While a new puppy in the home is a wonderful event, you need to show it who’s boss. It’s a pack animal, so this will make life much easier for it as it’ll know its place in the ‘pack’. Read on for some great tips on getting your puppy to act like a well-behaved member of the family –
How to stop your puppy barking
Dogs bark from instinct, and are often trying to communicate a need – so if you cater for its needs, there should be less barking. Puppies are also less likely to bark when they’re winding down, so make sure to provide plenty of exercise.
You should also avoid leaving your puppy alone for long periods, as this may cause it to bark. If it still barks needlessly, don’t praise or feed it, as this will only encourage it to continue. Equally, shouting at it will probably only serve to make things worse.
How to stop him begging for food
It’s preferable not to have fed your puppy from the table in the first place, but if it’s got into the habit of expecting treats from the table, you need to start all over again and train your puppy as follows.
- Feed only at your mealtime, so you’re both eating together and your puppy has got nice, tasty dog food to focus on.
- If your puppy is finished before you, give it a nylon bone to chew on. And no matter how much it begs, simply ignore it – the message will get through eventually that there’s s not going to be anything coming from your plate.
Show your puppy who’s boss
As a puppy hits around four to six months, it’s finding a natural sense of independence. These natural urges may end up testing your status as ‘the boss’. Your puppy will try to dominate you, the other family members, other family pets or visitors to the home.
You need two virtues at this stage – firmness and patience. Reinforce your commands to you puppy and ignore clamouring for attention for short periods after any display of rebellion.
Take every opportunity to show you’re the leader of the pack, so if it’s time for puppy to play outside in the garden, then don’t relent and let it back inside.
You may also find at this stage that play becomes a tad aggressive, and you may sometimes get a little nip. This may be because you’ve inadvertently turned the play into aggression – perhaps by dragging a toy away. If your puppy starts to get aggressive, the rule is quite simple – the play has got to come to an end.
Don’t let your puppy off the leash
For your puppy’s own safety, one of the first things it has to learn is how to walk on the leash. You can start the process by leading it around the house on the leash. And if it takes to this new way of walking, give it a little healthy treat and plenty of encouragement.
Don’t pull on the lead – it needs to want to follow you instead of resisting you at every step. Once you’ve got it used to the leash, you can take it outside to the garden and repeat the process – before eventually taking it out on to the street or road.
Teach your puppy to be calm when alone
Leaving your puppy home alone for the first time is a huge deal, but you can reduce the separation anxiety with a little planning.
What you need to do is gradually build up the time that it spends away from you – simply by placing it in another room of the house for a short period – just a few minutes at first.
Eventually build up the time, and it’ll soon appreciate that you’ll always come back eventually.
When you eventually decide to leave it home alone for a prolonged period, make sure it’s been to the toilet and has access to water and somewhere to lie down comfortably, and lots of toys to keep it occupied.