Break Your Dog’s Bad Habits
Edited By: Stephanie Dawson
1. Dogs do what works
Dogs behave in a particular way when certain behavior gets them what they want. Try to understand what your dog gets out of bad behavior or habit and then take that thing away – the bad habit will stop or change. For example, dogs often jump on people when they come home looking for attention. Stop giving them attention when they do so and they will stop doing it.
2. Dogs don’t generalize
Dogs cannot make leaps of understanding like humans. We look at a paper tree or a real tree and we see it as a tree but dogs don’t think that way. For example, you may teach your dog to sit but always in the kitchen. If you ask your dog to sit when outside he might not understand what you mean.
3. Determine why your dog is repeating bad habits
Try to figure out what the dog is getting out of his bad habit that keeps him doing it. Is it your attention or is it turning out to be a fun game for him? Act accordingly and take away the fun factor.
4. Look at your behavior
If you pay a lot of attention to your dog’s bad habits, they might enjoy it which would gives them reasons to continue. Even angry attention is attention. If you are noticing too much or giving attention when dog is busy with his bad habits, you may be responsible for motivating him to continue with his bad habits.
5. If you have adopted your dog as an older dog with habits that seem to be set in stone
As mentioned earlier, dogs are very context specific and this sometimes works in our favor. If the dog has a new home and if the limits and expectations are set immediately when the dog arrives at home, he will learn quickly. It helps to train dogs per one’s needs, which results in developing good habits.
6. Rewarding your dog for giving up bad habits
Select three different levels of treats – bronze, silver, and gold for following your instructions.
7. Be Consistent and patient
You have to be consistent and patient with your dogs if you want them to give up bad habits. It might take some time.
8. Remove physical stimulants
If there are certain objects in your home or garden that drive your dog towards the bad habit, remove the object that acts as a stimulant.