Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Getting Your Newly Adopted Dog off on the Right Paw

Dogs constantly try new behaviors to see what will pay off for them. This is how they learn to fit in with their new family. Dogs carefully note the results of their behavior, and re­peat what works to their benefit. That’s why it’s essential to control their first weeks in your home, and teach them to behave on your terms.

If you feed scraps from the table, you will have a dog that begs. If you allow him to roam free through the house, you will have a dog that is not housebro­ken. First, supervise your new dog. You can prevent a mistake, and not have to punish it: thus creating a more loving bond. Do not let your new dog roam freely.

Watch him, and let him know what’s okay and what’s not. Let him know where he can relieve him­ self (by giving praise for going outside), and cor­rection for an error (if he lifts his leg, say “no” firmly, and walk him outside). If you can’t watch your dog, limit his area to a small bathroom or laundryroom, placing a potty area on one end, and a comfy bed and toys and chewies on the other end. It’s easier to teach good behaviors than to correct bad ones. Never hit your dog. Teach him that your hands are never a threat. Yes, it’s work to supervise your new dog, but the effort you make will pay off with a lifetime of good behavior.

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