Destructive behavior in dogs happens on occasion, but should not be a normal state of being.
Dogs often participate in unacceptable behaviors out of boredom, anxiety, or from frustrated tendencies. An under-stimulated dog may resort to barking, biting, chewing, or a variety of other bad behaviors as an outlet. It is important to stop these types of behaviors before they become second nature to the dog. Provide your pet with consistent obedience training, as well as daily exercise and attention to encourage good behavior. Learn more about common bad behaviors in dogs and how to stop them.
1. How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking
The key to teaching your dog to stop barking on command is consistency in training methods. Never yell at the dog to be quiet and keep training sessions positive and upbeat. The best way to stop excessive barking is to remove the potential source of the behavior. It is also helpful to give the dog outlets for its energy.
- Make sure that the dog gets daily exercise so there is not so much pent-up energy.
- Never comfort, feed, or pet a dog that is barking out of anxiety or attention – this is rewarding a bad behavior.
- Avoid leaving a dog in a crate or alone for extended periods of time.
- Yelling at a dog never helps the problem and can actually make the behavior worse.
- Practice basic commands with the dog, such as sit or lay down, in order to shift her focus from barking onto your commands.
- Avoid harsh punishments, such as shock collars, which can be painful, and many dogs learn how to work around them
2. How to Get Your Dog to Stop Biting
Biting and nipping is common among many breeds of dogs and especially puppies. While this behavior may start as a bit of fun, it needs to be controlled immediately or the biting can cause damage once the dog becomes older. Puppies can be trained to minimize their biting, even during the teething stage. The sooner you begin to educate your dog on what is and isn’t allowed regarding behavior, the sooner the biting will cease.
- Bite inhibition and puppy socializing go hand-in-hand.
- Always encourage positive behavior by the dog and discourage unacceptable behavior. Do not give a dog that is biting or nipping any positive behavior.
- If you are trying to teach a puppy not to bite, do not wrestle, play tug of war, or any other type of game that encourages biting.
- Clearly communicate with the dog that biting is unacceptable; don’t just expect the dog to know this.
- Some dogs result to biting as a way to show their dominance. If this is the case, you must establish your position as the dominate one in the owner-dog relationship.
- Redirect the dog to a chew toy or bone and sternly say “No!” when the dog tries to bite or nip a person.
- In some cases, making the dog think that he hurt you by letting out an “ouch!” can help. Puppies often yelp as a way to let the other dog know that it is hurt.
3. How to Get Your Dog to Stop Chewing
Many dog owners often experience a time when their dog has chewed or destroyed a toy, furniture, or other household item. Puppies often go through a chewing stage and this natural behavior is acceptable. The real problems arise when the chewing is done on expensive or dangerous items. It’s typically easier to prevent a chewing problem than to extinguish an established habit, but with consistency, it is possible.
- Puppy-proof your house and pick up anything you do not want your dog to chew. Always keep expensive and dangerous items put away.
- Provide your dog with a variety of chew toys and bones. Make it clear that if the dog wants to chew, he must chew on a toy.
- Keep the dog confined to one room or in a crate when you are not around to watch him carefully. Be sure that this area also has chew toys.
- Give your dog a sufficient amount of exercise, both mental and physical, when you are at home to use up excess energy.
- If you catch your dog in the act of chewing, always give a firm “No!” and replace the item he is chewing with a chew toy. Praise the dog as he begins to chew the toy. Never discipline after the fact, only as it is happening.
Bad behaviors in dogs, such as barking, biting, and chewing, can make dog ownership more of a chore than a joy. While breaking a dog of its bad behaviors isn’t always easy, it’s a must for any good dog owner. The tips mentioned above are key to raising a well-behaved dog.