Spring is in the air and puppies are everywhere! So cute are they until we have puddles on the floor and chewed up rugs. Puppies are very impressionable and live in the moment, going about their day doing what they please. Sometimes, though, what pleases them does not please us. Read on to learn how to stop troublesome puppy behavior with a few training tricks!
It sounds simple in hindsight but is not so obvious when starting out. If your puppy does not have access to the rug/sneakers/furniture can he or she cannot chew it up. How do we limit access to household items? Keep the puppy in a room separate from the items he or she is chewing up or soiling on, OR put them items away and out of reach.
This may require some purely functional home redecorating to a more minimal look. Roll up area rugs and put them in storage. Put plants on high counters, outside or in a closed room. Get an under-cabinet trash can. Install quality baby gates in doorways and close off rooms not in use. Put shoes in closets and children’s toys into toyboxes. This is a prevention method of training which sets up the dog for success. If he or she cannot choose to chew up a shoe because it is in the closet you have just turned an ounce of prevention into a pound of gold.
When your puppy does have access to items you cannot remove such as furniture or wall to wall carpeting use gates and doors to keep your puppy with you, in sight. This allows you to provide training because you will be able to catch your puppy in the act of chewing, soiling or engaging in unwanted behavior. This is critical because dogs can only learn in the moment. Being present when the wrong behavior occurs is half the battle. What you do in response is also half the battle.
So you look across the room and there she is, squatting! Our instinct is to yell “stop” but this may frighten your puppy and he or she could become fearful of you or your loud voice. The best training tip is to get to the puppy quickly and simply pick them up. This is awful enough to the puppy and usually makes them stop going. No words, no punishments. Carry the puppy outside to a designated potty spot.
What about catching your dog chewing up furniture? Same thing. Do not yell or punish your puppy. Simply go to them and encourage them to physically move away from the thing they were chewing. Do this by calling them to you or offering play with a toy or chew bone.
Focusing on punishment creates a nervous fearful puppy. Instead use food, treats, toys, play, petting and just time with you to prevent naughty behavior from occurring and redirecting it when it does happen.
Stop a smell the flowers with your puppy, he will be a teen in just six months!
Katie Weibel, Master Dog Trainer. Providing training for companion, service and working dogs, sharing knowledge and expertise.