We all want a well-behaved pet. But, just like people, dogs aren’t perfect – especially if they’re looking for attention. Sometimes, dogs do things that seem naughty, but are really a cry for attention. Instead of punishing them and possibly causing trauma, let’s take a look at what you can do instead.
1. Indoor accidents
Unfortunately, many of us can't stay home with our furry friends all day long. If you come home at the end of your workday to find that your pet has left a "present" for you in the middle of the floor, it can be a knee-jerk reaction to scold them immediately.
However, scolding once you return home is going to throw out some mixed messages for your animal. First, if you haven't witnessed the accident or behavior and then immediately corrected it, your animal won't have any idea why you are upset.
Second, you've just returned home, and your fur baby is excited to see you after a day of missing you. Immediately scolding your animal will instead teach them that your return means punishment and won't do anything to correct the underlying behavior.
Third, leaving an animal home alone for an extended period can create some pretty tricky issues. If your pet doesn't have a way to get outside during your absence, then indoor accidents are going to be hard to avoid, especially with prolonged absences.
If you've ever owned a dog, particularly a puppy, you've probably lost a few shoes, kid’s toys or pieces of furniture to some sharp little teeth. The loss or damage of an expensive item can be angering, but you should hold back from punishing the dog for it. While you might think that chewing on your belongings is a form of acting out, it is typically a sign of boredom or comfort for your pet.
Instead of trying to correct that behavior, try to fix the underlying issue. Take your pup to the pet store and pick out some new toys that they can chew on to help alleviate some of the boredom and give them a more productive method to help soothe their growing teeth and gums.
If you happen to find them chewing, redirect to the toys immediately while staying calm.
You've come home to your dog playfully dancing around through the house; dirty footprints left everywhere. Once you step outside, you find that your yard is full of holes, or maybe even a tunnel to the neighbors yard! Before you decide that it's time to give your pup a piece of your mind, take a breath.
Digging is a natural and intrinsic part of who your dog is. Many dogs touch back to their ancestral roots and want to build a den or search out for food. For these reasons, yards with existing rodent problems may find that dogs are even more prone to digging holes. However, if you don't have rodents, your dog may be trying to find shelter.
Rather than punish for the digging, there are several techniques that you can use to help eliminate this habit:
- Digging can be a boredom factor, so consider toys that help to occupy your pet physically and mentally.
- Sometimes puzzle treat balls can help keep dogs active and reward them with treats for figuring out how to work a toy.
- Since we’re in Arizona, your dog may be trying to find a cooler place by digging to avoid the sun.
4. Food aggression
If you've ever had a dog lash out when you're offering a treat or become overly protective of a food bowl, it can be a difficult situation. These can be especially troubling behaviors when a dog is part of a family that has small children. Food aggression is typically tied to a dog's territorial response to needing to protect their food so they can survive. While this trait is often part of a dog's nature, it doesn't explain why some dogs seem to be more food aggressive than others. Some things can trigger food aggression in an animal that goes a bit deeper than its lineage. Identifying the cause of your animal's food aggression can be a key to helping to retrain a behavior.
Try not to raise your voice because it will only make your dog more tense. Try to get him used to your presence while he eats so they will gradually get used to you controlling their food. If you have any questions about this or are concerned about anybody's safety, consider training with a professional like the team at Central Pet.
5. Barking or whining
If you have an animal that seems to incessantly bark at every passing noise or that seems to whine for no reason at all, it can be easy to think that correcting their behavior can be simple. However, because our dogs can't speak to us, this is one of their primary forms of communication to let us know that something is wrong. Additionally, you should carefully consider if you want your animal to stop with its current behavior. While barking at the slightest outside noise can be frustrating, you want your dog to scare off intruders or alert you to their presence.
Whining can also be your pet's way of telling you that something is wrong. Try to observe your pet and take note of when they are whining. If all of their essential needs seem to have been met, but they are still whining, there may be another issue. If this is the case, consider scheduling an appointment with a veterinarian to help identify and treat the underlying cause.
Get the Help Your Pet Needs
If you've been struggling with any of these behaviors, it may be time for some additional help from a trainer. We specialize in understanding you and your dog so that we can tailor training that helps both of you thrive and become the loving companion you both deserve. Give us a call today to discuss a possible training option to help you correct a behavior that will give you and your pet peace of mind and lifelong friendship.