Puppy training is no easy feat. It takes time, patience, love and discipline. To make it a little bit easier, here are 5 common puppy training mistakes and how to overcome them.
1. Expecting too much too soon. Puppies might not wear diapers or need to be rocked to sleep, but they’re babies nevertheless. You have to have appropriate expectations for their age. Example: when housebreaking a puppy, the rule of thumb is that a dog can wait about one hour for every month of their age. So a 3-month-old can wait 3 hours, 4-month-old can wait 4 hours, etc. But too often, people expect the dog to be able to hold it all day when it’s just not physically possible. Keep your expectations reasonable.
2. Punishing the dog when you find the damage, not when it’s being done. Dogs have a relatively short memory when it comes to this stuff. They don’t think back to things the same way people do. So when you come home to find your shoes chewed and yell at the puppy, he thinks he’s in trouble for whatever he was doing at that moment. Unless you catch them in the act, punishment is ineffective. And no, their guilty look doesn't mean they know what they did was wrong. It means they know you're mad and are trying to appease you.
3. Resisting crate training. When we humans look at a crate, we see a cage and think it’s cruel. When a dog sees a crate, he sees it as a den. In nature, wolves and other canines burrow and sleep in small, dark spaces. A crate can recreate that feeling for a house dog. As long as the crate is not used for punishment or overlong confinement, your dog will enjoy his crate. Added bonus: it’s a phenomenal tool for speeding up the housebreaking process. Read more: 6 Reasons Why Crates Rock
4. Not exercising the dog enough. Dogs get bored, and when they get bored, they create their own outlets for their energy. This can be rifling through garbage, digging holes in your yard or whittling down your shoe collection. Make sure your dog is getting enough walks and playtime. If your puppy gets tired on walks quickly, then you may need to do a few short walks a day rather than one long one until he builds up his stamina.
5. Excusing or encouraging bad behaviors. Sure, it’s cute when a puppy acts tough and it’s easy to shrug off play biting when it doesn’t really hurt. But when the dog hits 100 pounds it won’t be so cute – or so easy to stop. If you don’t want the behavior later, don’t allow it now.
The right supplies will help you as you and your puppy enjoy the baby stage. Here are 3 must-haves for your new puppy - click the blue links to get yours.
• The Kong Genius is a wonderful chew toy for teething puppies. It's gentle enough for puppy jaws while being durable as they get stronger. What really sets the Genius apart is that you can connect several and hide treats in them to vary your dog's experience.
• Elevated bowls are easier on dogs' backs and necks than eating from a bowl on the floor. These raised dog bowls for large dogs adjust in height to grow with your puppy.
• This Midwest crate comes in 5 sizes and includes a divider. With that divider, you can section off the crate to adjust it to the size your puppy needs as he grows.
These mistakes happen over and over, yet are easily overcome. Avoid these common mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to a well-mannered pup.
If you liked this, you may also like:
How To Train A Dog To Walk On A Leash - Secrets to mastering a basic command.
How To Get A Puppy To Stop Biting - Those puppy teeth are sharp! 4 steps to keep them from biting you.
Kong Blue Dog Toy - Designed for military and police dogs, it's the toughest, most durable Kong there is.
Photo: Matt Elsberry