Ozzie Dog (Photo credit: merfam)
All dogs have different personalities and quirks — it’s part of why we love them so much. But while we think it’s cute when they beg for treats or hide your socks, there are some habits that can lead to more serious bad dog behavior. If your dog is displaying aggression or other bad habits, there are ways to regain control.
Does your dog dig up your flower boxes? This issue will make it even harder for any amateur gardener to nurture their green thumb.
To stop this behavior you need to be supervising your dog while he is in your yard. When your dog decides to dig, interrupt him with something he wants to avoid like a loud noise or spray him with the hose. Doing this several times should get the point across.
Your dog is your warning device. When you tell him to stop, he should. The best way to keep any behavior from happening again is to associate that behavior with something negative. Your effective negative reinforcement depends on your dog’s age, breed, timing and device. Some methods to try include shaking a can filled with coins or a water bottle to squirt him with.
When your dog barks, in an authoritative voice say ‘Quiet!’ If he barks again, you need to activate the reinforcement. For example, spray him with the water bottle.
3. Submissive Urination
Submissive urination is not a house-training issue. This problem occurs when the dog is frightened or excited. A weak bladder, or young age usually causes it. It is also more common in female dogs.
You come home, she is happy to see you. As you reach down to pet her, she urinates. She has no idea that it is happening and is wagging her tail, spreading it all over. You scream ‘No!’ and she becomes afraid because your mood changed so quickly, so she urinates even more. If this scenario is not fixed, she may begin urinating as soon as you pull in the drive in anticipation of you screaming at her.
Next time you come home, ignore your dog as if she was not there. Avoid making eye contact. After a few minutes, your dog will settle down. Now lower your hand so your dog can lick it or smell it. Lastly, squat down to your dog’s level (it is less intimidating) and greet her. Remember not to show too much enthusiasm.
4. Separation Anxiety
If your dog is not house-trained, keep him inside his crate with some toys while you are away. Have a talk radio station playing in another room. This keeps him from feeling all alone. Do not make a big production when you are leaving, just leave. The Humane Society of the United States suggests giving him a piece of your clothing that you have recently worn.
If he is house-trained and you would like to allow him to venture throughout your home, make sure he can get to his piddle pad. If he goes outside, you should consider installing a pet door. Advancements allow you to program your pet door. Some models even require a collar key.
5. Food Guarding
This is a common problem because your puppy may have learned to snap or growl at his littermates to get food. If you smack your dog or take his food away, it may only reinforce his thoughts that he should guard his food. If you challenge his food guarding once he has possession of it, he will probably increase his defensive behavior, according to the ASPCA.
If your dog knows how to come and sit, you can use this behavior to correct the food-guarding problem. Call him to you and have him sit. Immediately give him a good treat (like pieces of chicken) and tell him to ‘Take it’ at the same time. If he snaps at the treat too hard, say ‘Gentle!’ in a harsh voice. Try to hold onto the treat until he takes it gently. Remember to praise him with a friendly ‘Good dog.’ Delay the treats a couple of seconds, and if he jumps to get it just close your hand and tell him ‘Off!’ With this tactic, he should learn that as his owner, you have the right to control his food.
Ryan Harrison Ryan and his therapy dog Marley love making people feel better. Ryan loves writing about anything pet or health related.