Amazing! You would have thought cancer, certainly not behavior problems in puppies and dogs as the #1 killer. However, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior has validated that behavior issues, not infectious diseases are the number one cause of death for dogs under 3 years of age.

That is a crime. Why? Because behavior issues arise due to lack of primary socialization and training when puppies are in their first three months. Behavior issues arise because of lack of training. Behavior issues arise because of lack of leadership. So the crime in all of this is behavior issues are preventable with owner involvement, and owner responsibility to give their puppy what the puppy needs – training.

If owners provide early education for their puppies and start off on the right foot with their puppy, many if not all behavioral issues can be thwarted. Puppies need to learn to be around all kinds of people, all kinds of kids, all kinds of places, all kind of noises, car, strollers etc. All of this is possible even before they are fully vaccinated. By second round of vaccinations, your puppy has a lot of protection.

Just use common sense. Don’t take your puppy to a dog park, don’t take your puppy to a public pet store. Take your puppy around other dogs you know, to other people’s homes, have people over to your home. Let your puppy get used to kids and other dogs.

If your dog should develop behavior issues, don’t ignore them. The longer you let it go, the more the dog gets to rehearse the bad behavior and the more difficult it is to fix. Have a positive reinforcement trainer come to your home to work with you and the dog immediately. You wouldn’t ignore your child’s problem would you?

Be a responsible pet owner. Socialize your puppy, get training for your puppy and if issues develop – fix them.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, Opportunity Barks!

(C) Jim Burwell