The goal of raising a puppy is to prevent unwanted behaviors from developing so that you can live harmoniously with your puppy. Most new puppy owners allow most unwanted behavior to develop, even reinforcing the behaviors in the puppy.
The behaviors I get called the most to help “fix” are play biting, jumping, barking, chewing, and pulling on the leash. Once the puppy has associated the unwanted behavior with something that’s ok for them to do, they will keep doing it.
It only takes 1-2 times for the puppy to rehearse an unwanted behavior, such as play biting, jumping, barking, or chewing furniture, for the behavior to be programmed into their software (brain).
How to prevent unwanted behaviors:
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I'm Dale Buchanan, and this is Puppy Talk, the podcast that offers free advice and tips for raising a happy, healthy, and obedient puppy. For more information on this podcast, visit us email@example.com. Welcome to Puppy Talk, episode number 76. It's not the puppy's fault. The goal of raising a puppy is to prevent unwanted behaviors from developing so that you can live harmoniously with your new puppy. Most new puppy owners allow most unwanted behaviors to develop even reinforcing the behaviors in the puppy. I know some of you out there will say that your puppy came with bad behaviors. Your puppy came to you as a jumper. Your puppy came to you as a serious play biter. Your puppy came to you as a barker or a puppy that pulls on the leash. Some of that may be true, and in my experience, I have realized that some dogs that weren't from good breeders that were maybe left at a shelter at a very young age, separated from their litter, separated from their mother to early, they may have some socialization skills that aren't really there that contribute to the unwanted behaviors.
In other words, they act out these behaviors unnecessarily if they weren't raised properly or from a good parents, if they weren't from a good male and female dog, and also good breeder. This is possible, but that's a very rare percentage. Maybe 1%, 99% of the puppies out there that have unwanted behaviors. Unfortunately, were created or accepted by the owners thinking that the behaviors will go away when the puppy gets older, and it doesn't happen that way. The behaviors that I'm talking about that I get called to fix or stop, and this is every single day I get emails and calls about this, are play biting, number one, jumping number two, barking. Number three, chewing furniture, number four, and pulling on the leash. Number five, the reality is that once the puppy has associated the unwanted behavior with something that's okay for them to do, they will keep doing it. It's not gonna magically go away, and dog trainers aren't meant to come and just fix everything. In the puppy Dog trainer's job is to teach the puppy, teach the puppy things, sit down, stay, come, leave it, drop it. Go to your bed. Place mat. Walk nicely on a loose leash and be social in public. Be acceptable in public. Know how to greet people properly
And not jump all over them. Know how to go to Home Depot and not bark and carry on. This is what a dog trainer's job is, but a lot of people think that dog trainers jobs are only to stop unwanted behaviors that the owners have allowed the puppy to do over a certain period of time. It only takes one or two times for the puppy to rehearse an unwanted behavior, such as play, biting, jumping, barking, or chewing furniture for the behavior to be programmed into their software, which is their brain. I use this terminology a lot software because people can relate to it. The puppy comes to you on a blank slate. It doesn't know anything. It doesn't know English, it doesn't know play, biting. It doesn't know jumping and barking and pulling, unleash. Those are taught in the environment that they're brought to. I know this because I've worked with hundreds and hundreds of puppies.
Some are good right out of the gate and some are not. Some homes are very strict with the structure, leadership, guidance, discipline, obedience, routine, and the puppy thrives. Some allow the puppy to bite and then try to get the puppy to stop and reinforce it. Some allow the puppy to pull on the leash and they pull back and they reinforce the pulling. Some allow the puppy too much freedom in the house to chew up things, unwanted items such as chairs and sofas and pillows, and they're allowing the puppy to learn unwanted behaviors by not providing management to them so that they can prevent it. I had a neighbor who allowed her Corgi puppy to sit outside and bark for hours while she was inside taking naps. I have no idea how she took a nap when her puppy's outside barking. However, they recently moved, and I'm not sure why, but that puppy has learned to sit on the front porch, sit on the front lawn and bark nonstop, and it will have that behavior most likely for the rest of its life because the owner allowed that puppy to learn and rehearse that behavior over and over and over again for several months.
If somebody like that ever wanted the barking stopped, maybe it was a complaint from neighbors or she moved into an apartment where she couldn't have barking dogs, it's gonna be very, very hard to stop that barking. You have to go through extreme measures of reconditioning, the puppy's software, defragmenting it, teaching it new associations with sitting on the porch and sitting outside, and trust me, it's a lot of work. How do you prevent unwanted puppy behaviors from developing one stop reinforcing them? If the puppy's biting on you or they're nipping at you a lot, try not to have your
Hands near their face, because if your hands are near their face and you're trying to play with your puppy and all they do is bite on you, you are enabling that puppy to learn and reinforce and get rewarded for that behavior. Even if you say no, even if you're frustrated, the puppy doesn't know what no means, but the puppy can sense your frustration. However, they may relate it to being playful, so they're gonna keep biting you. The best thing you can do is what I did with Dixie. The first day I had her, which was almost three years ago, may the fifth, 2020, she started to nip on my fingers and I said, ah, ah, leave it, and she never touched my hands again with her teeth. In fact, her teeth have never touched a human skin. However, she gives a million kisses a day to everybody she meets.
She loves giving kisses. Also, I lived in an apartment when I got Dixie, she barked once. The first day I had her, I said, ah, ah, leave it. She never barked again in the house. She goes to daycare. She will bark when she's playing with other puppies and dogs, but she never barks in my house, and I've had her for three years. The final thing that you're gonna do to prevent unwanted behaviors is find replacement behaviors. If a puppy's very mouthy, they're gonna need a lot of things to chew on. While they're teething, they're going to need bully sticks, deer antlers, get some licky mats so you can provide some mental stimulation, a stuffed Kong, and not just with peanut butter. Put some baby food, carrots, smash banana cream cheese, pumpkin, some of their kibble, some of their training treats, all kinds of things on the licking mat or inside the Kong.
Give them something to do with their mind so they're tired, and when you pick them up or when you're trying to discipline them in the house, they're exhausted. They don't have the energy to chew your furniture or to bark at everything or to jump on everybody. They're tired and they wanna rest, and remember, puppies should be sleeping 16 to 18 hours a day. You don't need to play with your puppy all the time and give them a lot of affection. They need leadership, guidance, discipline, structure. They need these things right off the bat to prevent unwanted puppy behaviors. The puppy behaviors that I work with with clients every single day aren't the puppy's fault usually. Sometimes they are, but most of the time, the owners have reinforced these behaviors and allowed them to develop in the puppy not knowing what to do or thinking that the puppy's gonna grow out of it. They won't. I encourage you to follow the tips in this episode. Reevaluate your puppies unwanted behaviors, and see what you can do to stop reinforcing them. Stop allowing them to develop and find replacement behaviors. If you have any questions, you can email me through the website, puppy talk podcast.com. Have a great day.