Listen to your dog

Learn to listen to your dog. If your dog appears to be uncomfortable in a situation you should respect that. Forcing the issue can often result in bigger problems down the line.

Be generous with your affection

Make sure you give your dog lots of attention when he’s doing the right thing. Let him know when he’s been good. That’s the time to be extra generous with your attention and praise.

Does he really like it?

Just because the bag says “a treat all dogs love” doesn’t mean your dog will automatically love it. Some dogs are very selective about what they like to eat. Soft and chewy treats are usually more exciting for your dog than hard and crunchy treats.

behavorial_talkTell him what you want him to do

Instead of telling your dog no, tell him what you want him to do. If your dog jumps on someone to say hello and you say no, he may just jump higher or to the right. Tell him what you want him to such as sit, in order to avoid confusion.

Be consistent

Whenever you’re training your pet, it’s important to get as many family members involved as possible so everyone’s on the same page. Ideally, if your pet jumps on the couch, everyone will use the same word (down), instead of each person using a different word (off, no, bad) or even allowing the dog to stay on the couch. Consistency will be the key to your success.

Have realistic expectations

Changing behavior takes time. Often behaviors which are normal dog behaviors like barking, digging and jumping will take the most time to correct. Remember, while it’s never too late to change the behavior, some will take longer than others.

behavioral_dogfoodDon’t underestimate the benefits of feeding a high quality food

Feed your dog a high-quality diet with appropriate amounts of protein. If your pet spends most of his days lounging, don’t feed him food with a protein level for dogs who herd sheep. Let us help you choose the right diet for your pet.

You get what you reinforce – not necessarily what you want

If your dog exhibits a behavior you don’t like, there is a strong likelihood that it’s something that was reinforced before. The solution? Ignore this behavior and ask him to do something for you like sit before you give in to his request.

Bribery vs. Reward

The idea of using treats to train is often equated with bribery. Truthfully, dogs do what works. If using treats gets them to do what you want, then why not? Just remember, the behavior should produce the treat; the treat should not produce the behavior.


Let your new dog gradually earn freedom throughout your home. Too much freedom too soon can easily lead to accidents relating to housetraining and destructive chewing. Close off unoccupied rooms and use baby gates to section off parts of the house, if necessary. One of the best ways to minimize incidents is to keep your dog tethered to you in the house and by using a crate or dog safe area when you can’t actively supervise him.

For recommended trainers or additional information please don’t hesitate to contact Bergheim Pet Hospital & Clinic.