Puppy’s bad habits
If you have adopted an older puppy (4-10 months old) from a shelter or rescue, he may have lived with someone who did not know what was involved in raising a puppy. A lot of people do not understand that it takes time and patience to train a puppy. Therefore, they are responsible for their puppy’s bad habits. If they were too busy to raise this new puppy correctly, with good manners, you end up with their brat. Don’t despair. Everyone can learn new skills, even puppies. When I was very young I pronounced pork chop as pork chock. I had no idea I was saying it wrong which made my classmates laugh at me. Then someone corrected me and I started saying it properly so I was no longer picked on at school.
With your puppy, no matter what he is doing wrong, he can learn the right way, or the right behavior with a little encouragement and praise when he does the right thing. When you take the time to correct his actions and repeat the training he will come to understand this is the right way he is supposed to do this. When he does something wrong, tell him bad boy (or bad girl). Make him lie down, or go to his bed. If he has been chewing on something he wasn’t supposed to, give him a chew toy. He will come to understand this is what he is supposed to chew on, not your shoes, the door, your sofa, etc.
The same goes for all bad behavior. Scold (don’t scream), send him to his bed, then correct the behavior with a lesson to show him the right way of doing things. Always praise him when he does the correct behavior.
Remember, to make a positive impression on your puppy:
- Be calm, gentle.
- Never yell at your puppy during training.
- Praise him and give him a treat when he does the right thing, even if he gets it half right.
- Show him over and over again.
- Keep lessons short.
- Use short commands.
When you make a training session a fun experience, your puppy will want to learn. He will look at you expectantly, waiting to find out what’s next. If you turn into a maniac and get all yelly and screamy, your puppy’s tail will drop between his legs and he may cower in fear. You won’t accomplish anything positive, that’s for sure. He will associate you and training as a scary thing and he will shut down. Like an infant, he needs love and positive experiences to learn what you want him to know, and to correct his misguided behavior. Eager is good. Cowering in fear is bad. And remember, if this is your puppy’s second time around, with the first family giving him up for adoption, he may be confused and lacking confidence. It is up to you to make him feel loved so both of your experiences are a happy match. Don’t forget to document your puppy’s progress in your The Puppy Baby Book. And, you might want a beautiful, frame-worthy Obedience Training certificate for when your puppy graduates!