We all want to have a calm, polite, well behaved puppy. Most families have a picture of a dog that is family dog and goes with the flow. No jumping, biting, chewing, pulling, barking and well perfectly trained. The first couple of months can be well to be honest – frantic. So getting to the calm, well behaved puppy isn’t always easy. Well, I have some good news. I get calls all the time from clients with puppies with these crazy dogs. After listening to them and talking them off the cliff so to speak. Here are 5 steps to a well behaved puppy that you can implement if you feel frazzled, at your wits end puppy owners who doesn’t know what to do.
Step 1. Sleep
Puppies are like babies and they need lots of sleep. The amount of sleep a puppy should be getting is in the range of 18 to 22 hours, depending on the age. So after I listen to a client talk about all of the excessive behavior issues (biting, chewing, jumping, barking, etc) their puppy is going through. The first question I ask is “How much sleep is Fido getting?”. Most of the time they can’t answer this. The conversation usually ends up with sleep being between 12 to 14 hours of sleep. Puppies need a sleep routine just like babies. So our first goal will be trying to get to 16, maybe 18. My advice is always to look at what they are currently doing and see where they can add more sleep. They are usually being overstimulated. So if your puppy is having more than the usual puppy nipping, chewing, etc behaviors. Take a look at the sleep routine first. Will this stop normal puppy behaviors? No. However, it will make it easier for them to focus on you and you will see a difference in the behaviors that your don’t want.
Step 2. Enrichment / Mental Stimulation
Puppies again, just like babies will have that brain development happening. Development happens in a variety of ways. One of which is the introduction to different types of toys with different types of textures. Also you want to introduce puzzles toys such as Kongs. Kong toys are great for chewing, feeding their meals, crate training, separation anxiety and more. Instead of feeding your dog out of a bowl, feed them out of snuffle mat, slow feeder or kong. That way they have to figure out how to get their food which will work more of their brain and also tire them out. Dogs are always tired after they have to use their brain for extended periods of time, that’s why they get so tired after training sessions.
Step 3. Socialization
Socialization doesn’t just mean dogs. This also means new things, new people, new textures. Anything new. If you don’t introduce them to it now, after their brain is fully developed and they all of sudden see a tall man with long hair and they have never seen a tall man with long hair but they have seen short men with short hair, they may become scared and you may be wondering why. It’s not the man he’s afraid of, it’s the tall man with long hair. So introducing your dog to tall, short, bearded, long hair, short hair, hats, rain coats, back packs, umbrellas, boots, etc. The more you do the easier it will be when they get older. I usually recommend to clients to introduce 3 new things, textures or people a week. If they can’t meet people maybe just see people.
Step 4. Training
Training your dog can start as early as 8 weeks old. You may not be able to do a group class as most group classes will require puppies to be fully vaccinated. However, you can start with teaching your dog sit, their name and even look. If you want to start immediately, looking into lessons with a private dog trainer would be your best option. Training sessions will tire your dog out and will set you and your dog on the path to a more confident dog.
Dog training does require consistency and patience and with puppies can sometimes be challenging. If you won’t be able to do the training on a consistent basis, you can find programs where the dog trainer does the training for you. I offer Day Training Doggie Home School, you can check out more on my packages and services page.
Step 5. Playtime
Playtime with you and the rest of the family is key. It strengthens the bond between you and Fido, it’s fun and Fido will definitely provide some entertainment. Playtime will lead to some cuddles since he should definitely be tired out after all of the fun.
Now that you are on your puppy journey, these the beginning 5 steps to a well behaved puppy. Best of luck with your new fur baby. If you have more questions on your puppy training, house training , crate training or more. I have numerous blogs on the subject or you can contact me to set up an initial consultation.