A dog is not like a television or a video game – you can’t just pull the plug or temporarily remove the batteries from a rambunctious puppy. Instead, you must teach him to settle down and shush. Right from the outset, make frequent quiet moments part of the puppy’s daily routine. Following a proper confinement schedule will help your puppy train himself to settle down. Additionally, encourage your puppy to settle down beside you for longer and longer periods. For example, when you’re watching television have your pup lie down on-leash or in his crate, but release him for short play-training breaks during the commercials.
When playing with your pup, have him settle down for frequent short interludes every fifteen seconds. Initially have the pup lie still for a few seconds before letting him play again. After fifteen seconds, interrupt the play session once more with a three-second settle-down. Then try for four seconds, then five, eight, ten, and so on. Although it’s difficult at first, being sent back and forth between “Settle Down” and “Let’s Play”, the puppy soon learns to settle down quickly and happily. Your puppy will learn that being asked to settle down is not the end of the world, nor is it necessarily the end of the play session, but instead that Settle Down signals a short time out and reward break before he is allowed to resume playing.
If you teach your puppy to be calm and controlled when told, you will have years of fun and excitement ahead. Once your puppy has learned to settle down and shush on cue, there is so much more your dog can enjoy with you. Your well-trained dog is likely to be invited for many walks, trips in the car, picnics, visits to the pub, or to Grandma’s, and even on incredible journeys to stay in ritzy dog-friendly hotels. On the other hand, if you let your dog play indiscriminately as a puppy, he will no doubt “want to play indiscriminately as an adult. Your dog will be hyperactive and uncontrollable because you have unintentionally taught him to act that way. If your pup has not been taught to settle down by the time he reaches adolescence, he will be unfit to be taken places. Your pup will begin a lifetime of confinement and isolation at home while the rest of the family go out to have a good time. That folks, is not fair!
Until you have trained your puppy to enjoy spending much of his day at home alone, you might recruit a puppy sitter. Just a few houses down the street, there may live an elderly person, for example, who would just love to live with a dog. He or she might be willing to come over during the daytime and sit and enjoy your TV or the contents of your fridge, maintain your puppy’s confinement schedule, regularly reward him for using his doggy toilet periodically play with the pup, and teach him household rules.