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How to Solve 7 Common Bad Dog Habits


Individual dogs, like people, misbehave in their own unique ways. Sometimes this is tied to breeding. Some dogs, like coonhounds, were bred to be very vocal. It’s therefore not really the dog’s fault that it has a predisposed drive to loudly howl. In fact, under the right situations, that behaviour is desired.

However, surveys still show that certain behavioural problems are common among all dogs, no matter the breed.

This list mentions the most common problems as reported by dog owners:

#1. Jumping up

Jumping on people is a simple problem to rectify. It can and should be rectified as few people like a dirty dog jumping on them. Also many children are injured by unruly dogs jumping up, and the elderly are also at risk.

#2. Barking

Dogs bark as we speak, a certain amount of barking for the right reason is a plus but your dog should be taught what is and what is not acceptable barking.

Dogs bark at the doorbell for any number of reasons. They could be excited or anxious about visitors, or they might bark as a watchdog tendency. Some dogs even equate their barking with you opening the door, so they think they're training you to open the door when they bark. One of the best ways to stop barking at the doorbell is to teach and reward an alternative behaviour, like sitting on a nearby mat and waiting for the door to be opened.

For additional advice on how to deal with barking issues, read our article on "When Dog Barking Becomes a Problem".

#3. Begging for food

Begging for food should not be tolerated. No matter how cute or desperate for food your dog looks, consistency is the key to curbing dinner-table begging. Make sure no one in your family feeds the dog from the table.

Even if his begging only works once in a blue moon, he'll repeat and escalate the behaviour until all his barking and whining pays off with a rare food reward. Instead of giving in, provide your dog with an appropriate dinnertime activity, like enjoying his own toys or food puzzles.

#4. Jumping on furniture

Dogs do not understand the concept of clean vs dirty, old vs new! It is best to teach your dog not to jump on furniture especially if you plan on taking them to visit family or friends.

#5. Digging


Digging is an extremely rewarding activity for dogs, whether they're digging to reach a scent or simply to release pent-up energy. Help your dog practice this behaviour appropriately by giving him a sandbox or section of the yard where he's allowed to dig.

Make sure this area has clearly marked visual boundaries, and use treats and toys to make this new digging place more exciting than the old one.

#6. Chewing

Chewing is a natural behaviour for dogs, since they explore their environment with their mouth. It also relieves stress and boredom, and helps keep their teeth clean.

When you catch your dog chewing inappropriate objects (like shoes, as many dogs do), redirect the chewing to an appropriate item, like a chew/stuffed toy. Then praise your puppy for selecting an acceptable outlet for his chewing behaviour. Talk with your veterinarian about which chews are safe for your dog.

#7. Stealing food off counters

Trainers call this behaviour "counter-surfing." It's one of the more difficult habits to break, since Fido experiences a huge reward for stealing the food: He gets to eat it! 
The easiest way to solve this problem is to eliminate the opportunity. Don't leave food around, and use baby gates or fencing to restrict your dog's access to the kitchen when you're not there to supervise him. Teaching the "leave it" command is useful for when you catch him in the act of stealing snacks.

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