Changing behavior takes time. You need to have realistic expectations about changing your dog’s behavior as well as how long it will take to change behaviors that you don’t like. Often behaviors which are “normal” doggie behaviors will take the most time such as barking, digging and jumping. You also need to consider how long your dog has rehearsed the behavior. For example, if you didn’t mind that your dog jumped up on people to say hi for the last seven years and now you decide that you don’t want him to do that anymore, that behavior will take a much longer time to undo than if you had addressed it when he was a pup. Remember it’s never too late to change the behavior some will just take longer than others.
It’s a natural instinct for all dogs to chew. This is why it’s vital that your dog has his own chew toys. We’re going to say “when” (not if), he chews on one of your shoes, furniture, carpeting or any other thing that is a no, it’s important to let him know that he is not allowed to do this. Take the item away from him and tell him “no” with a stern voice. Give him one of his toys and tell him “this is yours.” Here is where the “go lay down in your bed” command comes in handy. Give him a time out when he starts chewing on things that he isn’t supposed to.
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If your dog exhibits a behavior you don’t like, there is a strong likelihood that it’s something that has been reinforced before. A great example is when your dog brings you a toy and barks to entice you to throw it. You throw the toy. Your dog has just learned that barking gets you to do what he wants. You say “no,” and he barks even more. Heaven forbid you give in and throw the toy now! Why? Because you will have taught him persistence pays off. Before you know it you’ll have a dog that barks and barks every time he wants something. The solution? Ignore his barking or ask him to do something for you (like “sit”) before you throw his toy.
Don’t overwhelm your dog by expecting too much at first. Start slow by working on basic commands, such as “sit,” and keep training sessions short. You can gradually train your dog for longer periods of time and move on to more complex commands, such as “leave it,” once basic training is successful. As your dog learns these basic commands, it becomes easier to start training your dog on the more difficult ones.
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