As a dog trainer and canine behavior consultant, you can imagine the emails and calls I get from frustrated dog owners needing relief from their misbehaving canine.

When do you think is the best time to start a canine behavior modification plan? Let's take a quiz…

  • A) After the holidays (or soccer season or string of business trips, etc.) when you can really set aside some time for the dog. 
  • B) As soon as you start to see any signs of a problem. 
  • C) After you have given it some time to see if it just goes away on its own. 
  • D) After the problem has gotten bad enough that you absolutely can't stand it. 
  • E) Don't worry about it unless someone gets bitten. 

The correct answer is B – As soon as you start to see any signs of a problem.  Unfortunately, that's not when most of my frustrated calls and emails come in.

Whether you are going to do-it-yourself or call in a professional, the time to start is right away. Practice makes perfect and that goes for unwanted behaviors as well. The longer a dog practices unwanted behaviors the better he will get at them and the deeper ingrained those bad habits become. Trying to undo a bad habit is much harder than setting up good habits in the first place. Think smoking, drinking, etc. here…much easier to never start than to quit, right?

So, go with prevention when possible and early intervention with any behavior problems that pop up. Also know your limitations and don't hesitate to call a professional when out of your range of experience. You and your dog will both be happier for it. 

-Chad Culp, Certified Dog Trainer and Canine Behavior Consultant

© Thriving Canine, 2013