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  • Con Slobodchikoff, Ph.D.
    Slobodchikoff is President and CEO of Animal Communications, Ltd., specializing in pet behavior problems and in educating people about the behavior of animals.
  • Karen London, Ph.D.
    London is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Pet Dog Trainer who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavioral problems in the domestic dog.

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December 10, 2009


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I love reading articles where the author concludes by saying 'try such and such, and if it doesn't work, try something else', and then not only doesn't Suggest something else but also suggests Not to try the one thing that should have been suggested in the first place. One wonders if some people just like to read their own writing.

To stop inappropriate puppy behavior a person should not emulate a puppy's Littermate, they should emulate the puppy's Mother. Acting like a peer doesn't establish the person as the dog's leader, which is the relationship the person should be establishing in the dog's mind regarding the human being in front of them. The response of the Mother is to gently Bite the puppy. The response of the person obviously should not be a Real bite -- that would be stupid -- but it should be Physical, a measured poke or grab, and not some Audible silliness. The mother doesn't make a sound, she redirects the puppy's attention with a quick snap of her mouth. The human being needs to use just the right amount of force, not too much but also not too little, and it should be snaplike, as opposed to a steady push. This lets the puppy know in a way that cannot be ignored that its behavior is unwanted but that it is being Corrected, not Punished, and the puppy will not only stop the unwanted behavior but will develop an increased respect for the person performing it. Doing nothing but making an ignorable sound and then not following thru with a physical touch just teaches the puppy that the person is Not to be considered its leader, a lesson that once learned will lead to all kinds of other mis-behaviors.

  Randall Johnson

Thanks for an especially useful post. I'm currently dealing with this problem with puppy my son and I adopted from a local animal rescue group in October. You offered a simple, pratical solution and now it's just a matter of having more appropriate chewing objects close at hand.

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