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Introducing Your Dog to New Things

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Doggie Food Bowls

If you don't train your dog to be calm around food bowls, you may be asking for food-guarding issues later on. Skip these exercises and you'd better fill up your first-aid kit! Follow these steps:

  1. Hand your dog a bowl with a few pieces of food in it.

  2. When she's done eating, take the bowl away and give her another one with a few pieces of food in it.

  3. Repeat bunches of times—15 to 20 times.

Now comes the second step:

  1. Hand your dog a bowl with a few pieces of food in it.

  2. Before she's done eating, lower your hand to the bowl and add more food to it.

  3. Repeat bunches of times—20 to 25 times over the course of a few days.

Now for the third step with the food bowl:

  1. Hand your dog a bowl with a few pieces of food in it.

  2. Before she's done eating, gently remove the food bowl at the exact same time that you hand her another bowl with a few pieces of food in it.

  3. Repeat these steps 30 to 50 times over the course of a few days.

Make it fun for your dog—make it more reinforcing when you take the food bowl away than when she keeps it to herself. You can always add more food in the second bowl than you did in the first bowl.

Other Dogs

Go to school! Numerous times! I mean it! The average puppy kindergarten lasts from six to eight weeks. Don't expect your puppy to be thoroughly “socialized” with other dogs for the rest of his life in such a short time. Start your own puppy playgroup and keep it going. Put up flyers at the vet's office, pet shops, or groomer, asking other people to bring their pups to your playgroup.

Even if you have other dogs at home and your puppy gets along fine, don't think this is enough. Your new puppy needs to be exposed to many other dogs in his lifetime. Be sure, however, that the puppies and older dogs you introduce him to are friendly. It would be terrible to have your puppy attacked and possibly traumatized for life, ending up fearful of his own species. For more about socializing you puppy, read Steps to Socializing Your Dog.

Doing these exercises from the day you bring the dog home may save you a great deal of heartache later. Continue to periodically practice all of these behaviors for the life of the dog.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Positive Dog Training é 2005 by Pamela Dennison. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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