13 Puppy Training Mistakes You’ll Regret Later
Begging at the table or jumping up to lick your face is super cute now but when the puppy days are over these traits can become annoying and unwelcome. Here are the mistakes you should avoid now—and how to correct them before it's too late.
You forget your pup is always learning
Training isn't just for puppyhood; things like discomfort with grooming, veterinary procedures, possessiveness of food and objects, or fear of novelty can develop later so don't ease off on teaching socialization exercises. "Break each procedure down into smaller components and make each one predictive of something fabulous for your puppy," says Jessica Ring, professional dog trainer and owner of My Fantastic Friend. For example, paw restraint is one component of nail trims. Gently hold your puppy's paw and then give a yummy treat. For possessiveness issues, "Teach your puppy that it's great when you approach them when they have food, toys, or chew objects. When your puppy has a chew toy or food, walk up and drop a tasty treat," says Ring.
You rush to her crate when she whines
Each time you rush to the crate when she whimpers or barks, she learns you will rush to comfort her, and she may have trouble being alone later on. Do this instead: "Come and go frequently for very short periods. Wait for quiet before you return or let him out of his crate. Give him a safe toy, chew, or food-stuffed Kong or Toppl, so he has something to do," says Ring. And make sure she has plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, so she's not full of pent-up energy when she goes into the crate. Once she graduates from the crate here are some smart ways to keep her busy while she's home alone.
You let your puppy free roam
Your puppy discovers an amusement park of fun with so many sofa pillows to tear apart, shoes to poop in, and toilet paper to unravel when he's allowed to roam the house unsupervised freely. Sorry, but the blame is all on you; puppies don't know any better. It's time to puppy-proof. "Keep your puppy in one puppy-proofed room under your supervision. If you have to take your eyes off of him, confine him using a crate or block off a small area with an exercise pen, or gate," suggests Ring. Furnish the puppy space with chew toys, soft bed, an old shirt that has your scent, and toys for mental exercise like interactive balls that dispense treats. Next, read on to make sure you're not guilty of doing these 14 things your dog actually hates.