Puppy Warning !


Over the past couple years I am seeing more and more people who want a Keeshond puppy but have not really thought it through. I have had a few puppies returned to me over the years for training issues and it really is not fair to the puppy to have to be re-homed due to an owner’s lack of commitment or incomplete understanding of the time and effort involved in raising a puppy into a happy, well-mannered adult dog.

The truth is that no matter how well prepared you are, how “ideal” your lifestyle or circumstances, a new puppy will ALWAYS be much more work, take much more of your time, than you have anticipated. This truth cannot be understated. Much like a new baby, a puppy will for the first weeks and months in your home touch nearly every aspect of daily life, from sleeping schedules, to cleaning and housework, to seriously restricted leisure time. The reward for all this work on the front end is many years of love and devotion from your adult canine companion.

Keeshonden are known for their bark. They bark a lot, they bark at leaves, the wind, new toys, strange people, their food bowl, the cat, the other dog, the neighbors in their yard, you when you go into your yard, cars going down the road, lawn mowers starting up, birds flying over…….get the picture??? Keeshonden are notorious for the “alarm bark” and it is bred into them much as herding is bred into border collies. It is natural to them and they are just going to do it. If you do not like barking puppies/dogs rethink buying a keeshond! I have owned many of them over the years and my biggest comfort is I never have to wonder if someone has just pulled up the drive, I know because I have 10 barking dogs letting me know that someone is pulling up the driveway. Now for the most part they do not bark in the house…unless the doorbell rings, or they are board, or they want another dog’s toy, or they want your sandwich…….but when they are outside all bets are off. Their job is to alert and I personally am OK with that as that is exactly what I want them to do. There are cases where inside Keeshonden also bark a lot but I believe with proper discipline they can be taught that it is not acceptable to do that IF the owner is willing to teach them that. Keeshonden are very vocal dogs and many “talk” throughout the day just to hear themselves talk. 99% of the time it is quite comical and if anything will keep owners easily amused but there are also people who do not find this amusing rather more annoying. For those people PLEASE DO NOT BUY A KEESHOND. Pretty simple right, Keeshonden are known for their bark, do not be shocked by this when you bring home puppy. If you want a dog that does not bark buy a Basenji certainly not a Keeshond.

Training is a completely separate issue. Puppies must be taught right from wrong. They need to be taught not to bite. Biting in puppies is natural and very common. Puppies bite, they jump and scratch and bite some more. If you have children in the house your puppy will bite the children in play, and especially when they get over stimulated, which normally happens when they play with children. Parents must supervise children when playing with puppies at all times, firstly to control the puppy, and secondly to control the child. Children can get very rough with puppies and hurt them and puppies can bite children in play and hurt them. Puppies are much like babies, everything goes in the mouth and in most cases they bite whatever goes in the mouth. So, please expect that biting IS in fact going to be an issue for the first year of your puppy’s life. How you correct that is up to you and it can be corrected long before the first birthday but again only if you commit to training puppy not to bite.

Puppies also need to be house trained and this is NOT even remotely similar to litter training a cat. Keep this in mind: Puppies will pee about every 5-15 minutes when they are eight weeks old. All puppies develop at different rates. The more time that goes by, the longer the puppy can hold their urine but house training can take weeks if not months, depending on what your work schedule is. The more at home time you have to devote to new puppy, the quicker they will learn. If you work away from home five days a week, expect house training to take longer. Many times while you are cleaning potty mess #1 you turn around and puppy is making potty mess #2! This is normal. Puppies potty a lot and until they are about 16 weeks old many will continue to need to potty very frequently. House training can be frustrating and seem like no progress is being made. It can take some people months to fully house train a puppy. Some do it much quicker. The housetraining timeline depends on how much time you commit to training the puppy and how much time you can be home with them the first few months.

