Regardless of what breed of dog you share you life with, there will be challenges along the way.
By nature, dogs are fun-loving creatures who have a bit of a wild (and annoying!) side. They get into mud, jump on furniture, chew shoes, and will scarf down food almost as fast as you can scoop it!
While some habits are endearing, others are downright destructive. We’re talking about 6 annoying dog habits that every dog owner has dealt with from time to time and we’re offering some advice to stop it for good (or at least this week).
Dogs chew, especially puppies. It’s a fact. They will chew on whatever is the easiest to access including shoes, the legs of tables, rugs, really anything. Teaching them not to chew on things that are not theirs early is key. The first step to stop the chewing is to limit what they have access to by puppy proofing your home. Make sure you keep shoes and other loose items off the floor and watch them when they are roaming your house. Also, give your dog plenty of toys. A bored dog will chew even more. If you see them chewing a shoe, trade it out for a toy. If you see him being a good boy and chewing a toy, give him a reward!
Dogs jumping up can be painful, literally. Those toe nails can hurt! Chances are your dog is so excited to greet you that he jumps up to say “Hi!” Rewarding them with petting and smiles when they jump up only encourages it. If you want to stop it the behavior, don’t give her any attention when she jumps up. Tell her down or turn away. When she has four paws on the floor, give her lots of love and maybe a treat to affirm the correct behavior.
Dogs bark for all kinds of reasons. Are they scared? Are they sensitive to loud noises? Do they just want to play? Figuring out why they are barking is the first step to nipping the habit.
If they are barking out of fear, aggression, or stress, a professional trainer could be helpful. A sensitivity to noise levels like a doorbell, visitors to your home, kids playing, cars, etc., can be frustrating. One way to address it is to desensitize your dog to noise. Play sounds (fireworks, doorbells, thunder, kids playing) for your dog at low levels and gradually increase the volume as your dog gets used to it. Eventually, you’ll be able to ring the doorbell and see if your desensitization is working! If your dog is demand-barking, don’t give in! Make him settle down before you give him what he wants!
Puppy teeth are sharp! Since they don’t fall out until about four and a half months, there will need to be some training to nip the nipping. Many of us want to wrestle with our dogs using our hands, but this can send mixed signals encouraging the dog to “play” back and since dogs use their mouths like we use our hands, nipping happens. When you play with your dog, use a toy. If nipping occurs while playing, step away from your dog and stop playing. This will show that the behavior is unwanted. Wait for your dog to calm down, then resume play.
Pottying in the house
Potty training is not necessarily a bad habit to break, but more of a must when you bring a dog into your home. Whether the dog is a puppy or an older dog that never learned, there are many methods of potty training that work. You can train to use a puppy pad or outside depending on your living situation. Here are a few tips that could help along the way:
- Don’t punish her. Yelling and rubbing her nose in it isn’t going to stop her from going in the house, but it will make hrful and want to hide from you.
- Keep her in a small living space until she learns. Crate training gives your dog a place to call home. Put your dog in it when you are away or can’t watch her every move!
- Be patient! Every dog is different, and they will learn at their own pace according to their personality, breed, and age.
Who’s walking who? Do you ever see dogs that appear to be “walking” their owners? Leash pulling is a bad habit, especially if you’ve got a large dog. Ideally, you start leash training as a puppy so they’ve got it down by the time they reach adulthood. When your dog pulls, stop the walk. Wait until your dog returns by your side, then resume walking. You can give treats as well as praising them when they are doing the right thing! If you let your dog pull you to anything (another dog, a group of dog-loving kiddos, or a squirrel!), you are rewarding his efforts. Be sure to enforce the no-pull and you’re dog will be a great walker in no time.
Adopting a dog is a huge step for your family. So many dogs need a loving home, and yours could Make sure you have a plan for tackling these bad habits so they don’t get out-of-hand.