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Tips for Handling an Unruly Puppy

By Paige
This handy post is curtesy of Jillian Interlichia who writes for An Apple a Day.

PuppyBringing home a puppy is one of the most exciting events in your, and the puppy’s, life. You’re introducing a new family member into your circle, and it can be a daunting task once you realize that you now are responsible for turning this tiny ball of fur into a well-behaved adult dog. 

Too Cute

No one can argue – puppies are adorable. They are gangly and uncoordinated, like to chew on everything, and are easily excited. The problem is, all that jumping, barking, and nipping that is cute now will be annoying and possibly dangerous in the future. 

It’s important to start training your puppy to behave him- or herself as early as possible. Of course, puppies have the attention span of, well, a small animal, and training might seem like a futile effort. But with some understanding and a lot of patience on your part, it’s not impossible. 

Tip #1

Discourage bad behavior immediately. You don’t have to yell at your puppy every time it jumps up on you, gets on the furniture, or barks at the cat, but never ever encourage that behavior and you’ll be starting out on the right path. Letting your puppy know the boundaries immediately will lead to less confusion later on when the training really begins. 


Tip #2

Keep calm. Yes, it’s super exciting that you are the proud new owner of the most adorable dog in the world, but squealing in a high-pitched voice, running around, playing rough, and allowing nipping will only lead to the most misbehaved dog in the world. Keep calm as you play (this doesn’t mean not playing at all) and never encourage aggressive behavior, especially with rough tug-of-war games or “sic ‘em” behavior.

Tip #3

A bored puppy is a misbehaving puppy. Most digging, chewing, and barking behavior comes from puppies (and adult dogs) being left alone for too long, ignored, or not enough exercise. Walk your puppy first thing in the morning, even if it is only a quick jaunt around the block – this is especially important if you work all day and the puppy needs to be locked up or alone for eight or more hours. Puppies are teething, so provide them with sturdy chew toys – and only allow them to use these for chewing, or you may find yourself missing shoes.

Tip #4

EXERCISE!  This has already been briefly mentioned, but it is worth repeating.  So many bad canine behaviors come from pent up energy being released in unacceptable ways.  Daily walks are key – in the wild, packs of dogs roam all day long, and even Chihuahuas have this built-in need.  For high-energy working dogs, two walks a day may be necessary.    


Tip #5

Make the introductions.  Be sure your puppy meets all your friends, your friend’s dogs, and all the family members it will regularly come in contact with.  Many puppies get excited by new faces, and depriving them of interactions will lead to a frightened, possibly dangerous, dog later on in life.  Also make sure your puppy meets lots of strangers and strange dogs (in safe situations, of course).  A socialized dog is a happy dog. 

A Helpful Hand

Hopefully these easy tips and tricks will help you raise a happy, well-adjusted puppy.  Be sure you do lots of research before you get a puppy to make sure you pick the right breed, have all the right materials, etc.  If you’re still having problems, don’t be afraid to ask for help or do further research – your puppy will thank you for it!

Thanks again to Jillian Interlichia for this informative post and you can find more of her writing @ An Apple A Day.

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