For a lot of people having a new puppy turns out to be quite the shock. Even for people that know what it’s like, a puppy is still a lot of work. One thing that helps make up for the amount of work they are is their cuteness.
When it comes to puppies there are a lot of needs that need to be addressed. Attention, socialization, training, exercise, more attention, and more training. When a puppy’s needs aren’t met, it usually leads to unwanted behaviors that become very annoying for the human to deal with.
Meeting a puppy’s needs can be a pretty constant thing. But if we stay on top of it, it isn’t as bad. They have attention needs very similar to a toddler. If we aren’t showing them what is correct, and keeping an eye on them to prevent them from doing something incorrect we are setting them up for failure. The problem is, if the pup does the “wrong” thing, and he enjoys it, he is very likely to do it again. Examples of that would be chewing your couch, chewing your carpet, jumping on people, play biting, and the list goes on. So how can we prevent against some of these things?
As I mentioned in the second paragraph, we need to give the pup a proper outlet for his energy. We need to show him what is correct, and give him the appropriate amount of attention he deserves. If that sounds like a lot to you then I would recommend going to your local shelter and adopting a dog that is a bit older. (Shelter dogs, just like any dog, will still need training.) The cool thing is that there are different things you can do for training that can be multitasked with things you like to do. Do you just want to sit down and watch TV but your pup won’t let you? An easy thing to do is to teach them a sit or down stay while you’re watching it. I start off by teaching them to sit and down, from there, I then start to reward them for staying in the position. In the beginning, I reward very often, but as we continue, the rewards get spread out so they are happening less frequently. This provides mental stimulation for the pup, and also teaches your pup a very important cue. (Stay)
A great option to help with that unwanted play biting is to get a tug toy. A tug toy represents an appropriate outlet for your pup’s desire to bite. (Play biting is perfectly normal) Tug can also be turned into an awesome training game of “drop it,” and “get it.” (I also recommend that tug toy is only available when you bring it out.)
Taking your pup for walks and incorporating training into it is a great form of physical and mental stimulation. On the walk you can practice getting your pup to walk next to you nicely. You can also add in things like sits and downs.
One last thing to help is purchasing a crate and doing some crate training. When introduced correctly a crate can be a very comfortable place for your pup to go in. This can come in very handy in multiple ways. One of the most beneficial ways is that it provides a safe place for your pup to be when no one is home. But the other awesome thing is that once you’ve met all your pup’s needs (attention, exercise, training, socialization etc.) you can intermittently put your pup in there with something fun for it to do so you can get a break.
In closing remember the phrase, “Be proactive instead of reactive.” If you stay on top of it and set your pup up for success you will find yourself enjoying puppyhood more and you will find yourself a lot less frustrated. If you do not have a puppy and are considering one, what I’d like for you to take away from this is that it is a lot of work and a big time commitment on a daily basis.
Here are some videos to help!:
Teaching your dog to stay:
A great game that occupies your pup: