Dogs, like people, don’t misbehave to annoy you. They have their motives. Once you figure out what that motive is, it will be easier to correct that behavior. In this article, we will list three major destructive behaviors dogs engage in, why dogs do that, and how to fix them.
Dogs jump at people as a sign of excitement. They want you to know that they are happy to see you. However, jumping is dangerous. They can cause scratches, falls, and concussions when they jump up at people.
This behavior usually starts when they’re puppies. It’s tolerated because it’s cute, and some dogs are too small to cause damage. However, prevention is the best way to treat this. Even if you have a full-grown rottweiler leaping at your guests at every given chance, you can still train your dog to behave.
Step 1 is to ignore the jumping. Do not punish your dog when they jump. Negative reinforcement is an ineffective training tool. Simply do not engage. Step back and disengage when they jump.
Step 2 is to give your dog an alternative greeting behavior. Sitting is a good option because this is a common command that’s easy to train dogs to do. If your dog refuses to do the new command like “sit” and continues to jump, see step 1.
Step 3 is to reward your dog if they get step 2 right. Treats are a fan favorite, and so are head rubs and words of affection.
This will teach your dog that calmly greeting you and other people will grant them treats and attention.
Barking can cost you sleep and peace of mind. It can also land you in hot water if your neighbors file a noise complaint. Dogs bark for different reasons. Figure out what triggers your dogs’ excessive barking, and you can find a way to resolve it.
Reason 1: Their needs aren’t met. Your dog is barking when they have to go to the bathroom, when they’re hungry, or when they’re lonely. Your dog has learned that the only way their needs will be met is if they bark until they get it.
The way to correct this is to ignore the barking. Wait until your dog stops barking before giving them what they need.
Reason 2: They’re anxious. This manifests as barking at guests. Your dog may be distressed because this stranger is making their home feel unsafe.
Try setting up a play date in a neutral place like the park. This will allow your dog to become familiarized with your friend. Eventually, your dog will recognize that your friend is not a threat to their home.
Dog owners with lawns and gardens are familiar with this one. It’s heartbreaking to see your carefully cultivated greenery in tatters.
Dogs dig because of instinct. Humans bred dogs to work specific jobs. Terriers, aka earth or dirt dogs, were bred to kill vermin, so it’s no surprise that this breed has a fondness for digging holes. Your dogs are simply acting out thousands of years of conditioning.
There are a few solutions to this problem.
- Provide more stimulation. Set up toys inside and outside. Give them more playtime.
- Set a designated digging spot. Use positive reinforcement to train them to use it.
There are no bad dogs. They just lack the communication tools we do, so they make do with what they have. Our job as owners is to listen to them as best as we can and learn how to manage their behaviors.