A website for dog owners posted a list of the most common ways dogs misbehave. So if you have a dog, these will all sound familiar. Here are the top ten . . .
1. Barking. If they do it every time someone walks by your front door, distract them with something like a toy. Or if they just do it to get a reaction, ignore it. But yelling at them doesn’t really help, because they basically just think you’re barking too.
2. Jumping up on people. You have to be consistent if you want them to stop. Because if you let them jump up on YOU, they’ll think they jumping up on your 85-year-old neighbor is fine too. So instead of petting them when they jump up, ignore them.
3. Chasing things, like cars. First make sure they know a few basic commands, like sit and stay. Then use them if they try to chase stuff while you’re walking them. It also might just be a sign they need more exercise.
4. Chewing stuff. It’s a hard habit to break, because chewing is basically hardwired into their DNA. So you have to catch them in the act and say NO, and give them a chew toy instead. Again, a little more exercise might help too.
5. Begging. Don’t even say no, just ignore them . . . make sure you never feed them from the table . . . and make sure your kids don’t either.
6. Digging holes in the backyard. It’s another one that’s kinda hardwired into their DNA. So your best option might be to give them an area they CAN dig in, like a sandbox.
7. Going to the bathroom inside. First figure out why they’re doing it. They might have separation anxiety when you’re gone, or they might just need to go on more walks. And it can also happen if there’s some medical issue, so talk to your vet.
8. Nipping or play biting, like when they grab your wrist but don’t really bite down. It’s usually to get your attention, and they learn it as puppies. The best way to stop them is to YELP . . . so they think they’re hurting you.
9. Growling at people. They’re usually being protective, or they just haven’t been around enough people to get used to it. So try to gradually make them comfortable around strangers. And if they’re actually BITING, you need to see a professional.
10. Being aggressive with other dogs. Sometimes yelling or yanking their leash can make things worse. And it’s hard to stop, so you might need a trainer.
But first try walking them on a leash, and instead of stopping when you pass another dog, try to keep the same pace and go right past it. So then your dog learns other dogs aren’t a huge deal.