Creating a new habit requires taking new actions, a new path, if you will, through your daily life. Those new actions must be repeated each day for your brain to understand that’s the way you’re doing things now. Repetition and effort aren’t the only changes that need to be made. For a new habit to take hold, you have to cut off access to the old ways. If you want to lose weight, you can’t have all your favorite high-calorie treats staring you in the face. To train yourself to eat healthy, you remove the temptations. Teaching your dog new, and better habits, requires the same thing.
Anyone with a new puppy understands the need for training. Training your dog helps both of you build a bond. It isn’t only your pup, however, who needs the training. As the one helping your dog develop living skills and acceptable behavior, there are some things you need to be “trained” to do to help them.
Living with a dog who’s a trash hound, or who tears up your clothing, shoes and other belongings can be a test of patience for the most loving dog owner. Training your new companion to chew only on appropriate things requires a lot of that patience, as well as rewards for their successes. It also requires help from you by remembering to keep those things off limits. Or at least out of sight.
A locking lid on your garbage, or better yet putting it in a place that’s out of reach, or keeping your shoes in the closed closet will go a long way to help your dog focus on the new habit. Removing the unhealthy temptations, and replacing them with healthy ones such as chew toys and bones, provides the opportunity for those new habits to form. Both of you will be happier with the training you’re putting into practice and the results it brings.