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There is so much you’re trying to teach your new puppy, that it can feel overwhelming: house-training, sleeping through the night, not to nip, not to chew, and all the other household rules you’ve established. Add to that a puppy’s natural curiosity and energy, and you might start to feel as if he’ll never get it. This is a learning process for both of you; he or she is eager to please you and understand what’s expected of him or her, but you must also learn to be patient, calm, and consistent.

Dogs are sensitive to the moods of their owners. If you’re anxious, frustrated, and impatient, your puppy senses that, and it may make it harder to get through to him. He’ll respond best to you when you’re calm, upbeat, and assertive. If you find yourself becoming frustrated or losing patience, take a deep breath and follow a few simple guidelines to get back on track.

Golden Retriever puppy playing with a shoe string.See My Golden Retriever Lightbox

Tips for Being Patient With a Puppy

  • Try to see life from your puppy’s perspective. He has a limited understanding of what you’re asking of him; this new environment is still confusing, and he doesn’t yet have much control over his behavior. If you respond to him in a loud, angry voice or with rough handling, he’ll be less likely to trust you or respond positively.
  • If you start to lose patience, take a break. You might need to step away and take some deep calming breaths. Or you can gently place him in his crate or gated area and give yourself time to relax and calm down.
  • Understand the breed’s behavioral traits and temperament. If you’ve done your homework about your puppy’s breed, it will be easier to work with his natural tendencies than against them.
  • Spend lots of time with your puppy. Creating a bond and building trust will make it easier for him to learn what your expectations are and might lower your frustration level.
  • Practice does make perfect. He may not understand what you’re teaching him the first time, or even the fifth time. But with patience and consistency, you’re giving him the opportunity to succeed. And don’t forget to praise him, even for small victories.

Bringing this adorable bundle of energy into your home is life-changing and not always in expected ways. Keep in mind that you’re trying to teach him good lifetime habits, and that won’t happen overnight. Patience, consistency, and practice will help you be a good owner and your puppy a well-behaved canine family member.

Related article: Why Do Dogs Drink From the Toilet?
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