8 Steps to Fostering Healthy Behavior in Your Dog

Note that you can start this process at any stage of your dog’s life! It’s faster and easier for young people to make positive connections than for adults, but it’s always worth trying to teach new ways of thinking.

Achim Herzog | Wikimedia Commons

1. Choose a puppy whose parents have good personalities. (Breeders: Only breed parents with great personalities.)

2. Choose a puppy that has had many positive, diverse experiences before bringing him home.

3. Bring your puppy home between eight and ten weeks old.

4. Give your puppy lots of positive, diverse experiences.

5. Sign up for puppy classes where trainers understand the importance of socialization and use scientifically supported methods for training.

6. Give your dog plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and positive experiences with other dogs and people.

7. Take emerging behavioral problems seriously and see a professional as soon as possible.

8. Alternatively, adopt an adult dog whose temperament has clearly stabilized.

This article, “Eight Steps to Raising a Behaviorally Healthy Dog,” first appeared in Whole Dog Journal.