How do you react when your puppy is “naughty?”
I really wish dog ownership was all fun and games. But the truth is, living with dogs can get rather messy at times. Over the years, I’ve had puppies pee on rugs, chew furniture, dig holes in the yard, and do all sorts of “naughty” things . None were their fault of course. They were just being dogs, while I was learning the in’s and out’s of responsible dog ownership.
The following story shares one of these mishaps, followed by seven things you can do when your puppy (or adult dogs) gets into mischief.
Story of the Torn Ribbons . . .
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. Each one was attached to a special memory of my beloved dogs, goals achieved, and times spent with family. While I was lamenting the loss, 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.
These are 7 things to do when your dog is naughty. I’ve included links if you’d like to dig deeper into each topic.
Before sharing seven things “to do”, I’d like to share one very important thing NOT to do. Never scold your dog. 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. No judgement here, just good to be aware, so that we can learn to better manage our dogs and avoid future destructive behavior.
- Be calm—Dogs sense our mood. Take a deep breathe. Remember that your dog isn’t being difficult on purpose. Learning takes time. Click here to learn more.
- Be quick—Redirect your dog’s attention quickly to something more positive. You’re telling your dog— “Do this, not that.”
- Be positive— Use positive dog training techniques to dissuade unacceptable behavior. In positive reinforcement training (reward-based training) the dog learns that good things happen to him when he does what you want. Click here to learn more.
- Be curious— Identify and understand why your dog is doing what he/she is doing so that you can better respond to the behavior and communicate effectively. Consult a trainer or veterinarian if needed.
- Be consistent. Get the whole family on the same page. Your dog will learn much faster what is expected of him if the whole family is using consistent training methods. Your dog will be confused if one person lets him on the sofa, and the another person does not.
- Be patient. Learning takes time. Patience is defined as: “the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.”
- Be lighthearted, and look for a positive take-away. Your dogs will learn much quicker in a positive environment that is motivated by love and good cheer . . .
One thing that helped me to remain calm when I saw the torn ribbons, was to stay lighthearted. I actually ended up laughing out loud! 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.
There’s always something positive to take away from a mishap, if we look carefully. My take-away from 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. Dogs are like toddlers, and can’t be left unsupervised for long. Lastly, the torn ribbon experience gave me an opportunity to grow in patience, which is really an expression of the love we feel for our dogs. “Love is patient, love is kind . . .” (1 Corinthians 13:4).
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?
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About the Author
Leila Grandemange is an award-winning writer and recipient of the AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Public Service Award. She writes to inspire faith in God, and the responsible care of our furry friends! See her books on Amazon.
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