How to Decode Your Dog’s Bad Behavior

Newborn babies cry to communicate their hunger, fear, or discomfort, and our fur babies are no different. Dogs don’t always have perfect behavior, but their bad or destructive behaviors often have a root cause that you can address. Here’s what you need to know to connect with your dog’s needs and stop barking or chewing before it begins.

Constant Barking

Since barking can serve so many different purposes, it must be diagnosed by its function. Alarm barking, for instance, will cause your dog to bark at every single noise and sight, regardless of where you are. This type of barking is often combined with stiffer body language than a dog who is just barking to greet a newcomer. Other dogs bark to get attention, and if it works, they will continue doing so until taught otherwise.

You can try to resolve this type of barking by teaching your dog a routine. Let him bark three or four times, then calmly say “Quiet.” After you clearly say the command, gentle hold your dog’s muzzle closed with your hand a repeat “Quiet.” Release his muzzle, step back, and call him away from the window or door.

If your dog can continue to sit, give him a treat. If he stays beside you and remains quiet for the next few minutes, continue to give him small treats. Repeat the sequence as needed. It might take 20 times for your dog to learn, but eventually that bothersome barking will stop!

Destructive Chewing

We all know what it’s like when a favorite throw pillow or pair of shoes becomes a dog snack. It’s frustrating, but not impossible to prevent. If you can learn to identify the motivation behind your dog’s chewing, you can find creative ways to put an end to it.

Many young dogs chew any item in their path to relieve pain of incoming teeth, while older dogs use chewing to keep their jaws strong and teeth clean. The behavior even helps boredom and anxiety.

The simplest solution is to “dog-proof” your house and provide your pup with plenty of his own toys to fulfill his chewing impulses. Rotate the toys every few days to prevent boredom. You can also use special sprays to make household items like shoes and furniture less appealing. Any time that your dog tries to chew something he shouldn’t, calmly say “Uh-Oh,” replace it with something he can chew, and praise him for accepting the switch.

For more help training your dog, or to learn more about the motivations behind your dog’s behaviors, visit the Affordable Pet Hospital in Tampa, Florida. Call (813) 991-9898 to schedule an appointment for your pup today.