I often hear from puppy owners who are frustrated with their puppies. The nipping, the chewing, the barking, the crying (er, the puppy’s), eliminating in the house; sometimes it is all too much. How can you stop it? How do you make your – barely – beloved family member behave tolerably? Sometimes it is helpful to view the world from another point of view, in this case, the puppy’s.
While you have had enough, and are very frustrated, the puppy might also be (forgive me) at the end of his leash. Alone all day, crated night and day, scolded for bodily functions, punished for the perfectly natural behavior of chewing, yelled at for mouthing your family members, the puppy might be acting out his frustrations.
If your puppy does not get enough exercise, enough social interaction, enough play time, he will be . . . HORRIBLE! Your puppy needs a walk everyday. After all, how crazy would you be if you never left the house and yard? For young puppies, the walk can be very short, but should occur daily. Even if you are tired, even if you are busy. You can walk the dog yourself, or hire a dog walker to do it for you. Puppies need to have social interaction with you and other family members each day. The younger your puppy, the more time you must spend with him. You can substitute doggy day care for a small amount of social time. Doggy daycare should provide supervised interaction with other canines and the human staff.
Scolding your puppy for normal puppy behaviors (ok, undesirable, but normal) might make you feel better – momentarily – but will greatly increase your puppy’s frustration, and thus amplify his naughty behavior. Puppy eliminates in the house? Take him outside more often. If you punish for eliminating in the house, the puppy will learn to be sneaky. Puppy nips your fingers and hands? Keep your fingers and hands away from the puppy’s mouth. Use big toys for the puppy to bite, while he avoids your hands. When your puppy chews things you would rather keep in one piece, provide him with an appropriate chewing object.
It takes time and effort to raise a puppy. It takes LOTS of patience to raise a puppy. Be prepared to guide your puppy with kindness and gentleness. Yelling and throwing things will not help your puppy chose the correct behavior, it will only make him afraid to be a dog.
Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed
DogS Gone Good