“Will My Puppy Grow Out of It?”
Ahhh….the “Will my puppy grow out of it?” question…
One of my favorite age old questions! 😉
And, my answer, most often is “Probably not”
Puppies begin exploring their environment when they are just days old.
When we get our puppies at 8 weeks they are pretty independent, in general.
They do things that they like.
They do things that feel good.
Many times both of those things are things that we find offensive!
After all, our children wouldn’t raise themselves very well either.
Let’s face it, your puppy wants to eat cake for breakfast every morning.
And, if you let him, he will continue because he likes it and it feels good.
What’s worse is that after a period of time, it becomes habit.
Let’s Take Jumping, Scratching and Nipping
After all, this is the exact question that I had.
“My puppy likes to jump, scratch and nip children. Sometimes her sharp teeth draw blood, although she is not being aggressive. Will she just grow out of it?”
My answer, of course, is NO!
She does these things because she likes it, and to her, it feels good.
This is how she would act and react around other puppies.
But it is not acceptable.
Allowing her to treat children this way is dangerous for her (if an adult dog does this, it can be deemed dangerous and forcibly euthanized).
Imagine an adult dog over 200 pounds that jumps on scratches and nips children to the point of drawing blood. It is not a cute habit when you add a large adult face to it!
But when the behavior is accepted because the owner thinks the dog will grow out of it, what happens is that it is the exact opposite.
The behavior becomes a habit.
Every time the puppy or dog sees a child, he gets excited, probably over excited and gets ready to fulfill his desire to feel good by pouncing and jumping on the child.
Instead, we must teach our puppies greeting manners!
Our dogs and puppies don’t come to us pre-programmed, we have to teach them what we expect.
I want my dog to lie down when he/she meets especially a child.
So I won’t let my puppy interact with children or children interact with my puppy if my puppy is not in a “down”.
It is nearly impossible to jump on someone when you are laying down.
Plus, laying down is already a settling or calming behavior.
Often, I use a treat to lure my puppy down and I continue baiting or feeding my puppy while he/she interacts with the child. This ensures that I am mostly the focus (because I have the food) and it ensures things don’t get out of hand.
Rewarding my puppies for laying down is one of the very first things I imprint on them.
Frequently my dog’s think that if they desire something they must first lie down!
It is much more positive for a puppy to throw itself into the down position when he/she wants to be petted than to leap with fangs and nails blazing!
Don’t wait for your puppy to grow out of a bad behavior, instead FIX IT before it becomes habit!