You might lose your temper with your puppy because he is hard to potty train, destroys everything, keeps you up at night, or barks all the time. There are ways to mitigate your temper, such as remembering that your puppy is young and setting him up for success.
Do you keep finding yourself incredibly mad at your puppy? This guide will walk you through what to do when you lose your temper with your puppy!
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Is It Normal to Lose Patience With Your Puppy?
It is normal to lose patience with your puppy. Puppies are a full-time job, and there are a lot of reasons why you may lose patience with your puppy.
Hard to Potty Train
Some puppies are just particularly hard to potty train. It can be frustrating to have your rugs destroyed, your couch and bed peed and pooped on, and to have to constantly clean up tiles and hardwood floors.
It can be incredibly costly if you have to replace rugs. Cleaning supplies alone can be expensive.
If you don’t have the proper time to walk your puppy outside and wait for him to go to the bathroom, your puppy will take longer to potty train, and it might eat into a lot of time in your day.
Puppies are notorious for destroying things. Best case scenario, he destroys the toys you buy him, and you have to keep buying new toys. And that’s if you’re lucky.
Your couch pillows will probably be eaten up. Toilet paper will be pulled onto the floor. Towels will be pulled down from your kitchen stove. And your shoes will have holes in them in no time.
Be prepared to come home to trash all over your floor too.
Keeps You Up at Night
Puppies are like babies in that they are likely to keep you up all night. They move around and can’t sit still or fall asleep for more than a few hours at a time.
Your puppy might lick your face at night, bark, or nip at your feet. Maybe he just paces around the bed, and you can’t sleep through the night.
Or, if your puppy doesn’t sleep on your bed with you, you might hear rustling sounds all night as your puppy gets into things he’s not supposed to and can’t settle down.
Barks All The Time
Puppies never stop barking. Whether they are trying to get your attention, a car beeped outside, or they are playing, you may never hear the end of it.
You may miss your peace and quiet. Maybe you don’t like the sound of your puppy’s bark. Maybe you’re particularly sensitive to noise.
It can be hard to have friends and family over when your puppy is always barking because you will have trouble hearing them talk. It can also be hard to hear the TV or listen to music, let alone take a nap.
What NOT to do When Losing Patience With Your Puppy
There are a couple of things not to do when losing patience with your puppy. It is important to stay calm and do the right thing because that is your responsibility as a pet owner.
Give Up On Him
You might think your puppy will never become better behaved. You might want to give up training altogether. Or even worse, bring him back to the adoption agency.
Don’t give up on your puppy. He still has a lot of growing to do, and your job as a puppy parent is to be there to help with that growth.
When you adopted a puppy, you agreed to treat him with love and nurture his well-being. Don’t lose faith in your dog. He is still growing up.
Be Too Lenient
One of the worst things you can do with your puppy is be too lenient. A puppy needs a strong figure to teach him how to behave.
Dogs are pack animals. You need your puppy to know that you are the leader of the pack. If your puppy thinks he is the pack leader, he will just misbehave more and more.
If you are too lenient, your puppy will walk all over you. If you are the right amount of strict and loving, your puppy will learn to behave.
Being too strict can be just as harmful as being too lenient.
If you yell at your puppy too often, eventually, it will just become white noise to him. You want to be strict, but only at the right moments. Yelling at your puppy every time he barks won’t be effective.
Instead of screaming, try to be firm with just your words. Use a stern voice.
Hit Your Puppy
You should never hit your puppy. Your job is to be a loving pack leader, not to hurt your dog.
You may want to hit your puppy out of frustration, or you might think it will teach him to behave better. Really it will just make him afraid of you.
Hitting your puppy is ineffective and unnecessary. You will probably feel guilty afterwards, too.
Never hit your dog. It’s not the kind of parent you want to be, and it’s considered animal abuse.
Do Puppies Remember When You Yell At Them?
Puppies don’t respond to yelling the same way humans do and won’t remember that they got yelled at for doing something, meaning they will likely do it again.
They Don’t Learn From It
Dogs don’t know what you’re yelling. Your puppy will know you are angry but won’t know what you’re saying or why you’re upset.
This is especially true if you are yelling about something your puppy did hours ago, like if you come home to a destroyed living room. Your puppy will not be able to make the connection between what he did and why you are yelling.
Your Puppy Might Become Afraid of You
Your puppy may become afraid of you while you are yelling at him. He is able to sense that you are upset.
