IMPORTANT: There are exceptions to every rule and these are our best guess suggestions for common problems. For any behavior problem you should always consult your veterinarian first to rule out any medical problem that might be the cause.
Also Important: We have seen TONS of behavior problems (everything from barking to chewing to suspected separation anxiety) “magically disappear” once people started exercising their dog every day. Sorry, but letting your dog out to go potty doesn’t count as exercise. For the average healthy dog, try two thirty minute walks a day. Let them stop and sniff along the way and they’ll be even more content with life.
Why is my new dog acting different now that I have her home? There’s a saying in the dog rescue world: “Three days, three weeks, three months.”
3 DAYS: The first three days your dog is home she is usually just trying to cope with being in a new place (again). Who are these people? What am I doing here? What’s going to happen next? You probably won’t see her personality start to come out until around the fourth day home.
3 WEEKS: By the end of three weeks your dog has usually figured out she is going to be living with you. She probably understands who else lives there, when/where she eats, sleeps and goes potty, etc. She’s starting to settle in.
3 MONTHS: After three months she has usually blended into your routine and lifestyle. She’s become part of the family. Welcome home, new dog!
Isn’t my dog house trained? At NEWPaws most dogs and puppies spend their days in a play group and have access to a doggie door they can use to go potty outside. At your house they need to learn where you want them to go potty and how to tell you they need to go.
Here’s a web page where you can learn how to house train your puppy.
Here’s a web page where you can learn to house train your adult dog.
My new dog doesn’t get along with my old dog. Even if it went well when they met at the rescue, now there might be toys and treats to squabble over and people paying lots of attention to the new dog. It might not be going so well at home.
Here’s a web page where you can learn to introduce your dog to a new dog.
Can I change my dog’s name? Yes. Teach the new name by saying the name and giving your dog a treat when she looks at you. If she ignores you try making a “kissy sound” (technical term) or patting your leg along with saying the name.
My dog was fine and then she turned two and now she’s a maniac! She’s probably out of the puppy stage and into adolescence. As in “teenager.” Full of energy. Out of control. She needs training and exercise. Find an obedience class. Give her more exercise. She needs you to help her become a well-behaved happy adult dog.
My dog is misbehaving for no reason. Always look for a medical problem first. Take your dog to the vet. (Because no amount of training is going to fix an ear infection, tooth ache, etc.) Once your dog’s been declared healthy, if the problem doesn’t disappear, find a certified trainer, behaviorist, or behavior consultant to help you figure out what’s going on.
The Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT) has a list of certified trainers and behaviorists. Use the list to find one nearby.
My dog needs training but I can’t afford to hire a trainer. Ideally, when your dog is having behavior issues you should get advice and training from a certified dog trainer, behaviorist or canine behavior consultant. Some of them can seem expensive, but usually they are worth it. (One training session probably costs less than the shoes your dog just chewed up.) Plus getting professional help will hopefully get you a decade or more of joy living with a well behaved dog.
If a private trainer/consultant just isn’t in the budget, try enrolling in a group obedience class. At the very least, try to educate yourself by reading or searching for advice online. Be careful to choose competent sources. We think one good place to start your search is the ASPCA’s pet care web page.
Training and Behavior
- Unleashed LLC – certified canine behavior consulting
- Golden Touch Training – group obedience classes
Books We Love
- Love Has No Age Limit – Welcoming an Adopted Dog into Your Home by P. McConnell and K. London
- Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor
- On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugass
- The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson
- The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell
- The Puppy Primer by Patricia McConnell