Dealing With Puppy Mischief
Expect every healthy puppy to be mischievous. You could as well make up your mind to it and not worry. Worry more if your puppy is so good he never shreds anything; brace yourself, for he is below par!
When we say that puppy mischievousness isn’t a fault but a virtue, we can hear protests popping up on all sides. But a dog’s teeth are considered his fingers, and he must use them if he has the normal energy and curiosity of a healthy young animal. Books and magazines within reach would be gnawed; that hanging corner of the tablecloth will be jerked unmercifully. The world is his, and everything he can grab is a toy to play with.
There is just one way to avoid a lot of trouble. Keep things out of his reach. You can’t teach him yet to leave certain objects alone. So make sure to furnish safe and interesting toys to push and pull and tear and wreak his small vengeance on; and then take away all else from his inquiring teeth.
A special warning regarding base plugs: electric outlets having their wires attached are fair game for any puppy. He will try to chew them, and perhaps cause a fire or shock himself. If your puppy does get a shock from chewing through an electric cord and turns unconscious, don’t touch him when he is in contact with electrical current. Unplug first the cord from the wall. If you are unable to, wrap a towel around your hand, a broom handle, or use a pencil, or some other nonconductor of electricity to force the wire out of the pup’s mouth. Wrap him using a blanket to keep him warm. If the dog isn’t breathing, start artificial respiration then get to your vet as soon as possible. Another word of advice: don’t drop paper clips, rubber bands, and other small items on the floor, because they could get into a curious puppy’s mouth and be swallowed up
Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called
You might think it’s not worth troubling your dog with this lesson. Your dog almost constantly comes when called, so why waste time, correct? Wrong! “Come!” is among the most important commands a dog can know. When he obeys, you accomplish total control over him. When he is not taught, a dog would come because he wants to. Sooner or later, he would refuse. You will call him one day but he will keep on going and endanger his life in a fight or under a truck.
Begin establishing a positive practice early on by calling your dog to Come” for feeding, to Come for his every day brushing or other activities.
When he obeys, praise him richly. Never, never call your dog to “come” for a lecturing or discipline. He must connect this command with pleasurable experiences.
To start training, tie a long leash to your dog’s collar, and place him in a Sit-Stay position at your left side. Hold the leash using your right hand and move away from him as far as you can go without pulling the leash tight. Face the student, call his name, and command “Come!” When he does not start toward you, give a light jerk on the leash to get him going. Praise him lavishly as soon as he gets to you. Practice every day, until the dog comes readily no matter how far you let him out on leash.
Later, let him off leash in a fenced in yard or some place where he can not run into traffic. If he keeps on going rather than obeying your command, turn around and walk away from him. Perhaps he prefers to romp; perhaps he’s teaching you, and would be so frustrated when you do not chase him, that he will change his mind and come back. When he comes, do not forget the praise.