Does your dog have bad manners?

These are the top behavioral issues with dogs and how to correct them

Does your dog exhibit destructive or annoying behavior? Fear not, you are not alone! Most dog owners go through at least some period of adjusting negative behavior in their dog, and it’s more than possible to scrub bad habits from an animal’s personality. Here is a list of six common behavioral problems found in dogs, and some explanation on how to solve them.

Barking at the door

A dog that barks at knocks on the door or the doorbell can be a massive nuisance to you and your guests. Mail-carriers probably don’t love them either. While a certain amount of barking can be a positive response from your dog, you don’t want them scaring away friendly guests.

Resist the urge to yell at your pet when they are noisy. This can add fuel to the fire, and encourage more barking from them. Instead, as with correcting many of these undesirable behaviors, be patient and reward positive behavior. If your dog is barking at a friend or neighbor, take them aside and gently calm them down with affection. Slowly welcome your guest into the interaction, and once the dog has calmed, reward them with a treat or their favorite toy. Eventually, they should get the idea that most guests are actually good!

Chewing on people or furniture

Even the best trained dogs like a good chew. The key is encouraging positive behavior, rather than over-punishing for biting the wrong object. If your dog is chewing furniture or personal items while you are out, or nibbling on hands when they are being pet, it could mean one or both of two things. Firstly, your dog may not have enough items that they can chew around the house. Try buying some new bones or toys that they like, and making them accessible to your animal. Secondly, your pet may have too much pent up energy. Give them a little more exercise, and see if you can calm your dog down a bit.

Begging for food

Our human food is delicious, and our dogs are aware of that. It makes perfect sense why an animal would want access to salty and fatty scraps left on your plate. The key to eliminating begging behavior is to never encourage it. Even the act of scolding a dog or pushing them away during the act of slobbering over your food might give them the idea that begging will bring some attention. Ignoring them while they beg is the first step to reinforcing their patience.

Further, if you’d like to give over some tasty morsels, don’t feed a dog off of your plate, no matter how tempting the free dish cleaning is. Take the scraps, and put them in the dog’s bowl. That way, they’ll realize that if any food is coming, it won’t be off of the table.

Digging in the yard

Many dogs are natural scavengers, and enjoy digging for treasure. Certain breed categories like terriers and hounds are the most notorious lawn wreckers of all. If your dog is inclined toward digging up deep holes in the grass, be vigilant, watching them as they go outside for a pee and assertively saying “no” when they begin to dig. Also, consider offering them an alternative plaything after you successfully interject, like their favorite toy or a tasty bone.

If none of these strategies work, creating an area where your dog is encouraged to dig, like a small sandpit, can be effective. Consistently reward them with love, affection, and a good treat when they dig in the right place.

Jumping

While in certain instances a jumping dog is very endearing and fun, in others it can be unacceptable. Those who live with elderly parents or small children may better understand the need to overcome this dangerous habit.

If a dog is jumping at every new face it greets, encourage guests to wait a few minutes before saying hello to the animal. This will give them the chance to calm down, and may diminish their urge to jump up in glee.

Being aggressive toward other dogs

Many dog owners face stress and trouble when commingling their pet with other dogs. The greatest piece of advice when confronted with a situation of heightened aggression between dogs is to remain calm. Dogs feed off of their owners’ energy. If a fight is cropping up, don’t panic and tug hard, run away, or scream. Instead, pull your dog at a steady and relaxed pace away from the interaction. If a fight breaks out, be assertive, but avoid screaming. A loud and booming “no” can often be more affective than more extreme means. Also, keep your dog on a leash, preferably with a strong and comfortable harness, if they are prone to aggressive behavior.

If your aggression problem is extreme to the point of serious safety concerns, consult a trainer for help.

Like us, dogs are not perfect. Thankfully, they respond remarkably well to positive reinforcement. Remember that aggression toward an animal hurts more than it helps, so be kind, patient, and gentle when guiding your dog toward better behavior.

Ages & Stages of Dog Development

Puppies can be a lot to handle, especially if you’ve never had a dog before. Knowing more about their development cycle is instrumental to raising a well-behaved, furry friend.

group of dogs
 
While the exact amount of time in each stage might differ, the consensus is that dogs, as puppies, generally move through five different stages of development before reaching full maturity and adulthood. These stages are: Continue reading “Ages & Stages of Dog Development”

Bored Dogs Need Variety

Boredom and variety are usually interconnected in case of dog misbehaving. Yes, this is true.
Many a times, boredom can be managed with variety of materials that will distract the animals to a greater extent. Hence, the dog may not do the abnormal or unwanted activity arising out of the boredom experienced by it.

