Start the New Year off right with a resolution to break your hound of his or her bad habits. With less than 10 percent of individuals predicted to see their resolutions come to fruition this year, ensure that your goals will be reached with this Pawderosa Ranch curated list of bad habits and tactics against them. Be sure not to let this crucial opportunity to develop good behavioral patterns pass you by.
2016 looks promising from here, so let’s get started on the top three bad habits for pups and how to prevent them from happening.
General Rule: For dogs, touching, talking or looking at them reinforces any behavior they are performing at that moment. Be aware of your reinforcements during the training of your dog.
Bad Habit #1: Begging for Food
This problem is a common one for the majority of dog owners. Remember, consistency is key. Make sure all members of the household are familiar with these tactics.
- Do not acknowledge your pup when they are next to you at the table.
- Stop all feeding from your hand.
- If you want to feed your dog a small amount of leftovers, put the food in their bowl along with a handful of dog food. Feed them after the human meal is complete.
- As a distraction tool, use food-motivated toys to divert your dog in a different area of the house during the meal. We recommend using KONG dog toys with peanut butter.
- Use the common correction tool, a water bottle, and squirt your dog if they approach the dining area and encroach on personal space. Squirt them and say, “Go on” to teach them to stay away from the table when people are eating.
* Places to spray your dog without insulting him or her include: chest, paws, rear end and sides. DO NOT spray in the dog in the face – this is very insulting to the dog and will not build trust.
Bad Habit #2: Jumping on People
- Use the spray bottle and spray the dog every time they jump up on you or another person.
- Keep the water bottle by the front door if you are expecting guests to stay consistent with your dog’s training.
- Practice the “say hello” exercise when meeting people.
- Present the person with a treat and instruct them to give it to your puppy when directed. Walk your puppy over, have him or her sit and allow the guest to feed Fido. If the dog is anxious, don’t let the individual touch the dog. If the dog appears calm, instruct your guest to touch the dog on the chest or back – not the top of the head, which is actually a dominating gesture.
- One bad habit owners have is pushing their dog off when they jump up. This is a natural instinct that actually reinforces the behavior, so refrain from pushing.
- If you don’t have a water bottle when the dog jumps up, put your hands in the air and say, “Off!” Turn away so that they come down to the ground.
- Another owner bad habit is allowing your pup to put their paws on you. This includes allowing paws on your lap when you are sitting, asking your dog to jump on your chest or lifting their front paws while standing. All of these actions tell your animal that the behavior is acceptable.
Bad Habit #3: Getting on the Furniture
- Once again, the water bottle is very helpful with this bad habit. When you find your pup on your couch or bed, grab the water bottle, spray and say, “Off.” Once they are off, direct the dog to his or her bed and give them a treat once they are on their bed. This is an example of correct, redirect, reward.
- If you are leaving the house and don’t want your pup in the kennel, put aluminum foil on furniture surfaces. Dogs hate the feel of aluminum foil and won’t get on the surface.
- When you are home, place your dog’s bed in the family area to start teaching them that that is their appointed resting spot.
Bad habits can be broken. It just takes a bit of resolve to establish new ground rules and firm consistency to follow them. Your pup’s behaviors are reflections of your teaching and training as an owner, so now that you have the knowledge to make better choices, better behavior should be easy. If you stay consistent with these training methods you will see a difference in these habits within 2 weeks.
Keep your resolution this year with these simple instructions, and remember Pawderosa Ranch for all of your doggie boarding needs in 2016.
Joel Santiago – Professional Dog Trainer