So, you finally decided to adopt a puppy! You bring Fido home and everyone loves him, but… after a few weeks he starts being a bit naughty. He barks at night, looks at you with puppy-dog eyes whenever you eat something, and has chewed three pairs of shoes and counting.
Don’t despair! With proper training, any dog can behave beautifully. In this article, we’ll advise on how to train away bad habits, so you can enjoy your pet without having to constantly buy new sneakers.
There are many reasons why a dog might chew everything in sight — they want attention, think it’s a game, or just don’t know that it’s wrong. Teach them to only chew their own toys as early as possible by telling them ‘No’ or ‘Bad’ and taking non-toys away. You can also get deterrent products to apply to things your dog likes chewing that make them taste bad.
Sometimes, dogs might even chew themselves. This is usually due to allergies, a skin condition, or their diet. Research how to stop a dog from chewing himself and be sure to take him to a vet if he develops wounds or sores.
If your pup bites hard when playing, it needs to be nipped in the bud fast. When they take biting too far, signal this by yelping loudly as if you’re hurt or saying ‘Bad’ in a stern voice. Praise them for stopping biting or licking instead. This way, they learn to control their biting and hopefully stop altogether.
If biting problems persist, hire a professional trainer — don’t risk them harming your family or a member of the public.
All dogs bark sometimes, but if they’re constantly yappy, very loud, or barking at night, something needs to be done.
Here are some tips for teaching your pooch to quieten down:
- Don’t shout at them when they’re barking — they’ll think you’re joining in. Speak calmly and firmly.
- Use the command ‘Quiet’ instead of saying ‘Shut up’ or ‘Shush’.
- If your dog stops barking at your command, praise them and give them a treat. They’ll learn that stopping barking will earn them a reward.
- Once they know ‘Quiet’, start saying it while putting your finger on your lips. Some pooches pick up signals easier than words.
- If they bark at night or when left alone, tire them out with exercise before they’re left or before bedtime.
When dogs are puppies, it’s very cute when they jump up at us when we get home — but when they grow bigger it becomes a different story.
Although a puppy jumping up at your ankles is adorable, it’s important not to encourage this behavior as you don’t want them jumping up at house visitors when they’re fully grown. Turn your back and ignore them when they do it. Once all their paws are on the ground, praise and reward them. Place a treat on the ground to encourage them to stay on the floor.
Dogs can be scroungers and love nothing more than eating something off your plate. They think if it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for them! However, a dog begging at your dinner table doesn’t make for relaxed family time.
A simple trick is to feed them just before you have your dinner, so they’re full and less likely to beg for your food. If they continue, ignore them. It could be useful to have a bed or crate for them in the room while you eat, so they can be told to sit there and still feel included.
Being consistent and sticking to your guns is the most important factor in training your dog. The earlier you start training obedience commands, the better. Commands like ‘Quiet’, ‘Sit’, and ‘Stay’ can be repurposed to fit different bad behaviors you want to train out of your pup.