We love our four-legged friends, there is no denying that. But sometimes our wonderful dogs can have some very NOT wonderful habits. These bad habits can lead to destroying things, making messes, and irritating the daylights out of us. You might find yourself wondering how to get your dog to break their bad habits. If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right article. Here are 7 common bad habits that dogs sometimes have, and how to break them.
Before we get into the seven bad habits, please keep in mind that training your dog is going to take time. If you find that you’re struggling to train your dog correctly, you can always look into obedience courses. Many trainers will either take your dog in or teach them one-on-one. Or they can teach you how to train your dog more effectively. In any case, though, you can always go here to learn more and ensure that you’re giving the best training for your furry friend. With a little bit of love and patience, you’ll get your dog trained well and then you both can co-exists in harmony.
So let’s talk about digging. Yea, this bad habit can be a real big pain in the butt. Not only does it ruin your yard, but it can also make your dog filthy in the process. Dogs dig because it’s an instinctual behavior. They like to hide toys and food from potential predators. If your dog is a digger, the best way to break them of this bad habit is to catch them in the act. It won’t do any good to scold your dog after the digging has already been done. Your dog will not understand why you are angry with it. If you catch your dog digging, firmly say the word, no! If your dog continues to dig, gently pull him away from that spot and firmly tell him no again. Your dog can sense if you’re unhappy or angry by the tone of your voice. So if you loudly and sternly talk to your dog, your dog will get a sense that its actions are not pleasing you. Your dog lives to please you and knowing you’re unhappy will detour the bad behavior. Another thing you can try is perhaps purchasing a sandbox to put in your yard. You can coax your dog into digging in the sandbox by burying treats and toys inside of it for your dog to find. Praise your dog when he digs in the sandbox. After a little while, your dog will learn that the sandbox is an acceptable place to dig and will stick to that, rather than the yard. Now your lawn can still look its best and your dog won’t be covered in filthy dirt.
Some might argue that this bad behavior is kind of adorable, but sometimes it can be a little annoying too. It can especially be irritating if you’ve got guests over and your dogs constantly beg them for a nibble of food off of their plate. Dogs beg because they want something. If you’ve occasionally thrown a nibble of food their way off of your plate, your dog can get accustomed to the behavior and want a nibble all the time. If you want your dog to stop this behavior, do not give them any bites of food off of your plate. Firmly tell your dog no, when it starts to whine. You can also put your dog in another room or a crate while you eat your food, so they can have their own spot, to wait it out, and then you can enjoy your meal in peace.
Of all the bad habits a dog can have, chewing is probably the worst one. It can be very frustrating when your dog chews up your favorite pair of shoes or your work clothes. It can also be dangerous for your dog too because they might swallow some of what they chew, which can make them very sick. But dogs are natural chewers, so breaking this habit can be tricky. Dogs chew for several reasons. It can feel good on their teeth, it can relieve anxiety and stress, and it’s also how puppies explore their surroundings. Most dogs will chew at one point in their lives, so it’s important to set chewing boundaries right away. If you already find something that your dog has chewed up, there is no sense in scolding it. It will not understand what it has done. You must catch your dog in the act. Firmly say no and take away the object that it is chewing on. Buy your dog some chew toys instead. You can find ones that have flavoring in them too, do your dog will find them extra tasty. When you see your dog chewing on their specific toys, make sure to give them lots of praise for it. This will let them know that you are happy. After a while, they will combine the scolding of chewing on your things, with the praise for chewing on their things, and they will learn the boundaries of what should and should not be chewed around the house.
Pulling on the Leash
It can be a bit of pain when your dog pulls, excessively on its leash. You want to enjoy a nice outing with your dog and that is difficult to do when your dog is pulling you every which way. You must slow and calm your dog down when it pulls. If he yanks too much, simply stop walking and say no. Stay still for a moment. Your dog will wonder why you aren’t moving. Once your dog calms, give it some praise and then proceed with the walk. After a while, he’ll get the hang of things and they’ll realize that pulling will get them nowhere.
Barking at the Doorbell
Our dogs can sometimes bark at the doorbell. Sometimes this barking can make for some annoying moments when your guests come over. This can be a tough habit to break. Dogs bark to warn of danger or even when they feel excited. So, this behavior comes rather naturally to most dogs. But with some patience and a little practice, you can teach your dogs to calm down when someone is at the door. You first want to teach them how to sit and stay. You can do this with a professional trainer or by yourself. It can be a little difficult and time consuming, but once your dog gets the hang of it, you can then teach it to perform that trick when the doorbell rings. Get a family member or friend involved. You can get your dog to practice calmly sitting and staying when the doorbell rings. Give your dog praise when he completes the task properly and firmly say no when it doesn’t. It will take some time to learn, but eventually, your dog will get into the habit of keeping calm when the doorbell rings.
Our dogs jump to greet us, they jump out of excitement, and they love to jump to say hello to anyone stopping by. This can create an uncomfortable situation though, especially if you have guests who might not be so comfortable around dogs. You can teach your dog to stop jumping by completely ignoring your dog when he jumps. Go about treating your dog as if you don’t even see them. No eye contact, no words, just ignore it. Then when your dog calms down and stops jumping, give it praise and make sure to love on them. After a while, it will teach your dogs that jumping will get them no attention whatsoever and they will stay calmer when a guest comes by.
This bad habit is probably the worst one and it can be difficult to deal with. Sometimes a dog can develop a deep attachment with its owner. This happens for several different reasons but it can be unhealthy for a dog to get that attached. You won’t even be able to leave the dog alone or else it will panic, become sad, and get very distressed by your absence. This habit can only be broken with time, love, and a little bit of training. Every day make sure to practice leaving them alone for a small amount of time. Leave them with a comfortable blanket or chew toy. They are probably going to cry, but it’s ok. They need to learn that you’ll come back and get them. Keep them alone in a room for 5 minutes and then come back. Every couple of days or so, add on an extra 5 minutes of time. Make sure you always calmly leave them and happily return. This training will become repetitious and eventually, your dog will learn and understand that you will always come back for them. This can take some time and some patience.
With all types of training, try to keep in mind that your dog will not learn anything new right off the bat. They are very much like babies and it can take a while for them to pick up on new routines and rules so be patient and try to be understanding. With a little work and some love, you and your dog can overcome. We want what’s best for our dogs and learning to break these habits can lead to happier, healthier lives together.