Always set your dog up for success
If you don’t want Fido to chew your new shoes, don’t leave them on the floor! Reward him for chewing on his toys. If you don’t like big holes in your yard, don’t leave him alone in the yard too long. Instead, take him for a long walk or play a game of fetch. Remember; digging holes and chewing are very normal and rewarding behaviors for your dog. By allowing your dog to stay outside alone or leaving your shoes on the floor, you are effectively teaching him to engage in these behaviors.
Expect your dog to act like a dog
Try not to take his behavior personally when he does the typical things dogs do, like chewing, digging and jumping. He is not being a BAD dog, he is being a DOG! Remember to reward him for desirable behaviors. This will make your dog want to offer those behaviors more often.
Start a “Say Please Program”
Self-control should be rewarded. Ask your dog to Sit and Wait “before he gobbles down his food. Teach him a trick like Shake or High Five to gain a yummy reward. With repetition and consistency your dog will come to understand that listening to you is a way to gain rewards and is a very good idea indeed!
Start teaching your puppy right away
Don’t let the pup run wild the first few weeks and then start scolding him when his cute puppy behavior is not so cute anymore! Don’t wait for him to start developing bad habits like chewing the furniture or urinating on the carpet before you intervene. Know your puppy is likely to exhibit these behaviors and be ready to prevent them from happening.
If you have a puppy, handle and snuggle him endlessly
Let friends and family do the same. Take him lots of new safe places like a friend’s house or a good positive reinforcement puppy class. Make sure it is a very pleasant experience so he will associate being handled, doing new things, meeting new dogs and people and going new places with good feelings.
Make sure your dog gets lots of exercise
This is very important. A tired dog is a good dog!
Crate Your Dog
For those times you cannot watch Fido, his crate is a great place to put your little rascal so they can stay out of trouble. This sets them up for success! This gives you a break and gives your pup time to take a little nap, chew a favorite toy, or enjoy a food stuffed toy like a Kong.
If Your Dog Fails
On the occasion you give your dog a cue and he fails but he still wants that treat, his walk or your attention, simply take the thing he wants away. Try again in a few minutes and he will be much more likely to respond to your cue. If he doesn’t then ask yourself: does he really know how to do what I am asking of him, have I taken the time to truly train this? If the answer is no, take a step back and train the behavior better. You can’t ask a dog to do something they don’t know how to do. If he does know the cue, repeat the above procedure until he responds. The message must be clear and consistent. If you want your treat; Sit has to happen. Remember, dogs have bad days too, just like us. If you or your dog is feeling stressed and not having fun during training, take a break and try again later. Training should always be FUN!
Supervise Your Dog
Always carefully supervise all activity between children and your dog. Children can behave in ways that sometimes stress or agitate dogs, occasionally to the point of biting. Prepare your dog best as you can for the types of things children might do like pulling, prodding and hugging. Associate pleasant things with these activities.
For instance, you can actually produce a good response to having an ear pulled by tugging the ears lightly, pulling on the dogs tail softly, pinching his body and hugging him, followed immediately with some very yummy food treats. Please never assume that your dog will not bite. Biting when fearful is a normal canine behavior. Prepare your dog for these things so biting will not be his first response.
If you have to leave your dog unsupervised for long periods of time and they exhibit barking, destruction, or other anxious behaviors, consider learning more about canine Separation Anxiety.
Welcome Outside Help
Behaviors such as fearfulness, aggression, or separation anxiety can be very stressful and hard to cope with. These behaviors may require help from a Certified Dog Trainer or Veterinary Behaviorist for one on one behavioral counseling.
Spay or Neuter
Spay and neuter your dog. This may help with some behavioral problems and is the responsible thing to do.
The most important thing to remember is your dog looks to you for guidance. Be kind; use science based force free training methods to help build confidence and great communication skills with your dog. Fido loves clicker training. Provide your dog with the things they need to help set them up for success. Remember your dog is a dog, he does not know how to be anything else.