, it is tiring, and it will be full of ups and downs. Enjoy the ups, and do your best to cope with the downs.
Time goes by so quickly, and soon the puppy months will be behind you — and when they're gone you'll probably wish they were back. If you're really at your wit's end, bring in a qualified trainer as soon as possible. You owe it to your puppy. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers is one place to start. Go to their website to find a trainer near you (www.apdt.com) or call them at 1-800-PET-DOGS. Another is the International Association of Canine Professionals. The IACP's list of recommended trainers can be found at www.dogpro.org. Or, better still, ask your veterinarian for referrals to the best trainers in town.