Your Pet Question:
How can I stop my Great Pyrenees puppy from jumping and nipping at my kids while they are outside playing? The dog is usually quite far from me and runs away when I approach to correct the behaviour.
Adam Fraser, Northwest Territories
The Expert Says:
This is completely natural behaviour for a puppy. Life is just a big game to them, but it’s up to us to teach them the rules! We need to instruct them what is acceptable and what is not. As a rule, dogs should never be left alone with children, especially puppies and young children, so one of the easiest ways to get control is to always have your pet on a leash when around your kids. When the adult sees the puppy getting over stimulated they should redirect the puppy’s attention to an appropriate toy. Also teach the puppy to sit and calm down before he gets treats. Another option is to give him a quick time-out by standing still and ignoring the puppy until it stops jumping up. Follow this with a treat or toy and lots of praise. Once you know you can control your dog’s behaviour, even from afar, you can give him more freedom to run and play with the family.
Miranda G Bourque is a veterinarian working at Foothills Animal Hospital in Okotoks, Alberta.