Today: “Ohhhh, isn’t that cute?”
A few months later: “No! Bad dog!”
1. Do you want him to bark for food (or anything else) when his adorable little arf turns into a deep bark? Don’t teach your dog to bark for food unless you can live with it when he is older. Also discourage barking for no good reason. It is your responsibility to make your pet a good citizen. Rare is the dog that will not bark if there is a real threat to you and your family.
2. Do you want her jumping up on family members or on strangers? If you allow it now, it will be difficult to break when she grows up. Bear in mind her size/weight when she is full grown.
3. What are you teaching him when you put his nose in his mistakes? When puppies are being weaned from their mother’s milk, this is how they are taught to eat.
4. Are you going to allow her on the furniture? Don’t permit it even once if you are not. If you are, it is a good idea to take her blanket with you when you pick her up to bring her home and set it on the couch where she is going to lay. You can buy nice baby blankets from some of the second hand stores for as low as 99 cents.
5. Are you going to allow him to sleep in bed with you or your kids? Don’t permit it unless it is going to be acceptable.
6. Are you going to crate train your dog? This is a very good idea but don’t confuse him by locking him in it in anger as punishment. It should be his personal space where no one will disturb him. That includes your children. Do buy a dog carrier/crate that will be large enough to accommodate him when he is full grown and put soft comfortable bedding in it.
7. It is very cute when she drags out your clothing and curls up on it but if you allow it as a puppy, it is unfair and difficult to break when she is older. If he is chewing, replace the item with something acceptable i.e. a doggy chew.
8. Your puppy with his nose poked in your slipper to chew it, old or not, will be unacceptable behavior. Replace it with a chew toy that will be permitted.
9. She gets loose and runs away from you, but returns when you call her. What are you teaching her if you punish her? She will think she is being chastised for coming when you called, not for running off. And she might not return when called the next time.
10. Do you want your dog to be well behaved at the veterinarian and when he gets his nails clipped? Handle him gently every day from the first day you get him. Touch his entire body. Check his teeth. Gently hold and touch his paws and his nails. This may not make him into a model citizen when he gets his nails clipped, but it may help.
Cardinal Rule: Teach what is acceptable behavior as an adult dog. It is unfair to the dog and to you to do otherwise.
(An exception to the rule: Puppies need to be cuddled and held in your lap, regardless on how big they will be. Even Great Dane pups need lap time!)