There are so many demands on a little puppy when he first arrives in your home and I want to make sure you don't put too much pressure on him or expect him to achieve above his ability.
* Your puppy sees the world differently from you because he is a dog, not a human. Dogs don't bear grudges and they don't feel ashamed. What you are seeing when your puppy looks ashamed, is a submissive behaviour aimed to dampen your anger. Don't assume to understand why your dog is behaving in a certain way, pick up a book about dog language and study it until you KNOW what your puppy is trying to communicate!
* Don't put too high demands on your puppy. Remember that it is still getting accustomed to your family and that even cuddles can get a bit too much for it at times. * Big smiles, loving looks and hugs might be very pleasant for us, but for dogs they are all threatening behaviours. Our smiles are bared teeth, the loving eyes a dominant stare and the hug is a very rude intrusion into their body space, so take it easy with your human behaviours!
* The puppy jumps up on us to reach our faces, in order to give us submissive licks around the corners of our mouths. That is why it is so hard to teach them not to, they are pre programmed to do this behaviour!
* Give your puppy a quiet corner to withdraw to when he needs rest and make sure everyone in your family understands that he is not to be disturbed when he's there. You might have to repeat this rule to your children a few times. :
* Punishment is a very bad learning method. Teaching your puppy the right behaviour through play will be much quicker and more enjoyable for all parties.
* Nipping, snapping and snarling are ways for the puppy to tell you that they feel threatened and scared. If this is the case, just back away from your puppy and calm things down. Just nipping or pulling at your clothes is more likely a way for your puppy to get a game out of you (even if you don't see it as a game!). Time outs are the best way to teach them out of this behaviour. As soon as they grab your trouser leg, offer a tug toy instead. If they refuse to take the tug toy, put them in a time out. This means that either you remove your puppy from the room for 2-5 minutes, or you remove yourself from the puppy for 2-5 minutes. A time out should never be longer than 5 minutes. When you are back with your puppy, offer a fun game with the tug toy. If they prefer your trouser leg again, repeat the time out.
* If your puppy growls over his food bowl, what ever you do, don't smack him or tell him off! What you should be doing is fill up his food each time you walk passed instead. Preferably with something extra yummy! Give him a positive association to having people near his food bowl, not a negative one. Hold back on half his portion of food and drop some of it (or some juicy chicken, ham, sausages) in his food bowl or next to it as he is eating and then walk away. You don't want to put any pressure on him, just make him realise that each time you walk passed he gets some more food. Even if he is growling as you are passing, you still reward him with more food. He won't be growling at you for many days after that, he'll wag his tail in anticipation instead!
* If you are going to teach your puppy a house rule, don't do it when either you or your puppy is in a fighting mood, do it when he is unprepared for a lesson. I other words, don't teach your puppy not to chew on your slippers when you've just found him with your slipper in his mouth. Count to 10 and come to terms with loosing your favourite slippers as you walk away. Once your puppy has moved on to something else, that doesn't irritate you (sniffing the garden, chewing a bone, etc), you can set up a training situation where you prepare yourself with some yummy treats and the half eaten slipper. Show him the treat, put the slipper in front of him and reward him with the treat if he ignores the slipper and looks at you and your treat instead. Should he choose the slipper, you'll have to find a better treat! When you've repeated this a few times, say 'leave' as you put the slipper down in front of him and then reward with the treat. This way you will teach him that 'leave' is not an angry word that means he'll loose something nice because you are angry, it means drop what you are doing instantly because something much better has been offered!
* Back away from your puppy to get a good recall, retrieve and in general a better relationship. Give him space to breathe and make his own decisions. Don't force yourself on him by constantly chasing after him.