3 Ways You Might Contribute to Your Dog's Bad Behavior

Unfortunately, when a dog has practiced a behavior for a while, people often give up and feel they’ve tried it all. Many times, though, the owner just needs to change small variables. As a clicker trainer, I’ve encountered people who say they already tried the clicker and it didn’t work. When I delved into what they were doing, though, their mechanics of using the clicker and rewards were off. After they relearned how to use the clicker, the problem fixed itself. Even for complex behavior problems, working with a veterinary behaviorist or veterinarian in conjunction with a positive reinforcement trainer can sometimes turn a dog’s life around, but it takes time. If a dog has just learned “leave it” with food in the hand, for instance, she cannot be expected to leave unattended chicken on the kitchen counter without further training.

Most of all, be patient with your dog. It can take nine to 12 weeks — or longer — to break a habit, even with consistent work. It’s not a quick fix, but through clear boundaries and expectations, your canine will be on her way to good behavior, largely through your dedicated guidance.

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