How To Help Your Dog Accept a New Puppy

By: Sam Kanouse

Published Date: October 31, 2017

For this Omaha dog training session we were asked to train two-year-old Australian Shepherds, Joey and Willie Nelson, to stop resource guarding their guardians using counterconditioning.

When I sat down to talk to Joey and Willie Nelson’s guardians I learned that Willie Nelson was a recent addition to their family. Joey was having a hard time accepting his new doggy friend and started resource guarding one of his guardians. To help Joey learn how to relax and accept his new friend Willie Nelson, I used a positive dog training technique to reward Joey for being relaxed when Willie Nelson approached their guardians.

I asked one of the guardians to give Joey treats while he watched Willie Nelson approach his other guardian. This method is called counterconditioning. We give the dogs treats for being calm to a situation that they may typically be reactive to. To see how I did this you can watch the video below.

The guardians will want to switch with each other; meaning that they will trade who is giving Joey treats while watching Willie Nelson and trade with who is calling Willie Nelson over to them. Over time this will help Joey make a transition to feeling happy when he sees Willie Nelson approach his guardians because we have paired that behavior with a yummy treat reward.

By the end of the session Joey and Willie Nelson were calmly looking to their guardians for direction and laying next to each other on the couch for the first time! To keep up with this good behavior I want to encourage the guardians to use our Petting with a Purpose technique to reward the dogs for good behavior and use our Escalating Consequences to disagree with them. We wrapped up this dog behavior session with Joey and Willie Nelson’s Roadmap to Success video, which you can watch below.

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