Your dog is doing behavior you don’t like – barking too much, chewing things like your new shoes, running around the house, scratching the furniture, or using your house like a fire hydrant. So what should you do?
You are going to need to train your dog, but how? Well, there are plenty of trained professionals who can help you, with obedience training and the like but there are also tips that you can learn and follow to make things easier. Here are some of them:
- Identify why the problem behavior is happening: Are there certain things that stress out your dog and bring out the negative behavior? For example, if your dog chews your shoes, does he like leather ones, or will he chew any type of shoes? And when does he do this behavior? Is it when he’s left alone all day? Or what about your dog forgetting his housetraining? Is it when he’s been cooped up for too long? Or perhaps he has a medical issue that you need to get checked out. So you should try to figure out what the cause is of your dog acting out.
- Put yourself in your dog’s shoes – or paws: Think of things from your dog’s perspective. Is he threatened by a new baby, dog, or cat in the family? You need to try to look at things from your dog’s point of view. For example, just because you like putting your pup in a sweater doesn’t mean he likes it, so he may be acting out over it.
- Be the leader of the pack: You need to assert your authority, in a kind but firm way. You cannot let your dog run the show. So while you can understand why your dog is acting out, it doesn’t mean you have to put up with it. However, you don’t need to lose your temper; be a calm but firm grownup.
- Learn—and teach — obedience commands: Companies like MetroDog offer classes where you and your dog can learn a better way. You don’t have to go it alone. There are dog training classes out there in everything from housetraining to teaching a dog to come when called to how to control a rowdy dog. In addition, you can talk to an individual pet trainer, or read some of the many dog training books out there to learn more.
- Have patience: You can’t expect perfection right away, and your dog could get frustrated if you push him too far. So go slowly, and be patient.
- Don’t forget treats: Just like people, dogs can be motivated by food. When your dog does something right, you can reinforce that good behavior with a treat.
Lisa Swan writes on pet topics for sites like MetroDog.com.