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Behavior Issues Affecting Your New Dog

Adopting a puppy · What you’ll need · Behavior Issues · Grooming · Related articles

More dogs wind up at shelters and humane societies because they have behavior problems than for any other reason. Fortunately, there are nonviolent techniques for addressing every behavior problem your new pet may have.

  • Subscribe to the Whole Dog Journal, which is full of behavior advice.
  • Find obedience classes at your local community college or recreation center.
  • Consult a licensed professional trainer who does not use force.

To get a fast start preventing behavior problems, visit the Behavior Section at There’s advice on potty training where you’ll learn how to paper train a pet to Wee Wee Pads. This section will help you understand that there is a difference between paper training to have your pet permanently potty indoors and paper training with the intention of having your pet eventually potty outdoors.

In the Separation Anxiety section, there’s advice on how to prevent anxiety in your dog if it will be left alone while you’re working. In the Submissive Urination section, there’s advice on handling a dog that urinates when it is nervous or when you reach down to pet it. There’s also a handy list of supplements and medications to help behavior problems on the Behavior Medications page. The more you know about correcting undesirable behaviors and which medications and supplements are helpful, the easier it will be for you to help your pet behave well.

Helping Your New Dog Adapt To Children

It is never advisable to leave children alone with a dog that has just become a new family member. Dogs prove they are trustworthy with children after years of showing good behavior. The decision that a dog can be trusted alone with children is best made in consultation with several who’ve known your dog for a long time, including your veterinarian.

Photo of a girl and her new dog   The dream most of us have when bringing home a dog is that it will love our children and our children will love it, but to make this happen, don’t throw them together. Carefully prepare each to meet the other. It helps children to understand that pulling, punching, and tugging hurts a dog just like it hurts them. Don’t leave children alone with your dog if they don’t understand this concept. Teach your children that if the new dog approaches it, it is doing something right, but if the new dog wants to avoid it, the child is doing something wrong. A child’s goal should be to behave so that the dog wants to play with it.

It often helps to have children feed the dog so that the children have value in the dog’s eyes. Have your children place the bowl down, then call the dog to come eat. Don’t allow children to place their fingers in your dog’s mouth or to remove treats from its mouth. Don’t encourage children to hand feed dogs unless you are certain your dog will not bite fingers in its eagerness.

It does not pay to be overly optimistic about the level of our dog’s self control. Be realistic. Of course there will be dogs that you trust with your life and with your children’s lives. Lassie was written about a real dog. However, there are also wonderful dogs who should not be handled by or left alone with children.


The articles here were answered by a variety of pharmacists and veterinarians
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  • Be Proactive: Tell your dog what you want it to do rather than wait until it does something bad and you need to correct it.

  •   Recommended medications for adopting a dog
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    This information is for educational purposes only and is intended to be a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise and professional judgment of your veterinarian. The information is NOT to be used for diagnosis or treatment of your pet. You should always consult your own veterinarian for specific advice concerning the treatment of your pet.

    The information about medications is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, allergic reactions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for your pet. It is not a substitute for a veterinary exam, and it does not replace the need for services provided by your veterinarian.

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