Dog Behavior Expert Advises, Don't Blame the Family Dog if He Needs Better Manners

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Dog obedience training expert from Canine Company shares top tips on how to cultivate a well-behaved canine with simple changes you can make at home.

"Bad dog" behaviors are often the result of training mistakes we make.

We teach our dogs how they should act by which behaviors we reinforce ... sometimes the wrong ones!

If the family dog has bad manners, it’s probably because his owner has taught him to behave that way.

“We teach dogs how they should act by which behaviors we reinforce day in and day out,” says dog obedience training expert Traci Simo, “and sometimes we inadvertently reinforce the wrong ones!”

As head of Manners dog obedience training expert for Canine Company, Simo has worked with hundreds of pets and pet parents to address problem dog behaviors like eating out of the garbage, pulling on the leash or running away when called. In her experience, it’s usually the human who is responsible for when a dog develops problem behaviors.

Since January is National Dog Training month, Simo urges pet parents to examine their own behavior -- which just might help improve their dog’s behavior:

1. Do practice daily. Dogs learn through repetition, so practice is essential to establish and to maintain behaviors. Work commands into every day situations: for example, practice “wait” while putting out his meals, or practice “drop it” when playing catch.

2. Don't inadvertently reward bad behavior. If a dog is begging at the dinner table and is fed he learns that this behavior results in treats. Similarly, picking up a small dog or puppy each time she barks, teaches her that barking is a good way to get attention.

3. Be consistent. All members of the family must use the same commands and rewards or the dog will be confused. If “sit” is the family command to keep a dog from jumping up to greet someone, it’s important that everyone in the household use that command – including the children.

4. Don't blame bad manners on age. Don’t expect puppy behaviors like jumping up, chewing or eliminating in the house to get better on their own. Start puppy training right away. At the other end of the spectrum, don’t believe the old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Dogs, regardless of age, are learning all the time.

5. Seek the help of a professional. Since no two dogs are alike, it’s important to find a trainer who will customize a training program to the family’s needs. One-on-one training at home is the best solution for most dogs.

With small changes in our behaviors, we can make a big improvement in our pets. For more advice on dog training, visit Canine Company's "Speak, Good Blog" blog.

Canine Company helps pet parents keep their pets healthy, safe and happy at home with products and services that include the Invisible Fence® brand pet containment systems, Manners at-home obedience training, mobile dog grooming and pet sitting services in select areas. For information, call 800-818-DOGS (3647).

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Deb Bennetts
Canine Company
+1 (203) 979-7531
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