8 Steps to a Behaviorally Healthy Dog

Maximize your chances of raising a secure, happy dog with these tips.


Note that you can start this process at any stage of a dog’s life! Making positive associations is faster and easier for youngsters than adults, but it’s always worth trying to teach new ways of thinking.

happy Samoyed

Achim Herzog | Wikimedia Commons

1. Choose a puppy from parents with great personalities. (Breeders: Breed only parents with great personalities.)

2. Choose a puppy who got lots of positive, varied experiences before you brought him home.

3. Bring the puppy home around eight to 10 weeks of age.

4. Give the puppy lots of positive, varied experiences.

5. Enroll in a puppy class with a trainer who understands the importance of socialization and uses scientifically supported methods to train.

6. Give your dog lots of exercise, mental stimulation, and positive experiences with other dogs and with people.

7. Take incipient behavior problems seriously and see a professional sooner rather than later.

8. Alternatively, adopt an adult dog who clearly already has a solid temperament.