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Brian’s Bite-sized Behavior Bits – January 2018
Look What’s New!

I thought it might be appropriate to start the New Year off with a discussion about helping dogs with “new” things. For some dogs, novelty is something they thrive off of, and they tend to get overly-excited and rambunctious. For others, novelty throws them off and freaks them out. Below are some quick tips for addressing some new situations in ways that set your pooch up for success.

  • Anytime you move residences, make sure that you walk your dog around the new neighborhood for a long time before entering the interior space (even if they’ve “visited” the new place already, move-in day is a different matter). Just trust me here. You’ll save yourself all kinds of trouble and avoid the bad behaviors that accompany moves when people just pull in the garage, open the car door, and let the dog run inside and gallivant about.
  • Anytime you get a new dog, but especially with puppies, be prepared to throw “hot dog parties” during their first couple thunderstorms. If your dog’s first experiences with booms of thunder are immediately followed by an ecstatic owner who starts dishing out pieces of hot dogs, you can pre-condition them to like thunder, or at least not be as freaked out by it. The idea here is to get your dog to think that thunder makes you become a whole lot more fun and unbelievably generous with treats. You can use this same process for fireworks and other generally “scary” situations.
  • If you are welcoming a new baby into your family, some in-depth prep-work with a canine professional is probably in order. That being said, there are some simple things you can do to help create a successful transition for your dog and your new arrival. Make sure your pup is exposed to baby noises, baby smells, baby strollers, and the like. The more your dog is used to the sights, sounds, and scents they’re likely to encounter when you bring your new bundle of joy home, the smoother things are likely to go.
  • If you are getting another dog, it’s best if your current dog meets him/her on neutral territory (i.e. not in the living room or back yard). Use a friend’s yard, or even a dog park or your dog’s regular daycare center for their first encounter. Things tend to go better when dogs meet on neutral space, and then walk back to the home as a pack, rather than meeting face-to-face in the home.
  • If you are switching your dog over to a new diet/food, for the love of Moses, make sure you do it gradually over the course of a week to 10 days. You can do it overnight, but you’ll need to make sure that you have brown floors in your home (this way they won’t change color when all’s said and done and your dog’s digestive system finishes leaving its “mark” on your home).
  • And with each new day, let your dog’s zest for life, unquenchable curiosity, and the joy your dog brings to every single day inspire you to give yourself the gift of unbridled joy, and a love of life, even through all of its fascinating twists and turns.

Happy training… and Happy New Year!

Content Copyrighted 2018. Brian Bergford. All Rights Reserved.