Suggestions for Creating a Well-Mannered Dog

Nothing in Life for Free: This is also called a “closed economy.” Whenever your dog wants ANYTHING, she must say “please” by doing something to earn it. “Please” may  be sitting quietly for a few minutes, performing a request such as sit or down, etc. Dog should work for all food, attention, toys, freedom, etc.

Immediate time-outs (you leave the room): The INSTANT her teeth hit you, she starts barking for attention or she jumps on you, everyone should quickly leave the room. Every single time. No need to talk to her. No need to say anything at all. Consistency and quickness are the keys to letting her know that her choice of jumping on you. biting, or barking are what causes you to leave the room. Teach her that these actions on her part cause you to go away.

More Exercise—Physical: An average of one half hour aerobic exercise twice per day. Two hours (split) for more energetic dogs. Dog park, jog with owner, run & fetch, a morning at day care, etc. (but, no wrestling with humans).

More Exercise—Mental: Stuff lots of interactive toys with food. These are “puzzles” for her to figure out. Kongs, Kong Bones, Biscuit Ball, Goodie Ball, etc. Any food not used for training should be fed this way so she also has to work for it.

Resume obedience training: In addition to incorporating training into everyday life throughout the day, spend a minimum of 15 minutes twice a day playing “school” with your dog. Run her through the various exercises of sit, down, stand, watch me and especially the impulse control exercises: stay, leave it, and wait. Vary the sequence. Good books to read/use: Click for Joy, by Melissa Alexander or The Power of Positive Dog Training, by Pat Miller, available from or at For Other Living Things pet store in Sunnyvale. Also practice these exercises while on walks with her. Stop every 10 or 20 feet and request something, reward dog, then move on.

Remember, actions speak louder than words. Save your breath, save your anger. SHOW her the results of her bad behavior by simply leaving the room when she acts up. Manage the environment so she has less chance to get it “wrong.” Tire her to the brink of exhaustion. And most importantly, REWARD the good behavior before she has a chance to get it wrong. You will get the dog you reward!

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