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nath36
03-22-2005, 09:35 PM
I just got my shih tzu puppy a month ago and so far training is going as well as can be for a 14 week pup. She's a very good puppy but I sometimes feel like she's sad. She won't play with her toys unless I play with her and she won't eat when I feed her. I leave the food out and she eventually eats it when I'm not home....but when I'm home she just wants to play with me. When I ignore her she barks at me and starts gnawing on whatever she can get her teeth on (mainly my clothes etc). And then the whole nipping problem begins. If I ignore her long enough she'll just sit and stare at me and then go sulk. I feel really bad. I get in a good 3 hours of playtime with her a day....is this enough? Is she depressed? maybe this is normal....but I'm trying to do everything right by this puppy and I want to make sure.....or maybe I'm spoiling her too much? help...

petsalive
03-30-2005, 12:00 PM
It sounds like you don't know too much about puppy behavior - is this your first doggy companion?

Of course she is going to want to play with you when you come home. She is HAPPY to see you and no normal dog would want to eat instead of greet its 'mom'. She is playing in a normal way for a puppy - ALL puppies nip and this behavior needs to be modified SLOWLY - NOT by ignoring her but by praising her when she is being good. If you yell at her for nipping, after she has been alone for long periods, she is going to Mistake your 'yelling' for attention and ANY attention is wanted by a lonely puppy. SHE doesn't know what 'ignoring' her means - she is only a baby. She needs human companionship and time to grow up with real training, not with silly responses like ignoring her - she is not a child that you can talk to and have her understand what you are saying. She just thinks that you don't like her when you ignore her and she DOESN'T make the connection between what you are doing to her and her 'nippiness'. She needs safe toys like hard rubber kongs (they make them in small sizes) to 'nip at'. But YOU need to teach her how to play with them instead of your legs and hands.

I really believe you need to go to puppy kindergarten with her so that you will BOTH learn how to act. I am not criticizing you just trying to let you know that if you want a well behaved dog you need to learn what the proper 'human' responses are too. Otherwise you will 'raise' a biting, unhappy dog instead of a well loved and well behaved companion.