When your puppy is afraid of you, it weakens the bond the two of you have been building. He is less likely to obey you or listen to you if he is afraid.
Ignoring Your Puppy
It might seem backwards, but it’s not always effective to punish your puppy when he does something wrong. A better approach is to reward him when he does something right.
A good example of this is barking. You may be tempted to yell at your puppy when he is barking. Instead, reward him if he hears a car honk and doesn’t bark. He will associate being quiet with getting rewards.
Try to reward him as quickly as possible, so he is able to make an association between his behavior and the reward.
If you are feeling upset with your dog, take some time to calm down. Use a strict, authoritative voice and say “No.”
Staying calm, being firm, and rewarding good behavior work best.
How Do I Stop Losing My Temper With My Dog?
There are lots of ways to stop losing your temper with your dog. Here are some techniques you can implement to set you and your dog up for success.
Adjust Your Expectations
If you have a new puppy and expect things to go perfectly, you will be sorely disappointed.
Keep in mind that you have to potty train your puppy; he will likely destroy things, he may bark a lot, and he may keep you up all night. He is just a puppy. This is normal.
You can’t expect him to act like an older dog. You have to expect him to act like a puppy.
You decided to adopt a puppy, so you are responsible for taking care of him and dealing with his behavior. You need to realize your puppy isn’t going to be perfect.
If you feel yourself losing your temper with your puppy, use some deep breathing techniques.
Breathe in for four seconds, hold it for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, and then hold it again for four seconds. This is called Box Breathing.
There are also other patterns, such as breathing in for four seconds and exhaling for seven.
Even if you just take some deep breaths without counting, it will help you calm down and let you deal with the situation in a way you can be proud of.
Set Your Dog Up for Success
If you leave food out on the counter when you leave the house, your puppy is bound to get into it. If your puppy likes chewing shoes and you leave your shoes everywhere, your puppy will chew them. If you leave water out all day and don’t take him outside, he is going to pee inside.
Try not to set your puppy up for failure. Remember his downfalls and try to avoid them by supporting him. If he destroys things, get him a bone with peanut butter on the inside. This will keep him busy while you are out and distract him from the trouble he could be causing.
Use Positive Reinforcements
Focus on rewarding your dog when he’s being good.
Every time he doesn’t bark, doesn’t jump on someone, and so forth, he should be getting treats or enthusiastic pets. He will associate his good behavior with feeling good and will want to behave in order to feel good more.
Remember That He Is Young
You wouldn’t expect a baby to know how to use a fork or a toilet. You wouldn’t expect a baby to know how to talk. You wouldn’t expect a baby to dress himself.
The same way you would have reasonable expectations for a baby, you have to remember that your puppy is just a puppy. He doesn’t know how to be a properly behaved dog yet.
Your job is to teach your puppy how to act and behave and show him lots of love along the way. That’s what you signed up for when you adopted a puppy.
So don’t forget that your puppy is just that- a puppy. Show him the patience he deserves.
Use a Firm Tone
It’s okay to be frustrated with your puppy. Puppies do frustrating things!
But instead of yelling, try using a firm tone. This is a way to correct your dog without yelling.
When you yell, all your dog gets out of it is, “My owner is upset.” But when you use a firm tone, your puppy will realize he did something wrong.
Using a firm tone lets you get out your frustration while still being a good dog owner.
Be the Packleader
The best way to get your puppy to behave, and therefore stop your frustration, is to be the packleader.
Puppies need someone they can look up to and who disciplines them. In the wild, this would be their packleader. It’s up to you to fill in that role.
You can do this by being firm with your puppy and not letting him walk all over you.
But don’t abuse your puppy by taking all your anger out on him! Simply lead the way.
It is normal to lose patience with your puppy! Puppies are hard to potty train, they bark all the time, and they destroy everything.
When you lose your patience with your puppy, don’t give up on him, be too lenient, yell, or hit your puppy.
Puppies won’t remember that they got yelled at for something and will repeat the same behavior even if you yelled at him for it before. They don’t learn from yelling, and your puppy might become afraid of you. Some better options are ignoring your puppy and staying calm.
To stop losing your temper with your puppy, first, remember that he is young and lower your expectations. Do some deep breathing and try to set your puppy up for success. Use positive reinforcements, use a firm tone, and be the packleader.
Puppies can be frustrating, but now you have all the tools you need to be a good puppy parent even when you lose your temper!