Man’s best friend can sometimes be a pretty bad enemy. Our canine friends have learned over the millennia how to bond with humans, but they still possess primitive instincts that can express themselves in a variety of ways. Bad behavior in dogs is actually quite common and can be caused by any number of conditions or environments. From mistreatment to bad diet and lack of exercise, our dogs tend to act out when things aren’t quite right. If your dog is acting up then you’ll want to read about how to treat that bad behavior and eliminate it entirely in your favorite household pet.
Reinforce Good Behavior Habits
A dog is a very intelligent creature. Dogs learn just like humans, especially with respect to reinforcing good and bad behaviors. If you suddenly catch your dog chewing on shoes, tearing apart furniture or barking at neighbors, it is essential that you provide an alternative exercise for the dog that is rewarded by you. While there are clear dos and don’ts of positive reinforcement, it is simple enough to figure out.
For instance, substituting chew toys when your dog is chewing on items in the home – followed by verbal and physical praise for using them – can help eliminate the tendency to chew on things that are off-limits for dogs. Providing your canine companion with something to do will help to reduce boredom, a key component to bad behavior.
Naturally, dogs are a social creature. Much of their genetics and experience have been shaped by humans, who are just as social. Dogs that are exposed to other dogs – as well as other humans – at young ages, will naturally be more docile than dogs that are kept isolated.
If your dog is showing signs of aggression toward other people, then it is crucial that you alleviate that by safe but consistent interaction with other humans. Likewise, animal attacks in dogs are often made possible by unfamiliarity with either the specific animal in question or other pets in general.
Provide Plenty of Opportunities for Exercise
Boredom and pent-up energy are major problems for any pet. With dogs specifically, these issues can manifest in even more intense ways. From aggression to depression, dogs are naturally affected by a lack of exercise.
To eliminate these negative issues, you should be prepared to walk your indoor dog every day. If your dog predominantly spends his/her time outdoors, human attention is just as crucial. You’ll want to make time each day to play and socialize with your dog. These interactions can help relieve pent-up energy in dogs and will help to make them naturally more docile and obedient.
It’s important that whenever your dog acts out, there are clear repercussions. This can take many forms but should never involve physical action against the dog.
For instance, a dog that plays too rough should immediately be left alone for a short period until he or she calms down. Likewise, when it’s time for food, establishing clear boundaries – such as the dog cannot eat around the table or out of your hand – will ensure there is never conflicting messages that can lead to dog attacks and/or aggression.
Most bad dog behaviors can be easily corrected with some patience. By setting clear boundaries in certain circumstances, providing plenty of physical and mental activities, socializing from an early age and reinforcing positive behavior, any old or young dog can, in fact, learn new tricks!