8 Ways to Give Your Puppy Structure
Is your pup still acting like a puppy even though he’s just a few months away from being an adult dog? Is he making you a little batty with those recurring puppy behaviors? It is likely that he is still in his adolescent phase and with all the distractions and curiosities of the world around him, even a well-trained puppy may not always listen.
Puppies don’t come to us knowing the rules of living in a human environment and it is our job as owners to teach them proper behavior and give them structure.
If your puppy is misbehaving, you may notice some specific signs. He may become territorial about space or food. He may start jumping on people even if you had trained him not to. Or he may start marking again. If it’s not in your demeanor to sternly order your puppy around, worry not. There are ways to teach your dog what he needs to know to become the ideal canine companion.
1.Be Calm – The calmer you are, the calmer your pup will be. Take some time to teach him impulse control exercises, like “Leave It” or to relax on cue.
2.Teach Your Dog to Pay Attention to You When Crossing Thresholds – It does not matter who goes through the threshold first, but if you create an automatic check in when leaving a room or getting out of a car, you have your pup’s attention from the very start.
3.Prevent Begging – If you never feed from the table, your dog will learn that he never gets food from the table and begging won’t be an issue.
4.Watch out for Resource Guarding – If your pup is beginning to resource guard, seek professional help.
5.Enroll in a Training Class – Even if your dog has gone to a puppy class, dogs often need more than 6 weeks to firmly grasp the basics of obedience, so find a nice, positive reinforcement-based class and make that obedience fun.
6.Teach a Place or Crate Up Cue – If your puppy is a couch or bed hog, change this by teaching him his bed or crate is a fun place to be.
7.Use Your Height – Get down to a puppy’s level to work with him.
8.Ask Him to Move – If your puppy tends to always be under your feet, teach your dog a hand target. Hand targets are a great way to move a puppy from point A to point B without creating confrontation.
Remember, a puppy does not come fully trained. It is your job to teach him what he needs to know. Imagine how chaotic a home without rules would be for humans and you can see why your puppy will be difficult if you don’t give him structure.
Humans already have bigger brains and opposable thumbs. This allows us to be the gateway through which our puppies and dogs obtain everything they want. Take advantage of this and use it to humanely and kindly teach them what we expect.