Conquering Puppy Behavior Problems with Training
Most puppy owners complain about the same puppy behavior problems: chewing, biting, jumping, digging and barking. These are all natural puppy behaviors. By instituting a training program early in your puppy’s life, these behaviors can be solved.
If your puppy is chewing up objects when you aren’t home, he has too much house freedom. While he is still learning on which objects he can chew, he shouldn’t have access to the entire house. If you can’t supervise him, put him in an X-pen or crate.
When you are supervising, tell him “leave it” each time you see him chewing on something he shouldn’t and offer him one of his own toys. If he chooses the toy, play with him. If he doesn’t, put him in his crate.
Never chase a puppy when he grabs something you don’t want him to have. This creates the most exciting puppy game ever. Instead, grab one of your puppy’s toys and start running around playing with it. When he drops his object to come play with yours, reward him.
When puppies play with one another, they nip. When one puppy nips too hard, the other puppy yelps, and all the puppies walk away, isolating the rowdy puppy.
When your puppy nips you, do the same thing. Yell “Ouch” even if it doesn’t hurt and storm out of the room. Once you have done it a few times, try saying “ouch,” and offering a toy. If he chooses the toy, continue the game. If he chooses your hand, storm out. Then, he is in position to be rewarded for correct choices.
When your puppy jumps on you, ignore him. Don’t talk to him, look at him or touch him. Just walk straight past him. As soon as he stops jumping, pet and praise him. If he starts again, stand up and turn your back. Repeat until the jumping stops.
Treat digging like chewing. If your puppy is digging, he has too much freedom. Keep him in an X-pen when you can’t supervise.
When you catch him digging, say his name and “leave it.” If he turns to you and leaves the hole, reward him with a game. If not, take him to his timeout spot.
Once he is not digging in front of you, watch him from the window. If you catch him, yell out his name and “leave it” in a commanding voice to startle him. This will make him think you can see him from anywhere!
If barking is a big problem, keep your puppy on a small leash when you are home to supervise. If he starts barking, say his name. If he stops and looks at you, give him a big reward. If he keeps barking, pick up the leash and remove him to a quiet room.
If your puppy is afraid, this will teach him to escape rather than bark. If he is barking for attention, he just got the opposite of what he wanted and the barking will stop.
If the barking is happening just for attention, ignore it. Don’t let him out of his crate or give him any attention. But always first make sure he doesn’t have to relieve himself! He might be trying to tell you something.
Often, a puppy’s natural behaviors are undesirable to his owners. By using consistency to teach him what your expectations are, you easily cure many behavior problems.