Puppies are extremely impressionable. How you manage him or her will have dramatic and long lasting effects. You can make your puppy a better pet and prevent behavioral problems by taking a few precautionary steps.
Crate Training: Pups tend to become highly emotional and destructive if left alone. Plan to spend a lot of time with your new puppy. Try to be home for a long weekend. During this time, gradually accustom your pup to a puppy crate. If crates are used properly, pups enjoy the security and privacy of their own "den." Please see the handout on "Crate Training."
House Breaking: Establish a routine. Keep the pup's meals regularly scheduled to encourage more predictable elimination patterns. Take you pup out every two hour during the day and as needed at night. Select a walking routine after feeding, awakening, riding in a car, greeting new people, or chewing on toys, and also when you see him circling or sniffing around. When your pup relieves himself in the appropriate spot, immediately reward him with verbal praise.
Socialization:Dogs, like their wolf ancestors, are pack hunters. Efficient hunting in pack requires a high degree of social organization. Dogs relate to people as pack members. It's up to your family to become "pack leaders" by performing simple exercises and stopping agressive play. Failure to do so may predispose problem.
Introduce your pup to a variety of positive experiences. Visit three new places a week and introduce him or her to five new people at each place if possible. Take your pup on regular car rides and use a carrier to ensure safer driving.
Brush Your Pup Daily: At the same time, handle your pup's feet and ears an open his mouth for inspection. Massage him all over. If the pup fusses, say "no" firmly. when he is quiet, talk to him in a soft, pleasant voice. Expose your pup to various types of people, places, and experiences. Take extra care that he as good experiences. Gradually acquaint him with loud noises, like that of a vacuum cleaner; begin by turning it on and off from a distance.
Prevent Bad Habits: Provide appropriate objects for chewing (nylabone, rawhides) and praise the puppy for chewing on these objects. It is best to rotate toys every week so the pup doesn't get bored. Gently punish inappropriate chewing (clap hands, shout) while directing the puppy to appropriate objects. Put your pup in his crate when you are not supervising.
Don't allow agressive behavior: Mouthing hands, tug-of-war, jumping up, growling, guarding food or nipping. competition between dog and owner should never be developed, even when it is playful. To handle aggressive play, stand perfectly still, cross your arms and close your eyes to tell your puppy you are not interested in playing "rough". When the puppy gives up, go and get an appropriate toy and praise them for playing with it.
Don't allow jumping up. Never pet or talk sweetly to a dog that has only two feet on the ground. Turn away and ignore him. Kneeing, hitting the dog under the chin, and squeezing the dog's paws may actually lead to increased jumping. Make definite decisions about manners. Will the new dog be allowed on the furniture? Are any rooms "off-limits"? When you tell your dog "NO", you must be prepared to enforce your decision immediately and consistantly.
Nothing is Free: The "Nothing is free" technique helps you establish leadership. The concept is to teach your dog that they must obey a command before they get anything they like. No food rewards are used. The reward is what the dog wants in the particular situation, be it love, praise, pats, going out, etc. Don't allow your pup to be demanding. The only way he can get what he wants is by behaving.