Dog behavior problems -this time of year, the beginning of summer, are mostly calls I get from dog owners who got their puppy around Christmas time. Why? These dogs are now like a teenager with an attitude. Now do you know why my phone rings off the hook!
Devil or Angel?
At this point owners either have: an adorable angel, a reasonably mannered pup due to the five or six months of sweat-equity invested in training such as setting rules, expectations and boundaries OR they have dog problems and have ended up with – a bratty immature dog!
If you didn’t put in the sweat-equity part of training consistently, the term brat can pretty much describe your dog.
Immature dog behavior problems can include – but are not limited to:
- trash can raiding,
- counter surfing,
- playing keep-away with your good stuff,
- chewing on your good stuff and many, many more. You can make your own list— on a separate sheet (or two) if needed.
These dog behaviors can quickly send you over the edge –if you’re not already there.
Dog behavior problems in young dogs simply mean that your bratty dog needs some structure and leadership.
Truth is, he’s been telling you what he needs all along – you just haven’t been listening or you’ve been too busy to notice.
The best part is that nothing you have to do is hard and most dogs thrive with this approach.
Understanding the process to get the most out of your dog is surprisingly easy and the cool part is this: the flip side of the coin is your dog should begin to understand exactly how to get the most out of you as well. This really can be a win-win situation.
You don’t have to wind up feeling like a client who said, “My adorable Golden Retriever puppy had hit a point where she was really hard to handle, and I felt overwhelmed– like a failure as a dog owner!”
Where to begin
What am I to do, you ask? Well, ideally, it’s what you should have done all along – from the beginning. But if you’re reading this you probably need this list.
Here’s the easy short list:
- Exercise is critical. Constructively manage that energy and provide him with two good walks a day with you or other responsible family member plus toys that dispense kibble (his dry dog food) slowly so that he begins to earn part of each meal by working the toys.
- Schedule regular dog obedience training exercises on leash in the house. Work on the basic commands to give him a sense of working for you rather than you following his lead. Get him really good at come, sit and down.
- Put him on an earn-to-learn program to earn his food, toys and love and affection.
- Make a list of all dog behavior problems you want to fix (like jumping) – and prioritize the list.
- Make a list of what causes each problem (like a visitor.)
- Then determine what you would prefer your dog to do (like a sit.)
- Work on your program daily – on leash and set your goals but don’t push your dog. Enjoy the process!
To get the most from your dog, let him know what you expect of him with your rules.
Set boundaries about your personal space. If he learns to respect your personal space, he will eventually respect the personal space of other family members and your guests.
For your dog to get the most from you, he will figure out (sooner than later) what the results of living by your rules and boundaries will yield: long walks with you – his favorite person and that great dog behavior will get an occasional trip to the beach or park with you.
His best learned lesson is giving before receiving –knowing that he must give a simple sit before he receives anything.
Being consistent with any program takes time. That’s why you should enjoy the process. Take pride in each small step in the right direction.
“Sharing Time” Let us know your thoughts on today’s issue by commenting below.
“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8t00+ clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.
His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that when your dog understands what you expect of him, you empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.