Dogs do some pretty strange things sometimes – they also seem to have a knack for getting into trouble. Many dog owners do not realize, however, that many of the so-called “bad behaviors” their dogs exhibit actually serve a purpose. The next time your dog chews on one or your shoes or digs up your garden bed, think before you get angry and send him to timeout. Keep reading to learn the secret behind the top five bad behaviors in dogs and how to deal with them.
Chewing on Household Objects
Puppies explore things by putting them in their mouths and chewing can also be a means of relieving the pain of teething. If you don’t want your puppy to chew on household objects, make sure he has plenty of toys to chew on. When you find him chewing on something other than a toy, take it away and tell him “No” in a firm tone of voice. Then, immediately replace the object with a chew toy and praise your dog for using it.
Jumping Up on People
It may be cute when your little puppy hops up into your lap. Once your dog grows up, however, it may not be quite so cute anymore. This type of behavior is something that many dog owners reinforce while their dogs are young, and then they expect their dog not to do it later when he is full-grown. To curb this behavior, don’t give your dog the attention he wants when he jumps up – stand with your arms at your side and avert your gaze until he calms down then reward him with a treat and pet him calmly.
Digging in the Yard
Many dogs dig out of boredom or to work off excess energy. If your dog is digging up the yard, think about whether he’s getting enough exercise or mental stimulation. Some dogs dig to make a hole in the dirt that is cool to lie down in – if you keep your dog outside during hot weather, make sure he has access to shade and fresh water.
Whining for Attention
Dogs may whine for any number of reasons, though it is often a plea for attention. Puppies learn to whine as a means of getting their mother’s attention and it is a behavior that many dog owners unknowingly reinforce by giving in when their dogs whine. If you want to curb this behavior, all you need to do is ignore your dog when he whines – if he learns that whining doesn’t get him the attention he wants, he’ll be less likely to do it.
Begging for Food
Another example of dog owners reinforcing bad behaviors, many dogs learn to beg for food at the table because it has worked for them in the past. If you don’t want your dog to beg, stop feeding him table scraps – make sure that every bite of food you offer him comes from his bowl. You can also try feeding him his meal when you have your own dinner to distract him.
The next time your dog does something that you don’t like, wait a minute before you yell at him or throw him in timeout. Take a moment to think about why your dog exhibited that behavior and whether you had anything to do with it. The more you try to understand your dog’s behavior, the better your chances will be at controlling it, or at least shaping it.
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