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Changing an unwanted dog behaviour

10/11/2022 - Dog Training Tips and Tricks

Have realistic expectations
If you're trying to change or improve a behaviour e.g. jumping up at people, pulling on the lead, coming back when called etc, it's important to have realistic expectations of your dog.
Changing behaviour can take time, especially if your dog has been practicing the behaviour for some time. Think about when you've tried to change a behaviour for yourself i.e. getting fit, eating less, drinking less etc. It's not easy and it doesn't always go to plan.
If you set your expectations too high, both you and your dog will become frustrated and this can have an impact on your relationship. Think about setting your dog up for success, how can you make it easier for him, how can you manage the situation so that the behaviour is less likely to happen.
Formulate a training plan, even if it's just a list of steps on a post it note.
If we take 'jumping up at visitors' as an example, I would first be thinking what do I want my dog to do when visitors arrive? It could be settle on a mat or bed until they are given a cue to say hello. If this was my end goal, then the first step of my training plan would be to teach a 'send to mat' with no distractions around. I wouldn't expect my dog to be able to 'go to mat' when visitors arrive after only training step one. That's too big a jump. So I would manage the situation whilst I'm going through this training by putting a stairgate up between the kitchen and the hall so my dog couldn't greet visitors at the door.