How can I prevent my puppy from becoming a disobedient dog?
An early start to training and frequent exercise sessions are necessary to prevent puppies from becoming too rowdy. Waiting to train your puppy until it is 5 or 6 months of age can often let these disobedient behaviours take hold. Then you have to undo behaviours you don’t like in order to get the ones you want. Puppies are like sponges and learn very quickly, but they also have very short attention spans. Motivate your puppy to perform using positive reinforcement; i.e. make training fun! Exercise should be frequent but not excessive for young dogs; make sure it’s not just physical exercise but include enrichment and socialization as well. With early training, excitable puppies can often have their behaviour channelled in the correct direction.
Hints and Tips
Reprimands and punishment are often unsuccessful. Punishment may reward behaviour by providing attention. Punishment that is too harsh can lead to anxiety, fear of the owner and problems such as fear aggression, submissive urination & displacement behaviours.
Sometimes demanding behaviour is rewarded while quiet behaviour is ignored. If this is what is happening in your home; deal with it by treating all demanding behaviour with inattention and reward calm, non-demanding behaviour with play and attention.
Energetic dogs need exercise every day. The more active the dog, the more exercise it needs. Without it your dog will vent its energy into undesirable behaviour and this can also lead to disobedience.
It is very important to practice the training that you may ultimately need & practice this in different situations (calm and quiet first and then introduce distractions).
An example of this is training the dog to sit and stay near the front entrance.
How will the dog know to sit and not run out the door when people come to visit, (a highly excitable event), if the dog has never practiced doing so? (Both when things were calm and then at distracting times).
Another example is training classes; the time when you really need your dog to respond to you is likely to be when they are distracted or in a busy area. Make sure you take your dog to training classes so they can practice training in a busy, distracting environment; don’t just practice at home!
Posted in Dog Behaviour, Training and Tips to Train your Dogs
Tagged adult dog training, aggressive dog training, basic dog training, boisterous dogs, dog behavior training dog obedience training, dog behaviour, dog training aids, dog training techniques, dog training tricks, professional dog training, separation and anxiety in dogs, therapy dog training
This seems to be a very common problem in puppies, but unfortunately it can be a real problem with older dogs as well. Not good if your adult dog weighs 40kg!
Prevention is better than cure. If you have a new pup or dog make sure you set the rules straight away. And this means making sure all family members comply. Sometimes it’s not the 4 legged family member that is the problem; it’s often the smaller 2 legged variety!
Jumping up is not abnormal, it’s just unacceptable. Your dog or puppy is going to get excited and playful, and when seeking out your attention or playing, your dog is likely to jump up at times. How you deal with this behaviour will affect the dogs’ future actions.
Dog Jumping Up a Lot!
Jumping up is attention seeking so if you give attention by pushing the dog down, telling the dog off, giving eye contact or worse still, patting or playing with your dog then you will encourage the behaviour (making it much harder to retrain later on). Adults and children should withdraw all contact and turn away from the dog.
Children (and adults) may find it helps to cross their arms and turn away. Walk away if needed. If you indulge the behaviour and give the dog attention when it is excitable and out of control you may also have the problem of the dog grabbing at clothes and chasing (more on that another time).
Make sure everyone is consistent when dealing with jumping up. If 1 person is not sticking to the training you will have trouble correcting the problem.
Reward for all 4 feet being on the ground & reward calm relaxed behaviour. Teach the dog to sit for attention or upon approach. Outdoor dogs can benefit from time inside as calm behaviour is needed & encouraged when they come indoors. If your dog is not used to being inside bring them in on a lead and get them to settle on their bed or mat.
When visitors arrive put the dog on a lead so you can control the behaviour (keep a spare slip lead by the door) that way your dog won’t have control over the interaction with the visitor and the visitor won’t be able to encourage bad habits such as jumping up.
Jumping up may get worse before it gets better as your dog may try harder to get a response from you. Don’t give up, persistence is the key!
Posted in Dog Behaviour, Training and Tips to Train your Dogs
Tagged adult dog training, advanced dog training, aggressive dog training, basic dog training, boisterous dogs, dog behavior training dog obedience training, dog obedience, dog obedience training, dog training techniques, dog training tricks, dogs jumping a lot, jumping dogs, jumping up on dogs, pet dog training, professional dog training, small dog training, therapy dog training
Separation anxiety is one of the most common behaviour problems in dogs. It is a very serious behaviour problem and can be very stressful for both dogs and the family members. To reduce the likelihood of a dog developing separation anxiety it is important that dogs learn to have time on their own and enjoy that time on their own. This should start with young puppies. As much as it is nice to smother a new pup with lots of love and attention make sure they have time on their own in a secure area or play pen. During this time provide them with a variety of toys and things to chew on (a great way to introduce toys which dispense food or Kong dog toys stuffed with treats or a meal).
