“Aw, he’s still a puppy! Let him jump up…”
“He doesn’t know any better – that’s why he is biting my hand. What a cute puppy…”
Wait, slow down. When is he supposed to learn? In other words: would you allow your kid to misbehave, pull other kids’ hair, yell at them and bite strangers? Nope! (Well, I hope not.) Of course, they don’t know any better. That is the exact reason why we need to teach them what is better. Consistency is very important, just as it is with children, and this can be difficult when everyone is ooh-ing and aah-ing at how cute your puppy is when he misbehaves.
In those moments, it can feel horrible being the one to have to stop the puppy’s “cute” behaviour so that it doesn’t develop into a bad habit. But it is important and puppies are able to do and understand so much more than we give them credit for.
Most all soon-to-be working dogs begin their training at a very young age. Playing, sleep and simply being a silly puppy is also very important, of course. In the beginning we might simply expect them to do as we ask for a minute. Then that time escalates until our puppy is able to handle more and more time in a calm state of mind. When they are young is the best time to teach them good habits that will last them a life time.
Here is some inspiration of how high your expectations could be with your puppy. This is my puppy, Benji, at 9 weeks.