How To Deal With A Difficult Puppy

Pets are a beautiful addition to the family from time to time, but they do require work and investment to help them become the best they can possibly be. Of course, just like people, all pets have their own personality, and this can mean that some are more difficult than others.

How To Deal With A Difficult Puppy

In this post, we are going to describe the problems you may have with a small puppy, because it’s unlikely that you can train a lizard or a hamster (or maybe even a cat) to be more empathetic and well-behaved, and animal behavioral specialists are of course the first port of call when dealing with any other classification of pet. 

Also, it’s important to note what we mean by 'difficult'. A puppy doesn’t have to be aggressive or unsuitable for children to be 'difficult'. Perhaps it’s just taking them longer than most to learn toilet training, maybe they’re just untrained, or maybe they have a tendency to howl or bark when they want you instead of peaceably finding you. 

How can these issues be resolved? Let’s consider: 

Speak To A Qualified Trainer 

Speak to a qualified trainer. They are, far and above, the experts on knowing how your puppy might be struggling and what to do when resolving those problems. They will first and foremost help you prevent making the issues worse, or reinforcing bad behaviors. They will have the right environment to help training a puppy go smoothly. They will also their time with your puppy, not simply expecting it to ‘get better’, but figuring out exactly what step by step process is required. 

Sometimes, trainers can simply provide the social environment necessary to ensuring your puppy learns in the right way. Being exposed to other dogs in a larger environment can be healthy for your pet, because they will be forced to contend with the social norms placed on them by other pets, which is perhaps a more sophisticated behavioral interaction than we as humans can understand. 

At the very least, your teacher will help you work towards a solution, and put the problem in the right context for you to understand it. This can help you avoid feeling like there’s no solution. 

Stay Patient 

Stay patient with your puppy. Remember, puppies are in their 'childhood' stage. They too have to learn to be a pet, and what boundaries need to be followed, and they also need to know that you are their master.

It’s tougher for them to learn sometimes because they’re not naturalized as we are to follow examples. Unless you repeatedly show and positively discipline your pet to urinate outside, they will see no hygienic or ethical problem with doing so inside, all over your carpet. They may never really understand why this is a bad thing, they will just know how to avoid it because it’s not something you find acceptable, and show them that each time they might do it. This is how puppies learn. 

It also means you have to stay patient. It might take weeks or months before certain lessons ‘click.’ There are training methods of course, like routine, positive reinforcement, Pavlovian conditioning, and more. Don’t get frustrated. They’ll get it. 

Stay Consistent 

It’s also important to stay consistent with a puppy. Behavioral norms need to be reinforced, yes, but you mustn’t let your emotions override you. If you want to lash out and scold your dog harshly, for instance, if they howl, they you’re not teaching them to be healthy and to howl at acceptable times, like in the day. You’re just making them feel nervous and they can choose to rebel or cower from you, limiting your chance to teach further lessons. 

Invest In The Right Tools 

It’s important to invest in the right tools, if you can. For instance, this might mean investing in gates that prevent your eager puppy from running up and down the stairs, which can not only give them access to rooms that you would rather not give them access to, but it can be damaging to their joints going up and down platforms like that. 

Tools might also mean investing in the right lead and collar, one that can adequately hold them when going on a walk. Sometimes, a tool might be a larger cage, so that they can learn independence at night when it comes to falling asleep and staying away from sleeping on your bed, something that is unhygienic and is best to be discouraged. 

Of course, in some cases, a shock collar is required to ensure that certain behaviors are not employed. This last point is taking on a controversial context in recent years, as many trainers debate just how effective this punitive method is. It’s best to speak with your own trainer about that, to understand just what its disadvantages may be outside of the obvious - those being that a shock collar only punishes, it doesn’t train or help solve a problem. 

Use Effective, Yet Fair Disciplinary Measures 

Puppies need to know ‘who the boss is,’ as it were. It’s important to understand what that means in practice. It means staying consistent in your discipline, and being firm but fair with them. 

If they jump up, place them down, and tell them no firmly. Don’t hit them or strike them, that’s abuse, but raise your voice, state it firmly, make it known that you’re not happy. In some cases, disciplining may simply mean placing them in another room if you have guests around, not isolating them, but making sure they know that other people are not to be jumped on.

Never use unfair disciplinary measures like withholding food, holding them or moving them with aggressive force, acting threatening, locking them away, or anything that could constitute abuse at all. It is never justified. Morality aside, it will also prevent you from making any progress whatsoever. If you understand that, you’ll understand how to move forward in the best possible sense. 

With this advice, we hope you can deal with a difficult puppy properly, carefully, and with the right amount of personal investment. 

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