Chew on This

Ignoring unwanted behavior is very confusing for dog owners. I am not giving you permission to ignore the dog when he chews on inappropriate things like rocks, dirty underwear, or your furniture. I want to be very clear how to help your dog learn what is appropriate to chew on and what is not. Above all else I want your dog to be safe.

Your most powerful tool for changing a dog’s behavior is using positive reinforcement. The reward makes him more likely to repeat the behavior again. Reinforcement is not all about treats.  Giving the dog feedback by giving praise is reinforcement. You are letting the dog know he has made the right decision on what is appropriate to chew.  Always pay attention to your dog when your dog is being good.  Reward pottying outside versus punishing for pottying inside. Reward sitting versus punishing jumping.

  Out –of- date compulsion trainers may have you yank on a prong or choke collar, throw a can filled with pennies, or even scream and yell at your dog. Attempting the use of violence and intimidation may stop the unwanted behavior, but falls short of providing the information that corrects the unwanted behavior.  Did you ever try to teach a child how to ride a bike by yelling at them “no, no, no” then wait for them to somehow figure it out how to do it right?  Without feedback how is your dog going to make better decisions?

Force free trainers do administer corrections, but it is how we administer them. We do it proactively through management, not intimidation. Management is simply not giving the dog the opportunity to get in trouble in the first place, so we have don’t have to be reactive, but hey poop happens!

  The 3 R’s Remove, Redirect, and Reinforce

Remove: Remove the dog from the environment or things in the environment. Dog eating your underwear? Remove the dog to another room or better yet put your underwear where he cannot get it.

Redirect:  Give the dog something else to do. Having the dog play fetch is incompatible with swallowing rocks or chewing on your shoe laces.

 Reinforcement:  Reinforce by praising the dog for chewing on his toys, instead of yelling at the dog for chewing on your furniture or your pant leg.

It’s easier to teach a dog what to chew on then what not to chew on!

Submitted by Marion C. O’Neil CPDT-KA, CTDI, owner and instructor for Molasses Creek Dog Training, LLC Quakertown


New Classes Starting:

Puppy Bowl Party                 2/4 Sun 2:00 p.m.   

Puppy I Manners               1/25 Thur. 7:30 p.m.

Teenrover/Adult-Manners   1/22 Mon. 6:00 p.m.

Teenrover/Adult-Manners    1/28 Sun. 11:00 a.m.

Novice Trick Dog (NTD)            2/24 Sat. 10:00 a.m  

AKC Canine Good Citizen 2/19 Mon. 7:00 p.m.  

Puppy I Manners                 2/10 Sat. 12:30 p.m.

Teenrover/Adult-Manners   2/11 Sun. 1:00 p.m. 

Check calendar for more scheduled classes!