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Error-Free Puppy Raising™ Tips

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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Getting Started Week 35 - Extinction Burst

If you have found yourself off track with your puppy's training and now want a fresh start, you will be pleased to know it is never too late to teach any dog new tricks or - in this case - new manners.

It is much easier for both you and your puppy if the house rules were established early on and have stayed consistent.  But if this is not the case and you feel you need to make a change, realize that it is normal canine behavior (maybe even normal human behavior) to try harder to achieve what worked in the past, even when it is no longer working.

We call this the "extinction burst" because that behavior increases before your puppy realizes it is no longer working and gives it up, thereby making that behavior extinct.  

So, be patient.  Wait it out.  Don't scold or get angry, simply change the consequences your puppy receives and you shape new behaviors.  

For example, you may have held your new little puppy on your lap on the couch but now don't want your 100lb dog on the couch.  At first, your puppy will not understand the new rule. But over time, your puppy will realize that his or her couch days are over.  It is better and kinder if you teach a replacement behavior at the same time such as giving your puppy a comfy bed and teaching "on your bed."

If your pup jumps on you, teach a "sit" for greeting to help stop the jumping up on you. Tell your puppy what TO do not just what NOT to do.

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