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Modify Your Dog’s Behavior
While obedience training goes a long way to giving you a well-behaved dog, it doesn’t always solve or prevent all behavior issues. By working on your dog’s behavior you can actually modify your pup’s bad behavior habits.
Let me tell you what falls into the dog behavior category. I have covered some of these behavioral issues already, and others I will be getting to soon.
- Excessive barking
- Chewing on non-dog items
- Eating Poop (Coprophagia)
- Separation anxiety
- Jumping on people
- Problems with eating
- Mean to other dogs
- Peeing places they are not allowed to
- Jumping over your backyard fence
- Running away from home
- Stealing off of counters
I want to address each of these individually, so I won’t go into them now, but I want to lay out a few thoughts to keep in mind about your dog’s behavior. First and foremost, is the importance of consistency. You can resolve many of these problems by using the command words that your dog learns through repetition.
For example, to keep your dog from eating dog poop, use the command “Leave It.”
To stop your dog from jumping on people, use “Sit” or “Down”
To calm your dog from being hyper, you can use “Heel”
As you can see, dog obedience is such a key component to keeping your dog’s behavior in check. If they have been trying their obedience training, and are still having behavior problems, then the obedience training can be used as a building block or stepping stone.
Many dogs behavior issues come from separation anxiety. If you remember when I talked about separation anxiety, dogs sometimes act out because of fear or insecurity of being left alone.
Here is a reminder for you on how to help with your dog’s anxiety if you feel that their behavior issues are coming from this separation stress.
- Start leaving your dog alone for short bursts throughout the day. This lets your dog know that you won’t always be there, but you will always come back.
- Make sure that your dog has everything they need while you are away, such as water, food, and toys.
- Make sure to walk your dog or let them run around for a while before you leave for an extended period of time.
- If your dog is house trained already and they have a way to eliminate while you are gone, try leaving them their big meal to eat before you go. This will help kill some time for them.
- Consider adding another pet to your family. Many animals want a companion home with them.
- Leave your pup in their crate or another secure area.
- Make sure that your dog has had obedience training. This helps them learn how to control their emotions.
- Pay a neighbor or a friend to stop by and let your pup out and play with them in the middle of the day.
- Leave the TV or radio on so there is noise in the house.
- Leave your pup with a special treat that they love and only get when you are leaving. Soon they may want to push you out that door to get something yummy for their belly!
If your dog is having behavior issues while you are around, and you suspect that separation anxiety isn’t the culprit here, then there may be a lack of understanding who is exactly the master in the house; you or your dog.
You need to start making an effort to clearly define your role as a leader and your dog’s role as a follower. Make sure that they know what is expected of them, and reward their good behavior.
When they misbehave, correct their bad behavior immediately and do not let them get away with it. Your pup will soon learn that what they are doing is not okay with you.
Another helpful tool is identifying what is causing your dog to behave badly. If they are barking at the doorbell, you may need to actually ring the doorbell more often to have them get used to it.
Neither you or the people around you want to have a bad dog. Starting early with behavior modification will not only help your dog, and your family, but also the other people in your lives.
Socializing Your Dog
Once your puppy arrives home at 8 weeks old, it’s time to take control of socializing your puppy.
These are important tips to keep in mind:
- Begin house training, paper training, and crate training your puppy on the first day home
- Reinforce positive behavior
- Stroke your puppy gently and talk calmly
- Begin obedience training (sit, stay, come…)
- Make your puppy feel like part of the family
- Introduce places to your puppy that they will visit often
- Introduce familiar faces such as family members and close friends
- Take your puppy to the vet
- Start to introduce common household noises like the vacuum cleaner and doorbell
- Give your pup a bath, trim his nails, and brush his coat
- Allow your puppy to explore, but not get into mischievous
- Train your puppy to eat meals from bowls
- Go on walks around the block, so your puppy can get used to being on a leash
- Allow people to calmly come up to your puppy and pet him on walks
Socialization is all about teaching your puppy what to except in everyday life as a member of your family. The sooner you can introduce right from wrong, and proper behaviors, the better-behaved dog you will have.
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