Guide to Correcting Common Dog Behavior Problems
Excessive Barking, Destructive Chewing, Jumping Up, and House Training
Being a dog owner, or as some of us prefer, a dog parent, can be a rewarding, beautiful experience full of ups and downs. Sweet moments when your pup lays its head in your lap for scratches will be invaded by the destruction of your favorite shoe or constant barking at what seems to be nothing. Whether you need to battle excessive barking or basic house training, being vigilant with your pup’s training can make it so the good moments outweigh the bad, and we’ve got some helpful tips for you to make this happen.
Before you start training your pup to cure some of their common bad behaviors, it’s important that you never yell at your dog or hit them, even gently. This can cause more stress, and they may even start to fear you, which will cause other issues. Always approach your dog in a calm manner to ensure your dog trusts you and feels safe.
In addition, always make sure that your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Dogs need at least a few walks throughout the day, and they could do with a long walk or hike at least once a week. It’s important that you exercise your dog based on its size and its age. For younger dogs that are bigger, they will need more exercise. Older and smaller dogs tend to tire out faster. Once your pup is properly exercised, it’s time to start curing them of their bad habits.
Whether you’ve got a new puppy or have just adopted an older pup, one of the most important things a pet parent can do is to house train their dog. It’s important to start early as this can set them up for success as they grow older.
Start with a routine. Puppies and younger dogs will need to go outside every couple of hours as their bladders are pretty small, and they don’t always have complete control yet. If you take your dog out frequently, they will establish that the proper place to potty is outside. This also means that there will be less accidents.
Once your puppy or dog goes to the bathroom outside, it’s good to reward them with either a treat or with a verbal congratulations. Ear scratches and high praise will give them additional incentive to potty outside.
You should also take them outside after they eat or have a lot of water. This will help them with their schedule as well. Before bed, it’s also a good idea to take away your pup’s water source, so they won’t be waking you up to go outside.
If you catch your dog about to pee inside or they have already, take them outside immediately without scolding them. You want to have this experience be as positive as possible. If you scold on accidents, it could discourage them from pottying even in the appropriate places, which could cause other issues.
Another thing to consider is crate training your pup if you are out of the house for long periods of time. In general, dogs will not potty in areas where their beds and food is stored. While this is a good method to reduce accidents while you’re away, dogs are not meant to be cooped up for more than a few hours. If possible, give your dog a potty break as soon as you get home and a few times throughout the day.
Excessive barking is relative to pet owners. Some of us think that a solid 5 minutes is excessive where others believe that a few hours is too much. Regardless of how long your dog barks, it can be annoying to you (and your neighbors), and it can cause your pup undo stress and even harm. When you start training your dog, make sure to stay consistent.
As mentioned before, you shouldn’t yell at your dog when they start barking. Our intention is to make them stop barking, but to your pup, they might think that you’re joining in on the barking. They think of it as you’re helping them bark at whatever they’re barking at.
To start, try to eliminate the reason why your dog is barking. When they bark at the mailman or at other dogs passing by, you can close the curtains, so they can’t look outside. If they are barking at someone while they’re in the yard, make sure you bring them inside.
Another way to stop barking is to ignore them. This can be difficult, but the goal is to discourage their behavior by not giving them a reaction which they desire. When they bark at someone walking by, they want you to know that someone is there. If they bark when they’re in a crate, they want you to let them out. Eventually, they will get bored because they know their barking doesn’t affect you.
Lastly, you can try a distraction. When they start barking, distract them with something that makes it near impossible to bark. If someone knocks, you can take their favorite treat and throw it into another room. Or you might consider using a squeaky toy to distract them.
Destructive chewing can be caused by boredom or frustration. Puppies, who teeth just like human babies, do need to chew frequently to help with the growth of their adult teeth. When a puppy or dog chews up your shoe or something they’re not supposed to chew on, give them a chew bone or a toy. This shows them there are appropriate things to chew on. In addition, when they choose to chew on the appropriate toy, offer up a treat and give them some praise.
It’s also a good idea to make sure to keep things you don’t want chewed on out of reach by either putting them in the closest or up on the counter. Also, you should supply your puppy or dog with a lot of toys to give them mental stimulation, so they are not bored.
Dogs can get overly excited, and in the dog world, dogs will try to smell faces. One of the reasons dogs jump up is because they want to get closer to your mouth to get the smells. However, this can cause injuries to you and your pup.
One way you can discourage your dog from jumping is to keep them secluded and away from the visitor by using a baby gate or putting them in a different room. If they are crate trained, a crate might be a good place to put them until they are calm enough to give a proper greeting.
When someone visits, you can also give your dog a job by asking them to sit and wait patiently until they are calm. If they manage to be calm, allow them to greet you or your visitor, and if they are able to greet them calmly, then you can reward them with a treat.
Changing a dog’s behavior can take a lot of time and patience. However, in the end, if you stay diligent, you will be rewarded with more happy moments than negative ones.