A pet dog is very rewarding for plenty of people. Canines can become very attached to their owners, and can be useful not only for fetching the paper, but also for handicapped people who can use guide dogs outside of the house. Dogs, however, can also have bad habits that can make your life with your pet dog miserable. Here’s how you can curb and break your dog’s bad habits.
Alternatives. Make sure that you offer alternatives for the bad habits that your dog commits. Most of the things which dogs do are necessary, one way or the other. Biting, for instance, is a way for dogs to relieve the pressure as their teeth grow out. Instead of simply admonishing the dog for biting the shoes and the furniture, you should make sure there are chew toys and teethers available in the house. If your dog is fond of digging the ground in the garden, it may be because of boredom. As an alternative, make sure that you exercise your dog sufficiently. Be sure that you recognize the underlying causes of the dog’s destructive habits, and create suitable alternatives.
Your behavior. Next, consider how you act in front of your dog. In some cases, the owners unwittingly foster the bad habits of their own dogs. For instance, scolding your dog and then providing treats shortly afterwards will create mixed signals that the dog will not be able to interpret. Sometimes, owners also foster bad habits by giving in to the dog’s whims. For instance, feeding the dog with treats each time he barks puts you under the dog’s control, and will make the dog even more stubborn.
Consistency. Be sure that you are consistent with your actions. If you want the dog to fetch the paper each morning, for instance, be sure that you will make the effort to train him each morning. If you ignore the command, the dog will become confused, especially during the early parts of the training. Apart from the training, be consistent also when it comes to the commands that are used. Each member in the family or household should use only one type of command. Otherwise, the dog will not know which cue to follow for which specific type of action. Also, by making sure that there is a specific set of commands that the dog will follow, other guests and visitors can play and interact with the dog with more ease.
Training sessions. Be sure that you set out specific training sessions for your dog. The sessions can be as short as ten minutes or as long as half an hour. What is important is that you and your dog are focused on learning specific commands, without interruption.
Finally, be sure that you have rewards to help your dog figure out what actions are good, and which are not. Be consistent with rewards – give these only when necessary. Otherwise, the dog will not be able to recognize which actions and habits should be avoided, and which are fine.