How to Correct Bad Behavior in Dogs

dog digging a hole

destructive dog

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 dog digging a holething, 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. 

Routine

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.

Consistency

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. 

Mental stimulation

Help stave off boredom by challenging your dog. Play games with him, hide a toy and let him find it, check out the huge range of interactive toys.

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.

 

How to Correct Bad Behavior in Dogs

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6 thoughts on “How to Correct Bad Behavior in Dogs

  1. As soon as I saw your post I remember an incident growing up. We had a Jack Russell puppy, she was tiny and she just loved coming in the car with us. Usually we took her with us but one day we couldn’t take her, I can’t remember where we were going. Anyway when we got back home this solid single lounge chair was killed, she had chowed holes everywhere and pulled out the stuffing. It was a heavy solid chair and it was on it’s back when we walked in. We’re still trying to figure out how she did that!

    Great post and great tips here as always Hindy, thank you.

  2. hi Hindy
    I agree that many people will just take their dogs out for 5 minutes and be done with it. Then they leave the dog alone for 8-9 hours. And they get upset when the dog starts destroying items in their house…. I think a lot of people have dogs but are not ready or willing to put in the efforts to take care of the dog. And taking care means more than just feeding the dog and take him outside for 5-10 minutes. I have heard it so many times too “look at that face, how can I be mad at that face!”. But as you stated, the human is the boss and needs to take charge. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of people like you who do a wonderful job at taking care of their dogs, providing them with the necessary stimulation they need. But I think that many get a dog without fully understanding the responsibilities that come with that.

    1. Couldn’t agree with you more Emily, and I see it everyday with a lot of my neighbours. Of course they have to go to work, but then they have to wake up a few minutes earlier, turn the tv off and take their dogs for a nice long exhausting walk before they go (which they don’t do). They like the dog when they’re around, but aren’t willing to put in the commitment required. Sad for the dogs stuck at home alone all day, without anyone coming to take them out. Of course there are plenty of responsible people who work, and make an effort to make sure their dogs are cared for during the day, just as many people who are home all day make very little effort to do the same.

  3. Hi Hindy

    Very useful information about behavior in dogs. You made very valid points which are very crucial as having a dog with destructive behavior can be very troublesome and problematic. Great post.

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