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Is your puppy impulsive?

Is your puppy impulsive?


Puppies are happy, jumpy, playful, mouthy creatures who make us laugh as we watch them awkwardly bounce about. While we enjoy watching them do their puppy thing, we do not so much enjoy the bitey, grabby, pushy behavior so often exhibited when our puppy wants something from us. How do we teach them to be patient? 

 

Teaching puppies impulse control is at the top of my list when a new puppy arrives here for training, recognizing dogs do not naturally wait for things they want. They see what they want and go get it as fast as they can. Patiently waiting is fairly simple to teach and MUST be done in my opinion. 

 

Let’s start with a food reward for example. We use food a LOT when first training puppies because it is a fantastic motivator. Take a food reward in your fist and hold it at nose level to your pup. Keep your fist closed tightly around the treat until your puppy stops trying to get it by pawing, biting, licking, etc. The second he pulls away from your fist, mark, “YES” and give him one small piece of the food. Repeat the exercise but this time keep your fist closed until he backs off for two seconds. Continue until he will wait patiently for you to give him his treat for 10 seconds. Never give him a treat without expecting him to back off first, even if just for a second. 

 

I use the marker “YES” when practicing behaviors by immediately putting my closed fist with a treat down to his level when he does something correctly, but always wait for him to retreat before opening my hand. This prevents the bitey, grabbing, pushy behavior so often present in young puppies. It also gives you time to teach him to take it with his tongue. Say, “GENTLY” then only let go of the treat when he uses his tongue.

 

To learn more about teaching your puppy good manners, especially for those who have young children, check out our online puppy school at www.baxterandbella.com.

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