Obedience Training

Proper training can usually prevent such behavioral problems as jumping, biting or excessive barking. Training can begin as early as eight to 12 weeks. Training should be a fun and positive experience for both you and your puppy. A puppy should learn to wear a collar, walk on a leash and come when called. Puppies should also learn not to jump on people.

A halter collar (a collar that goes over the pup’s head and muzzle) may be of assistance when training. These collars give you greater control and assist in the training of your puppy.

Teach your puppy the basics, "come," "sit," "lie down," and "stay", as soon as possible. Use hand signals in addition to the commands. Dogs are more likely to respond to a double signal (verbal and visual) than just a verbal command.

Using force to train a puppy can ruin your bond with your pet. Instead, train your puppy by using positive motivators; food, a favorite toy, and attention. Give the pup a reward immediately after it performs the required task. Once the puppy begins to do as it is asked, continue to give praise for every correct response and provide the reward on an intermittent basis.

At 12 to 16 weeks of age, most puppies try to exert their dominance. This is a good time to begin formal obedience training.

Dealing with Bad Behavior

Every puppy will misbehave from time to time. Puppies, like children, go through a teething stage. During this stage, they may want to chew everything in sight. The best strategy for coping with this stage is to keep valuables out of reach and give the puppy a variety of chew toys to work on. Some toys are potentially hazardous to your dog's health, so ask your veterinarian to recommend safe toys for your dog.

Never punish your puppy for misbehaving. Punishment during the early development stages can have a negative impact on the puppy's future relationships with people. Never strike your dog. This may teach the dog to fear the human hand, and it may become a fear biter. Dogs are loving, devoted companions, but any dog may bite if provoked. Parents should teach children about safe behavior around dogs. Don't disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping or caring for puppies. Never tease, chase or yell at a dog. Don't grab a dog's ears or tail. Be aware that older or injured dogs may be easily irritated or frightened. Treat all animals with respect and you will greatly reduce the likelihood of a biting incident.