It's fun to get a new puppy. Cute, playful and oh so active!

How you adapt to that bundle of energy depends on your age, tolerance and patience level.  A young person can likely keep up with that overly active pup much more than a senior who is just looking for a sweet, loving laid-back companion. And, look out if you have other pets at home. They may soon be wondering, “Why did you bring that little maniac into our quiet, peaceful domain?”

Some pups are continual movement, kind of like a spring action windup toy that never stops; you know the kind that runs instead of walks, gets into mischief instead of relaxing and tugs on the leash to go faster to confront other pets. These pups jump on everyone, barks for no reason, eats leashes, steals food from your table, bites at your fingers and demands your continual attention. Try to correct that baby and he looks at you, “smiling” with those “invisible horns up” as if you’re speaking another language!  How can you communicate and train this overly active pup?

Overly active puppies are normal, but if you’re dog isn’t growing out of those behaviors, that’s a sine of it being a learned activity. Whether you meant to or not, you’ve likely reinforced those undesirable behaviors. If your dog jumps, tugs, barks or bites, and gets attention as a result, you’re feeding into the activity. The puppy knows, “if I run like a crazy dog, mom will yell at me. Yes!!!” Just as with children, a dog feeds on attention, often even if it’s negative responses. It’s difficult to just ignore the behavior, but the puppy the puppy will be better off if you do. Just make sure not to feed into the bad behavior.

Controlling your little manic baby takes much time and patience in order to stop the overly active behavior. It is a matter of combining physical restraints, verbal control and proper increased activity. When your puppy is spinning out of control, instead of reacting to the activity, talk in a calmer tone and wait for a tranquil response and attention. When you get the reaction you are aiming for, praise and love your baby endlessly. Puppies are smart and love to please you; he will realize quickly that the active behavior went ignored while the calm reaction was acknowledged.

You need to start teaching your youngster appropriate behaviors from the moment you bring him home for the best results.  A young puppy may have a short attention span, but if taught expected manners from day one, he will pick up on what is expected slowly, but surely. It would also be advantageous to enroll in puppy kindergarten and basic obedience classes that teach the animal to first pay attention to you through “watch me” techniques along with commands to sit, stay, come and lay down.

To be effective with each command, engage in positive reinforcement.  If you are trying to get a specific response or performance from your pet, say the command along with some hand gestures and when the puppy does the expected behavior, use a reward system.  Provide a tiny training dog treat along with extensive verbal praise along with lots of love and attention.  Positive reinforcement will gain more results than yelling.  By all means, never punish or spank your baby.  That does not work in any type of training; you just end up with a naughty puppy that fears you.

To sum it up, your puppy needs structure from the moment it joins your family.  Exercise it appropriately by playing fetch and tug of war. Also go for walks, especially during the most active periods of the day.  Puppies are exceptionally active first thing in the morning and in the early evening. Just stay patient and remember that your little guy is going to grow up to be your best friend.

Here’s a cute puppy video. Enjoy!