If you are anything like me, you melt into a puddle of useless, blubbering mush in the presence of an adorable puppy. But if you want to be a paw-renting pro, you must resist the urge to give your new addition everything her fluffy little heart desires. Puppies need lots of love, but they also need rules, consistency, socialization and plenty of boundaries to make sure they grow into well-adjusted members of canine society.
While there is no perfect way to raise a puppy, here are 8 dog-rearing “faux-paws” your pup really hopes you will avoid!
1. Being wishy-washy with the rules.
If you are determined to raise a dog that walks well on a leash, you must be consistent with the no-tugging rule every time. If you are too tired to work on leash etiquette during your morning walk, don’t be surprised when your pup pulls in the evening. Dogs need a clear, consistent picture of what’s expected of them. If you don’t provide that, it won’t be your puppy that’s to blame when the rules get broken.
2. Correct her behavior too late.
If you didn’t see your puppy shred the sofa cushion, it didn’t happen. Scolding or punishing her while she is sleeping innocently on her bed does not teach her that shredding sofa cushions is bad. It teaches her that sleeping on her bed is bad. The same goes for rewards. If you don’t praise her or offer a treat the instant she does something desirable, the moment will pass and all she’ll learn from the experience is “free snacks!”
3. Rub her nose in it.
Puppies have accidents, just like kids. Even if you’ve just come in from the yard when the poop appears, “rubbing her nose in it” is never the answer. Your dog will only learn to fear you and potty time. However, if you catch her in the act, it’s okay to say one firm “No,” and then carry her outside to finish her business. Remember to give her lots of praise if she complies!
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