Like children, dogs too need to be disciplined and taught good behaviour in order to make the experience with your pet more pleasurable and less inconvenient.
Do only humans have emotions? Do only children throw tantrums? Wrong. Like humans, dogs too experience a wide range of emotions and they try immensely to communicate and express themselves. If they are happy, they give us a lot of tail wags and wet nosed kisses. If they are upset, they curl up in the corner of a room and show no interest in any activity. If they are playful, they might tug at our feet and if they are annoyed, throwing tantrums or not obeying, well, you would know!
There are many reasons that may lead to a dog disobeying its owner, the primary one being- lack of discipline. Most of us are humanizing dogs nowadays. We pamper them like we pamper our children, failing to remember that dogs do not understand things the way children do. More often, we get carried away by our pets, ignore their bad behaviour and fail to let them know about things that are unacceptable to us.
Like the cause and effect phenomenon we all know about, certain behavior is always a consequence of a certain cause. Reasons could vary from lack of attention to lack of release of pent up energy to pure boredom. One might think that getting a dog back on track would require professional help. While this might be true in most cases, there are a few simple techniques that can be tried before asking for help.
Examples of Bad Behaviour and Ways to Treat Them
Chewing Up Furniture
Chewing is a part of the normal growth and development of a dog – helping teeth and gums develop properly as he/she grows into adulthood. It is advised to give your puppy ample toys to chew on and later praise them for chewing on a more appropriate object. An alternative training method is to spray objects with ‘bitter apple’. This taste does not appeal to dogs and chewing on such sprayed objects a couple of times would automatically condition a dog’s mind to keep away.
Picky About Food
Sometimes, your dog suddenly loses interest in food and refuses to eat foods that it relished sometime ago. Establish if your dog has some illness that is manifesting as a lack of appetite. If that isn’t the reason, check for unpleasant odours in its food that might be repelling. Stick to just one kind of food as adding variety to make food tastier would only spoil your dog further. Stop free feeding your dog and never beg it to eat.
Whining Thoroughout The Day
In healthy dogs, whining is an attention seeking exercise. In order to stop it from whining without reason, place a leash or collar high up on its neck. As it begins to whine, snap its leash upwards and not sideways. Give a firm pull to show that you disagree with it and are not fighting with it. Start over after making him sit. The neck is a very sensitive part of a dog’s body, and sudden tension in that area startles the dog, dissociating it from whining.
A Home-Alone Barker
This often stems from boredom or separation anxiety in dogs that become very attached to their owners. Making small trips initially just to the mailbox and slowly increasing the length of your trips helps them get acclimatised to being alone. Leaving lots of toys to play with and treats helps kill boredom and thus reduces barking to a great extent.
There are many more manifestations of bad dog behaviour (which might require professional help) and reacting to them early will save you from embarrassment and unease regarding your pet. It is important to remember that dogs don’t understand words. As expert dog trainer and psychologist Cesar Millan puts it, maintain a ‘calm, assertive’ disposition when dealing with dogs to help them distinguish behaviours that are acceptable, from those that are not. After all, every dog must listen to his master’s voice.