My husband and I knew getting a big puppy with a very young child could potentially be a hair-wrenching catastrophe so we did our best to tip the scale in our favor when we chose Buddha. Not only did we ask our breeder specifically for her most mellow puppy in our application with Foxfire Dobermans, we did our homework to learn how to promote calm behaviors in our canine companion. As an added hopeful bonus, we named the cute, gangly puppy, Buddha.
For the first week that Buddha was home with us, I kept Buddha tied to me on a 6ft leash. I was able to closely monitor all his behavior, whether to praise him or redirect him. He wasn't able to sneak away to relieve himself and he also learned that there were boundaries in the house He was fully potty trained within just a couple of days and only half-heartedly jumped on us a handful of times before he learned that it was not acceptable.
True to our breeder's word, Buddha was a pretty mellow puppy. But he was, after all, still a puppy. He still had bouts of playfulness which we encouraged when it was the appropriate time. After puppy playtime or training he would lay down and rest before conking out, and it was at this moment that we would drop a treat or two at his nose. We didn't click or verbally praise him since we didn't want him to get excited and get up again. We simply did a quiet walk by and a stealthy treat drop to maintain his calm state of mind. If he got up in anticipation to follow us for more treats we would just ignore him and he would resume getting ready for a nap. That was another perfect moment to drop another treat.
Every time Buddha laid down and was calm, he got a treat. Every time Buddha was too excitable we would give him our backs and fail to give him any attention. He quickly learned what behavior was rewarding and which was not. We practiced this at home and in public.
When Buddha turned 6 months and hit his teenage rebellious age, he challenged everything that we had taught him. We had to go back to basics and we had to be consistent. After a month he reverted to his normal people pleasing self.