How do I stop my puppy from eating my socks, ripping apart delicate things, and tearing apart toilet paper?
Manage the environment so she is unable to get to any of these things in the first place. Socks should be in a drawer or hamper, nothing delicate should be within reach, and the bathroom door should be closed.
Puppies, like human babies, need management. People baby-proof their apartments so that baby can’t get into anything delicate or dangerous, and people need to puppy-proof their apartments as well!
There will be moments when you can’t focus on or watch your young puppy. When these occur, they should be somewhere safe like in a playpen, a puppy-proofed room, or other safe space. We like to recommend the use of wired playpens. that can unfold and be used as moveable barrier walls around a house or apartment. They are a quick and easy way to block off sensitive or delicate objects and create puppy-safe spaces around the home!
I worked with a client once who had a young dog that would steal their socks every morning. The dog would pick up their socks and run, and when the owners started to chase him, that would just make him run faster, and try to steal socks even more! They were really not sure what to do, so the advice that was given to them was two-fold:
1) Don’t leave socks out! Put them where the dog cannot get them.
2) If the pup does find socks, don’t chase him! Chasing him made it a fun game, and every time he was chased, he was being reinforced for stealing socks.
Instead of chasing, removal of attention was used to teach him that stealing socks gets him nothing. Really, step 1 is by far the easiest way to handle the situation though! Prevention is always easier than training out a behavior.
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