Monday, August 13, 2012

Puppy Habits and Dog Training

I've had the pleasure the past couple of weeks to be working with an adolescent Boxer/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix that was adopted by a very patient senior woman. This boisterous boy was rescued from a shelter and is now adjusting to his new home.  He is very sweet, and very friendly with people, but he has a bit of a social issue.  When he gets excited and wants attention, he behaves just the way a 3-month-old puppy would, though he's now about 18 months old and 75 pounds of lean muscle. He jumps up, humps, paws, mouths and nips and tugs at clothing.

Which brings up a common misconception about behavior: "Oh, he'll grow out of it."  In some cases puppy behaviors do get less severe as they get older, even without intervention or training. But for most behaviors, owners need to take some kind of action to prevent their puppy from growing into a larger version with the same issues. Puppy classes, private lessons or other forms of training can help puppy parents learn the best ways to mold their puppies into good canine citizens.

There is good hope for this rescue dog. He now has a wonderful home with an owner who has the time and dedication to help him learn the manners he missed out on when he was younger. The training will involve some positive redirection, clear boundary setting and appropriate outlets (such as exercise and interactive toys) for his enthusiasm. I can't wait to see what a charming young man he'll turn into!