It is hard to resist the beckoning big eyes, soft fur and lovable kisses of a puppy. When that tail begins wagging, it can be easy to forget how much attention and work puppies require.
Puppies love to learn about the world and are naturally curious and energetic. Puppies also can become easily bored and mischievous if not given chances to expend their energy.
Puppies do not know what is right and wrong in their new environments and have to learn such lessons through trial and error, often getting into trouble along the way. However, puppy owners can take steps to curb potentially troublesome behaviors.
1. Provide a lot of exercise. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog, offer many experts. The American Kennel Club says that puppy parents should speak with their vets and/or trainers about what is a reasonable amount of physical activity for their dogs. Activity to burn off excess energy is vital.
2. Offer mentally stimulating activities. Problem-solving toys and challenges can keep puppies focused on healthy skills that build cognition to exercise the brain. Hide-and-seek, fetch and food-reward games can be great ways to exercise puppies’ brains.
3. Keep an eye out. Puppies like to explore the world around them, and that can mean chewing, digging, soiling, and other negative behaviors. The advice site Daily Puppy recommends that owners watch their puppies and keep them in their sight as much as possible. Crating is an effective way to keep puppies out of trouble when owners cannot offer constant supervision. Crates can be safe havens when treated in the right manner.
4. Puppy-proof the home. Look around the house for possible hazards. Move trash into hard-to-reach areas, erect gates to block restricted spaces, address cords and other electrical hazards, and clear counters or tables of easy-to-reach food scraps.
5. Use positive reinforcement. Rewarding dogs when they do the right thing rather than punishing them when they behave badly helps puppies learn manners and how to become good members of the family, offers the AKC. Teaching is also a way to offer exercise and stimulate dogs’ minds.
6. Understand the breed. Some dogs are bred for their unique behaviors. For example, a bird dog like an English setter may seek out prey in the yard. Certain concessions may need to be made to keep puppies comfortable. Offering alternative activities that tie into this natural instinct also can work.
Keeping puppies out of trouble can take work, but as they become full-grown dogs, they will learn and negative behaviors will be abandoned.