- Keep your puppy interested in learning new things by introducing them to new environments. Short walks and playing are great ways to stimulate your puppy, and will help to strengthen your bond.
- Keep toys to a minimum, so the puppy learns to interact with you. Give her one toy that she will always have access to and keep another toy, like a ball or a rope, that you can use to play with her. This will also teach your puppy to only play with ‘chew approved’ items, and not other things like your new shoes or dining room chairs!
- Use your puppy’s name often so that he will learn to respond to it. Include the dog’s name when giving commands, such as “Rover. Sit!” or “Fetch, Rover!” Follow each successful command with a positive response.
- Dogs respond to positive reinforcement, so try to establish these as early on as possible. Make sure you use verbal reinforcements and petting, too, so that your pooch won’t become reliant on food as his only reward.
- Teach your puppy that coming when you call him is the best thing in the world! Use their name, sit on the floor and make a big fuss when they come to you. This will encourage obedience.
- Establish rules early on. Remember that even though you are dealing with a puppy now, he will eventually grow into a big dog! So establish the rules you want for your big dog (like no sitting on the couch) when the puppy is still young. You will have to learn to resist those puppy eyes! Make sure everyone in the house is aware of the rules and sticking to them – consistency is key.
How do I house-train my pup?
- Form the habit of eliminating outside as early as possible. Keep an eye out for your dog’s body language, such as circling or sniffing around, which may be indicators that your puppy needs to relieve himself. Puppies will relieve themselves often, so as soon as you notice indicative behaviour, take him outside to the grass and establish a pattern. Make sure to make a big fuss afterwards, to reinforce good behaviour.
- Whenever your puppy performs well, praise him immediately. Never reprimand your dog physically by yelling harshly, as this will only cause fear and possible aggression later in life.
- Use a stern voice to reprimand when your pup does something wrong, but only if you catch her in the act. Reprimanding your dog after the fact will have no connection to the actual deed and will only confuse your dog.
How do I stop my dog from barking?
Barking is a dog’s way of warning you of danger, but dogs should stop barking when commanded.
The best way to prevent bad behaviour from recurring is to use negative reinforcement. Some of the ways to do this are using your voice, using a squirt of water (in summer only), or a leash check.
When your dog barks, use an authoritative voice command (such as “Quiet!”). If the dog does not stop, use the negative reinforcement and repeat the command. When the dog stops barking, be sure to give him praise.
How do I stop my dog from digging?
Stop your dog form digging by supervising your dog when she is in the garden, by either being physically present, or watching through a window. When your dog starts to dig, interrupt her by using your voice or a loud noise.
How do I stop my dog from guarding his food?
It is normal for dogs to protect their food, as this is an instinctive reaction. However, if your dog is allowed to exhibit aggressive behaviour around food, this may extend into other areas too.
You will need to train your dog using positive and negative reinforcement, to teach him what he is allowed to do and what behaviour is unacceptable.
How do I stop my dog from jumping on people?
Jumping on people is a very common behavioural problem in dogs. Unfortunately, this habit is often inadvertently encouraged by well-meaning owners – after all, it is very hard to resist a cute puppy jumping up to greet you! However, puppies grow, often into very big dogs, and this is when jumping becomes a problem.
It is best to teach a dog when it is still young that jumping on people is unacceptable, as they are more susceptible to learning new habits and they are easier to handle at this stage. When a puppy tries to jump on you or someone else, gently but firmly place the puppy’s feet back on the floor. When the puppy is standing on the floor, be sure to give him lots of praise and reward for his good behaviour. Make sure you are consistent in not letting your dog jump up to avoid confusion!