Archive for July, 2008

5 Most Annoying Dog Behaviors

Monday, July 14th, 2008

We all love dogs, but sometimes they can really test our patience.  Here are five of the most common annoying dog behaviors, and what you can do to fix them.

The behavior:  Pooping and peeing in the house

Why it’s so annoying:  Frankly, bodily functions released in your living room goes well beyond the annoying stage and can be categorized as downright rude, animal or not. Puppy housebreaking is one of the most challenging times in a dog-human relationship.  The stress level is high and can leave first-time dog owners feel like they are in over their heads.

Puppy housebreaking tips

  1. Give your dog their last food and water a couple of hours before bedtime.  Then, take them your dog potty to go to the bathroom right before you go to sleep.  Remember to praise the dog when she does her business using the dog toilet.
  2. Crate your dog at night.  Dogs love their crates!  It’s part of their cave-dweller past.  The more they feel like that crate is their home, the less likely they will be to use it as a bathroom.
  3. Set a timer to ring every 30 minutes.  When the timer goes off, take the dog to her dog litter box (even if she doesn’t have to go).  Praise her when she comes follows you to the dog toilet.  This will help get your dog in the “flow” of making regular trips to go to the bathroom.
  4. Consider a puppy litter box.   They’re not just for cats anymore and they can significantly help curb the behavior.

The behavior:  Barking into all hours of the night

Dog Barking

Why it’s so annoying:   Because having your neighbors mad at you all the time is like living on the border of an unfriendly nation.  Maybe nothing will ever happen, but the more that dog barks, the more tension that builds below the surface.

Tips on how to stop problem barking:

  1. When the dogs bark at night, come out and tell them “bad” in a loud authoritative voice.  When the dog does NOT bark at things in the night (and provided that you are still awake) always provide praise her immediately following the behavior.
  2. Crate your dog at night, placing the crate in an area of your house that will minimize the noise your neighbors will need to hear.
  3. If you are unable to control the barking after 2-3 weeks of trying to discipline the dog, you should probably consider a dog training school to control the behavior.

The behavior:  Unwanted “romantic gestures”

Why it’s so annoying:  Seeing a Jack Russell Terrier hump a vacuum cleaner is funny when it’s happening to someone else on YouTube, but in your world, not so much.

Tips on how to stop your dog from humping everything that moves:

  1. If your dog is a male, you should really consider having him neutered.  It helps control the pet population and does away with most of the humping behavior.Get your dog more exercise.
  2. This behavior is sometimes the result of pent up energy or restlessness.  Grab your dog leash and take her out to the park for a good long run, or at the least a nice walk every day.
  3. If the behavior continues, visit your vet.  There are some cases where the humping behavior is caused by a serious hormonal imbalance that needs to be treated by a professional.

The behavior:  Aggressive behavior towards people and other dogs

Why it’s so annoying:    If you got a dog to try and attract members of the opposite sex, it’s kind of hard to grab their digits when they’re running away, stricken with fear.  Nope, dogs who lunge at other dogs, small children, attractive adults or clothing store mannequins are just plain no fun to be around.

Tips on how to curb your dog’s aggressive behavior:

  1. Don’t punish aggressive behavior with additional aggressive behavior.  If you strike your dog for acting in a violent manner it will only perpetuate that cycle.  You might want to consider a special dog collar instead.
  2. Reward your dog for submissive behavior.   Provide lots of praise when your dog lets a situation pass with growling or lunging.
  3. If the problem continues, it is absolutely vital that you get professional help for your dog.  A dog training program can help you solve the aggression problem before it puts you, your family or your dog at risk.

The behavior:  Chewing up everything in the house

Dog Chewing

Why it’s so annoying:  How a dog can bypass everything you’ve ever bought at Target to specifically destroy your Louis Vutton purse or Lacoste shirt is a mystery of behavioral science, but whatever the value of your worldly possessions may be, you don’t want them chewed to shreds my your (mostly) loveable pup.

Tips on how to stop unwanted chewing:

  1. Get your dog some chew toys!    Dogs love toys like Kongs and Nylabones, and will chew on them for hours.  They’re safe, good for the dog’s dental work and give them something else to do besides laying waste to all your material possessions.
  2. Praise your dog when she uses the chew toys.  Tell her “good girl” when she starts gnawing on the toys your supply.
  3. Teach your dog to drop things that are not hers.  In a low, assertive voice, tell your dog to “drop it” or “leave it” when they begin to chew on your possessions.  Praise her extensively when she does what you ask her to do.

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