All of a sudden, my perfect little puppy…
Adolescent dog problems take far too many owners by surprise. Adolescence is going to be a time of change, and every puppy is going to go through it, so get ready for it! Your puppy needs a gentle mouth and a rock-solid foundation of socialization and obedience training. Other wise, you’re going to have a very difficult time when your adolescent starts running off or fighting with other dogs.
Puppy problems may look harmless now, but unless you do something about them, they’re going to get bigger and badder. Puppies don’t naturally grow out of their biting, jumping up, barking or chewing habits. Instead you have to train them how to do these things appropriately. Fortunately, puppies are eager to learn. The Dunbars explain the importance of tackling puppy problems head on, as early as possible.
Good dog training goes through several important steps. Using lures and rewards to teach a command is just the beginning. A dog that sits on command while you’re alone in the living room and holding a cookie is not necessarily going to sit on command at a BBQ in the park, surrounded by playing children and plates of food. First you must phase out your food lures & practice training with longer durations, greater distances and more distraction.
In dog training the concept of respect can be a dangerous thing. Too many owners expect their dogs to behave appropriately out of sheer respect. While that would be nice, it’s simply not the case, and it’s foolish and inhumane to expect that. If you want your dog to listen to you, first you must communicate what you want them to do, then you must motivate them to want to do it. If you do this in an enjoyable and engaging manner, not only will your dog respect you, they’ll adore you!
Getting a dog is always a big decision and everyone in the household should be a part of the process. Of course, this includes any dogs that you already live with. You certainly don’t want to bring home a new dog without first checking that it will be a good fit for your household. The Dunbars explain the pleasures and pitfalls of living with more than one dog, and what to keep in mind when it comes to training and socialization.
The dog park can be a scary place, especially if you are worried about your dog's socialization skills. The Dunbars discuss when to be worried about your dog being dangerous, and how safety is really all about off-leash control. The park can be an exciting place, so work your way up to it. Hang out next to the park, or go when it’s nearly empty. Keep your dog on-leash and tell it when it’s acting appropriately and when it’s not. Used correctly, the dog park can be the ultimate training tool!