If you browse the internet for dog training tips like I do, you read a lot about positive reinforcement. It’s the most obvious way to condition a dog’s mind to continue practicing good behavior. Besides, who doesn’t want to give their dog a treat? It’s so easy to give attention to our dogs when they do good because we love rewarding them. But, what about bad behavior? Are we rewarding the wrong behavior? Sometimes what you read about on the internet and what actually works are two different things. That being said, I urge you to try this! 😀
Dogs Love Attention
Your pup loves getting attention from you. Sometimes even looking down, frowning, and telling your puppy “No” in a stern voice indicates to the puppy; if I do this, she’ll stop and look at me! But, doing this will not get your puppy to stop jumping on you because you’re giving him the attention he’s asking for. Instead, try rewarding the puppy when he remains calm, and ignoring him when he jumps. This is a much more effective way for the dog to gain a clear understanding that jumping is not okay. It will take practice especially with younger pups who love to jump! Don’t give in. Many dog owners try to teach the difference between good behavior and bad behavior before considering why the dog is behaving the way they are. In this case, your pup wants attention. Practice rewarding him for being calm by giving him treats, so that he knows he doesn’t have to jump.
Excessive Barking and Rewards
Another example of when its a good idea to ignore is when the dog barks for your attention. Yelling “Shhh” and “No” usually doesn’t work. To the dog, all that this response indicates is that barking works. When your dog is barking at high frequency for long periods of time and at a constant high pitch, it usually means that he’s begging for your attention. If your response to the barking is letting him in the house, then he has every reason to continue barking. If you can, try to reward him during periods when he’s sitting quietly, and ignoring him when he barks. Keep in mind you may only have a two to three minute window between barking, so have your treat equipped. Your neighbors may not be too fond of this tactic, but it will work to please everyone in time, including your dog!
There’s No Solution For All Unwanted Behavior
Ignoring some behaviors will have no effect on the dog at all because not all bad behaviors are meant to get your attention. Sometimes dogs do things because their dogs! Ignoring doesn’t work when your dog is potty training, scent masking, eating the Thanksgiving turkey, digging holes in the yard, or escaping the fence to chase other animals. These behaviors are generally motivated by a combination of natural instinct and instant gratification. If you need advice for preventing other types of bad behavior, make a suggestion for another blog topic. We’re open to conversation and suggestion!