Displacement Activities

If your hope is that your puppy will stay with you while you relax with a good book, give him a comfortable place to sit and a good bone to chew. Have one special chew bone or object that your puppy only sees at dinnertime or when company visits. Stuffing a little peanut butter into his regular chew can be exciting. Use this object for those times when you really need your dog to calm down.

If suddenly your puppy starts to fidget, ask yourself if he needs to go out or wants some water. Pet him when he's calm.

Take your displacement activities on the road, too. They'll help your puppy relax at his doctor's or while you're at the café.

For every behavior that frustrates you, think of something you'd like your dog to be doing instead—that is a displacement activity. Your puppy can displace his need for oral interaction by licking instead of nipping. He can displace his instinct for chasing a cat, by running after a ball or swing toy. He can displace his impulse to jump on visitors by racing around with a toy or ball.

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