Many dog behaviour issues start with very small things at a young age that are not recognised and addressed. Or, they are not consistently addressed by everyone in the household.
Here’s a very simple checklist for you to assess how well you are doing at home with preventing the potential development of unwanted behaviours in your dog. Most of them are well known if not so well followed!
No jumping up on people: You should not allow your dog to jump on people at all. All four paws should stay on the ground. For this one, you can start very easily with yourself and then begin to expand your dog’s non-jump human list until it includes everyone on the planet.
No teeth on human flesh: This one is actually a lot harder than you think but a good one to persevere with. It starts with the teething phase of the puppy when you overreact to any mouthing behaviour. Behaviour experts have written much on this subject and the key thought to help prevent bites is to teach that dog teeth on human flesh is an absolute no-no.
No helping yourself to the couch or the bed: The key to this one is 'without permission'. You should have complete control of the 'space' that you live in. If you have allowed the dog on the couch or the bed then this must be on your terms. To test who the boss really is, just ask your dog to get off and see the reaction. If you don’t get an immediate positive response in which the dog will happily go elsewhere, you may well have to remove privileges for a while to regain your position in the pack. This is a good one to keep testing.
No begging behaviour: This is a really easy one to avoid. Simply never start feeding your dog from your own table or the kitchen and you will likely never even experience it. We are the ones that start this behaviour. If you must feed little “treats” of prime meat left over from your meal...turn it into a good behaviour reward. Only give it to your dog when they are lying quietly in their bed and not even looking at you. The giving of the food is not the issue it’s what you are inadvertently rewarding in the process that becomes the problem. Use your morsels for better things.
No big deal on arrival and departure: Make sure everyone in the house understands this rule. Ignoring your dog when you come home if they are over-excited is very important to achieving a balanced dog. Do not even think about acknowledging them until they have completely given up on drawing your attention. The same with leaving your dog behind. Treat the exercise the same way you might if you were stepping out for 10 seconds. No big deal right?
Yes to waiting: Making sure your dog is listening to you even when you are home is as simple as asking them to wait before doing things that you do every day. Wait before having permission to eat. Waiting before going through the door. Waiting before jumping out of the car. Use as many waiting opportunities as you can in your daily routine to reinforce the command line. The release “ok” is the reward for waiting.
Yes to being a confident leader who knows what they want from their dog. If you don’t know what your rules are, you can be sure your dog will decide for you.