When Will My Puppy Behave? By Jake Boland from Paragon Dogs
As trainers we’re often asked this question- usually with the hopes of confirmation that, yes, you just have to hold out and as they grow that unwanted behaviour will die down. The truth is it’s not necessarily a yes or a no answer, it’s largely dependent on what the issue is that they’re currently facing, and the dog that we have in front of us. More often than not, unwanted behaviour is not something that just goes away as learning continues and we do encourage owners to address any behaviour issues the moment they begin to arise.
Help, My Puppy Is Chewing The Furniture
Let’s take a look at a few of common issues we face.
Chewing and mouthing is something that all puppies do, and for the most part- they will ‘grow out of it’. Whilst puppies grow and develop, they begin to lose their baby teeth and these are quickly replaced with 42 adult teeth. As their teeth come through, puppies can often find pain relief in the form of chewing on your furniture, biting your hands, or hanging off your clothes. As they get older, and this teething pain begins to fade away, this behaviour often subsides. In the meantime, to protect yourself from those razor sharp teeth simply providing “legal chews”, a treat to distract them with and managing their access to your shoes or favourite furniture will help to ensure that their biting and chewing is channeled into more appropriate activities. However, if they’re mouthing you during or after a game of chase or tug, this is likely due to them becoming over excited and as part of this they will need to be taught the appropriate way to behave during exciting or arousing moments. This is when it becomes a training issue instead of something that will fade with age.
Feeding raw meaty bones not only help satiate the tum but also the mind, plus teeth cleaning and puppy teething aids to boot.
Other natural chews include Moon bones, Buffalo ears, pizzles, fish sticks and much more.
My Puppy Is Jumping Up
Some of us have dogs that find the entire world incredibly exciting. The view of another person, other dogs, bodies of water, well, just about anything exciting really… is often coupled with jumping at the end of the lead, barking, spinning, and very often a lack of focus on their owner.
This is something that our dogs are very unlikely to grow out of, because it simply works so well! If their jumping at the end of the lead results in them gaining access to that person they’re so desperate to see, they’ll do it again… and again… and again! Over time if this is all they’ve ever done and experienced each time they see a new person, then that’s all they know! It is very rare that the rest of the world becomes less exciting, or our dogs simply choose a new way of dealing with the situation- for that reason this is a situation where we have to train our dogs to offer a polite alternative to turning into a hooligan.
My Puppy Is Hyperactive
Then there’s the athlete’s that seem to have boat loads of energy every moment of the day. Owning an energetic and challenging pup can often be exhausting for everyone, the pup included! Sometimes the more we do with our pets, the more they want and they are unable to switch off. Brain games, snuffle, lick it and puzzle mats can give the whole dog a work- out. The mind is a powerful tool and using it wisely can create more calm. Ball throwing or a busy ‘go go go’ walk just creates a busier, whirring mind (plus can damage joints along the way) A look at the pups diet may prove helpful, a change or tweak with professional nutritionist guidance could be a game changer. One of the most important aspects of life for any being, especially one that is growing is SLEEP.
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Sleep is so important to our dogs. How we actually encourage dogs to sleep is perhaps something that goes against common sense. What we want you to consider is; are you training an athlete or a couch potato? The reality is, those energetic pups will match you for your active lifestyle… and then raise it. Their bodies will constantly adapt to the physical demand that longer and more frequent walks will have, often turning them into endurance athletes. To actually get your dog to sleep more easily and more frequently- challenge their mind, not their body! Find some tricks to train, explore their favourite methods of enrichment but most importantly teach them to settle down. By teaching them to lie down on their bed or in their crate will massively increase the likelihood of them choosing to sleep all together. Our over energetic, boisterous pups are not always crazy simply because they’re a puppy… they are over over exhausted and overstimulated- this isn’t something they’ll grow out of!
Help, My Puppy is Anxious
Fearful and anxious reactions aren’t something a puppy grows out of, it can manifest into something much worse if not dealt with. This is because reactive and fearful behaviour is something that is practically self rewarding. In these moments our dogs are desperately looking for space and they may have learnt the most effective way of gaining that room, is to lunge and bark at nearby dogs or people. Each time they gain that space a sense of relief washes over them convincing them they did the right thing. Through repetition this can very quickly become self-assured, a habit or coping mechanism that allows them to feel better and offer a sense of control in situations that worry them. What these dogs desperately need is a plan that allows them to develop different means of communicating and to grow in confidence. Rather than forcing them into these challenging interactions and hoping they’ll grow out of it, get in touch with a local professional to help guide you in the right direction.
How Can I Stop My Puppy Pulling On The Lead?
Last of all pulling on the lead. This is something dog owners are desperate for their dogs to grow out of, hoping to crack the secret of loose lead walking and save their shoulders. Again, this is typically something that is more likely to get worse than it is to get better. It’s something that is incredibly self rewarding, put simply- our dogs learn that pulling works for them! Over time, through practice this becomes strongly reinforced and our dogs keep doing it because it WORKS. Many owners hold out hope that once their dog reaches a certain age that they will be less boisterous, and more calm and controlled- whilst for some dogs age does impact them, it won’t change what they have learnt to do and so it’s incredibly important to make changes. If you are consistent in training your dog to walk on the lead, changes will happen.
If you are struggling with your dogs behaviour, or just feel you need help with training, please
contact us on: email@example.com