Maintaining Good House Behaviors: 9-12 Months


Nine to twelve months

By this age most puppies have settled into the home and understand house behavior expectations. Your pup should be reliable when you are present in the same area. The pup should understand they cannot race through the house, pick up or chew on forbidden items, beg for food, jump on people, or jump onto furniture. The pup should know what behaviors are acceptable because of your balance of reward, correction, and training exercises preventing destructive behaviors.

Once the dog is reliably excelling with beginner and intermediate sessions of seeding the floor, practice advanced sessions.

Please refer to the "Preventing Destructive Behaviors" article for reference.

Advanced Sessions

  • Start setting up real life sessions by leaving 1-2 forbidden items. Randomly scattered toys should be easily accessible.
  • The dog can be off leash or have a drag line
  • Raiser should be relaxed and seem like they are doing other tasks, but really observing the dog’s behavior.
  • As the dog proves trustworthy in these situations, you can leave the room for a minute or two and come back.

If your pup is reliable while you are present we can start testing them in small steps with the end goal of being left home alone unsupervised. As we start allowing the dog to have more independence in the home follow these guidelines:

  • The dog must be fully relieved before being off leash in the home.
  • The dog has been recently exercised
  • The rooms the dog is allowed access are clean and free of temptation.
  • You are committed to supervising the dog and paying attention to their behavior.

 

Once the above steps are completed you can follow this protocol:

  • Continue practicing leaving tempting items on the floor to maintain and reinforce your expectations in the home.
  • Start allowing the pup freedom to wander in several rooms.
    • When you start this process leave the leash attached to the dog’s collar. Follow the dog room to room the first several times they’re allowed in a room to make sure they are not doing anything unacceptable like jumping on furniture, counter surfing, or stealing objects.
  • Occasionally check on the dog if they have left the room you were in.
    • More frequent checks need to occur in the beginning to ensure correct behavior.
  • Practice recall intermittently if the dog wanders out of the room you were in.
    • This practice enforces a behavior their handler will utilize in their home when they need their dog with them. 
  • Starting with five-minute intervals leave the house with the dog unsupervised.
    • Refer back to the guidelines above when allowing unsupervised independence.
    • To guarantee success leave the dog in a room free of debris, tempting objects, and with several chew toys.
    • Continue adding small amounts (5-10 minutes) of time as the dog proves they are safe and reliable in one room until you reach two hours of time left alone.
  • If at any time your dog is destructive, vocal, has an accident, or jumps on furniture continue crating the dog or leave them alone for significantly less time than before to set them up for success.
  • Once a habit with poor behavior is created it is very hard to correct so it’s important these guidelines are followed to guarantee success and safety of the dog.