“I love it when my dog chews my shoes and jumps all over my guests,” said no one ever!
Is it that some dogs are just naughtier than others, maybe it’s their breed or gender?
Or could it possibly be that the dog has no understanding of what is expected of them and they don’t know the full set of rules that humans have for them?
Guess what… It’s the last one. Dogs are born without a set of guidelines to follow. It’s up to the human in charge to teach them what we want them to do, what we don’t want them to do and how to stop doing those naughty behaviors in the first place. You know the behaviors I’m talking about; jumping, barking, chewing, digging, accidents and the list goes on.
Dogs will offer up these naughty behaviors for a variety of reasons such as tons of pent up energy (didn’t get enough exercise throughout the day), accidentally praise from a human for a less than desirable behavior (you petting them while they are jumping up to say “hi” ) and most often due to lack of guidance and too much freedom too soon or with out earning it.
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The secret to stopping your dog’s less than desirable bad behaviors is to teach them what you want them to do in the first place. Leaving your dog to attempt to make their own good choices is asking for trouble. Your dog is not capable of choosing the right behaviors solely on their own without any instruction (until they are taught to do so and until they are mature enough).
I’ve worked with hundreds of dog owners who get so frustrated with their dog’s bad behaviors and threaten to get rid of them on the spot if the dog doesn’t start shaping up. The dog is confused and unsure what they should be doing to make their owners happy.
In addition to teaching them what you want them to do instead you have to make sure you create a clear set of rules, guidelines, and boundaries from day one. Prevention is far easier, safer and more affordable than correction of the problem. If you can start your training early you can get ahead of the problem behaviors.
It all starts with controlling all aspects of your dog’s life in the beginning. Later down the road when your dog knows what you expect them to do and not do, you can give them more freedom. First, your dog has to prove they are trustworthy, this comes with training. Puppies or even adult dogs new to the home have not earned this trust just yet. You should be limiting their freedoms. This includes limiting access to items (they like to chew on), access to something that overly excites them like other dogs or even people who want to say “Hi” to them. You can control their food, playtime, and rewards.
Follow the “nothing in life is free” policy. This just means that they need to earn everything they want.
I see it all to often; brand new dog owner brings home a new furry member of the family and is super excited to show the dog their new house. They allow the dog to have full access to all rooms or even an entire downstairs to a home. The dog is overwhelmed and excited as well as unsure what they should be doing in that large of a space. The dog starts to explore and finds all sorts of fun things to chew on, jump on or pee on.
Think of your new dog as a complete stranger you plucked off the street and brought home; you don’t know a darn thing about them and just because they look like a nice person doesn’t mean you’ll give them the code to your safe or allow them to snuggle up next to you at night. You would provide them a safe place to sleep and restrict access to your valuables. The same should apply to dogs as well until they are well trained and have earned freedom.
When you bring home a puppy its the same as bringing home a 18-month-old toddler. You would never allow them to run around unattended, you’d restrict access to dangerous stuff like cleaning supplies, electrical cords, and stairs that they can fall down. Your new dog needs all the guidance you can provide. They need to have rules, guidance, praise, and redirection when they are being naughty so they can start to be the super well-behaved dream dog you’ve always wanted.
Fix it Fast by:
1) Starting your dog with a good training program (teach basic obedience, manners, impulse control)
2) Making sure your dog gets enough exercise daily
3) Following a policy of “nothing in life is free”. This means your dog should be working and earning rewards like treats, praise, and attention as well as access in or out of the crate and house
4) Teach them that “sit is it”. Sit is like a dog saying “please can I have that”. No sit = no attention or no sit = no treats
5) Correct your dog and immediately redirect them to what they should be doing instead, don’t leave them hanging without direction; they’ll keep making the same bad mistakes since they don’t know any better. I correct by making an annoying “eh-eh” buzzer noise. Its loud enough and annoying enough that it usually gets the dogs to stop and look up almost as if to say “why the heck did you do that”. In that split second, I have the chance to redirect them to the appropriate behavior.
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