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Why Is My Dog Misbehaving?

Dogs are fantastic animals. They are friendly and loving, able to learn neat tricks and behaviors and keep you company whenever you want. But they are also dogs, and as dogs they are prone to misbehaving. There are a variety of unwanted behaviors that pets may exhibit on any given day, and the more they exhibit these behaviors the more frustrated you may find yourself with your pet.

Bad Behaviors are Not Your Dog’s Fault

When your dog exhibits a number of unwanted behaviors, it is important to remember that bad behaviors by your pet are not your dog’s fault. They are almost always caused by problems with training, and almost every bad behavior your pet performs is a direct result of one of three possible problems:

·         Your dog has too much energy.

·         Your dog doesn’t understand its place in the pack.

·         Your dog gets rewarded accidentally for bad behaviors.

Each of these represents a change that YOU will need to make in order to improve your pet’s behaviors. Below we will explore each of these problems and what can be done to solve them.

Too Much Energy

When human beings have too much energy, they get jittery. When dogs have too much energy, they get instinctual. Dogs that have too much energy tend to perform behaviors purely on instinct and forget everything they have been trained to not do. The best example is with chewing. Dogs that have too much energy often chew on things like carpets and furniture, because chewing stimulates both its brain and body.

Too much energy is almost exclusively caused by your dog not getting enough exercise. A tired dog is a happy and well behaved dog. If your dog is chewing on your furniture or exploring other bad behaviors, you may simply need to take your dog for longer and more energy filled walks.

Misunderstanding its Place in the Pack

Dogs need to have a place in the pack. Whether it is 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or last, dogs need to know where they stand in the pack’s pecking order. When your dog doesn’t know its place, or when your dog thinks that it is alpha dog (leader dog), it is prone to misbehavior. Your pet, as much as you love it, must always know that it is last in the pack. To make sure your pet understands this, train your dog to be submissive and make sure every member of your family establishes itself as higher up in the pack hierarchy.

“Accidentally” Rewarded for Bad Behaviors

Imagine you do not want your dog to lick your face. Every time your dog tries to lick your face, you tell it “no” and move away. This is a correct way to train. Now, imagine you came home from a terrible day at work and needed to experience your dog’s love. You decide “I need my dog’s love this one time. I’ll let it lick my face.” Your dog licks your face and you give your dog a lot of love. This may seem harmless, but your dog has now been rewarded for an unwanted behavior. Your dog does not know that it was okay that “one time.” All they know is that you rewarded them for a behavior. The next time you come home, your dog is going to try to lick your face again, and it will not remember that you do not like it. You will have to train your dog out of licking your face all over again.

That is why it is important that you always stand firm with your pet. Any time you do not want a behavior, you must never allow the behavior. No exceptions. As soon as you let your dog do it “just once,” they will continue to do it and no longer understand that it is unwanted.

Your Dog Can Learn

With the right training, all dogs can be trained out of their bad behaviors, because dogs never want to do things that you do not like. Unwanted behaviors by your pet are almost exclusively problems that you have accidentally caused. Take your dog for more walks, make sure you establish yourself as alpha dog and never reward your dog for unwanted behaviors and you will find most of these bad behaviors go away.