5 Common Puppy Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

So, you’ve decided to get a puppy? great! Whether you are first timers or seasoned dog owners, raising a puppy comes with a set of unique challenges. Setting your new family member up for success starts from day one. Knowing how to set the right guidelines and promote positive behavior from the beginning will set you on the path towards having the well-mannered companion you’ve always dreamt of.  Here are five common puppy pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Letting Your Puppy Have Free Reign of the House

You’ve decided not to use a crate. You want your new puppy to feel comfortable in their new surroundings and heck – you’d love for them to be with you all the time! What better way to do that then let them kick back and enjoy your entire house?! While you may be well intentioned, your puppy needs rules and boundaries as well as a secure space of their own. Dogs are den animals and providing your new pet with a space they can call their own will help give adjust to living in your house. Providing your puppy with a crate will also aid in housebreaking and establishing a bathroom routine. Getting your new puppy their own crate is the first step in creating a balanced and healthy relationship that you will build on daily.

Jumping Up on You and Others

While it may feel like it’s not too big of a deal to let a 12-week old puppy jump up on you, it’s a harder habit to break as they get older. No one likes to be jumped on by a 65 pound adult dog. To get to the good behavior you want you have to start with the 6 lb younger version. Remember to reward the desired behavior and correct the jumping. Teaching your new pet to greet you from the ground while respecting your space will pay huge dividends as your companion ages.

Letting Your Puppy Bite and Nibble You

Puppies are naturally playful and inquisitive. They rough house with their litter mates and nipping is part of playtime. You, however, are not your puppy’s littermate. Puppies who bite their handlers are not only a nuisance but it can lead to long-term unwanted behavior with adult dogs who nip. Start them early with rope toys and other “handler approved” dog toys to provide your teething puppy with the opportunity to use their mouths. Establishing that nipping anything else is unwanted behavior and reinforce the message on a daily basis.

Carrying Your Puppy

Your new companion is small and snuggly and it can be hard to resist carrying them everywhere you go! This simple gesture can lead to long-term instability and lack of confidence. It is your job to teach your puppy that they are emotionally stable enough to stand on their own two feet no matter what the world throws at them. You are going to ask them to make decisions and behave throughout their life, giving them the confidence to walk on their own and experience the world around them is a step towards a well-adjusted companion.

Letting Your Puppy on the Furniture

This simple mistake is the root of many behavioral issues we see when clients come through the door. Establishing a set of rules and standards in your house not only gives your dog a sense of security but it helps them to know how to make the right decision. Staying off the furniture is household rule number one. Get your pet a dog bed if you’d like to give them a comfortable space to relax while they are not in their crate. It’s important to provide your puppy with rules and show your leadership. Establishing that the couch is your space is an important lesson as you create a well-mannered pet.

Creating a simple set of guidelines for yourself and your new puppy is the key to starting your companion on the path to becoming a well-mannered pet that everyone can enjoy. It’s easier to promote the desirable behavior early on than work to break undesirable behavior later.

Dean Miller