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Setting Boundaries for Your Dog

As dogs mature, they begin to test their boundaries. Many breeds don't reach full maturity until age two (or even three). And many apparently engage in a final burst of "acting out" at this age. Sometimes, the testing-of-boundaries starts out in a subtle manner; perhaps the dog is placing her paw on your arm and trying to pull your arm away. Perhaps the dog is engaging in new bouts of unruliness.

Take action before the behavior escalates into an issue. It's much easier to correct or extinguish a behavior at the beginning than to try to change a behavior pattern after it has been established. Make sure you consistently present yourself as leader to your dog.

A good move is to practice obedience using positive reinforcement. Offer many opportunities for your dog to "succeed." If trying to teach the "come" command, place the dog on leash so that you can prompt her in the right direction to respond to the command if she does not respond immediately. (Of course, first teach her what "come" means; she can't be expected to follow a command if she doesn't understand what the word signals.)

Before you give a command, also make sure you are in a position to prompt her to obey it; for teach "come," that might involve using a long line. Keep in mind that every time you give her a command and don't back it up, you are inadvertently teaching her that you don't mean what you say. Obedience training is a good way to give a dog physical and mental exercise -- a great combination.

Some information from the online news service TipWorld.

Last Updated: July 26, 2013 (LET) PawSupport