We all know that dogs bring overwhelming joy to our lives, but they can also bring frustration. As cute and innocent looking as our furry friends are, most of them have a few bad house habits that make looking after them a challenge. If you’re struggling with a disobedient pet, here are a few tips for training them out of their naughty behaviours.
Bad Habit #1: Barking at the front door
Dogs are excitable animals. Many of them will bark at the sound of a doorbell or footsteps approaching the front door because they’re keen to see new people. They might also be barking because they’re anxious at the thought of visitors, or because they think barking leads to the door being opened in the first place.
The best way to combat this is to stop the barking with an alternative behaviour, such as getting your dog to sit while you answer the door. Reward this behaviour with a treat or physical affection to let them know this is the correct way to behave before opening the door to your guest.
Bad Habit #2: Begging for food
We’ve all had our meals interrupted by the dreaded puppy dog eyes. It’s difficult to ignore our pets when they’re looking at us with so much hope and desperation, but ignoring them is the key to stopping their begging once and for all.
When your dog is looking at you for food, ensure that no one in your family feeds them from their plates. Even if you only do it once, your dog will then repeat and maybe even escalate their begging behaviours. Try to distract them during dinner time by giving them a toy to play with instead. Better still, have them sit outside during meal times so nobody is tempted to feed them from the table.
Bad Habit #3: Jumping on furniture
Some pet owners are happy for their dogs to lie on the couch with them. Other pet owners, especially those with dogs that have a tendency to get dirty, prefer for them to stay off the furniture.
To keep your furry friends off your couches and chairs, try calling them back onto the floor after they’ve jumped up. You may also want to guide them to their own dog bed or a mat if you have one, and then reward this behaviour with a treat or verbal praise.
Bad Habit #4: Chewing
Chewing is a common and natural behaviour for dogs. This is because of the many benefits that come from chewing, such as cleaner teeth and relieved stress or boredom. However, when items such as shoes, charging cords and important documents start to become your dog’s chew toys, it becomes a problem for both you and your canine.
When you catch your dog chewing an inappropriate item, give them an alternative option such as a bone or toy that’s safe for them to chew. It’s important to praise them for choosing this item instead, as it will reinforce the good behaviour.
Bad Habit #5: Peeing inside
When dogs urinate on things, it’s generally because they’re wanting to mark their territory or leave a message for their canine companions. While this is acceptable behaviour outdoors, it’s unacceptable for inside the house and can lead to damaged property.
The best tip for overcoming this is to try and catch your dog either before or during the act, and interrupt them with a stern ‘no’. You should then redirect them outdoors and praise them for doing their business (including ‘number twos’) in a more appropriate spot.