Bringing a puppy into your home means plenty of fun times ahead, but it’s inevitable that your new companion will get into trouble. It’s important to stop puppy bad habits in their tracks, whether you’ve got a dog that’s chewing shoes, jumping on visitors or begging to be fed at the table.
While it can be upsetting to discover your new pet getting into mischief, remember that introducing it to its new home and establishing boundaries takes time. Dogs don’t intuitively understand what’s considered right, wrong or off-limits.
How Do You Curb Puppy Bad Habits?
When you catch your dog misbehaving, the best tactic is a firm but gentle “no” and redirecting to another activity. Scolding or punishment doesn’t work, as it can encourage your pup to wait until you’re not in the room before trying again. Dogs respond well to positive reinforcement, so let your dog know when it’s done something correctly by rewarding the desired behavior.
Why Dogs Get Into Trouble
Sometimes there are recurring reasons a dog gets into mischief.
• It’s not getting enough stimulation. Make sure you regularly take your puppy outside to explore, run and play. Offer new toys and treat puzzles to play with.
• It needs more attention. Dogs love their humans, and getting attention for misbehaving is better than not getting any attention. Be sure to give your puppy plenty of tender loving care.
• It’s being rewarded. You might be inadvertently reinforcing bad behavior. For example, petting your dog to stop it from barking at the door only encourages the behavior.
If you continue having problems, ask your veterinarian if there might be a medical reason — perhaps your puppy can’t control where it’s urinating or its mouth hurts, causing it to gnaw incessantly.
Curbing Puppy Bad Habits
Here are some common puppy bad habits and tips for encouraging alternate behavior.
Chewing Anything and Everything
Puppies have a natural desire to chew as a way to discover textures and tastes and learn about the world. They may also gnaw on things to keep their teeth clean or because they’re bored. Make sure your puppy has plenty of appropriate chew toys and food puzzles to keep it busy. When you spot your dog chomping on a shoe or furniture, redirect its attention to toys or bones.
Pulling on a Leash
Going on a walk can be challenging when all your puppy wants to do is run off in all directions. While your first instinct might be to pull back on the leash or drag your dog with you, the best strategy is to communicate to your dog that misbehaving means the walk stops. Stay perfectly still and don’t give your dog attention. Once your puppy settles, the walk can continue.
Please Feed Me
While it’s tempting to feed your dog a few bites from your dinner plate when it’s looking at you with sad eyes, rewarding your dog with food when it’s whining at the table develops a bad habit. Ignore your puppy or, better yet, keep it occupied with its own dinner or a treat toy while you enjoy your meal. Make sure the whole family follows the rules.
Digging Up the Yard
Dogs love the adventure of digging and finding treasure. If your puppy is repeatedly leaving holes in your garden, consider designating a small section of your yard for digging fun. Bury favorite toys and redirect your puppy to its own sandbox when its attention is focused on your plants.
Greeting Visitors With Barks
It’s very common for a knock on the door to be followed by barks. If your puppy gets overexcited, gently direct it to the desired response, such as sitting quietly on a mat. Spend time practicing the behavior, and be sure to reward your dog once they understand what you want them to do.
Patience and Consistency Are Key
Remember that your dog is still learning and it takes time to correct puppy bad habits. Be consistent, caring and patient — the effort is well worth it. If you’re ready to welcome a new puppy into your life, meet some sweet puppies for sale in FL that are looking for a home.