Behavior problems such as chewing, barking, demanding attention and soiling the house are among the main reasons people give up their dogs to shelters. These problems are easy to prevent.
The A-B-C’s of raising a well-behaved, happy dog are easy to remember:
A) Always control your puppy or dog
B) Be consistent
C) Crate train
Maintaining control of your dog is one of the simplest ways to prevent bad behavior. The goal is to avoid having to correct future problems by not letting them get started.
Attach a light cotton cord eight feet long, to the puppy’s collar when he is loose in the house or an enclosed yard. You can catch the end of the line much easier than you can grab a fast moving puppy! For instance, if he chews on the sofa or chases the cat, you can correct him with a little tug and a loud “No!”.
When you are not playing with him, keep him in a safe puppy play yard, crate or securely fenced kennel.
Stick to the rules. You don’t want your dog to beg for table food, never share your tasty dinner. When an 8-pound puppy jumps on you it might not be so bad, but a full-grown dog whose paws are muddy won’t be fun. If he is too excited when you return, ignore him for a moment until he calms down and then instantly reinforce the calm behavior.
Praise him with a happy “Good puppy!” every time he does a behavior you want, and he will be eager to do it again and again. Fortunately, the right behavior is easy to encourage
Crate Train Your Puppy
I guarantee you will be glad you taught your new dog to be happy in his crate. Choose a sturdy, airy plastic or metal crate and make it the pup’s safe place to be and he will soon enjoy his comfortable den.
Let me be very clear. Your dog should not spend most of its time in a crate. It is a safe place for him to be at night, when he is being too invasive or you cannot keep an eye on him.
Do not get a puppy if you don’t have about the same amount of time to spend with him as you would with a human infant. Puppies need love, exercise and socialization. They are active, noisy and demanding. But, they are not humans and it is O.K. for them to be in their crate, at times.
The first time you shut him in his crate, he will cry. I know- it’s heart-breaking but nevertheless critical. Put a favorite treat inside and as he is eating, shut the door.
Leave the room and as soon as he is quiet, return and let him out while telling him what a great puppy he is. Repeat several times the first day, and he will gradually get used to it.
Put him in it to sleep and whenever you are not actively watching him. Every time you take him out, CARRY him to his potty place, and he will quickly learn to eliminate outside, not in the house.
A general rule is that a puppy can stay in a crate for one hour for each month of its age; for instance, a three-month-old pup can be left in for three hours. It is fine to put him in the crate at night, but you will have to get up once to take him outside to relieve himself.
Enjoy your puppy, have lots of fun with him, and you will have a great companion.
For more detailed information on raising puppies; including how to obedience train, exercise and socialize them, visit our Training section.
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