Dear Sarah,

Our 12 month old Labrador x Kelpie is completely out of control. He jumps up on people, chases the cat, won’t sit still and destroys things. We would love to have him come inside but he tears around the house, jumping all over the furniture and knocking things off shelves. It’s making our lives hell. Can you help?

Stacy J

Hi Stacy,

Nothing says “zest for life” like an exuberant adolescent puppy! These guys are often quite easy to train, if they can stop long enough to switch their brains on! Here are some tips that may help.

1.      Make sure that he is getting all of his needs met. That means – ensure that he is getting enough exercise (a good hour a day), enough mental stimulation (being part Kelpie he does need stuff to keep his brain busy) and social contact (both with you and with other dogs, provided he’s good with them).

2.      Make sure you are feeding him a good quality diet. Poorer, cheaper foods can be packed full of preservatives, additives, flavours and colours. And already energetic dog doesn’t need extra additives to add to his energy levels. Good quality dry foods (like those you get from the vet or pet store are more nutritionally balanced and have better quality ingredients. Better still, opt for a raw diet with lots of yummy goodness!

3.      Basic training can really help, especially focusing on exercises that encourage self control. Simple exercises like teaching a dog to “sit” can have a million and one benefits. In the dog world “sit” is the equivalent to “please” and helps lower excitement levels. Furthermore, a dog who is sitting isn’t jumping on people or the furniture. For the next week, see if you can get your dog to “sit” for everything – to have a ball thrown, to receive a pat or treat, to have their lead put on or taken off, before dinner, before crossing the road etc. See how much calmer they are by the end of the week. You might be surprised!