Another issue I frequently see is a lack of consistency among household members with discipline and household puppy rules. If the house rules say “no puppy on the couch” that means “no puppy on the couch one hundred percent of the time.” It does not mean: “OH well, when Dad is gone Mom lets puppy on the couch to snuggle!” Everyone in the home must know what the puppy rules are, what commands you will be using for which behaviors and all members in the house need to use them in exactly the same way. To do otherwise will lead to a confused puppy who does not understand boundaries, aka an unhappy puppy/dog, not to mention very unhappy owners. Be willing to have several family meetings before you bring home your puppy to discuss your expectations. Make a plan for discipline and commands BEFORE puppy comes so all family members are on board.


If one family member wants a puppy and the other does not, if a child wants a dog and the parents are reluctant, if every member of the family is not wholeheartedly pro puppy and the family still gets a puppy…you are signing up for trouble. Successful training requires that every family member be engaged in the process. Otherwise training results will be anywhere from inefficient all the way to ineffective for the one committed trainer, not to mention very hard on the little puppy. If everyone in the home does not want a puppy, PLEASE DO NOT BUY A PUPPY. Whatever reasons someone in the home may have for not wanting a puppy will not necessarily change just because you bring home a cute little puppy. Trust me. I have seen this more than once. Everyone must want the puppy and everyone must be a part of training. There is no way around this.

Bringing a puppy home will demand most of your waking free time. A puppy is a constant presence which requires constant attention and consistent discipline. You cannot play with your puppy for twenty minutes, then put him away until you feel like playing again. Your puppy will require your full attention pretty much all the time you are there with them. Many of the behavioral issues new puppy owners encounter are common and will continue for the next several months. Biting, jumping, lunging, barking, chewing your things, destroying furniture, house trim, carpet. These are all things that can happen and will happen, especially if you leave a little puppy alone all day while you go off to work. Just expect puppy to get into trouble. It is going to happen. The key to avoiding some of this is threefold: Have a puppy management plan in place before you bring your puppy home; Have a plan for training and disciplining your new puppy; decide how you will manage your puppy and its needs while you are away from home.

I get so many emails asking why is my puppy biting, or chewing the furniture, etc. I cannot stress enough that this is a puppy and this is pretty much what puppies do for the first year of life. It is up to owners to train them to be respectful members of the household. Puppies do not come pre-trained at 8 weeks old. That part is up to owners and if you struggle at any point, I always suggest getting help immediately. Do not put it off. Many times I have seen owners unknowingly creating and even worsening issues with their puppies. Good intentions do not guarantee success. If you do not gain control of your new puppy, it will gain control over you. I have seen wonderful puppies become unruly puppies only because the owners did not engage, address the issues, and apply the needed corrections. The longer you let this go the more issues you will see, and in some cases it snowballs until the owners just cannot handle their puppies. Having a trained instructor helping you learn how to control, correct and train your puppy really is the best thing you can do for yourself and your puppy.

Please expect to attend puppy obedience training as part of puppy ownership. If you do not have previous experience training a puppy, make this a mandatory part of the process. Most of the time you can find very affordable obedience classes. Check with your local Humane Society for resources, especially AKC certified puppy and Canine Good Citizen classes. Alternatively, you can have personal trainers come to your home, at your convenience, for reasonable prices. Plan for this training when you are looking for your new puppy. I would advise locating puppy classes prior to bringing your puppy home and to enroll your puppy for several sets of classes. Keeshonds in particular are highly intelligent, trainable, and thoroughly enjoy learning and performing. Classes are a great socialization experience for your puppy. In addition, classes can be very reassuring for owners who are struggling, allowing them to see that everyone is dealing with the same perfectly normal, common puppy issues.

I think we all have the same end goal, to have a happy well-adjusted puppy grow into a well-mannered, respectful adult. Please do not have unrealistic expectations when you bring your puppy home. Puppies require a “ton” of work and will occupy owners and family members for several months while they are training and guiding their new puppies. The proper investment of time and energy in the first year will reward you with many years of carefree companionship.

ERBEKEES-KEESHONDEN 433 Gunter Hollow RD Fayetteville, TN. 37334 931-557-8884 or 814-691-4902