Dogs

How Can You Raise a Calm and Happy Dog?

Dog owners generally have the best of intentions with their pet but many dogs develop bad habits. Sometimes the dog comes with those habits from a previous owner and sometimes they just develop naturally. If your dog is exhibiting bad manners, it’s up to you to correct him.

Luckily, dogs almost always misbehave in foreseeable ways so with a little bit of patience, you can have an Uptown Pokies jackpot success story by training him correctly.  Just remember that honey attracts more flies than vinager so keep some doggie treats handy and be ready to increase rewards and decrease punishments.

Barking

It’s normal for a dog to bark — it’s the dog’s way of vocalizing to play, seek attention, warn, express anxiety, relieve bordom or respond to other dogs. Barking doesn’t only mean the traditional “woof woof” but also relates to whining and howling.

You can control your dog’s excessive barking by teaching them bark/quiet commands. Once the dog knows that there’s a time and a place to bark, she will respond. Again, don’t punish – reward the dog’s compliance with treats and plenty of attention.

You should also try to identify the cause of your dog’s barking and work to reduce those factors. If your dog seems bored, try giving her some toys to play with. If noises disturb her, find a different area of the house where she won’t be exposed to so many noises.

Check and see if there’s a trigger that makes your dog bark such as when strangers walk by the house. In those instances, train the dog to make eye contact with you when that happens (use treats to reinforce the behavior) so that he substitutes the eye contact for the barking.

Some dogs bark when they’re anxious. You can try different strategies to reduce anxiety such as swaddling the dog with a dog sweater (like a baby) or putting some lavender drops where the dog sleeps to calm her.

Remember, if you focus on training as soon as you identify the behavior that needs to be changed, it will be easier to prevent the bad habit from becoming entrenced.

Chewing

Dogs like to chew. For puppies, it’s as natural as eating and playing so if you have a puppy, it’s a good idea to provide him with an acceptable chew toy which is his to chew on to his heart’s content.

If a dog learns about acceptable chewing from puppyhood, that will carry through to his adulthood.  If however, you adopt an older dog that chews, you need to change his habits. Once again, identifying why he’s chewing will help you rewire his desire to chew on unacceptable objects.

As mentioned, puppies chew because they’re teething or because they’re curious — just like human children. For both puppies and older dogs you can control inappropriate chewing by providing plenty of appropriate chew toys and keeping inappropriate objects away from his access. Reward him when he’s chewing on objects that are his to chew and take away anything that you see him trying to grab. Shoes, socks, children’s toys and even books are attractive chew toys for puppies and dogs but if he doesn’t have access to them, he won’t be able to chew them.

If you’re going to be away from home, don’t tempt fate – put the dog in an area where he can’t get at objects that he may want to chew on.

Digging

Digging is a natural activity for dogs who derive comfort from the act, want to hide an object, are bored or are expressing pent-up energy, anxiety or fear.

For some dogs, increasing their exercise is all the extra attention that they need. But if your dog seems destined to dig, set aside an area of the yard where she can dig to her heart’s content.

Some dog owners have resorted to placing balloons filled with water in favorite digging spots with the hope that the spurt of water will deter the dog. Others have found that the dogs actually enjoy the new sport!

Begging

Many people complain about their dog’s begging at the table for food but they ignore the fact that the dog gets rewarded for the begging behavior when he receives the desired tidbit!

Begging is an easy habit to break – just don’t give the dog anything from the table! When he comes up to you at the table, ignore him. He’ll figure it out.  Just remember to tell EVERYONE at the table that they need to cooperate because if just one person suscumbs to your dog’s pleading eyes, the behavior has been reinforced and it will be difficult to break it the next time you sit down at the table.

Chasing

Your dog chases cars, bikes, motorcycles, animals and other moving things because of her predatory instinct. This isn’t a habit but a primal instinct that is almost out of her control. It’s fun for her to chase but its quite dangerous as well.

Not all dogs feel the yearning to chase but if your dog is one of the chasers, keep her confined or on a leash at all times.  Train her to come when she’s called or when you blow a dog whistle. Stay alert and watch for triggers – joggers, other animals, moving vehicles, etc.

Jumping

Jumping up might seem like your dog’s loving way of greeting people but most people don’t like to be greeted in such a fashion, especially if it’s a large dog or if he likes to slobber his love all over.

Some methods of discouraging jumping involve grabbing the dog’s front paws or putting your knee up and into his stomach when he jumps up. Another method is just to turn away and ignore the dog who, once he sees that he won’t get any attention from his jumping, may well give up.

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