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Why You Shouldn't Try To Wait For Your Dog To Grow Out Of It

When I was 12 years old we had a Golden Retriever named Cody. Cody was a pretty typical wonderful Golden. I remember that Cody loved to jump on people. As the years went by, he kept on jumping. He never grew out of it. It actually seemed like he grew more into it.

If you’ve got unwanted behaviors happening, waiting for your dog to grow out of it will either take a long time or not happen at all. My dog V was 14 when he passed away. He was dog reactive and because of all the work we did, he was very easy. But even at 14 he would still get a bark out here and there when a dog appeared.

Behaviors that continue to receive reinforcement will continue to happen in the future. This means that any of the behaviors that your dog is doing will continue if your dog is enjoying the outcome. (Or if those behaviors provide relief from something.)

The first thing you need to do is figure out how to stop your dog from rehearsing the unwanted behavior. Here are some examples:

Grabbing socks - put up a gate to prevent access to the sock pile

Counter surfing - keep the counters bare or prevent access to the counters

Raiding the trash - get a trashcan that locks or put it behind a closed door or cabinet

Prevention and management are key when it comes to changing behavior. Start here and if you need to work on it more, continue to manage and then start to focus on teaching more appropriate behaviors.

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