- “Adolescent Changes” From Dog Star Daily. No, you’re not losing your mind — the cute puppy who would never leave your side is now blowing you off and stealing from the trash. Learn what to expect, and take heart. A well-behaved adult dog is just around the corner!
- “Surviving Your Puppy’s Adolescence” Trainer Tehani Mosconi provides you with tips and tricks of the trade.
- “How to Calm Your Dog by Playing Tug” Nan Arthur at KarenPryorClickerTraining.com offers a comprehensive look at the game of tug, which many trainers (myself included) agree is a wonderful energy burner for young dogs. Arthur shows you how to choose a good tug toy, rules for play and how to teach a quick, safe release.
- Is Your Dog Ready for Agility Training?” If you’re thinking about agility to keep your young monster occupied, Sarah tosses out questions to ponder before beginning a training program.
- Your adolescent dog and the dog park The Association of Pet Dog Trainers offers three articles geared toward determining whether your local dog park is a good fit for your dog, including “Dog Park Etiquette,” “Pros and Cons of Dog Parks,” and “What Makes a Good Dog Park (PDF).”
- “Safety Tips for Running With Your Dog” A tired dog is more often a good dog. This article from Runtheplanet.com offers a number of health and safety tips for getting your partner into shape.
- “When To Seek Help With Your Dog” Sarah talks about how to tell whether your dog’s behavior is more than just adolescent rowdiness.
“How old does my puppy have to be before I can begin training?”
This is a question I am asked often. The puppy in this video is 10 weeks old; but you don’t even have to wait that long! “Training” starts the day you bring your new dog or puppy home to live with you — dogs are learning all the time. This is why it is easier to prevent problems and bad habits than to solve them later.
(Check out our Puppy Kindergarten class in Athens!)
But what most people mean when they ask this question is, “How soon can I expect my puppy to start performing tricks and basic obedience behaviors?” Happily, the answer is the same — immediately. Clicker training is an easy and fun way to accomplish this.
Most folks either know of or used to have a dog that was absolutely perfect — never made a mess in the house, didn’t shed, never jumped up, never barked inappropriately, never lunged at people or other dogs, never chewed the furniture, always laid quietly in another room during dinner, always paid its taxes on time, never forgot to bring home the milk, et cetera.
Not all of us are as blessed. Sometimes, a dog comes into our lives who has perfected a different art: making our existence miserable!
Dogs are typically biddable (making them easy to train) and quick to learn. However, this doesn’t mean your dog fits the mold, or even if she does, that you’ll always have a smooth relationship.
Here are a few signs to indicate that your dog’s behavior may require professional intervention:
Your dog is actively threatening to harm or has harmed a person. As much as dogs will be dogs, this is the land of people — and sometimes litigious ones. Besides not wanting anyone to be hurt, it’s important to get a handle on your dog’s aggressive behavior, because sometimes an aggressive display (barking, lunging, jumping at a person’s face, etc.) can be misinterpreted. In fact, any “biting incident” involving a dog, even a dog with no prior history of aggression, and even if the bite did not break the skin can be grounds for euthanasia in this country, as the case of Rolo demonstrates.
Your dog has threatened or harmed livestock, cats or other dogs. Again, besides the potential for euthanasia (or worse, if a neighbor or livestock owner has vengeance in mind), these kinds of dog problems aren’t simple to fix. Unless there’s a sibling rivalry issue between two dogs, this type of behavior is likely rooted in predation. Lots of well-meaning folks follow the advice of friends, “trainers,” or relatives, and punish the dog in an attempt to “correct” predatory actions. But predatory behavior is unlikely to be wholly suppressed with positive punishment, no matter how creative. And painful and/or threatening treatment (including yelling and leash-popping) of a dog who dislikes other dogs can exponentially worsen the problem.
You’re feeling helpless about, hopeless about or afraid of your dog’s behavior. If you’re dog is soiling his crate every day, or tearing up the house, or refusing to budge from the couch or bed when asked, ask yourself whether it might be time to call for professional help. Although animal behavior consultation can be expensive, it is a far smaller price to pay than chancing the dog’s life — which is likely to be the outcome when you decide not only can you not handle the behavior, but life would be easier without the dog. A well-known fact is that dogs are relinquished to shelters for behavior problems more than any other reason. Don’t let your dog be one of them.
If you would like help and live within driving distance of Athens, Ohio, contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you. If you’re out of the region, for help finding a professional dog trainer or animal behavior consultant near you, visit the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants at www.iaabc.org, or the Association of Pet Dog Trainers at www.apdt.com.