Most of us have good intentions.

By Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT - Dire Wolf Project CEO, June 19, 2023
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Most of us have good intentions. When a new puppy arrives in our home, we envision  a perfect scenario where everything goes smoothly with no hiccups or tribulations.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Especially for first time dog owners, new puppies can be quite a challenge.

Instead of writing a list of everything we should do, sometimes it can be more revealing to think about what we shouldn’t do.

A good dog that understands how to live well in our human world takes a lot of time and attention to proper training.

And when I say training, I mean the 24 hours and 365 days of the year your dog is breathing air. This is because a dog is ALWAYS learning, no matter if you are “training” or not.

How to Ruin a Dog in 10 Easy Steps

1.    First, adopt the state of mind that happiness equals absolute freedom without limitations.

2.    Second, believe dogs are happiest when they are free (see definition of freedom above).

3.    Give your dog everything it wants, especially when it throws a fit.

4.    Encourage unruly behavior by playing, running, jumping with your dog in the house.

5.    Move away from your dog when it tells you it wants to be left alone.

6.    When your dog refuses to comply with directives, allow your dog to choose how it wants to respond.

7.    Whether you intend to or not, reward your dog for growling, barking, digging, biting, or jumping.

8.    Manage your dog’s behavior by changing the environment to accommodate your dog.

  1. Never punish your dog for any reason. (Instead, ineffectively punish or nag with minimal to no results.)

10.  When you can’t handle your dog’s behavior any longer, give up the dog.

BONUS STEP: Blame the dog, the breed, or the breeder.

If you have done any of the above, or you believe you would do them now, I don’t blame you. Our society has become soft… very soft… even squishy.

We don’t want to harm a dog’s confidence or take any of the dog’s joy away.

When in reality, the paradox is that a dog needs structure, routine, boundaries, and rules to live its happiest life.

Predictability and order promotes confidence, reliance, and trust.

Chaos and disorder promote confusion, mistrust, and malcontent.

In order to build trust, a dog must come to rely on you for its direction. It can only do so when it can anticipate what lies ahead.

What are the rules for your household?

What are the consequences for breaking the rules?

What is a dog’s role in the family?

What are the expected behaviors and how exactly does a dog perform the desired behaviors?

What areas of the house are off limits?

How are you going to “teach” your dog what to do and what not to do?

Give your dog a very valuable gift. Teach your dog exactly what the rules are by showing your dog where the boundaries lie.

Your dog’s very life could hang in the balance.

It is no joke when a 130-lbs teenage dog decides the rules no longer apply. The now-grown puppy that used to be so innocent is the one to suffer when that happens.

Check out the latest YouTube video where Jay and I solve a crucial problem:

Jennifer Stoeckl is the co-founder of the Dire Wolf Project, founder of the DireWolf Guardians American Dirus Dog Training Program, and owner/operator of DireWolf Dogs of Vallecito. She lives in the beautiful inland northwest among the Ponderosa pine forests with her pack of American Dirus dogs.