If you’re reading this then you most likely are a parent to a puppy who’s giving you an attitude and driving you insane. Maybe it’s hyperactive and destructive behavior or maybe your pup refuses to listen to you.
Whatever it is, you’re probably looking for ways to break your pup’s bad habits, but where do you even start? This is where. Below are 5 essential tips that will start you on the path to raising a good, well-behaved puppy.
1- Start Early
Never assume that your dog is too young to learn; puppies can start with basic training as soon as they come home, usually at around 7 weeks old. By training your pup early, you’ll be able to deal with the little problems before they become big problems. If you don’t want a 70-lb dog biting you then don’t let the 7-lb puppy do it, it’s as simple as that.
2- Exercise Your Dog
The golden rule states that a tired dog is a good dog. This applies to dogs of all breeds and ages. Many behavior problems such as constant barking are signs that your puppy is bored out of their mind because they’re not getting the exercise they need.
Walking your dog is a good start to ensuring that they’re happy, healthy, and well-behaved. As a general rule, the dedicated dog trainers at Pride and Prejudoodles recommend walking your dog for at least 15 minutes twice a day. However, the duration and intensity of the exercise greatly depend on your puppy’s breed and personality. Consult with your vet or look up your dog’s breed online to get a better idea of the kind of exercise they need.
3- Start With Basic Commands
Although it can be a daunting task, dog training is a key aspect that can help with disobedience problems. It’s true, there’s a lot that you’ll need to teach your dog, but with persistence and patience, your pup will be following your commands in no time. Dogs don’t just learn how to do elaborate activities right away, so, start your training with the simplest commands such as ‘sit’ or ‘come’ before gradually moving on to more complicated orders.
When teaching your pup something difficult, break it down to simpler tasks and teach them each part on its own. Another good tip when training your puppy is to try to make your training sessions short and consistent; daily 10-minute sessions are usually ideal.
4- Teach Your Puppy Impulse Control
Once you feel like your dog has a good understanding of the basic commands, it’s time to move on to a more complicated step, teaching them to control their impulses. Lots of puppies know the basic commands like ‘sit’ but will still go crazy when something exciting happens. And while the best dog in the world may still jump on guests when they first walk through the door, using commands such as ‘stay’ can help curb their impulses a little bit. A puppy that has good impulse control is a puppy that knows that being obedient is what gets them what they want.
The best way to teach your dog this is by starting with a task that they have already mastered such as sitting, and rewarding that behavior with positive reinforcement every time your pup does it. This way, the behavior will become a default that they’ll offer whenever they want something. With time and dedication, your dog will be calm rather than excited whenever they’re hoping to go for a walk or play fetch.
5- Only Use Positive Reinforcement
To effectively train your dog, it’s essential to maintain an air of positivity, especially at those early stages. When your puppy successfully follows a command, reward them with treats, praise, or affection to reinforce this behavior. However, rewarding your pup only works when it’s encouraging good behavior, so fight your instincts to dismiss their bad behavior as ‘cute’ and instead, simply make sure that your dog doesn’t get rewarded for behavior problems either by ignoring it or simply saying, ‘No’.
While it may break your heart to wait for your pup to calm down before you pet them or show them affection, it’s usually necessary for raising a happy and well-trained dog.
Behavior problems are the main reason why dogs are turned over to shelters, but the good news is that with a little bit of commitment and persistence, these problems can be solved. Effective, permanent behavior change takes time, but if you start implementing these tips right now, you’ll begin to see major improvements in your puppy’s behavior and, consequently, in your relationship with them as well.