You love your puppy, and there is nothing you would not do to keep it safe, healthy, and happy. However, there will be times when your puppy will do nerve-racking things, and you will feel like losing your temper.
Why do I keep losing my temper with my puppy? Relax, if you lose your temper with your puppy, do not worry – you are not alone. Almost every dog parent has lost their temper at least once. The important thing is to appropriately manage your anger and then work with your puppy to prevent similar issues in the future.
In this article, we will talk about how to control yourself when your puppy does something annoying or even infuriating. As pet owners, we all understand that raising a puppy is challenging, and there will be times when you lose your temper.
IS IT NORMAL TO LOSE PATIENCE WITH YOUR PUPPY?
Believe it or not, the answer is yes – losing your temper with the puppy is completely normal and something all pet owners have experienced first-hand. This is because puppies tend to do a lot of frustrating things – for example, they spend the entire night crying and the next day sleeping on the sofa, leaving poop presents and pee puddles on the carpet, chewing the pillows, or favorite designer high heels.
These are very common and annoying scenarios. And no matter how carefully you plan everything, when puppy parenting, everything is possible. The important things are not to release the anger on your puppy and to get proactive and prevent similar issues.
You also need to think deeper and determine the root of the puppy’s behavior. For example, if your puppy spent the night crying, it was probably bored, and it might need more interactive games during the day. In the case of peeing and pooping accidents, you need to work harder on housetraining and practice more frequent potty breaks. Finally, if your dog is chewing everything in its perimeter, it might be because its teeth are changing and can benefit from more dog-friendly chew toys.
Bottom line, if you lost your temper with your puppy once or twice, do not stress over it too much – chances are you will lose it again. What matters is to learn something from the situation and ensure it does not happen again.
CAN PUPPIES SENSE ANGER?
Puppies and dogs, in general, are like emotional sponges that literally pick up our feelings and get how we feel. So, to answer the main question – yes, puppies can sense anger. Interestingly, you do not even have to say a word, and the puppy will know you are angry. Pups are very visual creatures and pick up on body language, facial expressions, and even smells to get how the owner feels.
For example, when a person is angry, he/she is likely to scour the face, raise the shoulders, or even scour the face. The posture and muscle tension are also cues puppies understand. Puppies rely on their sense of smell for many things, including spotting anger in their humans. Namely, when someone is angry, it sweats, and the adrenal glands are working more, resulting in excess adrenaline in the body. Pups can sense both the sweat and the increased adrenaline level.
So, yes – puppies do sense anger. However, based on breed and personality, different puppies respond differently. While some may get scared and retreat, others will get protective and start barking and growling.
DO PUPPIES REMEMBER WHEN YOU YELL AT THEM?
This is a widely discussed topic with lots of contradictory data. However, the generally accepted rule is that puppies and dogs do understand and temporarily remember yelling (and hitting). Still, unless it becomes a habit, they do not hold grudges. Namely, unless you are yelling and hitting all the time, your puppy is likely to forget the incident.
Also, many pet owners wonder whether puppies will try to get revenge and act in spite. This is another controversial topic, but the primary opinion is that dogs do not act out of spite. In fact, even the activity that made you lose your temper in the first place was probably done out of love or to impress you or get your attention.
However, losing your temper frequently and scolding or even hitting your puppy almost always have adverse reactions. Namely, such reactions will make your puppy turn away from you and even more prone to destructive and unwanted behaviors.
Here are some signs of fear response showing your puppy is afraid of you:
- Lip licking, salivation, and panting
- Trembling and shaking
- Trying to hide
- Growling, barking, or showing aggression
- Inability to settle and hyperactivity
- Yawning and showing the whites of the eyes (whale eyes)
- Lack of appetite
- Loss of toilet training
- Lowered body language.
Making your puppy fearful is an extremely dangerous situation as it usually leads to deeper behavioral issues, such as:
- Training difficulties and challenges
- Excessive digging, barking, or chewing
- Snapping and aggressiveness
- Anxiety and stress
- Loss of previous training.
HOW DO I STOP LOSING MY TEMPER WITH MY DOG?
Before getting the puppy blues and starting to panic, it is important to know there are many things you can do to stop losing your temper or, even better, to accept that certain things can happen and you cannot control everything.
Tip number 1: Study the breed before deciding
Before getting a puppy, you need to make a list of the breeds you are interested in and then sit down and do your homework. By homework, we mean study each breed and decide which personality fits your criteria best. Not all dog breeds are a good choice for everyone.
Tip number 2: Set your expectations right
The first thing you need to understand even before getting a puppy is that you will always have to be prepared to expect the unexpected. Just like babies, puppies require love and work, and they can be trouble from time to time. Expecting things to be simple and easy would be illogical.