Puppies should come from reputable breeders. I have seen dogs who are genetically prone to separation anxiety (rare but I have seen it). I have also seen a number of dogs who are weaned too early who develop attachment related disorders such as separation anxiety (my first dog developed separation anxiety quite early and she had been taken from her mum at 5 weeks of age). Dogs in pet shops are often weaned too early as are dogs from irresponsible breeders (puppy farms and some ‘back yard’ breeders). A puppy should not be taken from its mum before 7 weeks of age. So if you are looking for a new pup then do the research first and do resist the temptation to buy on impulse!
Some people use the ‘controlled crying’ technique when they get a new puppy & I can see there is a place for this as a way to deal with attention seeking when the puppy is settled in, but I don’t believe it is in the dogs best interest to be suddenly taken from littermates and left locked in room to ‘cry it out’. The transition from the breeder & litter mates to the new family should be smooth and this includes getting a pup used to being on its own gradually. It has enough anxiety to deal with not to have more forced on it if it can be avoided. A better alternative for a new puppy would be to have a pen (or crate) in the living area or to use a child gate barrier so the puppy can see people around it but gets used to having time on its own whilst still being safe. Using toys, chew toys and music a dog can then be taught to relax whilst it’s in its new area.
For a dog that already has separation anxiety it is very important that you seek help from an expert (Have a chat to your vet about who they would recommend). Your dog may need medication but it is not always required. Generally dogs should not be on medication unless they are also undergoing behaviour modification or are soon to start. Medication can help to reduce the dogs’ anxiety and make it easier to learn new behaviours (and we want them to be the right behaviours!) There are natural products also. For mild cases Rescue remedy or other flower essences may help as can herbal nerve tonics for pets. Room sprays such as home alone room spray or aroma calm can be used in conjunction with other products or medication to make the environment more relaxing.
The aim when treating separation anxiety is to reduce the dogs’ dependence on the family or human that it lives with. This should be done slowly and carefully under expert guidance. It helps if the dog has a secure area where it feels safe. For many dogs this will be indoors when the family goes out. If the dog is destructive it will need to be a ‘sacrificial’ space where it doesn’t matter if the dog damages the door or similar. Just make sure the dog is safe and can’t hurt itself or escape. Doggy daycare may also be an option for some dogs and may be a useful way for the dog to reduce dependence on particular family members. However I wouldn’t rely on it totally. Like us dogs do need time on their own. And don’t forget the importance of exercise! I don’t know about you but exercise is a wonderful stress relief for me, and walking the dog benefits both human and the dog. Exercise should be both on and off lead and provide the dog with both a balance of physical and mental enrichment.
When the dog is to be left alone ensure it has plenty to do to keep itself occupied. Food treats are very useful for this and you may wish to feed the dog its breakfast or meal when you go out, or leave them with a suitable bone or rawhide chew which can keep them occupied for longer. If the dog is so anxious that it won’t eat then you need to speak to your vet about medication and coping strategies. If you don’t already have a copy see our booklet “101 Ways to keep your dog entertained” (a free sample or the whole booklet can be downloaded via the links page on our website). It is very important that the dog is given mental stimulation to keep it busy and you may also find toys that encourage the dog to pull, chew or tear up could help reduce the dogs’ anxiety and likelihood of targeting other items.
And lastly, training and attention seeking behaviour. Dogs should not be encouraged to follow the humans around the house. Dogs who constantly seek out the humans should be ignored when they display this anxious behaviour (beware it may get worse before it gets better so stick with it). The dogs’ behaviour should also be ignored if they constantly seek out pats and attention. Making sure you call them over for pats and it should be on your terms. You dog still needs your attention but try to focus it along with a bit of training so your dog comes to you or first does something for you on command. Think about some training games also which help build up your dogs confidence. Incorporate training into your daily routine and not only will your dog have a clearer idea of what you want from it, but it will be more relaxed with the extra physical and mental stimulation.
As I mentioned earlier it is important to incorporate all strategies at once. Just trying things in dribs and drabs will not enable you to fix this problem. Seek expert advice for a tailored program to suit your family.