Dealing with Problem Puppy Behaviors

Dealing with Problem Puppy Behaviors

By Jeff Rose

Everyone who owns a puppy or dog will eventually have to deal with and correct less than desirable behaviors on the part of their companion animal. There are a number of behaviors that should be nipped in the bud, including:

Jumping up on people

This is one of those behaviors that many owners inadvertently encourage in their animals, since jumping up, wagging his tail and the like can be adorable in a young puppy. When that puppy is older, larger and heavier, however, this jumping up behavior ceases to be cute and begins to become annoying and even dangerous.

A large, heavy dog jumping up on people can be dangerous to young children and even to some adults, since a large, 100 pound plus dog can easily knock down a child or small adult. Since you as the owner are responsible for the behavior of your dog, it is important to nip this problem behavior in the bud.

The best time to do that, of course, is when the puppy is still small and easy to handle. When the puppy jumps up on you or someone else, gently place the puppy’s feet back on the floor. When the dog remains standing there, be sure to praise it extensively.

It is also important to give the puppy an alternative to jumping up. Puppies jump up on people to express their enthusiasm, so it is important to redirect this energy in a more socially acceptable direction. Try teaching the puppy to present his paw instead of jumping up.

When teaching the puppy to not jump up on people, it is important to be consistent. Consistency is important in any training program, and all members of the family must understand that the puppy is not permitted to jump on them.

Pulling, charging and tugging on the lead

One problem you definitely want to nip in the bud is this one. It is important that the puppy learn to respect the collar and leash now, when he is still small and light enough to handle. Teaching this lesson to a 10 pound puppy will be much easier than teaching the same lesson to a 150 pound dog.

Using a good strong body harness or head collar can be a big help when training a puppy not to pull, or to retrain a dog that has already learned to pull on the leash. When first fitting a harness, it is important to allow the puppy to walk around wearing it, so that he can get used to wearing it.

The first thing your puppy must learn, and the basis of all subsequent training, is teaching your dog to heel. Teaching your dog to walk quietly at your side on a loose lead is the basis of all dog training, and until your puppy has mastered this vital skill he will be unable to move onto more advanced training.

When walking with a puppy on a leash, it is important to always keep slack in the leash. If the puppy begins to pull on the leash, the handler should quickly change directions. The puppy will then find itself lagging behind instead of forging ahead. The least will be loose except for the split second it takes to change directions. It is important for the handler to use a quick tug of the leash, followed by an immediate loosening, when teaching this lesson.

When teaching the puppy to walk properly, it is important to never allow the puppy to pull you around, or to forge ahead on the leash. Allowing the puppy to pull you around will teach him exactly the wrong lesson.

Jeff Rose is the owner of, a new website featuring hundreds of articles on dog training, tips for new owners and health and wellness. Be sure to join the newsletter for even more tips.

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