New Pet: Behavior Problems Solved

What’s the ultimate gift that kids beg for every year? A pet.


Most often a puppy, but really anything cute and cuddly seems to do the trick.

If this was the big year you finally caved and got that new puppy, there are a few things to note. Whether it’s a shelter dog or straight from the breeder, we’ve got tips to help acclimate that little bundle of joy into you household routine.

House training: Here’s the biggie. Some dogs can be trained pretty quickly, but for others the process is a little more, let’s say, complicated. The most important lesson is to be alert and always keep an eye out. Most dogs will give you little clues using body language when they’ve gotta go, like waiting at the door, and even if they don’t, letting them out every couple of hours will signal that this is something that should become a pattern.

Chewing: One benefit of a rescuing a shelter dog is that he or she may already be trained to go outside, but your a new home means a whole new world of things to chew on. It’s important to be conscious and make an effort to keep things out of reach at all times. Believe me, when you lose your first passport or car key, you’ll be on constant watch to make sure things are up high or put away. Give the dog a firm “no!” and a chew toy to attempt to avoid future infractions.

Interactions with other pets:
 So, you’ve got your cutie under control with the kids and he’s even waiting by the door before he needs to go outside, but once other dogs come into the picture, things might get ugly. Socialization is key here. If you pull your pet away and keep walking, things aren’t likely to improve. Ease your pet into this one, and bring the dogs in conflict close enough so they can feel comfortable and sniff out the situation, but far enough away so a brawl doesn’t erupt. Pretty soon your new puppy will be mingling with the best of them!

Tips from the Jeff Millman, Chicago PAWS:

  • Positive reinforcement! Give your dog something rewarding immediately after good behavior.
  • Ignore inappropriate behavior, redirect, and teach appropriate behavior.
  • Motivate the dog in a way that’s fun for both of you—like a long walk!