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Teach your Pup Good House Manners – Karen Phillips

So far I’ve talked about preparing for your new puppy’s arrival, toilet training and socialisation of your puppy.  Next on the list of things to do when you bring a new puppy into your life is teaching your pup general house manners and good behaviour.

As with anything that you want your puppy to do, these are learned behaviours.  This means that you first need to teach your puppy what you want it to do.  Pups don’t come into our homes automatically knowing what we want of them or what the rules are.  Telling your pup off for behaving incorrectly won’t mean anything to him as he won’t understand what you wanted of him in the first place.

As your puppy’s new owner you must decide what it is that you expect of him.  For example, when visitors arrive, would you prefer that your pup sits politely while greeting visitors or do you want your pup to jump all over your guests?  Do you want your pup to go and lie quietly on their bed during dinner time or to sit in front of you and beg for titbits?  Would you like your puppy to sit quietly when you clip on his leash to take him for a walk or are you happy for him to jump around making it impossible for you to attach the leash?

This takes us back to the rule that what you puppy learns first is what it learns best.  Just because your puppy is cute and little does not mean that you should let him jump all over visitors.  If you allow this to happen at this young impressionable age, when your pup grows up he will have no reason to think that it is suddenly not OK.

To train your puppy from the beginning, be prepared when you know that you have visitors coming over and plan what you are going to do.  When your visitors are due to arrive grab your food treats and put your puppy on a lead.  As your visitors come through the door ask you puppy to sit and reward the behaviour.  If the puppy attempts to jump up to greet your visitors ask your visitors to ignore the puppy but then immediately praise if the pup presents the correct behaviour which is to sit.  Having your puppy on a lead allows you to control the situation and helps you to create the good behaviour that you want.

If you continue to do this every time you have guests, the puppy will learn that if he makes the correct choice of sitting quietly he will get rewarded by his favourite food treats and the greeting of guests.  If he does not sit quietly then he receives no rewards or attention from guests.  It will not take very long for you pup to figure out what is the best choice!

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