How do you react when your puppy is “naughty?”
Are you tempted to get angry, or do you remain patient and calm?
Patience is defined as “the ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties” (Encarta online dictionary). It’s also an expression of love. 1 Corinthians 13:4 tells us the “love is patient”. It goes on to say that love is “not easily angered.”
Pups (even adult dogs) can get into all sorts of mischief. I’m sure that many of us can attest to times we’ve been tempted to get annoyed or frustrated with our puppy who innocently peed on a rug, chewed our shoes, or got into something forbidden. Personally, I find that all these experiences teach me something new about dog ownership, and my own qualities. The following story taught me patience, and to laugh more, as well as five things to do when my puppy is naughty.
Here’s a little story to illustrate my point. . .
I remember walking into my back yard one day and seeing it covered with my beautiful dog show ribbons, torn to shreds! My heart sank. I’d worked so hard, and each one was attached to a special memory of my beloved dogs and times spent with family. My dogs were wagging and looking at me so innocently . . . one still had a ribbon in his mouth and was playing chase with another dog!
After the initial shock, and verifying that all the dogs were well, I calmly greeted them in the usual loving fashion while bottling up my frustration.
The truth about dog ownership is that it’s not all fun and games. It can get rather messy at times! Over the many years of dog ownership, I’ve had puppies pee on rugs, chew furniture, dig holes in the yard, and do all sorts of annoying things . . . none were their fault of course. They were just being dogs, while I was trying to learn the in’s and out’s of dog ownership. Thankfully, when tempted to lose my patience, I remained calm.
If you catch your dog doing something “naughty”, never scold your dog or become angry.Try to remember that failure on a dog’s part to do something that’s been asked or expected of him, is simply a reflection of our own shortcomings as dog owners and trainers. No judgement here, just good to be aware, so that we can learn to better manage our dogs and avoid future destructive behavior.
Learning is a process, for us and our dogs. Be patient with yourself. Be patient with your dog. There’s always something positive to take away, if we look closely. The lesson for me with the torn ribbon fiasco was not to leave anything tempting or possibly dangerous within the reach of my dogs. Another lesson was to keep a closer eye on them. It also gave me an opportunity to grow in patience . . . mostly patience with myself as a budding responsible dog owner.
Here are 5 things to do when your dog does something upsetting:
- Remain calm.
- Redirect his attention to something more positive.
- Use positive dog training techniques to correct unacceptable behavior.
- Ask yourself what you can do differently in his training or routine to avoid the situation from happening again.
- Laugh and look for a positive take away!
One thing that helped me to remain calm when I saw the torn ribbons, was to laugh. In the moment it wasn’t funny, but after a minute or so I was smiling at the thought of them racing around the yard playing chase with all those ribbons. I bet they thought they were flying kites! Anyway, the ribbons aren’t really what’s important, it’s the doggies who won them.
Have you ever reacted in anger to your puppy? What can you do next time to change your reaction? And what can you do to prevent that behavior in the future?
Resource article recommendation—Don’t Scold Your Dog
Recommended article—How To Train a Naughty Dog
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Until next time,
Leila is the recipient of the AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Public Service Award. She writes to inspire love, care, and compassion for dogs. About the Author.
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