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Associated Press
When you come home a dog's natural behavior would be to jump on you and greet you with licks to your face.
Ask the experts

Dogs live in an alternate universe


What would you do if you suddenly found yourself in another country where everything you think is the right thing to do is wrong? You go to shake hands with someone and they push you back with an irritated tone. You realize you've offended them so you try and make amends, but your efforts result in further chastisement.

This is the world of the dog. He does what is natural for him and far too often is punished for his canine behavior without patiently being taught acceptable behaviors. We humans have an advantage of being able talk to others or read a book and learn to understand another country's culture to know what is considered correct conduct in the new land. The dog is forced to trial and error his way through this new culture.

When you come home a dog's natural behavior would be to jump on you and greet you with licks to your face. This is what he might do to another dog that has been away and returned. You don't like being jumped on so you push him back and tell him "no!" Many dogs being pushed away translate the human arms coming to meet them as the start of a good game of play. It does not communicate proper greeting etiquette in his new home.

All too often dogs are punished for behaving like canines and are never taught acceptable ways to interact with humans. Dogs continue to use natural canine behaviors and therefore are constantly reprimanded. Instead of punishing your dog for acting like the dog he is, patiently teach him acceptable behaviors that fit into you lifestyle.

Instead of punishing your dog, change your way of thinking. An example, I don't want my dog to jump on me when I get home, instead think I want him to sit when I enter the house. Then begin teaching him to sit by treating him only for sitting when you enter the home.

You don't want him to charge the door when the bell rings, so let him know what you prefer him to do. Want him to go and stand or drop down on a rug near the door? Begin by teaching him to go to the rug by tossing tasty treats on the rug. Once he knows standing on the rug equals tasty treats, add in the doorbell.

Decide what you want your dog to do in situations where you currently find yourself correcting him. Then begin teaching him the acceptable behavior. Use treats, toys and praise to reward and reinforce the dog for performing the desired behavior.

By motivating the dog to do what you want instead of punishing him for what you believe is wrong your dog will learn the acceptable behaviors and adjust quickly to living in his new home.

Tip of the week: Find a trainer who uses positive reinforcement methods to help teach your dog acceptable behaviors so that both you and your dog are happy. Bark questions to: Canine Companion, 11652 North - 825 West, Huntington, IN 46750 or email

Canine Companion conducts dog training classes in Fort Wayne, Huntington and surrounding communities and behavior consulting nationwide. Along with their combined 30 years experience and endorsement by national organizations, the lead trainers are graduates of Purdue University's DOGS! Program and have earned the title of Certified Pet Dog Trainer through the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.