In puppies, bad habits are often simply a matter of doing what comes naturally. That’s why it’s hard for the pet owner to recognize the beginning of bad behavior, and even harder to be firm and consistent about correcting it. But those merry little ways can become a pain in the neck all too soon, and it’s much easier to prevent bad habits from getting started than to break them later.
Here are some common puppy ploys to watch for, and to correct:
This is puppy’s joyful way of greeting, and he can be very appealing as he dances on his hind legs, his little paws flailing awkwardly until they land on your knees or nylons. Don’t be beguiled and don’t let your friends encourage him because jumping up will become a very annoying habit as he gets older.
The classic way to break it is to raise your knee just as he jumps so that he’ll bump into it and lose his balance. Another method is to step firmly (but not hard enough to hurt)on his hind feet.
If you have a very stubborn dog, simply catch his paws and upset him. These methods are effective with fairly large pups; with smaller ones, grab the front paws and place them on the ground as you sternly scold “No!” or “Down!”.
It’s a dog’s nature to sound an alert at approaching danger, but if he persists after you’ve told him to stop he may become a habitual barker. You must not let this happen in a crowded world where people and their pets occupy close quarters, noisy dogs are a major social nuisance.
One beleaguered family became so irritated with a neighborhood dog’s nighttime cacophony that they made a tape of his incessant barking and played it back to his owners, full volume. In some cities, you’re liable to a fine if your dog disturbs the peace with habitual barking.
The time to attack the problem is during puppy-hood; the barking habit can be a tough one to break in the adult dog. Let puppy sound his warning signals for a few seconds, then reassure him with a few calming words (“It’s all right, Andy”). He’s done his job, and you’ve responded. If he continues to bark excitedly, speak directly to him with a commanding “Quiet!” If he still doesn’t get the idea, demonstrate by holding his mouth closed for a moment.
Remember that you’re teaching, not punishing, so don’t further excite him by yelling or hitting him. If he doesn’t respond, douse him in the face with a little water as you command “Quiet!” This is effective shock treatment, but usually necessary only in extreme cases, when a pup is in a frenzy of barking. A few lessons like this, consistently applied, will do the trick with almost all dogs.
If your pet still seems to be developing the barking habit, look for the cause. Is he nervous? Nervous puppies need lots of love and reassurance. Don’t bark excitedly back at him; he may think you sense danger, too. Is he underexercised?
Highly energetic and aggressive breeds need lots of activity and playtime. Is he lonely? Dogs that are alone too much sometimes bark out of boredom. If you can’t spend more time with him, a second animal – another dog, a cat, even a bird – may serve as a quieting companion.
[Image 2] Source: https://www.thespruce.com/puppy-barking-2804577
You can train your puppy to stay alone in the home without barking. Put him in a room with some of his toys and say “Quiet.” Then shut the door and go away, far enough that he doesn’t catch your scent. If he starts to howl or bark, go back immediately and scold him sternly.
Usually, verbal punishment is enough, but if he begins his commotion when you leave again, bang loudly on the door as you say “No” or “Quiet.” After ten minutes of silence, let him out and be sure to praise him for his good behavior. Repeat this exercise many times, gradually increasing the period you stay away. But don’t be gone too long, or he’ll get anxious.
Use the same training, with slight variations, if the puppy is a backyard dog. Pound loudly on his kennel roof or on the back door to shock him into silence, and use the water treatment if he persists.
Puppy should learn two simple lessons from this training: that he is expected to be quiet when he is alone, and that you will always come back and praise him for good conduct. Don’t ever let him down on your part of the contract.
Puppies chew on everything – even people. It’s perfectly natural when you or the children romp and play with your pup, for him to get overexcited and sink his teeth into pant legs and socks. You’d better correct him; he might start sinking them into flesh.
If he starts growling and nipping during play, stop immediately. Hold him in place or lift him off the ground, look directly at him, and give him a firm and quieting scolding. Then make up with him and start your game again. If he starts getting too rough, stop again and speak to him sternly to slow him down. But don’t get angry or overexcited yourself; playtime and even a little roughhousing are natural and good for young animals. You simply want to curb the overly aggressive behavior.
“Stay” is one of the commands you will teach your dog when you begin formal obedience training. You can give him a preschool lesson in this by teaching him to sit quietly when you’re preparing his dinner. His natural impulse, of course, is to dash for the food bowl the instant you put it down.
Say “No” or “Stay,” hold him in place for a moment or two, and then say “All right, Andy” as his signal to go. Do this consistently at morning and evening meal time. He’s learning an important lesson here: to sit quietly until you, the leader, give him the signal to move.
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Imad LB is the founder of Howpup.com. 36-year-old, entrepreneur, dog lover and passionate blogger.
He loves to write about dog behavior, health issues, dog tips, and advice.