Dog Behavior – What your dog is Telling you by their Behavior?
Dog behavior can be challenging to figure out sometimes. Especially when you find yourself bending over backwards to accommodate your dog. Has your dog literally taught you to stay away from his food or toys by growling? Are you afraid to take your dog’s favorite toy away from him because he is baring his teeth? Does your dog look away when you try and give him a command? Do you find yourself sharing your bed with your dog and getting a less than perfect night’s sleep, just because your dog refuses to listen to you?
If any of your answers are yes to the above, then your dog has become the leader and you have become his or her pack.
Fixing dog behavior and dog behavior modification starts by doing the following:
Your dog has to recognize you as their leader. This absolutely has to happen before the dog behavior changes or training can work with your dog. In order for your dog to recognize you as a leader start by teaching them the following:
The Top 7 Tips to Start Changing The Way Your Dog Sees You:
- Teach your dog to roll over and present their tummy. A dog who presents their tummy to you is showing a submissive posture. Reinforce that behavior by giving your companion a good tummy rub.
- Put your dog in the “down” position for a total of 5 or more minutes every day. Reinforce the command if the dog doesn’t obey, by gently pulling the dog down by the collar, don’t pull or tug. Then start the 5 minute routine again. Once completed, reward with a treat.
- Don’t put up with unwanted dog behaviors. This will take some work. If your dog doesn’t want to obey you, repeat the command you want your dog to learn and the same tone of voice, repetition is key. If you have a dog that doesn’t want to move out of a high traffic area, try using a leash to gently but firmly pull them out of the area while using a command, such as “come”. Dog trainers sometimes rely on using a leash to reinforce certain types of commands, such as down and come, so if you need to, it’s ok to leave the leash on for training. It’s not ok to pull and yank at the leash while not giving the proper command. When the desired dog behavior is accomplished, reward with a treat and lots of praise.
- Don’t reward your dog for bad dog behaviors. This includes feeding your dog after they have just raided your trash can, or growled at you. This will just reinforce the undesired behavior. Reward and feed your dog after good behavior so your companion learns to associate good behaviors with food rewards.
- Don’t put your dog in a crate to punish him. If a dog is not properly introduced to a crate, then throwing them in a crate will only make your dog more anxious, unsettled, and likely to react badly. This will only confuse your dog and take your dog twice as long to learn the desired commands and behaviors you want your dog to learn. It also may make you twice as angry if your dog decides to do something like urinate in their crate.
- Walk your dog. The best kind of walking involves a dog that stays closely by your side. Gently train your dog to walk right beside you and not ahead of you. If your dog knows you are leading the walk, your dog will become the follower. Walk your dog for at least 30 minutes for maximum results, and longer if possible. Every day if you can. Reinforce the behavior by lots of praise at different times during and after your walk.
- Don’t verbally bait your dog. This means teaching your dog something that seems “cute” for instance – “look at the squirrel”. When you teach your dog these types of verbal cues, your dog will become more aggressive, impatient, demanding, and bark more, which in turn will make him harder to train. In addition, some verbal cues can cause a dog to learn to bolt out into the street or other undesirable bolting-type behaviors. Don’t verbally teach a puppy or dog anything other than commands you want them to learn that will make them more balanced and trainable.
If you are willing to put the time and effort into correcting undesirable dog behaviors your dog will naturally come to see you as their leader. Start with the above 7 tips and watch your dog’s behavior change. You will start to notice (at least) a subtle difference within a couple of weeks and a more pronounced difference as you continue to work with your dog. However, if you don’t do the above daily, it’s not likely to work.
Don’t give up. The end result is worth it. You will have the respect of your dog, your leadership won’t be challenged, and your companion will be much easier to train and live with.