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Positive Dog Parenting

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS/P

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Well Equipped Puppy

Pet Professional Tip

Use treats and consistent body language to teach the following vocabulary to boarding pets: 

Sit, Off, Wait, Easy,
Kennel, Go Potty.

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Training Goals

Here are goals for your dog that you can use as a guideline as you implement Positive Dog Parenting methods for establishing house rules and shaping an ideal dog personality.

  • Hear veterinary behavior consultant, Dr. Rolan Tripp, talk about the importance of early puppy socialization - click here.

Restraint and handling
Cheerfully accept gently handling, grooming, taking pills and cooperating with veterinary exams. Mix in liberal food treats and praise when practicing handling.

Eliminate when given a cue word such as, "go potty" or "get busy" in  an approved areas. Confinement with frequent access and rewards for good results is the key!

Socialization to people and other pets
From the time the puppy is adopted, all members of the family and guests need to handle the food bowl, treats, and toys. Start by offering extra food treats when you approach the food bowl or ask for a toy. Trade up!  In exchange for one toy, give the pup a treat or new toy. Make giving up a prized possession a positive experience from day one.
Ask yourself, "Is this a behavior that I want to encourage?"  If so, praise lavishly.  If not, ignore or give a time out.

Bite inhibition
To prevent potential bites or fights from causing serious damage, teach the pup to use teeth as a warning only.  Yip and cry if the pup's teeth do more than gently brush your hand. Stop playing for several seconds if the pup is biting. Allow a "cool off" time, then start over.

How to praise appropriately
Many people unintentionally reward bad habits, and fail to praise good habits. Ask yourself, "Is this a behavior that I want to encourage?"  If so, praise lavishly.  If not, ignore or give a time out.

How to reprimand without damaging relationships
Inconsistent punishment is much worse than no punishment. Follow a quick verbal correction, with a positive Instruction (e.g. SIT), and praise that.

Attention training for owner and dog
The dog must pay attention to receive messages, and the dog must understand that owner has the right to give instructions. Teach the pup to "watch" by rewarding eye contact.

Creating a positive chew toy habit
Prevent house destruction and recreational barking by teaching the pup to chew the "right stuff."  Make toys interesting by rotating, adding food smells, and praising any interest.

Walking on leash 
Change directions, if needed to be sure the pup is following NOT leading. If the pup pulls ahead, give a cue word, such as "easy" and then reverse or move in a different direction.  The pup may feel a quick pop at the end of the leash. NEVER allow a tight leash this triggers a pulling instinct. Teach "heel" so that the pup knows clearly one option for acceptable walking behavior. If the pup gets too excited, ask the pup to "sit" every few feet. This will calm and slow things down.  The pup will learn that being too excited results in a slower walk.

Preventing jumping-up
Never greet a dog that jumps up. Turn your back or to the side and ask for a "sit". If the dog sits, squat so that you are face to face on the dog's level and lovingly greet and praise. If needed, put your fingers in the collar to keep the dog in a seated position to accept this greeting.

Off-leash Instructions
Practice basic Instruction both on and off leash. NEVER allow your dog off leash in an open area. Practice in a safe place such as an empty tennis court.

Phasing out food in training
Food lures show the dog EXACTLY what to do, making training easier, more fun and more successful for the dog and the person. Food treats are phased out but rewards are not eliminated completely. Would you continue to work if you were never paid?

Dog waits before going in or out any door
For safety and control purposes, the dog needs to learn that you control the passage in and out of any home or car door. Going out without a release must NEVER works. Bring the dog brought back in and try again.

Improving Relationships between People and Pets!

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