Tip number 3: Get everything you need beforehand
Many frustrations stem from not being prepared once your new puppy arrives. Plan ahead and make sure you have everything the puppy needs. This includes food, treats, and bowls (food and water); training crate or kennel; puppy training pads, and of course, several age-appropriate puppy toys.
Tip number 4: Puppy-proof the house
The number one cause for losing temper in new puppy owners is destructivity on the puppy’s behalf. Instead of feeling frustrated and angry at the pup, you can prevent the problem by puppy-proofing the house. This can be hard (and often expensive). Therefore, you can limit the puppy’s access to different areas of the house and focus on proofing just the areas your pup visits.
Tip number 5: Work on the mutual bond
Just like babies, puppies thrive on love and affection. The more time and effort you invest in your new puppy, the more rewarding the parenting experience will grow. Make sure you spend quality time with the puppy – playing, exercising, or simply cuddling.
Tip number 6: Learn to count to ten
The sweet and cuddly puppy can turn into a raging and hyper little monster in a matter of seconds. This is normal for pups; even grown-up dogs get the zoomies from time to time. Instead of overreacting, you should learn to count to ten. Once you have finished counting and feel a bit relaxed, you can start dealing with the situation.
Tip number 7: Take deep breaths and relax
Once angry, you will get tense. As we already explained, puppies are excellent at sensing anger and often reflect these feelings. To control the situation and calm the puppy, you need to calm yourself first. Taking several deep breaths is a great way of relaxing and taking a new look into the situation.
Tip number 8: Acknowledge your triggers
Triggers are not just for dogs – we all have them. If you are unsure how to determine your triggers, talk to a professional trainer and explain which of your dog’s actions put you in a fight-or-flight mode. Knowing what annoys you is important in terms of training your dog not to activate your triggers.
Tip number 9: Think about something positive
Distraction is a good way of preventing temper losses and overreactions. Think about what makes you happy and focus on those thoughts and emotions when your puppy is acting up. For example, you can think about the lyrics of a certain song or watch through the window and focus on how good is the weather today.
Tip number 10: Focus on the things you can control
Many puppy parenting frustrations stem from things that cannot be controlled. For example, you cannot control the dogs visiting the park simultaneously as you and your puppy. Also, you cannot control the traffic noise that is making your pup go crazy. However, you can control how you feel about these factors.
Tip number 11: Take a step back and consider the bigger picture
Sometimes when you are too obsessed with the problem, it is impossible to note the progress you have made. If you feel like the training process is slow and you are falling behind, just take a few moments to think about all the improvements in your dog’s behavior.
Tip number 12: Do not feel bad about yourself
Canine behaviorists and trainers often say that dog behavioral issues result from the owners’ problems and that it is not always the dog’s fault. While sometimes this can be the case, it is not universally true. Therefore, do not feel bad about yourself – both you and your dog are doing the best you can and as fast as you can.
Tip number 13: Find someone who understands
It is good to have a friend who has been through the same puppy issues you are going through. Expressing your feelings is a good outlet. Plus, someone with more experience in the area can give you helpful tips on overcoming the problems and enjoy the puppy parenting experience to the maximum.
Tip number 14: Find an outlet for the physical energy
Accumulating anger without letting it go is not sustainable, especially in the long run. Find something that lets you express your anger physically without hurting the puppy or people around you. For example, you can scream, go jogging, or join a fitness club.
Tip number 15: Take a break from your puppy
There is nothing wrong with admitting you need some time alone and away from the puppy. You can have your puppy enrolled in daycare, have a friend watch over the puppy, or hire a dog sitter. Once your puppy is well taken care of, you can focus on yourself and enjoy the alone time.
Tip number 16: Set milestones and celebrate the victories
Puppy parenthood is not a sprint – it is a marathon, and it will be much easier to cope with the daily challenges if you set small milestones. Each milestone is a victory and requires proper celebration. This will help both you and your puppy monitor the progress.
SUMMING UP: LOSING TEMPER WITH MY PUPPY
It is hard not to lose the temper when parenting a hyperactive puppy that destroys everything it sees. However, when puppies do weird things, they need usually something, and it is usually your attention, companionship, or simply love.
Be mindful of your puppy’s needs and start training as early as possible. Most issues that can lead to losing a temper are relatively easy to solve; you just need the right approach. Every puppy is different, and every owner is different, so you need to find what works best for both of you.
We understand that training a puppy and raising it into a well-behaved dog is tough and tricky. Therefore, it might be a good idea to talk to a professional trainer and, if necessary, hire him/her to work with your puppy and then with you.