Why Do Puppies Do the Things They Do?

I wish I could answer that question but I did do some research into puppies and thought I’d share what I found out regarding their temperaments, psychology, and just general training ideas.

Dogs are a pack animal and are social creatures. They are not like kids despite how we talk to them sometimes.

They have their own pecking order in a group and that’s a lot like humans.

We have a pecking order with our families and it’s a common social organization trait we all share.

Children are lower on the pecking order than parents, for instance. And a dog should fall lower in the pecking order than humans, but that can be tough if the puppy does not understand where he/she should be.

Because puppies are social animals, they want to do what’s right, but they may not always know the difference between what’s right or wrong.

We need to correct them with praise and reinforcement, though. There’s a few tones of voice that can achieve this.

  • Baby talk
  • Commands
  • Growling tone of voice

Baby talk is that cutesy talk that can be used to praise the dog. The tone is non-threatening.

Command are direct and are words like sit and stay.

The growling tone of voice is a deeper sounding and will cause the dog to pay attention.

You can use these vocal inflections to your advantage. Here’s a few ways.

Example: chewing and biting on hands

If you let a puppy chew on your hands, they’ll do that for the rest of their life.

Instead, why not redirect them to a toy. Here’s an idea when they are chewing on a hand: Use that growling voice, saying “don’t chew.”
Then give them a toy, using the baby talk voice, giving them praise.

They will be able to associate the growling voice with what’s bad and the baby talk voice with what’s good. In time, they will learn what’s right and wrong.

The same is true about inanimate objects like a chair or shoe. Pick up a toy, stand near the puppy and use that growling voice, saying no bite or no chew. Then give your puppy the toy and praise her in that baby talk voice.

You can use your voice to your advantage if your puppy jumps up on you when he/she greets you.

Granted, jumping up on you is how your dog greets you. But you can train them to not do so.

I read one way to illustrate it’s not acceptable is to step into the puppy when they jump up. It makes them think that you are still the dominate one and their behavior is not correct.

Also, you probably should not say “down” when they jump on you because that is a command similar to “sit down” or “lay down.” A better word would be off so the dog is not confused.

Back to school

Obedience training can be a great way to socialize puppies with other dogs and people. It can help reduce fear of dogs and people and some inanimate objects.

Your dog will also work on agility, going up ramps and though hoops and tunnels.

But from what I read, one of the best things about obedience training is that your dog will listen to you. When that happens, it means the dog puts you at the top of the pecking order and you dominate it. You’ll be able to train it easier, then.

Obedience training can lay the foundation for your puppy’s social skills.

And then there’s the dreaded housebreaking

During housebreaking, you should use the crate to your advantage. The crate is a dog’s den. And a dog has a den instinct and will dog will avoid soiling in the den because it’s a small area. Same holds true with a small crate.

Rather than let the puppy have free roaming throughout your house all the time, put the puppy in the crate when you’re doing things like taking a shower, cooking dinner, cleaning, whatever

If you give the puppy full reign of your house at first, they will soil in it because they don’t see your house as their den yet.

It takes time for them to learn that the house is their den and that they should not soil in there.

One way is to use leashing in the house at first.

You could tether the dog to the room that you are in at first and the dog will have a short range.

While the dog is tethered, you will be able to see if she starts the dance or paw indicating she’s needs to go outside. This can help you get the puppy outside in time.

Rather than give treats after the dog goes potty, consider using verbal praise. If you do treat, make sure the treat is given immediately after the puppy relived itself. If you wait until giving the treat until the puppy is in the house, it is too late.

Don’t punish your puppy if it soils in the house. If you catch them in the act, growl at them, pick them up and take them to front door and say good doggie lets go potty.

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