Have you ever realized that you may have created, or at least reinforced, your dog’s worst behaviors? We all make mistakes. But like it or not, your dog’s behavior is a reflection of your life, attitude, and training style (or lack thereof). Dogs repeat behaviors that get reinforced, so understanding why your dog is behaving the way he is may help you better handle his training in order to get the results you desire. The first step is to figure out why he continues to have that pesky habit!
Here are 6 common behavioral problems and what they say about you.
#1 – Refusing to obey repeated commands
If it takes more than one word to get your dog to sit and he winds up staring at you as a string of “Sit! Sit! Sit!” flies from your mouth, it indicates that you’re impatient. Hopefully, you don’t usually throw a barrage of questions at your friends before they can even answer the first one. It’s the same for your dog. Give him a chance to respond to your first command. Repeating commands also teaches your dog that he doesn’t need to obey you the first time around – and that can be a dangerous lesson for him to learn!
#2 – Pulling on the leash
Walking nicely on a leash can only be taught with consistent training, so somebody who refuses to put in the tough training time and just lets their dog drag them around comes across as somebody in search of immediate gratification. A dog who’s learned they can drag their owner anywhere they please can get themselves into a world of trouble, so it would benefit both of you to put the time into leash training.
#3 – Begging
People who give into their dog’s puppy dog eyes and feed them table scraps tend to be shortsighted. While some people food is healthy for dogs, much of it can cause long-term health problems such as obesity and diabetes, and many people foods can be very dangerous for dogs.
#4 – Too much uncontrolled energy
Some dogs and breeds naturally have more energy than others, but if every dog you’ve ever had has been bonkers, the problem might be that your life is too crazy and your dog is feeding off of your energy. Puppies in particular learn what life is supposed to be like by how it happens around them, and too much frantic energy in your household will cause your dog to be frantic also.
#5 – Excessive barking
While some dog breeds are more prone to barking than others, a dog that barks excessively usually does so because they get something from it. Attention from you, even in the form of yelling, rewards the behavior, and if you actively try to distract them from barking with toys or treats, you are teaching them that barking gets them things they want.
#6 – Dog Aggression
If your dog constantly gets into skirmishes, you may not be authoritative enough. Brushing off your dog growling at another one lets your dog think that behavior is acceptable, and then it can escalate from there. It’s important to show your dog from day one that there are consequences for negative behavior such as growling (maybe you stop and make him sit when he wants to continue walking) or they’ll believe they can do anything.
(H/T: NBC News Better)