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Positive Dog Parenting

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

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Identify Attention Seeking

Excitable Personality

Instructive Praise



Never use a kennel as punishment. Learn how to teach your dog to
LOVE his/her kennel.

Always give your dog something positive to do as an outlet for energy, stress, or boredom.

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Introduction

Dogs often get attention by whining, pawing, jumping on us and other unruly behaviors. If dogs get attention for jumping on you once, they will jump again and again. Dogs repeat behaviors that work. Canines are companion animals that value attention. Just like gamblers in Las Vegas value money and will pull the slot again and again hoping for a jackpot, dogs repeat behaviors persistently for intermittent rewards.

If you don't want your dog to get your attention by whining, jumping up, pawing at you, stealing objects, rattling doors or food bowls, then be SURE your dog does NOT get any type of attention or reward for doing what you do NOT want.


Be fair to your dog!  Make sure you teach your dog how to earn your
love and praise for the behaviors you DO want.

Unintentional reinforcement of excess whining

Once you have determined there is no valid reason for whining (that is, the dog is not in pain, danger, or needing to eliminate), the whining should be passively ignored. Don't let the whining "work" to get the dog what he/she wants.

Take two dog bones and call me in the morning

If your dog keeps you up at night and you have tried ignoring the dog for whining or whimpering, you may need to try a different tactic. You may need to correct the dog with a stern voice to interrupt the behavior, and then praise the dog for a positive response. Your dog may be confused and not learn from this if you are not teaching daily with clear methods to get your dog in the habit of learning from you and by doing so have also gained your dog's respect.
The goal for preventing attention-seeking behaviors is to give the dog MORE attention for the behaviors you DO want and NO attention for behaviors you do NOT want.

Teach the dog, "Quiet", then praise, "Good Quiet"

If the dog is whining and keeping you up at night, does not need to eliminate, and ignoring the behavior has not worked, then, tell the dog, "Quiet" in a stern voice.  If the dog stops the vocalization, count to 3 seconds, and begin praising the dog by saying, "Good quiet" in a soothing, loving voice.

Wait about five to seven seconds more and praise the dog again for being quiet. The goal is to increase the number of seconds between your praise. Wait ten to fifteen seconds more, then repeat, "Good quiet." Then, after about thirty seconds, again say, "That's a good quiet."  If the dog repeats the process (e.g. 10 minutes later), then follow the four steps below to increase the consequences. Consider putting a rawhide chew in the kennel to give your dog a positive activity to do. Increase exercise during the day. Feed your dog an hour before bed and take out to eliminate right before bedtime.
No attention is usually more effective than negative attention! Always praise behaviors you want to increase.

Prevent Attention Seeking
  • Try to praise your dog when your dog least expects it, "You are being such a good dog." 
     
  • Make good things happen when your dog is NOT seeking your attention.
     
  • Try to initiate play, toys and treats ONLY when the dog is quiet. 

Your dog needs to connect good behavior with your attention.

If your dog is NOT displaying attention-seeking behavior, you can let the good times roll! 

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