Dog’s Eye View: New habits hard to make
One of the most difficult issues associated with adopting a new puppy or rescue dog into your home is making the necessary changes and creating new habits. A prime example of this is bringing a new dog into a home with kitties or young children. Conflicts can crop up in a hurry without a good management plan and the time to implement it.
Being proactive, rather than reactive, prevents many of the unexpected struggles and challenges that come with managing this new-normal routine safely. Keeping kitties and kids safely managed while our new canine settles in sets the stage for success. Being proactive means you are not waiting for blunders to happen but actively managing the household to prevent accidents or mistakes. Chasing good behavior is a lost cause. Setting up your family and new dog for success with good preparation keeps everyone on track and happy.
“The dog just needs to fit in and understand that this is their new life.”
Well, OK, then. Did you have him read the latest edition of the manual on how to live with humans and critters of varying sizes? How is he supposed to learn to adapt without proper guidance and supervision?
“Well, he knows it! I told him to leave the kids toys alone!”
So, I have to ask, how many times did your mom or dad have to tell you to pick up your clothes and put your dishes in the sink? And you expect your dog to understand this in one week? Managing kids to keep toys put away and providing enough good quality chew toys will prevent a lot of yelling “no!”
Teaching your new dog what he can chew will take time. Managing him in a safe place when you are busy will help him learn to settle when necessary and prevent him from rearranging the Lego’s or Barbie’s latest hairstyle.
Creating new habits takes time, patience and practice. Setting goals helps us stay on track and move forward with the training our dog needs. The management habit belongs to us. We set the stage for success with how we manage the environment they live in.
The saying, “Old habits are hard to break” is true.
“New habits are hard to make” is also true. We fall off the habit wagon regularly and sometimes pay a high price for that mistake. But perseverance pays off.
The new habit starts with changing your mind. The old way worked when there were no kids in the house and you worked a flexible schedule. The new plan might have to revolve around kid functions and overtime at work. The only way to prevent total chaos is to create a plan that works for everyone and make a pact to stick to making your new habits work. This new habit must include the whole family discussing the challenges and writing up a schedule in which everyone takes responsibility.
Most shelter dogs started out wanted by someone who could not or would not create a new habit to make the relationship work. Yes, life gets in the way, but bringing that creature into your home is signing a contract to help this young one or abandoned one grow up right.
New habits make us better parents and guardians. Think about what new habits you had to create to help your dog become a great companion. Once we get through that first year, we look back, and it seems as though it was effortless. That is, until the next addition comes along.
Laura Tyler is a certified professional dog trainer with more than 25 years of experience. She has earned associate certification through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, as well as Certified Nose Work Instructor through the National Association of Canine Scent Work. She owns Total Teamwork Training LLC here in Northwest Colorado.
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