TIPS + RESOURCES
FIVE TRAINING TIPS to improve your dog's behavior:
Tell your dog what is “yes” before you tell him what is “no.” Instead of feeling frustrated by what you want your dog to stop doing, think about what you would like him to do instead. Would you prefer he sit to greet people, rather than jump? Would you prefer he hold a stay when you open the door to greet a guest, rather than bark or attempt to bolt? Would you prefer he go lie down on his bed while you are eating your meals, rather than beg at the table?
Good to the Bone will help you train your dog to do what you’d like, before punishing him to stop doing what you don’t.
Think leverage. To quote one of my mentors, Jean Donaldson, “you have credit cards and opposable thumbs; you’re the dominant one!” You control everything your dog wants in life… food, water, toys, attention, affection, door-opening services, walks, trips to the park, access to other dogs, access to other people, access to the interesting-smelling fire hydrant or tree… you get the idea.
Use this power to your advantage. Reward behavior you like with access to these items, and withhold access when your dog does something undesirable. For example, teach your dog that pulling like a maniac to get into the dog park doesn’t work!
Good to the Bone will help you teach your dog that walking nicely is the best strategy to get him where he wants to go.
Practice Makes Perfect – not necessarily a good thing. Don’t allow your dog to rehearse unwanted behaviors – he will just get better at them! If your dog decides it is fun to chew on shoes, don’t allow him access to shoes until you have reliably trained him to prefer legal chew-toys. He may develop a preference for Prada, or learn it is ‘okay’ to chew shoes as long as the humans aren’t around to stop him. Use baby gates, crates, or other forms of confinement to manage the situation until he is trained enough to be trusted with complete freedom.
Good to the Bone will show you how to get your dog hooked on his toys, rather than shoes and furniture.
Make the Rules Clear. Be consistent. If your dog learns it is okay to beg at the table some days (and even occasionally gets some scraps!), it will be very hard to teach him that other days it is not okay at all to beg. Dogs are compulsive gamblers. If they win the “jack pot” for lingering at your feet when you’re eating (even if was just due to an accidental spill!), this can be enough to keep them addicted for life, forever chasing the “high” of that one day when mom dropped an entire lamb chop.
Good to the Bone will show you how to give your dog clear information, so that he can be trusted to make good choices.
Read Your Dog. Learn to read your dog’s body language to determine if he is worried or stressed. If your dog is barking, lunging, or growling at something, most times this means he is experiencing fear. Never yell at your dog if you suspect he is worried or afraid of something – that will only add to his stress! Instead, think of ways you might be able to change his emotions about the thing he finds worrisome.
Good to the Bone will show you how to implement a Desensitization and Counter Conditioning program that will help your dog feel better about the things he finds scary, thereby eliminating the defensive behavior.