While all puppies are cute, well-behaved, polite puppies are the cutest, but your puppy needs training to understand appropriate behavior, and how to mind their manners. Our team at Town and Country Animal Hospital wants to help. We provide pointers to teach your puppy how to be polite, so they will become a well-behaved, confident adult dog.
#1: Polite puppies are well socialized
The first three months of your puppy’s life is an important time to learn key life skills, to ensure they are happy and confident in their environment. Socialization helps your puppy become acclimated to many different sights, sounds, smells, and situations, and prevents them from being fearful when faced with different circumstances. Steps to take include:
- Exposure — Expose your puppy to as many different sights, sounds, smells, people, animals, and situations as possible. Introduce them to tall people, short people, old people, young children, and people wearing different types of clothing and hats. You can use a socialization checklist to help ensure you cover as many situations as possible.
- Positivity — Ensure every new experience is positive for your puppy. Stock your pockets well with treats, and praise and reward them for every situation they face. Also, try to avoid being stressed yourself, because your puppy will pick up on these feelings and think they have reasons to be worried.
- Slow and easy — While you want your puppy exposed to many different situations, you don’t want them overwhelmed by the experiences. Keep sessions short, and read your puppy’s body language, so you can let them rest if they are getting tired. In addition, start small. For instance, when introducing your puppy to new people, first introduce them to only one person. If their first encounter with new people is at a large gathering, they may become overwhelmed, resulting in a negative experience. Once they are comfortable around one person, you can gradually increase the number of people they meet.
#2: Polite puppies are crate trained
Your puppy’s ancestors lived in dens, and crate training takes advantage of your puppy’s natural instincts to seek comfort in a quiet, safe area. Crate training your puppy can help them learn to enjoy alone time, which can help prevent separation anxiety. In addition, the process can help with potty training, since most dogs do not eliminate close to where they sleep. Choose a crate that is large enough for your puppy to stand up, lie down, and turn around, but not large enough that they can use one end to rest and one to eliminate. Once you have an appropriate crate, you can begin the training process.
- Introduce the crate — Place the crate in a quiet area that isn’t isolated from your household, and let your puppy investigate. Keep the door open, and throw treats inside if they don’t venture in on their own.
- Feed your puppy in the crate — Start feeding your puppy inside the crate, to make a pleasant association.
- Practice crating for short periods — Once your puppy is comfortable eating their meals in their crate, confine them there for short periods while you are home, gradually increasing the time they spend in the crate. Once your puppy stays calm in their crate for 30 minutes, you can crate them when you leave the house for short periods. Always let them go potty before you leave, and provide a treat or food puzzle toy when you put them in the crate.
#3: Polite puppies don’t chew on forbidden objects
All dogs and puppies need to chew. They chew to investigate their world, and to combat frustration and boredom. In addition, puppies chew to help alleviate their teething pain. However, your puppy needs to learn to chew on appropriate objects, so they don’t ruin your shoes or other valuables.
- Remove forbidden items — When you welcome a puppy in your home, keeping the floor tidy is paramount, to ensure they don’t chew on anything they shouldn’t. Pick up any items you don’t want them putting in their mouth, to help prevent your property from being destroyed.
- Get their attention — When you catch your puppy chewing on a forbidden object, clap your hands to get their attention, and gently remove the item from their mouth.
- Switcheroo — Replace the forbidden object with an appropriate chew toy, so they learn what objects are allowed.
- Don’t punish your puppy — Coming home to find your favorite pair of shoes ruined can be frustrating, but scolding your puppy after the fact will only confuse them, and make them scared of you, since they won’t be able to connect the punishment with the incident.
#4: Polite puppies keep all four paws on the ground
Puppies jump up on people to say hello, and most people pet them, and encourage the behavior. When dogs are little, this behavior can be cute, but as they get older and larger, jumping up on people can be undesirable and possibly dangerous. To keep your puppy from jumping on people:
- Ignore them — When your puppy jumps on you, don’t respond. Don’t pet them or talk to them. If they continue to jump, turn around, and if they still refuse to stop, walk away.
- Inform your friends and family — Everyone your puppy contacts must not encourage them to jump. You will need to tell anyone your puppy meets that they must not allow the behavior.
- Reward your puppy — When your puppy keeps all four paws on the ground, praise them, and give them treats.
Training your puppy to be polite will help them become a well-mannered adult dog. Contact our team at Town and Country Animal Hospital if you want to schedule an appointment for a veterinary socialization session that will help your puppy learn to accept veterinary care.
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