Preventing misbehavior may not teach your dog everything about how you want him to behave, but it is a great place to start because it keeps you sane and keeps him from learning how fun it might be to do naughty things. The following instructions will help you to prevent your dog from destroying your home, becoming fearful or aggressive, barking or hyper behavior and more!
Misbehavior Prevention Tools and Supplies:
A crate is helpful for working on house training as well as a prevention tool for times when you are not home or are otherwise unavailable to supervise your dog. Keeping him in his crate when you are not able to supervise will prevent many problems and help to keep him safe. His crate should be made of plastic or wire and should be just big enough for your dog to lay down and change position comfortably. Fabric crates are handy for a dog that is already calm in his crate but not durable enough for dogs that are not crate trained or those who like to chew or try to escape. The crate offers your dog a safe place to relax and prevents misbehavior like destructive chewing and house training accidents. The crate will be his haven from a toddling relative who wants to yank his ears or when he needs a bit of privacy to nap. Learning to be comfortable in his crate is also important if your dog ever needs surgery, to go to a groomer, boarding kennel, or to travel. Your dog will most likely enjoy being in his crate if you take a little time to teach him what a nice place it can be and associate it with his favorite things. Following the steps below will help him to learn to go in his crate when asked and relax until you release him.
Crate Training Tips:
Tethers / Tie-Backs: A rope or leash can be secured to your waist or in a small area in order to keep your dog near you and prevent misbehavior. This is not recommended for use without supervision because it is possible he could get the tether tangled around his neck and choke. Reward calm behavior while on the tether by giving a pat or a treat. Ignore any fussing so he doesn't learn to do so in order to get attention.
A Chew Proof tether in use
Pet gates: A gate can be placed between doorways to help keep your dog out of non-puppy-proofed areas and prevent house training accidents and destructive chewing. Beware, some dogs are great at jumping over these, so you may want to purchase the tallest one you can find if you suspect you have a bounding hound!
Drag-lines: A 10 foot long-or-so piece of rope can be attached to his collar or harness to give you a better chance to prevent your dog from jumping up on someone or dashing out of the door (This is not recommended for use without supervision because it is possible he could get the line tangled around his neck and choke.). A drag-line is also useful for administering time outs when needed.
Food and Treats: Why just put all his calories in a bowl to be eaten in seconds? Food can be very useful in managing and training your dog and too valuable to give away for free in two quick meals! A piece of food placed close to his nose will enable you to lure him past a distraction or get him to drop a forbidden item. Giving him a yummy chew will help him decide to chew on that instead of your furniture. Using his daily food to fill puzzle toys and scattering them about for him to "hunt" will help him to stay busy and using up that mental energy will help him to be calm.
Taste Deterrents: A commercially available yucky-tasting solution can be sprayed or wiped on items (or even your hands if you have a nippy pup) to discourage chewing. These are made of safe, non-toxic compounds that if licked will cause no greater harm than a "yuck" face and a need to have a drink of water. Unfortunately some dogs don't mind taste deterrents, and if you are the lucky owner of one of these (Labs!), you could experiment with different brands, or simply focus on using the other prevention tools I've listed.
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