Solving Problems and Teaching Self-Control
The difference between an adult dog and an adolescent puppy is self control. Adolescents of any species act on impulse and often choose whatever result will bring them instant pleasure. Adolescent dogs are impulsive and impatient and as their trainers we must set limits on their behavior if we are to live with them sanely.
Setting limits requires us to create consequences for their behavior . Consequences both good and bad teach a dog how their behavior effects their world. The most important thing for us to remember is what the dog finds reinforcing may not at all be anything we find reinforcing. A dog that jumps for instance may find it rewarding that the human he's jumping on yells at him to stop and pushes him away. What the human thought would deter the dog actually encouraged him ! To the dog any attention is better than none and so the problem of jumping increases. A better response to jumping is to prevent the dog from practicing it in the first place (by putting your foot on the leash or sitting or bending over to greet the dog or simply walking away from him. After several failed attempts (the dog gets ignored for jumping) the dog will try a different approach. This is what you want to reward, sitting, standing quietly, lying down. If you greet your dog when he's calm he will begin to greet you calmly. What you reinforce is what you get !