Boredom experienced dogs may have different types of behavioral patterns. For example, some dogs will be seen barking continuously and some may be engaged always in some digging activities. There are many ways to get your dog out of its boredom activities. Many toys are available which simulated duck, dog, rodent etc. Continue reading “Bored Dogs Need Variety”

3 Tips To Better Dog Training

There are virtually as many approaches to training a dog as there are dogs to train! It seems as if every day new systems and techniques are announced or older methods are resurrected. Check a bookstore shelf or do a quick internet search and you will be overwhelmed with the number of ways people may advocate training a dog.

Despite the tremendous diversity of methods, almost every successful dog training system is premised on positive reinforcement techniques. The once frequent techniques involving intimidation, humiliation and punishment have long been abandoned in the face of growing proof of their relative ineffectiveness. All of the new, more effective, recommended means of dog training share something else in common: their effectiveness can be enhanced significantly by remembering three simple secrets. Continue reading “3 Tips To Better Dog Training”

“Bowser Meets Baby” – How To Introduce Your New Baby To The Family Dog

Congratulations, you’re going to have a baby! In all the flurry of activity, many parents-to-be neglect to prepare the family dog. This can be a mistake. Dogs are social creatures. Left on their own, they form packs. The pack is organized. There are leaders and followers, all equally essential to the pack’s survival. Your dog belongs to a pack, too: your family. The people lead, the dog follows. It’s that simple. Many people tend to forget their dog is a dog. It is important to recognize and respect your dog for who and what he is. You must be able to communicate with him and read his body language. He needs structure and guidance if he is to function appropriately within the family. How? Read on. Continue reading ““Bowser Meets Baby” – How To Introduce Your New Baby To The Family Dog”

Dog Toys – The Right Ones

For dogs and other animal companions, toys are not a luxury, but a necessity. Toys help fight boredom in dogs left alone, and toys can even help prevent some problem behaviors from developing. Although cats can be pretty picky when it comes to enjoying particular toys—ignoring a $10 catnip mouse and marveling over a piece of crumpled newsprint—dogs are often more than willing to “play” with any object they can get their paws on. That means you’ll need to be particularly careful when monitoring your dog’s playtime to prevent any “unscheduled” activities. Continue reading “Dog Toys – The Right Ones”

Games, Toys, Treats, Activies for Puppies! (Puppy Manners Pt 3.)

Toys and Treats

There are many safe toys and healthy treats available for your puppy, but there are also some toys and treats that may not be good for every dog.

  • Safe Toys: Puppies and dog toys are meant to entertain your dog, but it is important to supervise your puppy to make sure your puppy is not making a meal out of a toy that isn’t meant to be a meal. This can be dangerous. Be sure to always read the labels on puppy and dog toys. Toys that can give long hours of safe fun include most nylon bones, bones made out of starch, “Kong” brand toys, hard balls that your puppy cannot destroy and that do not fit fully into your puppy’s mouth. Again, it is important to supervise your puppy when your puppy is playing with toys.
  • Rope Toys: Rope toys can provide lots of fun for your puppy, if your puppy does not have a tendency to chew on carpets, blankets, throws, or clothing. If you see your puppy is chewing on these items at home, then avoid rope toys.
  • Plush Toys: Plush toys are lovable, cute, and your puppy may enjoy “cuddling” with plus toys. The fabric and stitches on some plush toys are easy to tear apart. If your puppy likes to rip open the plush toy and pull out the stuff, avoid these toys.
  • Healthy Treats: Treats are used for special occasions. Feeding your puppy too many treats can lead to obesity later in life.

Games and Activities

As you probably already know, puppies love to play. Playing with your puppy will not only help you establish a trusting relationship early on, but it will allow your puppy to burn off excess energy and avoid other “excessive energy” problems, such as boredom.

  • Games to Enjoy: Puppies like playing “Hide and Seek,” Fetch, and Find It. They also enjoy having social time with other dogs and taking walks with you.
  • Games to Avoid: Puppies generally love to “tug” on toys or other objects. It is best to avoid tug-o-war games as this may cause your puppy to grow into a dominate dog, or a dog that loves to play “cat-and-mouse” when it has your favorite slippers. You will be chasing your puppy everywhere when this happens.

A Few Final Notes

  • A trained pup is a happy pup. Be sure to get your puppy into training as early as possible so you can enjoy your puppy and your puppy can enjoy you and others.
  • You should not have to alter your life for your puppy; puppies should alter their lives and behaviors for you.
  • Puppies do not always grow out of puppy behavior and it is true- puppy behavior can transfer to adulthood!
  • Puppies and dogs love to please their owners. Love your puppy every day and make sure you praise your puppy every time they do something right. Consistency is the key to success!

Doggie Manners
Jennifer Dorner, Master Trainer, National K-9 Certified (815-886-0059)

Got Coprophagia?

Does your dog have the disgusting habit of eating its own waste or other dogs waste? This disgusting habit is so common, it even has a name: Coprophagia. There are several reasons dogs decide to partake in this unpleasant behavior. While it can be challenging to stop your dog from eating poop, with the right ingredients, it might be an easy fix. Continue reading “Got Coprophagia?”