Whether you have a new dog in your home or your current pup is acting up, it can be overwhelming when Fido is misbehaving and you don’t know what to do. But before you start any corrective training, make a plan with all the members of your household and make sure they can all keep to it – routines, consistency and acting early are extremely important in correcting bad behaviors.
Dogs often act up out of boredom, so if you provide ample entertainment through chew toys, exercise, and enrichment, then your dog may stop their problematic behavior. If you can tell your dog needs more engagement or has excess energy, you may need to find ways to entertain your dog more during the day to curb unwanted behaviors.
Dogs, like people, respond best to positive reinforcement. Trying to curb your dog’s more aggressive behaviors by rewarding only positive behaviors can help train those aggressive instincts away. If he is calm for a while or behaves well during an encounter with guests or other dogs, reward him with a treat. Doing that and not responding emotionally when he does become aggressive are great ways to start training your dog to be calmer and less aggressive.
Easier to prevent than cure, begging is an inevitable part of owning a dog. To prevent this bad habit from developing, as soon as you bring home your pup, put him away in a crate or confined room while providing some sort of chew toy to occupy himself with during your meal times. By letting your dog out only when you’ve finished eating, you are training him to know that he can’t get food despite being able to smell it. It may take a few meals of loud barking that you and your family will have to endure, but it will be well worth it.
Your dog is going to want to chew, and there’s no getting around that. Instead of simply hoping that your dog doesn’t destroy a slipper, buy a few chew toys and keep them on rotation to keep him interested and to divert his attention from a favorite shoe. Having a designated item to chew is better than leaving your house up to chance – plus, there are lots of chew toys that are entertaining and can help maintain your dog’s dental health.
Some dogs like to dig more than others, but since digging is a natural response for many dogs, don’t be alarmed if you have one who loves it. Find a spot in your yard or somewhere along your walk where your dog will be able to dig in peace and not be in the way of anyone. This kind of behavior is likely an effect of boredom, so if you want to prevent the instinct altogether, try upping the amount of enrichment and entertainment your dog gets throughout the day.
All in all, be patient with your pup. Dogs can’t tell right from wrong on their own and need your help to be the good boys (and girls) we know they are at heart.