You never thought it’d happen to you. You adopted an adorable puppy, and each day you get more and more frustrated with them. You doubt that you have the time, patience or ability to help them improve. Worst of all, the training issues are making it difficult to bond with your new family member.
If you’re considering re-homing your problem puppy, don’t be too hard on yourself. This does not mean you are a bad dog owner, or that you are unkind to animals. You probably realize that your puppy could be better off in a more compatible home.
But sometimes you’re closer to making progress than you think. All you might need is a few more difficult weeks and a new strategy to raise the dog of your dreams. Here’s what you can do if you’re willing to give your puppy one more – okay, maybe a few more – chances.
Provide the Right Type of Stimulation
They say, “a tired dog is a good dog,” but this isn’t always true.
While it is true that puppies, especially working and sporting breeds, need plenty of exercise, you don’t have to exhaust your dog each day until they’re too tired to misbehave.
Too much exercise can make your dog even more hyperactive. It also puts your dog at risk for injury, especially if they’re still growing. Excessive physical activity puts a puppy at risk for bone and joint deformities.
Mental stimulation is just as, if not more important than physical activity. Let your puppy sniff on walks. Try food puzzles or a snuffle mat. Training, tug and interactive play are also important for satisfying your puppy’s need for a daily mental workout.
Use Management Tools
If your puppy is chewing your belongings or having potty accidents, you can use baby gates and a crate to safely confine them. You won’t have to rely on these management tools for the rest of your puppy’s life.
You’ll need to teach your puppy to be calm when confined and left alone. A Kong full of mushy kibble, mashed sweet potato or another safe snack will become your best friend.
Most puppies acclimate to their crate quickly if they’re not forced to spend much time inside when it’s first introduced. Make the crate or gated area pleasant by keeping their food, water, bed and toys inside. A blanket scented with lavender essential oils can also help.
Get Professional Training Help
Group puppy classes help some families, but for others, they don’t do anything to fix bad behavior in the home. Puppy classes tend to focus on socialization, commands and tricks, but may not cover what you should do if your puppy is taking too long to potty-train, or if they’re destroying everything in their path.
Look for a trainer that uses positive reinforcement for both training tricks and to resolve problem behaviors. You may also want to look into working with an animal behaviorist, a certified professional who can help you understand the underlying reasons for your puppy’s behavior and create a plan to help your family improve it.
Take a Break With a Pet Sitter
Whether you work all day or just need a break from your puppy, your Ready Pet Go pet sitter can be your hero during puppyhood. Contact us about regular dog walks or pet sitting – we’re always happy to help!