It can be very difficult, even heartbreaking, to discipline a young puppy when it makes mistakes. Your young puppy is so adorable and cute. It looks at you with loving, trusting eyes and doesn’t know when it is doing something wrong. But, the only way your puppy will learn what is wrong is if you discipline him when it performs an undesirable activity, just as you would with your child. You have a responsibility to your puppy to show it behavioral boundaries early in life and to be consistent with it about these boundaries throughout its life.
You don’t want to beat your puppy to let it know it is behaving in an undesirable manner. Something as unpleasant as a water spray to the nose when it misbehaves should get the point across. You want your dog to fear the punishment, but not to be scared of you. Your dog wants more than anything to please you, so training just has to be consistent, not harsh.
It is hard for many people to balance showing affection to their young puppies with being responsible enough to discipline their young puppies. Your young puppy definitely needs you to show it a great deal of affection, particularly if it has been separated from its parents and you are put into the parenting role. But your puppy will actually be less happy and fulfilled if you give it all affection without providing boundaries and duties. The younger you teach your puppy what the boundaries are, the better adjusted your dog will be to your household as it grows up.
It cannot be overemphasized that this training should begin immediately after you adopt a young puppy. Each thing your puppy is not taught when it is younger it will learn an incorrect habit for that must be broken when it is older. Your puppy will be a well-adjusted adult dog that knows how to please you, which will in turn give your dog a sense of fulfillment. Remember, dogs want more than anything to please you. In most cases, misbehavior is simply a matter of not understanding how to please you.
Obviously, if you can afford to attend young puppy training classes with your puppy it will pay off big time in your relationship with your dog down the road. But most people can’t fit this sort of training into their busy work schedules. So it is important that you learn what you can about how to teach your young puppy how to behave. The best time period for training your young puppy is between 3 and 16 weeks of age.
Four Questions to Gauge Your Puppy Training
1. Am I meeting my puppy’s needs for nutrition, rest, and exercise?
2. Am I making etiquette a consistent priority for my young puppy?
3. Am I always approachable?
4. Am I being consistent enough in the enforcement of rules?