The best way to prevent behavior problems is to prevent them. The easiest way to enforce house rules for a new dog is to use a leash indoors for the first week your dog comes home. Your dog should always be supervised while on leash, or should be secure in a crate at times when you can’t supervise. A leash allows us to gently guide a dog away from things he shouldn’t be doing, as well as encourage him to follow us wherever we go. During the first week you should also hand feed as many meals as possible (no bowl!), which quickly deepens your relationship – you become the provider of all good things! When you catch your dog preforming good behavior like being quiet, lying down nicely, not jumping up, or coming when called you should use some of his daily meal portion to reward him for great behavior. You have to provide all that food to your dog each day anyway, why not use it to your advantage? By using the leash indoors to prevent unwanted destructive behavior or things like getting on furniture, plus using the daily food portion to reinforce preferable behaviors you’ll quickly have a dog who looks to you for guidance instead of one that wanders off and gets into trouble.
This article first appeared in the December 2016 issue of Brickell Magazine.