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Managing Expectations

Your dog’s behaviour is a reflection of your training. Keep cool!


You've invited a beautiful new puppy into your family. Congratulations!


As a different species of animal, who doesn't speak English or understand the rules of your home, expect your puppy to:

  • Pee when his bladder is full - anywhere

  • Poop when she feels pressure - anywhere

  • Nip during playtime because that's what they do

  • Jump up on you to say hello, well - because that's what they do

  • Chase your feet and pull on your pant legs - classic puppy behaviour

  • Get in your way because she doesn't understand boundaries - at least not yet

  • Chew on your antique table leg because his teeth hurt

  • Ignore you when something interesting is happening, like that blowing leaf

  • Shall I go on?

Let’s face it, a lot of what we consider a problem - or get frustrated about our lack of progress in - comes down to our expectations. Our expectations of how it SHOULD go rather than a realistic acceptance of what is.


We have to teach our puppies to behave the way we want them to. That's on us, not them. Whatever they're doing isn't BAD. It's perfectly normal puppy/dog behaviour. Would you scream NO or STOP THAT at your one-year-old child for banging pots and pans together? Chances are you would simply take those 'toys' away and give the child something more interesting to occupy him or her. Something that won't be so annoying. Problem solved.


While our puppies are busy learning how to associate a behaviour with a verbal cue - which is a process that is learned by rewarding successive approximations of a target behaviour - we should be busy educating ourselves on their language. They have a lot to say.


There's something you need to know before you begin socializing your puppy. This "mission critical" information is not part of many owners' socialization plans. But if you miss this one, all your work may be in vain.


Before you begin doing this thing called socialization, it's critical to understand how puppies and dogs communicate through body language. You can't begin to introduce your puppy to his new life until you can tell when he is relaxed and happy or worried and avoidant. People try to socialize pups all the time without knowing the difference, and that's where things can go wrong (very, very wrong!).


There's a cute little book illustrated by Lili Chin called Doggie Language - A Dog Lover's Guide to Understanding your Best Friend. I found it on Amazon, and carry it with me wherever I go. I highly recommend it.


Talk to and guide your new puppy as you would a child. Be patient and kind. Yelling will only compromise the process of bonding and building trust with your puppy. This can have long-lasting, disastrous effects. Puppies often act out when fearful or stressed.


Manage your expectations and keep a cool head. I'm always happy to help!


Yours in training,


Jayne Barnstead

jayne@outsidethecrate.net

 

Jayne has been informally training dogs for over 20 years. During the Covid crisis, Jayne completed her Professional Dog Training Certification Program at the Ottawa K9 Academy, and set up her business - OUTSIDE THE CRATE. She is a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Dog Trainers (CAPDT), the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT). She has also received several certificates of completion, including Game Changing Dog Training through the Karen Pryor Academy (facilitated by Terry Ryan), Unleashed Potential - The Core Excellence Program with Duke Ferguson, Trainers Supporting Shelters & Rescue Programs (APDT), Top Dog Academy (Ian Dunbar), and more!


Jayne is a positive reinforcement trainer who uses methods that are science-based, allowing her to adjust her training techniques as new evidence comes forward. Jayne avidly pursues continuing education and professional development by attending seminars and keeping current on all industry literature and trends. She will give you step-by-step instruction on how to train your dog in all basic obedience behaviours and good manners.

 




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