You have your new puppy or dog for a few weeks and then realize that, as the dog gets more comfortable, that sweet puppy or new arrival gets more active and starts to explore, push boundaries and get downright naughty. The result? You feel as though all you say is “No!”
- He barks at you while you eat dinner. You say, “No!”
- He pulls you down the street on leash and you yell, “No!”
- He jumps up on your sister and almost knocks her down when she arrives and you say, “No!”
After a week or two you think your precious dog’s name is “No!” So, now what?
Consider giving up on “No” and think about what you want the dog To Do instead:
- Teach your dog to settle on his bed or mat while you eat and he’ll have a behavior you can use whenever you need him to settle—in your home or on the road! Use a portable mat and your dog will settle in an outdoor café, while your car is serviced and while waiting at the vet’s office.
- Teach your dog to stay engaged with you on your walks—that means no cell phone for you on walks as engagement goes two ways—and you’ll have a dog that walks closer and checks in between sniffs. This is not heeling, it’s engaged walking that gives the dog the enrichment of sniffing while walking politely.
- Greeting people is hard for most dogs. They get excited and jumping up gets our attention. Some dogs do well with sitting while new people arrive and pet them and some can go and wait on their mat while people arrive. Others need to do something more active, such as a trick that gets rewarded—consider the classic High 5!
The overall goal is to replace the bad behaviors with good behaviors. When reinforced with consistency, your dog will offer the right behavior at the right time and in the right places. And as it becomes a habit, he’ll know what to do without reinforcement.
Need help figuring what behaviors to build and how to do it? Look for a Certified Professional Dog Trainer or a Certified Fear Free Animal Trainer to get the job done right.