What Happened to My New Pup?!

Blog Contributor: Katie Nechodom Katie Bio Picture

December 13, 2013

Why Dogs Chew The Furniture And How To Stop ThemAs a dog trainer, the most common thing I hear from dog owners is: My dog was so good when we first brought him/her home! Now, they are destroying everything and are not listening!

Typically this happens unexpectedly to dog owners. When you bring your new dog home, they’re cute, playful, and new. Because of that, many dog owners set aside training for a later date and accidentally reinforce unwanted behaviors (chewing, biting, jumping, barking, etc).

So the question remains: How do you fix the problem behaviors?

Answer: No Free Lunch Policy

The “No Free Lunch Policy” (also been called nothing in life is free or the “learn-to-earn program” helps dog owners develop the communication skills needed while training dogs using positive reinforcement.

Become a leader your dog can trust: Setting guidelines and communicating the rules by consistently rewarding desired behavior while removing rewards for unwanted behavior until the desired behaviors are a habit, then the owners are seen as a leader to whom they can trust.

Master and her obedient (rhodesian ridgeback) dogPut away the food bowl: For the fastest training, dogs should earn their meal throughout the day while you’re home. This means carrying their food around in a bait bag, in your pockets, or having it easily accessible on countertops. Throughout the day, you will reward appropriate behavior. Your dog will get 100 rewards for desired behavior instead of a free meal.

Require the dog to say please by sitting: is important to help teach your dog patience. Whereas snatching things from the counter and jumping for attention worked before, now the only thing that works is to automatically say please by sitting.

Use all motivators to your advantage: If on top of that, you require her/him to sit for all other resources (such as petting, attention, and play) when she/he wants these things, you’ll increase your toolbox of rewards.

Keep your dog attached to you: Tethering the dog to you teaches your dog that when he/she doesn’t want to pay attention to you, she can’t just walk away and then get rewarded by something else. Ultimately, tethering helps prevent rewarding unwanted behavior.

Walk with a loose leash: When your dog is attached to you on leash, she/he should sit and remain seated when you are stationary and walk by your side when you move place to place.

Katie Nechodom owns Second Chance K9 Training and is an Animal Behavior Certified dog trainer. She provides private and in-home training, and focuses on positive reinforcement based training, along with behaviors including but not limited to basic obedience, anxiety, aggression and problem solving. Read more about the services she offers on her website or to book a session!

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