Why Does My Dog . . . ???

Do you ever feel like your dog has selective hearing? No matter how many times we scold them, our four-legged friends can seem hell-bent on eating the cat’s food or digging up the yard. Dogs actually love rules and want to please us. When they don’t, it’s because they don’t understand what we want. It’s up to us to consistently reinforce the rules and train our dogs out of bad behaviors. Here, some common behavior issues and how to resolve them.

Not Coming When Called

Many of us experience this frustrating behavior with our dogs. Teaching your dog to come when called is essential to his health and safety. To get your dog to come, you need to make the experience a happy one. Call to him in a happy voice and when he runs to you, reward him with praise, hugs and treats. Don’t use a scolding tone and if your dog runs, don’t chase him. Practice calling him in the house or your yard and reward him every time he obeys. Until your dog can be trusted, never let him off his leash in an unconfined area.

Pulling the Leash

Dogs pull on the leash because they’re excited, scared, see something to chase or want to get to other people and dogs. They also naturally walk faster then us. A great technique to stop leash pulling is to completely stop any time the lease is not loose. Stand still, ignore your dog and once he stops pulling, praise him and move forward. You have to be consistent in this training, which means stopping a lot, but your dog will learn that walking by you will get him where he wants to go.

Whining for Attention

Does your dog whine when her ball rolls under the sofa? Whining to get attention, treats or a toy can be annoying and you may be unknowingly reinforcing that behavior. If your dog whines and you make eye contact, touch, or even scold her, she’s getting your attention. Instead, teach your dog to stay quiet. Don’t give her any attention or rewards until she stops whining. You can also cross your arms, turn your back and ignore her to show her that whining won’t work.

Digging

Dogs dig for many reasons: to bury a bone, chase prey or get cool in the summer. They’ll also dig if they’re confined, bored or need exercise. Stop your dog from digging as soon as it happens so your pup won’t make it a habit. Start by giving your dog walks, playtime and training. Don’t leave your dog unsupervised in the yard and redirect him with a firm “no” if he starts digging.

Barking at the Door

When someone rings your doorbell, does your dog go wild? While it may make sense to yell at your dog to quiet down, she doesn’t understand and thinks you’re barking, too. One way to stop door barking is to teach your dog to go to a place such as her bed. Have a friend knock or ring the doorbell. Throw a treat on your dog’s bed and tell her, “Go to your place.” Work to get her to go to her bed first, then reward her with a treat. As she progresses, try opening the door. If your dog, steps off her bed, close the door quickly.

Jumping on People

Dogs interact with other dogs by jumping on them so it’s natural for them to jump on people. Many people send the wrong message to jumping dogs by pushing them away with their hands or yelling at them. Dogs see this as a game and a reward for jumping. The most effective way to stop a dog from jumping is to cross your arms and turn your back to the dog. Ignore the dog and don’t give him any eye contact.

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