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Mental Challenges and Behavior problems

Updated: May 2, 2022

First off, I am not a trained animal behaviorist.  That said, let's talk about the trouble that your little bundle of joy can get into - and why they do.

Your puppy is unbridled potential energy.  They are busily growing physically and mentally.  While we feed them and provide them with water to meet the physical needs, we need to consider their mental development and what that requires as well.

Your little puppy has just joined a new pack - and you and your family are the key members.  It all seems quite strange but he or she is up to the challenge and keen to learn the pack rules.  The more time you spend sharing the rules (what you want) with your puppy and the more attention you give him or her, the better your working relationship will be, the more closely your puppies behavior will match your expectations and desired outcomes and the more satisfied you BOTH will be.

A young puppy has the attention span of a 3-year-old.  Spend time training, but keep the sessions short - like maybe a minute for every month in age, no more than 2 minutes.  Really.  If you can keep the sessions short and end on a high note, your puppy will come to really look forward to these little classes you provide and will be an eager participant.  You may then go on to provide classes 3, 4, 5, or more times a day!  It may even be safe to say as often as you want! 

Your puppy wants to please you.  Your puppy wants to fit in and to find acceptance.  Look for the positive.  For me, puppy culture opened my eyes where it comes to molding behaviors - and I cannot say enough about it.  You can literally start in an easy chair with a clicker in one hand, some highly valued treats in the other and your dog nowhere near.  By simply deciding ahead of time what behavior you want, and then watching your dog closely to see when there is even a hint of it, and rewarding him or her when they get close to it - or even think of it, you can begin to shape the desired behavior and in due time, your puppy will amaze you, your friends and all who know him with how well mannered and obedient he or she is.

The advantage of spending this time, and giving your puppy this attention is that your puppy will not only know your expectations better but will not seek ‘attention’ in more destructive ways.  This is when a relationship can become less than constructive.  In fact, you will enjoy watching your puppy start to problem solve.  They will offer behaviors trying to ring that magic bell - "If I do this, will I get a click/treat?" , no.  "Ok, what if I try this?  What was it I did last time that got me that reward?"  What a difference this scenario this is from traditional, ears pulled back, peeking out the top corner of the eyes, wondering when I will get my neck tugged on again.  This all starts in your mind set and creativity.  Give it a try and run with it.

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