By Karen A. Soukiasian
Exhausted by your hyper puppy?
You should know that their energy level is perfectly normal. As with children, puppies use most of their waking hours to explore and learn all they can about the world around them. Everything is new and exciting. Usually, they want to share ALL their excitement with their favorite person…YOU!
The first 20 weeks of a puppy’s life is a crucial time to begin training and socialization. Start training at 8 weeks, and you will have a happy, well-mannered, well-adjusted dog. Find a local trainer who applies positive reinforcement, punishment free methods of training.
Being a dog is fun. However, as the leader of your pack, it is your responsibility to teach your puppy what is appropriate behavior, and what is unacceptable.
That takes time, patience, positive reinforcement, commitment, and most importantly, consistency. Dogs learn by association. Make as many of their associations as positive as you can.
Tell your puppy over and over, how “good” they are. By doing the “fun” things over and over, and not acknowledging or rewarding inappropriate behavior, your puppy will soon learn, being a “good dog!” has its rewards.
Exercise, exercise, exercise! A tired puppy is more often than not, a good puppy.
By tiring your puppy out a bit, before trying to work with them on obedience training, you will see greater progress. Your puppy will be more focused once you get their energy level under control. Plus, you can slip in some obedience, without them even noticing. Here is where the commitment and consistency part comes in for you…walk your puppy for at least 15-30 minutes at least twice a day. Benefits for the puppy…exercise, tire them out, bonding time with you, plus, learning proper leash behavior, housebreaking skills, basic socialization skills, and obedience cues. What more can you ask for?
If you have access to a safe, enclosed area, toss a ball or a Frisbee for 10-15 minutes. You will not only be tiring your puppy out, again there are benefits. Your puppy will begin to learn the “FETCH,” “TAKE,” “GIVE,” “COME,” “FOCUS,” “SIT” and “DOWN” cues. Reward them when they respond appropriately.
The great thing is, you can do most of these exercises in the house. Don’t have that much time to invest in your new puppy? Well, you can teach them to “FETCH,” “TAKE,” “GIVE,” “COME,” “FOCUS,” “SIT” and “DOWN,” while you are watching your favorite TV show.
Remember though, the more time you put into training, the faster they will learn. Be generous with lots of praise whenever they do it correctly. They’ll be having fun, and learning obedience at the same time.
What? You’re not home all day. No problem. Leave a radio on. Talk shows and weather channels are a great way for your puppy to not feel abandoned. Put the radio in another room and keep the volume only loud enough where they sense they are not alone.
Find safe ways to keep your puppy busy and mentally stimulated when you’re not there to entertain him. There are a number of safe toys that are great ways to relieve boredom and related behavioral problems. Some toys are designed to be stuffed with treats or dry food, to help keep your puppy amused, exercised and mentally stimulated when you’re not home.
BOTTOM LINE: To take the edge off your “hyper puppy”, remember:
1. Set your puppy up to succeed all the time.
2. Start training as soon as possible.
3. Make corrections immediately and firmly.
4. Provide them with plenty of exercise and don’t forget mental stimulation.
5. Focus on and consistently reward your puppy for appropriate behavior.
6. Always be fair, firm and consistent.
7. Be patient…they have lots of energy, but very short attention spans!
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