Dogs do what works

People often tell me their dog is out of control or lacks manners. It is, in fact, pretty common for dogs to get 


in the habit of bouncing around in gleeful anticipation of something they want very badly. Take meal times, for instance. At the first rustle of the dog food bag, the dog goes a little berserk, leaping around, spinning, and even barking.

You may not appreciate all that commotion, but maybe you aren’t sure how to get the dog to calm down. Good news! Your dog will do whatever he learns will hasten you filling his dish with dog food. If bouncing around like a maniac is followed by you feeding him, it’s a good bet you will see that behavior at future feedings. By the same token, if keeping all four of his paws on the floor and standing (or sitting) still in one spot keeps you dispensing his supper, that is the behavior you’ll start to see offered automatically by your dog. It really is that simple.

Just go cold turkey. You reach for the bag. Dog goes nuts? You retreat. Dog stays calm? You continue opening the dog food bag. Dog then goes bananas? You step away from the bag. If he really escalates, leave the room. Dog calms down? You open the bag and scoop up some food. And so on. Your dog is going to want to skip this cha-cha-cha he is causing you, because it delays feeding. If you are silent (no commands, no “good boy,” no “ah-ah”), and simply and immediately move either toward or away from the food preparation (depending on your dog’s behavior), you will teach him that calm, quiet dogs are fed quickly. Most dogs, after just a couple of days, get the idea. Dogs do what works!


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