From barking to jumping up; your dog may exhibit undesirable behaviour towards yourself or others. Luckily you can correct your dog’s bad behaviour. Here are some tips and advice.
Correcting your dog’s bad behaviour
There are several ways of correcting bad behaviour. The best approach is determined by the type of bad behaviour you are trying to correct. Our most important advice is to reward good behaviour and prevent bad behaviour as much as possible. Should your dog exhibit bad behaviour anyway, ignore it and correct where necessary. Show it what it can do and reward that behaviour. Keep in mind that you will have to be patient. Your dog will not understand what you want right away and you will need to repeat this over and over again.
Some examples of bad behaviour and associated tips:
When your dog jumps up against you, it is best to remain upright and keep your hands in front of your chest. Do not move and do not speak. Once your dog is back on all fours, give it a stroke and say in a sweet voice ‘Good boy, low!’. When it jumps back up again, say ‘No’ in a low-pitched voice and repeat the previous steps. If you have a large dog and remaining upright as it jumps up against you is not an option, you can turn away from your dog instead.
When your dog is biting an object it isn’t supposed to, take the object from the dog and say ‘No, not yours!’ in a low-pitched voice. Then give your dog a toy. Does it bite into it? Reward it by saying, in a higher-pitched, sweet voice ‘Good boy, that one is yours!’.
No matter how cute the look on their face when they do it, begging is an example of bad behaviour. You can correct it by being consistent and never giving into those begging eyes. Give in once, and your dog will now know that begging is a way of getting what it wants. Be patient and persistent.
Excessive barking can be quite disruptive, not just to the owner but to neighbours as well. Unfortunately, it isn’t always clear what is causing the barking. A dog trainer can observe your dog and help find the cause as well as the solution. You can also address this issue at puppy training. The most frequently occurring causes of barking are fear (of abandonment) when left alone, territorial behaviour and insecurity.
This refers to dogs aggressively defending their food or other possessions. They will growl, snap or even bite when someone comes too close to their food bowl. You can prevent (food) aggression by feeding it some kibble by hand before putting it into the bowl. Of course, you shouldn’t be disturbing your dog while it’s eating on a regular basis.
When adopting an older dog or a pup with (food) aggression, there is a way to correct this behaviour. Present your dog with an empty bowl. Put in some food and encourage your pup with a high-pitched, sweet voice to eat it. Repeat this step once finished. This will teach your dog that your hand and the food bowl are a positive combination.
General recommendations for preventing bad behaviour
1. Be patient.
2. Reward good behaviour, ignore bad behaviour.
3. Prevent bad behaviour by making your home dog-friendly. The same goes for a dog-friendly garden.
4. Spend a lot of time with your pup and take be diligent about raising it.
5. Take a (puppy training) course to prevent bad behaviour and correct it if necessary.