Thursday, November 11, 2010

Breaking Your Dog’s Bad Habits

By Suzanne Alicie

Dogs are supposed to be “Man’s Best Friend” but without proper training and consistency they can develop some bad habits. Each dog is different and may have a variety of bad habits which can make your life pretty stressful.

I am in awe of pet owners who always have mannerly, well behaved dogs. My dog is generally well behaved, but at times I have difficulty controlling her when we get ready to go outside. She jumps and barks and whines because she is so excited. I know why she does it, and it is my fault. I made the mistake of riling her up in the past just to watch her do this because I thought it was funny. Now she thinks that is what is expected when I say “Let’s go outside.” We are working to change this bad habit that I inadvertently taught her. Each dog has their own personality and that is reflected in both the behavior of the dog and the success of training methods. Some dogs require a different approach, but many dogs respond to basic consistent training.

If your dog has a problem with excessive barking, for example, you want to first figure out why he is barking so much. Dogs can bark because of being bored, frightened or just to hear their own voice. Once you understand why your dog is barking you can begin to work on how to stop it.

Some dogs have bad habits that can be dangerous to them and to their owners, such as chewing. Electrical cords, toxic items, etc. can cause serious problems for the dog and the dog owner. You can find solutions for how to deal with chewing problems in this article by Linda Cole.

Another dangerous bad habit that dogs may have involves running out when the door is open or dragging their hapless owner along on the leash as if they are taking their owner for a walk instead of the other way around. While it is easy to say that you are a human and can control your dog, it is more important to earn your dog’s trust and respect by practicing consistent training.

If your dog lunges out the door at top speed you must simply stand your ground and wait for him to realize that you won’t be walking anywhere until he comes to your side. This can be repeated throughout your outing anytime your dog pulls or strains at the leash; just stop walking and wait for him to come back to you before continuing to walk with him. By insisting that this is the way the walk will progress, you are enforcing the rules in your dog’s mind. He learns that this is what is expected of him in order to be able to go outside and walk. Be prepared to spend a lot of time standing on the sidewalk feeling foolish, because it takes time for your dog to learn this.

Breaking a dog’s bad habits is not something that happens overnight. It takes time, patience and consistency. You’ll notice the word consistent is used throughout this article.  That’s because the best thing you can do for your dog to ensure good behavior is to always be consistent. If you allow him to do what he wants half the time because you don’t feel like working at his training, he will not learn the rules and will continue to be strong willed and determined to continue his bad habits.

Dogs are intelligent, and can be taught to be well mannered and well behaved. Part of being a responsible pet owner is taking the time to work with your dog and help him not only fit into your family but to be safe and a pleasure to have around.

There are no bad dogs; dogs are a product of their environment, and can be redeemed from their bad habits and behaviors with love and understanding. A stern yet calm voice, repeated commands, some CANIDAE Snap-Biscuit® treats and consistent training can usually break a dog of their bad habits. If you feel unable to handle this task yourself, consider visiting a dog training class or consulting with your vet about how to get your dog in control.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

1 comment:

  1. This is very good, Suzanne. And you are right. Dogs learn what we teach them and they are always watching us and learning even when we don't think they are.


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