If you've got a new dog or a brand new puppy, don't wait for bad habits to begin. Start your dog (or pup) from Day 1 with a clear set of rules and teach him what those rules are. To do this, you might want to start by making a list with two columns: MUST NOT DO and WOULD LIKE TO DO. Fill those columns up and then take a look at what you've got.
- get on furniture
- bark at other dogs
- pull on the leash
And in the WOULD LIKE TO DO column, you've got these:
- come when called
- sit politely for petting
- sit before going outside
It's a good idea to get input from everyone in the family and then finalize the list together. You want everyone on the same page when it comes to the rules for the dog.
I’ve found it helpful for every time Sadie does a behavior I don’t want to ask myself, “Well, if you don’t want her to, say,”jump on the people she loves” then what do you want her to do instead? “Sit” for pets and loves would work.
It’s become sorta a mantra with me now. “If not that behavior, then what behavior do I want instead?”
Of course, preventing unwanted behavior from every occurring in the first place by establishing good habits is best. But, real life does intervene.
Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart says
I am SUCH a fan of default behaviors. I love watching Lilly figure out that something isn’t “working” for her … in other words, perhaps a behavior I ignore. So, she replaces whatever that is with something she knows will work.
It’s fun to watch her ratchet it up. First a sit, then a down, then a down with hip tipped, then a down with head down too.