Much like people, dogs sometimes misbehave. Sometimes that behaviour can become a habit. Without some intervention and correction, a badly-behaved dog can become an annoyance at best, and a liability to its owner at worse.
It is important that you figure out why your dog expresses these behaviours, and what you can do to reverse it. Here is a look at how you can change things.
Identify the Source of the Bad Behaviour
While it is not always easily discernible, bad behaviours do not just come from nowhere. To do this, you must remain impassive about the situation. After all, you may represent the source of the bad behaviour, and you may not want to admit it. To find the underlying cause of the situation, try using these steps.
Look for triggers – Is there something that happens before the bad behaviour starts? Watch your dog closely. There is a good chance something triggers the behaviour every time. If you can find the pattern, you can solve the puzzle. If you can identify that trigger, you can take steps to stop it.
Take note of the behaviour – What is it that your dog is doing? A lot of time, the behaviour itself can tell you a lot about what is causing it. For example, your dog may crave attention from you, and only receives that attention when they are barking at odd hours.
There are many behaviours out there with documentation on why those behaviours may occur. A little research may help you to solve the problem.
Sometimes it is hard, or even impossible for many people to pinpoint the source of the behaviour, but there are still things you can do to try to mitigate it.
Retrain Your Dog to Exhibit Better Behaviour
Remember that bad behaviours can turn into good behaviours with some training. You can punish bad behaviour, but if you must punish the same behaviour more than a few times, you will have to find another solution. That solution is retraining.
Training can come in various ways. If you can pinpoint the source of your dog’s behaviour, then training can consist of nothing more than removing the trigger or stimulant. Or, you can replace it with something else.
If you do not know where to start, or cannot figure out the reason for your dog’s behaviour, then you may want to see a specialist. Show care when seeking out a professional. There is a difference between a dog trainer and a dog behaviourist and often the latter is just what you need.
Dog trainers are more like teachers. They aim to teach your dog a set of skills it can use to operate around other animals, human beings, and in professional settings. By contrast, an experienced dog behaviourist trainer deals directly with the emotional well-being of your dog. They will help your dog to become better behaved, and adjusted by finding the root cause of your dog’s behaviour issues.
If you want to do things yourself first, you can reward good behaviours, while holding back rewards when the dog displays the bad behaviours. One way to go about it is to treat reinforcement of good behaviour as the reward itself.
For example, if your dog barks at night because it wants to roam the house instead of staying in the basement. Put up some barriers and let the dog roam. But only let the dog roam during nights when it does not bark. In this way, the reward will reinforce the behaviour.
You can also try to keep your dog pleasantly tired. Activity will tire any creature out. And a tired dog is invariably a well-behaved one. Do some research and ask some experts on what else you can do to train your dog into good behaviour.
So, what’s stopping you? Try taking on some of the above tips to turn your dog into the ideal pup you always dreamed of.