Read this post about how to correct bad behavior in dogs, before you run screaming into the night!!
It bothers me when I see poorly behaved dogs. No I don’t expect them to be angels every moment of the day, but there’s a big difference between angels and devils.
The bad behavior I’m going to be talking about is destructive behavior, so let’s take a look at what that means. When puppies are chewing everything in sight or digging craters in your backyard, that may be considered destructive to us but to them it just means they’re learning, exploring. If you have an adult dog doing the same thing, that means you need to intervene.
This behavior could be a sign of: boredom, too much energy with no outlet, attention seeking, frustration, fear, separation anxiety…
As always, we need to go back to the basics. That means making sure:
- Your dog does not rule the household
- There is a schedule and routine in place
- There is consistency with all members of the household
- Your dog gets enough physical exercise
- You provide mental stimulation
If you don’t practice these there’s nothing else to talk about, so let me elaborate and help get you going. Once you set up the basics you will see positive changes very quickly.
Your dog is not in charge
I don’t care how adorable your dog is, or how hard you find it to resist when he gives you “that look.” The dog is not running the household and if he is…he shouldn’t be.
I’m not saying every single day at the exact same time, you have to do the exact same thing. What I am saying is, you have to provide some kind of structure or routine, so your dog knows what to expect. Don’t feed him one day at 7:00 am then the next at 11:00 am. If you take your dog out before he eats, then keep doing that, if it’s after keep doing that. They need order, not chaos. Even if your life is a mess, don’t put that on your dog.
If you never let your dog on the couch, then never let your dog on the couch, and make sure every member of your household follows that rule. If you want your dog to sit before he gets a treat, then make him sit every time.
Exercise/walk your dog
Leaving your dog alone in the backyard is not a walk. It’s fine for a pee break, to enjoy a nice sunny day and a game of fetch, but none of that replaces a walk. Not only is it bonding time for both of you, it’s a chance for him to socialise, find out who his neighbors are… How about a nice long hike? It’s not only good for the dog, it’s good for you too.
Not having enough time is never a legitimate excuse, since we tend to find the time for what matters. If you have to wake up a half hour earlier before work to make sure your dog gets enough exercise, or forgo your morning breakfast program than that’s life with a dog. Find a friend or neighbor to help you out when things are too hectic. If you can’t, hire a dog walker or look into doggie daycare. Yes it costs, but imagine how much money you can save by bringing your own lunch to work!! Use the savings to pay for dog care.
Other things you can do
- Constantly being surrounded by people or other pets can be stressful. Make sure your dog has his own space to retreat to when he needs some alone time.
- Get some toys that will challenge him, and don’t leave all his toys out at once. He’ll get bored.
- Play games with him, interact, bond.
- Take him to the dog park for exercise, but also for the opportunity to explore a new environment.
- You have play dates for your kids, why not the dog? Getting together with friends that have dogs is an opportunity for you to catch up, and your dog to play.
How to correct bad behavior in dogs – conclusion
As a dog trainer I see some very badly behaved dogs, and while it makes me so sad I’m always grateful when I get called in to help. It’s quite easy to correct bad behavior in dogs, just follow the basics and the tips in this article and you’ll be well on your way.
If you need some help then by all means contact me and I will do my best for you. Leave me a comment, use the contact me form, or click on the behavior consultant image on the right hand side of this post.