The Time to Introduce Good Puppy Manners is Now!Awww, look! He's chewing on ... OWW!! Hey, that hurt...let go of my sock! Puppy!! Hey! No!! Give it back! Come, Puppy, Come here!

Sound familiar? New puppy parents find out quickly that their fuzzy little bundle of joy will chew, steal, wrestle with and possibly destroy anything that looks, smells or feels interesting. This is a puppy's way of interacting with his environment.

But when "So cute!" turns into "Oh, no!" -- it's time to introduce the concept of learning and good manners. Here's how:

  • Decide ahead of time what rules will be in place: Is puppy allowed on the couch?  To play rough with the cat? To play tug-of-war with shoes? (And be sure everyone in the family enforces the rules consistently.)
  • Provide positive reinforcement to encourage the repetition of good behavior: praise for going potty, give a treat for coming when called, etc.
  • Don't reward inappropriate behavior with any kind of attention. If Puppy jumps up, do not pet her, talk to her or make eye contact. Walk away.
  • Don't ever smack your puppy on the nose or behind. This type of punishment does nothing to effect positive change in future behavior.
  • Remove an item that Puppy wants if he is acting inappropriately, or if the item is off limits. He'll learn that chewing shoelaces means the shoes are removed; and jumping or barking for a toy results in the toy being taken away.
  • Get help! Our Manners dog obedience trainers can help you and your family understand how to teach your pup to be his best-behaved self! (Learn more about Manners training here.)
Puppy is constantly learning about consequences as he explores his new home. Set him up for more success than failure by keeping a close eye on his activities and putting off-limit items out of his reach. If your puppy finds a box of crayons and chews them to pieces, the kids should find a new place for their art supplies.

Remember that every interaction with your puppy is an opportunity to teach him right from wrong. If you interrupt or prevent bad behaviors now, they won't become bad habits when he gets older (and bigger!)