Household lessons for you and your new pet

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Positive and consistent training, both in attitude and action, is needed so that your new pet will know what is expected of it at any time. If the expectations are unclear for your new pet this may lead to a wide variety of problems, such as unruly behavior, disobedience, and even aggression. Undesired behaviors such as nipping, excessive mouthing, and jumping up should be discouraged by teaching appropriate or acceptable alternate behaviors.

Be fair and consistent.

Be consistent with rewards and interruptions. The only way that your new pet can learn what is acceptable and what is not acceptable is by setting house rules that everyone observes. If you do not want your new pet in Grandma’s sewing room, make certain that Grandma does not let your pet in the sewing room either. Pet’s do not understand “sometimes”, “only when Dad is home,” or “just this once.” They need consistent rules, expectations, and rewards. Do not take good behaviors for granted either! Actively look for desirable behaviors and reward them with treats and generous praise will positively reinforce and solidify those desirable behaviors ensuring you will see more of them in the future.

Make your new pet aware of your importance in its life.

Walk your new dog so that your bond is stronger. Providing a consistent schedule of social play and feeding brings a level of predictability to the life of your new pet. Just like with human family members: encourage politeness in your new pet. Ask your new pet to say please by having it sit before all interactions (dinner, treats, toys, being picked up, walks, petting, play). Although sometimes referred to as “nothing in life is free” or “ no free lunch policy, ” this rule structure is intended to provide clear and consistent communication for your dog so that it learns what behaviors will get rewards and what will not. If you are predictable and consistent, your pet will quickly learn what is desirable behavior, reducing anxiety and conflict.