by Jennifer Hicks
My son left for college I was very sad so my husband went and adopted this cute little puppy I do have a groomer for him.
He is housebroken on the puppy pads but how do I get him to stop playing so rough with our 5 year old ?
Hi Janice Here from Small Dog Place...
Sounds like your 5-year old and the puppy has become close buddies.
But if the puppy is too rough, someone could get hurt and you don't want that to happen.
The best way to remove a behavior is not to reinforce it.
By that, I mean that anything that a dog does that you do not want him to do can eventually be stopped if the puppy does not get rewarded for doing the behavior.
It is basically the opposite of teaching a new command such as "sit." You give a treat every time the dog sits, the dog will begin to sit in anticipation of the treat. You reward him for the correct behavior.
In your son's case, the puppy is getting reinforced because he wants to play. If you take away that option to play the second he starts to get rough, he will eventually get the hint.
When you want to eliminate a behavior, you don't reward it. For example, this is basically the same thing we do when we teach a young puppy not to use his mouth or nip when playing.
We start to play with the puppy, the play gets rough, we stop playing, turn our back or get up and move away.
We let the puppy calm and relax a bit (usually for say about 20 seconds) and then start the play session again. If he gets rough, we stop. We can repeat this scenario several times.
It might take some discipline on the part of your 5 year old to understand this concept, but eventually if you are successful, the puppy will learn to play without being rough.
This all assumes, however, that your 5-year old is extremely gentle with the puppy and does not do anything that might make him more excited. Both puppies and children need to be taught how to interact with each other. Most kids need lessons in this area--it is just not something that comes naturally to children. Good Luck and I hope this helped.
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