My brother just rescued two of the cutest little Pit mix puppy siblings, more specifically Pitweiler puppies (half Pit Bull half Rottweiler). They've been spending a lot of time with Bentley and I had forgotten how much really goes in to training a puppy since Bentley is now 2 ½ years old. The constant peeing and pooping all over the place, whining and barking, ankle biting, teething... the list goes on. This brought back some memories of when Bentley was a puppy. Let me tell you though, she is a very well behaved dog now and knows a lot of tricks and commands but she was a rambunctious little thing as a puppy. I remember her chewing up everything she could get her tiny teeth on. One day I came home to a half eaten mattress and I mean this thing was literally half way chewed up. My jaw dropped and stayed like that until I spotted Bentley coming from around the back of the bed wagging her tail with a piece of mattress in her mouth. I started laughing because I couldn't believe that this small 9 week old puppy had done this. Those days of disaster are gone now though, thank heavens.
I thought that I would go ahead and compile a list of the tips that got me through puppy-hood with Bentley that may help you with your new addition to the family.
Do not lose your cool.
This is the most important tip. I can understand that it may be frustrating to come home to a house full of pee and poo or things chewed up and to get angry but do not scream and hit your puppy. He doesn't know any better, he's just doing what comes naturally. Don't worry, with time things will improve.
Start training from day one.
Teach your puppy that you are the leader. A good way is with feeding time. Before you feed your puppy hold his filled food bowl in your hand and tell him to “sit” (Puppies usually go crazy during feeding time). Once he calms down and sits, put the bowl down and say “good”. This will teach him that you are in control and the more you do this the sooner he will learn the word “sit” and a plus will be that he will be calm during feeding time in the future.
Introduce your puppy to everyone and everything.
Seriously! Take your puppy with you everywhere possibly you can. Introduce him to people, children dogs, cats, squirrels, whatever, just get him to be social. The more you do this, the better your dog will be in different situations. A well socialized dog is a better behaved dog in many circumstances. They do not get overly excited, nervous, anxious, or aggressive like dogs that are not socialized.
Take your puppy on walks.
A dog doesn't automatically know how to walk on a leash. Many older dogs still don't know. By taking your puppy on walks from day one not only are you exercising him and getting out some of that energy that might instead be spent tearing something apart, you are also teaching him how to follow your lead and get comfortable on a leash. If your puppy doesn't like the leash at first then just walk him with a collar and hold the leash in your hand. He will follow you on your walk. Keep practicing until he is comfortable going on walks with a leash on. Teach your puppy not to pull by stopping every time he does and only starting up again when he follows your lead. You may use the word “heal” when you do this.
Play with your puppy.
Just like walking your dog gets rid of build up energy, so does playing fetch for 10 minutes. Your puppy is full of energy and curiosity. You will be doing wonders playing with him and he will look forward t o play time and see it as a reward and once again you will tire him out and help stop bad behavior that stems from boredom and lack of stimulation, like destroying the couch cushions.
Get some toys.
Chew toys, ropes, squeaky stuffed animals, balls...These will hopefully keep the little one entertained for long enough so that he doesn't chew up the legs of your table while you're away at the grocery store.
Enjoy the small things.
Literally, enjoy your puppy being small because one day in the coming months he will be huge and you might not be able to carry him anymore and he might think he's a lap dog and jump on you while you're watching tv and it might hurt... a lot.
Good luck with your new puppy and please don't get mad about those shoes, they are replaceable. If you feel that a puppy might be too much work, there are many wonderful dogs that are waiting be rescued that are already trained. Don't be fooled thinking a puppy is the only way to go. Do your research and share your knowledge!