Despite what you might think, when your dog indulges in ‘bad‘ behaviours, she is not being purposefully annoying or malicious. Dogs just do not think that way. It is far more likely that what you deem a bad dog behaviour is simply a natural reaction to boredom, illness or some other contributing factor. They are not really ‘bad’ behaviours, just undesirable ones! The good news is that they can be broken with some dog training. Let’s take a look at some of the most common bad behaviours that dogs exhibit and what you can do to break them.
Bad Dog Behaviours
1. Jumping Up
Perhaps the most common bad dog behaviour that dogs indulge in is jumping up on people entering the house. You may also hear this behaviour referred to as inappropriate greeting. When your dog jumps on guests they can get dirty or scratched making it an undesirable habit. Some owners simply choose to lock the dog away when visitors come to stay, but it is much better to do some obedience training in order to break the habit!
Whenever your dog is about to jump up on someone, you should command her to sit or lie down. To begin with, you might want to put your dog on a leash when you answer the door. You should ask your dog to sit before opening the door. Using the leash allows you to stop her from jumping while you wait for her to respond. Once she does sit on command she should be rewarded with praise and a treat. In time, the dog will learn to associate the sound of the door with it being time to sit.
We all know that incessant barking can be annoying, but it is important to remember that this is natural for a dog. Barking is their way of vocalizing. However, you can teach your dog to be quiet with some positive reinforcement training. You should begin by teaching your dog the ‘bark‘ or ‘speak‘ command to get her to bark on command. When she gets a treat she is automatically silenced, so you can reinforce this by saying ‘shush‘. With time your dog will come to understand that the ‘shush‘ command is telling them to be quiet.
Aggression in dogs can cover a wide range of undesirable behaviours including growling, baring the teeth, possessive behaviour over toys and food or dominant behaviour towards people and/or other dogs. This is one of the most serious bad dog behaviours as it can escalate to biting very quickly.
The first step is to immediately start working on training the dog using positive reinforcement techniques. You should not be aggressive towards the dog in response, but be calm and assertive. In many cases, it is just a case of establishing boundaries and developing a relationship with your pet. However, if the aggression does not subside, or if it started suddenly, then it is worth visiting with your vet as this could be an indication of an underlying problem. Sometimes increased exercise or a change of diet can improve behaviour.
Chewing is another natural habit that dogs have, but it is one that is destructive when focused on your belongings. Common items that get chewed on include shoes, clothes and furniture. In order to break this habit you should start by dog proofing your home and putting things you do not want chewed away. You then need to make sure that your dog is getting enough stimulation from appropriate chew toys and attention from you.
Digging is another natural instinct, but it can wreak havoc on your yard! It is likely that your dog is not getting enough stimulation, so introduce more toys and make sure she is getting enough exercise. You could even encourage her to dig only in her own spot!
The majority of the most common bad behaviours that dogs exhibit can be changed with the help of some training. All it takes is a little time and effort.
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