When your goal is to modify an unwanted behavior, whether it’s from your dog, your kids, or yourself, you always have two options:
Problem: My dog gets underfoot while I’m cooking in the kitchen.
Management Strategy: Block his access to the kitchen. There are several ways to do this.
Training Strategy: Teach him to go to his bed while you cook.
Teach your dog a Place cue, which is a behavior that is incompatible with kitchen scavenging. (If his butt is firmly on the dog bed, he can’t be walking around the kitchen.) I prefer teaching an alternative behavior like Place to simply telling the dog, “No!” or “go away”; shooing him away simply tells your dog what he shouldn’t do (and that’s if he understands it at all), whereas Place tells him what he should do instead. It’s a win-win.
For almost every undesirable behavior, it’s wise to consider both management and training, as they can often complement one another. In the example above, until your dog has learned a solid Place (which will be discussed in detail in future posts), the management strategy can keep the problem from exacerbating.
Stay tuned for future posts outlining management and training strategies to address a number of urban dog issues. Got a request? Email me!
Kate Naito, CPDT-KA, MS, is an author and dog trainer with Doggie Academy in Brooklyn, NY.