Of course we love our dogs, but not their naughtiness! It is irritating when they chew on our shoes, jump up all over our guests, beg for a piece of our dinner, or bark incessantly at a squirrel. What is behind all these and many other common dog behaviors? And what can we do to correct them? Let’s find out:
Barking: most dogs bark, howl and whine to some degree but when the barking is excessive, it becomes a behavior problem. Before you correct your dog, determine why all the barking: is it a warning? Is your dog attention-seeking? Is it anxiety? Is your dog bored? Is your dog responding to other dogs? Whatever the reason, consider teaching your dog the bark/quiet commands. Don’t ‘bark’ back at your dog, the message you are sending is that maybe he/she should be louder, repeating himself so that you stop.
Begging: this is a bad habit that, without any doubt, it is much easier to prevent than to fix. And how do we prevent it? Simply don’t give your dog food from the table. Keep in mind that some of our food is poisonous to our dogs (check out my blog: Human foods that are poisonous to dogs) and can lead to digestive problems and obesity. So before you and your family gather around the dinning table, take your dog out of the room, preferably where he/she will not be able to stare at you (or you at him/her!). If your dog is a beggar already, try put him/her in the crate. If he/she behaves, give him a special treat only after you and your family are completely finished eating. If you want to feed your dog leftovers, put them in the dog food bowl and incorporate them into regular meals.
Chewing: dog chewing is a natural action, you simply can not run away from that, but when dogs choose to chew on your furniture or on your favorite pair of shoes, causing destruction, it then becomes a behavior problem. Chewing can be cause by puppy teething, excess energy, anxiety, and many other reasons. Give your dog plenty of chew toys and keep your personal items away. When you are not home, keep your dog crated or confined to an area where less destruction can be made. If you catch your dog chewing your stuff, say ‘no’ and replace the object with an approved toy, praise your dog once he/she starts to chew the toy.
Jumping up: it is natural for a dog to greet people by jumping up, even though that can scare away guests. Keep this in mind: you dog can not jump on someone if he/she is sitting down, or lying down. If you have someone ringing the doorbell, approach with your dog and ask the dog to sit, the idea is that the paws stays on the floor. If your dog doesn’t behave, turn away from him/her and don’t make any eye contact until the paws are firmly on the floor. Jumping up is often an attention-seeking behavior and so any acknowledgment of your dog’s actions provide a reward. If you dog behaves well, give him/her a low-key greeting, it will teach your dog to control his/her own excitement. When he/she relaxes and remais still, calmly reward with a treat. Your dog will get the message sooner before you expect.
These are only a few of examples of many common behavioral problems a dog can develop. Does your dog shows any of them? Or maybe your dog shows a behavioral problem not listed on here? How do you deal with it? We would love to hear your experiences, problems, and success stories!