Behavior problems can be an obstacle to bonding with your puppy, and addressing these issues early is the best way to ensure your new pet doesn’t develop bad habits. Our team at Pierson Pet Hospital wants to offer training techniques to help you prevent undesirable puppy conduct.
#1: Supervise your puppy
Puppies are inquisitive and tend to make mischief if not supervised appropriately. While your puppy is learning the rules of your home, they should be supervised at all times. Putting your puppy on a long, lightweight leash is a great way to keep them in sight and train them not to wander. This also can help you prevent them from chewing on forbidden objects. When your puppy starts to chew on an off-limits item, ensure you have an appropriate, safe chew toy to offer as a substitute.
#2: Crate train your puppy
Crate training gives your puppy their own space and helps them learn how to spend time alone. The crate can become their safe zone to relieve anxiety, and ensure they can’t be destructive when you can’t supervise them. In addition, crate training can aid in potty training since most puppies won’t eliminate in an area where they sleep. Steps to crate train your puppy include:
- Select the right crate — The crate should be large enough so your puppy can stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably, but not so large they can use one end for sleep and one end to eliminate. Adjustable crate dividers can be used to avoid purchasing an assortment of different size crates.
- Find the right spot — Your puppy’s crate should be in a location quiet enough so they can rest but not isolated from your household. A corner of your kitchen or living room is typically a good spot.
- Introduce the crate properly — Once you’ve set up your puppy’s crate, place treats and toys inside and let them investigate the crate, leaving the door open. You also can place clothing you have recently worn inside to help them feel more comfortable.
- Prepare your puppy for crate time — Before crating your puppy, have a vigorous play session and take them outside for a potty break. Initially, stay in sight when you close the crate door, but once they relax, you can go to another room to let them get used to being alone.
- Don’t crate your puppy too long — Crating your puppy for too long can force them to eliminate inside their crate, creating a negative association. Your puppy’s age in months is approximately how many hours they can be expected to go without eliminating. For instance, if your puppy is 4 months old, they most likely can hold their bladder for four hours.
#3: Be predictable when training your puppy
Having a predictable routine will help your puppy know when to expect feeding, walks and exercise, social bonding, playing and training, and sleeping. In addition, your responses to their behavior should be consistent so they don’t get confused. For instance, if you are trying to train your puppy not to jump on people by turning your back when they jump, everyone your puppy encounters must follow the rules and ignore them if they jump. Similarly, if you have a household rule that your puppy isn’t allowed on the couch, every family member must uphold this rule to avoid confusing them.
#4: Socialize your puppy
Properly socialized puppies are more likely to become well-adjusted and well-behaved adult dogs. While the first 12 to 16 weeks of a puppy’s life seem to be the most important time to learn about and adjust to their environment, socialization should continue beyond this. Socialization involves exposing your puppy to as many new encounters, experiences, sights, sounds, and smells as possible. These encounters reduce the risk that your puppy will develop fear and anxiety issues, and also reduce their risk of becoming aggressive.
#5: Play appropriately with your puppy
Provide numerous appropriate toys for your puppy to play with and chew. Puppies need enrichment to keep them mentally engaged, and new play experiences can help provide this enrichment. You can rotate their toys every few days to ensure they don’t get bored. In addition, schedule several short play sessions with your puppy throughout the day, and when playing with them, stop playing if they become overly aggressive or bite too hard. This will teach them that playtime ends if they are too aggressive. These play sessions also can be used to teach your puppy basic commands such as “come,” “sit,” “leave it,” and “stay.”
#6: Discipline your puppy properly
Punishment is not a good method to correct your puppy’s misbehavior. Physical or harsh verbal reprimands only serve to frighten your puppy and make them afraid of you. Undesirable behavior must be prevented or stopped in the act. They should not be allowed to perform an undesirable behavior, but if you catch them in the act, clapping your hands loudly or shaking a can filled with pebbles can interrupt their behavior.
Preventing problem puppy behaviors is easier than correcting issues when they become a habit. If you are concerned about your puppy’s behavior, contact our team at Pierson Pet Hospital so we can help correct their conduct.