Any (good) dog lover can tell you that their puppy is more than just a pet- he or she is a member of the family. A full-fledged furry baby that can have behaviors every bit as destructive as a growing toddler. Fortunately- like the toddler- your puppy will grow out of many of their less endearing behaviors as well. All it takes is a little (okay, a lot) of patience, love, and a drive to understand why they’re doing whatever it is that they’re doing. Animals rarely act purely on impulse. Their behavior is almost always rooted in some deep-seated instinct or has been learned at some point in their short lives. The key to correcting nearly all bad habits is a consistent approach that focuses on positive reinforcement.

Dogs are smart. Some researchers have discovered that select breeds can develop IQ’s comparable to a three-year-old child’s. This also indicates that they have fairly complex emotional bonds and reactions. It’s important to recognize the emotional needs of your puppy just as you do their physical ones. This also means that they can be taught and corrected when necessary. A puppy that’s neglected or has gone with little to no training will have a difficult time socializing, and this can lead to big problems. Like kids, they need clear boundaries and an extreme level of consistency.

Make sure that you’re prepared to give your puppy the lifetime of care that he or she needs before you even consider bringing them home. Look into the large variety of safe products that can help you to correct their behavior as well. Things like dog repellent spray for chewing can be great training tools for your puppy. This is a commitment that can last for decades, and a rewarding friendship as well. Children grow up alongside their fur babies, and create a lifelong bond that they carry into adulthood. When you have the right environment and a dedicated pet owner, this is a win-win situation for everyone involved! But, you’ll need to work through that destructive phase first. Don’t get discouraged, and remember- your puppy more than likely doesn’t know any better. These are just a few of the more problematic behaviors and strategies for correcting them:

Chewing Everything

In younger dogs this can indicate teething. They chew just like babies would, and the best way to deal with this is to offer them an appropriate alternative. Continued destructive chewing can signal something more serious. This can be a sign that your puppy isn’t getting enough to eat and is seeking out something with nutritional value. It can also be a symptom of neglect and anxiety. Make sure that you’re spending enough time with your puppy and that you have plenty of different toys to entertain them.

Problematic Biting

It gets a bit worse when your puppy is actually chewing on you. This isn’t always a sign of aggression and is a way that many puppies play with and communicate with peers. Avoid rough play with your puppy that allows them the opportunity to play bite. Give them a toy instead of your arm, and immediately stop responding to them if they bite at all. This can teach them to choose the toy over an arm in the hopes of a positive response.

Jumping

This is an extremely common issue that can be a means of greeting for your puppy. It can also be a cry for attention if the puppy is doing it at random or inappropriate times. Take the time to gently place your puppy back on the floor and make an effort to strongly discourage the jumping.