Has your dog suddenly started engaging in destructive behaviours? Maybe the behaviours have worsened recently and you’re not sure why. Dogs that engage in destructive behaviours aren’t being bad on purpose--there’s almost always an underlying reason why they’re misbehaving. Here’s what you need to know about stopping bad behaviours in your dog.
Understanding the ‘Why’
Bad behaviours have a ‘why’ behind them, a reason why your dog is acting up. It might be because he’s lonely or bored or even feeling neglected at home. Maybe he’s afraid of something and is acting out in an attempt to control his environment. Once you know why your dog is behaving badly, you can address the problem properly.
Boredom is one of the most common triggers for destructive behaviour. If your dog is bored by himself, you may need to consider putting him in ‘doggie daycare’ or having a pet sitter stop by during the day while you’re out. You can try leaving mentally stimulating toys and treats for your dog, too. Anything that keeps your dog challenged and engaged will lessen the likelihood of bad behaviour.
Dogs that are acting out because of a lack of attention from you need a different approach. Dogs crave attention, and even negative attention is better than no attention. Instead of punishing the negative behaviour, you’ll need to focus on praising the good behaviour. This can be tricky and more work than just getting angry and punishing your dog, but it’s worth it in the end. You’ll have a happier, more self-assured dog who won’t misbehave.
Why punishment doesn’t work
It can be tempting to address negative behaviours with punishment, but it wouldn’t be effective. Unless you address the root of the problem--anxiety, boredom, stress, etc.--your dog won’t understand why his behaviour is a problem. Fear and aggression will only lead to further problematic behaviours, so make sure that you address the issue with patience, problem solving, and positive reinforcement for the best results. You’ll have a happier, better behaved dog if you take this approach!
For more tips on curbing bad behaviours in your dog, visit Bark Busters today and speak with a knowledgeable trainer.