I’m typing this with 5-month-old Tess in my lap. Maybe a bad idea since she loves to sit with one paw on my wrist, which hinders typing slightly but it’s so sweet I can’t bring myself to make her stop! ..;/;’(typed by Tess lol) For the most part she’s a really well mannered puppy. She sits for attention, is learning that strangers are not for barking, doesn’t chew my fingers or the furniture, and she’s learning to walk on a leash. I’d like to share some of my ideas for manners training and hopefully it’ll help with your little work-in-progress too.

Jumping up. To teach Tess, I established early on that she does not get petted UNLESS SHE SITS. This has to be a rule consistently practiced by every member of your family. Never pet your puppy when she jumps up; ignore her while she’s jumping, and when she calms down, give the sit command and then she gets petted. Tess learned really fast, and now when she sees me reach down towards her, she automatically sits so I can pet her! Or she’ll just sit because she wants me to pet her. Yay!

Chewing. Training a puppy not to chew is simpler than most people think! The most important thing I did for Tess was to crate her or confine her to a small area when I wasn’t able to supervise. If she got into my stuff or chewed furniture, I said no in a firm but calm voice, gave her one of her toys, and praised her when she started playing with it instead. The same applies to biting your hands. Never allow a puppy to put her teeth on you even in teething or play biting.

Barking. Tess is still in her socialization period. We take her with us whenever we can, and she’s seen lots of visitors. My favorite anti-bark training method is to go to a store parking lot, i.e. Walmart, and sit in the car with the puppy. We watch the people go by and if she barks, I say, “No! It’s okay.” As of last week, Tess does not bark at passersby or visitors!

Leash training. My end goal is to train Tess to walk quietly on my left side with me loosely holding the leash. I do not allow them to lag behind or run ahead of me. The first thing to do is let her get used to wearing the collar and dragging the leash around. Her problem, like most every puppy, is that when I’m holding the leash and trying to guide her, she doesn’t want to budge. Time to bring out the treats! They talk when nothing else will:) I started offering her a treat while holding the leash, and telling her to come. After this morning’s session, it only takes a small tug and she’ll get up and come to me on the leash. She’s already getting the idea of following me, and it won’t be long before she’s fully trained!

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