Learn to be an observer, when correcting your puppy, less is sometimes more, but on the other hand, too mild of a correction is often worse than none at all.
Gauge your puppy’s reaction, if when you clap your hands, she skitters away and hides under the ottoman, soften your correction. Your goal is two-fold, to quickly stop bad or unwanted behaviors i.e., chewing your new rug, before puppy excitement builds and establish your role as puppy’s leader and loving but firm guide.
If on the other hand, “Phoebe” is tugging wildly on your daughter’s shoelaces, and you clap your hands and she tugs even harder, adding an excited growl to her antics, your correction was too mild for your particular puppy. Some puppies for example, Georgie in the story shared below, take less correction. Some puppies, like Phoebe, for instance, will need you to up the level of correction so that you change her direction, and she drops her energy level to one of submission and not aggression.
Here’s an example of puppy personality that shows the difference in three puppies and how their personalities will guide your approach in training. I was giving Snowball and Georgie a bath this morning, they are just small and at about 4 pounds each, they enjoy a bath buddy, since no dog really enjoys getting bathed in the first place, might as well have a friend along to share the misery!
Snowball got soap in his eyes and though it’s a safe non-tear formula, he was blinking and looking a bit unhappy, his littermate Georgie sweetly leaned over and began to wash his brother’s face, amazingly sympathetic and nurturing behavior in such a young puppy.
Case in point, Georgie is more of a sensitive and gentle natured puppy, observant and quick to pick up cues, his corrections need to be very mild until he gains confidence, he may always be a puppy who listens quickly and takes only soft training.
On the other hand, Phoebe stood on her hind legs during most of her bath (no bath buddy for this little diva!). Here’s a puppy with a higher energy level and loads more confidence than Georgie, in addition, she’s about a month older which adds to her enthusiasm and her confidence level as well. Phoebe will need firmer corrections, more likely picking her up and looking deep into her adorable brown eyes & telling her “No Phoebe!” will help her drop her energy and excitement level.
Your new puppy is like a sponge, able to absorb both the good and the bad your training (or lack thereof!). Most importantly, your puppy must learn that you are a loving & kind, but firm leader, you must balance the geneous amounts of love and affection you naturally want to lavish on your new puppy, with equal amounts of educating her in the basics of canine good manners and obedience. If you don’t invest time in early training, a year from now you might find yourself the unhappy owner of an ill-mannered dog. Puppies are a lot of fun, but you’ll enjoy your dog more if you train properly now. What is cute on a puppy may not be so cute when she’s all grown up – plan for the future. A proper foundation is crucial!