These are the ones that go a bit beyond naughty in that they can cause serious damage or can lead to more aggressive behavior. These are more serious for everyone who's involved with them, and the best thing to do if you can't manage them with any consistency is to call in a professional. It could be the difference between life and death for your puppy, whether it's because he bites someone in your family, or his aggressive behavior labels him unadoptable from a shelter.
Nasty behaviors include: playing too rough, rowdiness, and stealing food, clothing, or other objects.
Playing Too Rough
Many owners say their dog's favorite game is tug of war. And for many owners it's pretty fun, too — until your once fifteen-pound fluff ball is seventy pounds of adolescent muscle and will do anything to win. Or until he starts to growl whenever you come near any of his toys. This doesn't mean you can't play tug of war. It just means that, like everything else, you have to call the shots. You determine when the game begins and when it ends. This is where Drop It comes in handy again. If tug-of-war is turning into war, say Drop It and stop pulling. If he doesn't let go right away, don't pull again. Say Drop It again. If he doesn't, get up and walk away. It's you he wants to play with. Don't turn his resilience into a contest of wills. When he has dropped it, without saying anything, go get the tug toy and put it away where he can't reach or find it by himself.
How do you know if you're playing too rough with your puppy?
Never work him into a frenzy; instead, learn how to make games fun and low key. You should be able to stop the game and give a command or walk away at any time. Never use games to frighten your puppy or hurt him. Your puppy is going to get stronger and bolder as he ages. If your puppy doesn't develop an appropriate level of control, you run the risk of your puppy injuring someone.
If you keep tug games short and in control from the very beginning, you and your dog will be able to enjoy them within appropriate limits. Make sure the rest of your family understands these tug game rules, too.
The same goes for any kind of rough-housing, whether you're doing it with a toy, your hands, rolling on the floor, whatever. Start with fun, short sessions, and when you've had enough, say “That's all,” and calmly stop whatever you're doing.
Playing Rough with Other Puppies
Rough play among puppies is usually harmless amusement for humans and canines. If generally friendly and tolerant of one another, puppies rarely inflict injury. They will get noisy and animated: growling, barking, squealing, tumbling, and dragging one another by convenient body parts (like ears and limbs) is common. Break them up only if one is being endangered or if the play occurs in a formal living room or while people desire quiet. Don't raise your voice to break them up. Instead, leash one or both puppies and give a few commands in very quick succession to stop the behavior, then enticingly lure your puppy away from the action and reward him for following you by giving him a treat and telling him what a good boy he is.
Stealing and Scavenging
If you were all alone in someone else's house, what would you do when you got bored? Would the thought of looking at their stuff or even rummaging through cabinets, closets, or the refrigerator tempt you?
Now you know how a dog feels. He is trapped and bored and has plenty of senses yearning to be indulged. When given too much freedom too soon, he will quickly discover the joys of hunting for household treasures too often left easily accessible by negligent humans.
Many dogs steal for amusement when you're home. They know the only guaranteed way to rouse you from the recliner is to show off the valuables that have been confiscated. Police your canine kleptomaniac by:
Incarceration — crating
Chain gang — umbilical cording
Surveillance — keeping your eyes glued to him
Don't be a victim, keep the garbage out of reach, close cabinets and closets and put laundry away, teach the Drop It or Leave It command, and dispense justice fairly. Only correct crimes in progress, never correct stealing after the fact. Upon discovering the infraction, leash your dog, invite him to make the same mistake, and correct it by redirecting his attention to something he needs to do to get a reward, such as praise and/or treats.