Preventing Behavior Problems
The wonderful thing about positive training is that when used correctly and at the beginning of a dog’s life, it can prevent all kinds of common behavioral problems from ever developing. If you are about to bring home a new puppy, you have the opportunity to get started on the right track by utilizing positive training methods to set him up for success.
What kind of behavior problems can you prevent?
- Teaching your puppy basic cues can help prevent issues with impulse control as they age.
- The “take it/drop it” cue is a great tool for preventing resource guarding.
- Proper training and socialization as a puppy will make for a happy, confident, social adult dog. This will make your life and their life much less stressful!
Positive training gives your puppy confidence and teaches basic compliance without the use of pain, fear, force, or intimidation. A puppy that learns and grows with this type of training will be trusting of the people around him, and will be confident when faced with strange or new things.
What if you adopted an older puppy?
If you have adopted an older puppy or even an adult dog, positive training techniques can still be used to build your dog’s confidence and prevent behavior problems from developing as they grow and become more comfortable in your environment.
- Many of the most severe behavioral issues in dogs, such as aggression, are based in a dog’s fear and insecurity. A confident dog does not feel the need to aggress.
- If you raise a confident dog and do not shatter the human-animal bond by subjecting your dog to punitive training methods, you will see less behavioral issues later on.
- Older dogs can learn new tricks. Basic cues are a fun and easy way to bond with your new dog or puppy and build their confidence. Dogs of any age can learn the basics.
Where do you start?
It can be overwhelming to bring home a new dog and wonder where to begin with training so that you can prevent behavior problems and ensure a smooth transition into your home.
- A great place to start is by finding a qualified trainer near you. Most of these trainers will offer both private instruction as well as group classes.
- Your dog does not need to know a whole range of basic cues right away. Pick one or two to focus on and gradually build up your dog’s repertoire from there.
- Teaching your dog to enjoy going in his crate or to go to bed on cue is a great foundation skill that can help prevent nuisance behaviors like begging and chewing.
- Do not bite off more than you can chew by adopting littermates or bringing home multiple dogs at one time. Focus on the training and transition period of one dog before even considering getting another.
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