It’s not always easy for us dog owners as well. Regardless of our busy lives, we have to find it in ourselves to give our dogs the attention they deserve. Too often, owners brush off the behavior of their dog or misread some of the signs. What seems like an easy fix becomes a very frustrating and time-consuming challenge.
Here are ten tips to help you out when you are feeling discouraged.
1. Take a Deep Breath
If your dog is acting up, take a moment and let him know you’ve got everything under control. Do not give your dog the attention he is demanding, as this may reinforce the unwanted behavior. Some dogs have learned that their owners will eventually give them what they want if they bark, howl or whine. If this is your dog, you must ignore him and not give him any attention. By taking a few deep breaths, you can get calm and ready to handle your dog again without feeling overwhelmed or exhausted from the situation.
It’s a very effective way of handling any unwanted behavior in your dog. It is important not to engage with any unwanted behaviors at all. When your dog tries to initiate play or greets someone, ignore him. Interrupting his behavior will only reinforce it.
Not all are going to be easy to fix immediately. The most effective way to ignore your dog is to ignore it actively. That means no petting, no eye contact, and not feeding the dog when he barks before you reach the kitchen (or fridge). Once you start ignoring him, he will stop barking or whining. It can take a few minutes for your dog to get the message, but once he gives up on what he was doing, now you’re ready to continue with your usual activities.
Once your dog stops barking or whining, begin to reward him with attention for being quiet. Make sure you praise him and get him excited by playing around with him. Make sure you reward this behavior frequently and consistently until your dog only barks when he has something important to say. This will help build the positive relationship that you both need to work as a team when you are not feeling well.
4. Walk Away
Sometimes the solution to your dog’s inappropriate behavior is to walk away. Ignoring and rewarding are two great techniques, but this does not always work if your dog starts chasing you or chases you inside. Most owners’ biggest mistake is to try and control their dog by holding on to him or even yelling and screaming. This only takes the attention away from the fact that your dog was barking in the first place and trained them to get your attention when they want it. Remember, they must learn that barking, howling, whining, and chasing are not acceptable techniques for getting your attention.
5. Positive Reinforcement
Most dogs operate on the principle of ‘attention equals food.’ If you want to change your dog’s behavior, it is crucial to address this positively. When you use positive reinforcement methods such as feeding your dog or offering him affection, he will begin to understand that he can only get attention by being quiet.
Apply this to different scenarios – For example, when your dog is trying to initiate play with you, he may bark or whine. When your dog is barking and whining in anticipation of food, praise him and use positive reinforcement techniques such as feeding him or offering him affection. Some dogs are very receptive to training because they understand that if they are quiet, petting them, feeding them, and playing with them will be the next best thing to getting their way.
6. Give Your Dog a Job to Do
If your dog is barking and howling in anticipation of food, give him a job to do. For example, if your dog wants to play, ask him to sit. If he wants to greet someone, ask him to roll over on his back and then get on his feet and greet them with a wagging tail. Giving your dog a job he has agreed to do, helps build a positive relationship. You both need to use other techniques when required.
7. Reward Him
Once your dog has learned how to get a reward by being quiet, be sure to reward him for his excellent behavior. Be sure to praise and congratulate him frequently and consistently so that he learns that his good behavior does indeed get rewarded.
8. Find a Dog Behavior Therapist
When you try to stop unwanted behaviors in your dog, you must find a good behavior therapist. A dog behavior therapist can help you give your dog the tools he needs to understand and control his undesirable behaviors. They can help solve any behavioral problems with the techniques of positive reinforcement, counter-conditioning, and desensitization. If this is not an option for your situation, then seek out a skilled trainer who can help teach you some of these life-changing skills.
9. Learn to Live With the Problem
If you cannot figure out how to get your dog to stop barking or manipulating you, you need to learn how to manage it. There are many ways for your dog to bark, yowl, whine, or chase. You will have to find some that work for you and substitute them accordingly. An excellent example of this is when your dog sees a cat on the sidewalk and sniffs its scent.
10. Look at the Big Picture
It is also essential to ask yourself if your dog needs something. If your dog is barking because he is trying to declare dominance, then why would you ever let him get a treat?
A lot of owners make the common mistake of rewarding bad behavior. They feed their dogs when he barks or comes closer when they bark and whine, hoping that they will be quiet. This may work for a while, but soon enough, your dog will realize that this is his new way to get what he wants. If he is trying to get your attention, it is always better to ignore him than reward him with attention. If you cannot ignore the behavior, then walk away from the situation until he quiets down.
Remember – it is vital to understand the behavior in your dog and find out why he is behaving this way before deciding how to deal with his behavior. For example, if your dog barks because of separation anxiety, then you need to get him used to be left in the house alone by leaving for a brief period of time until he is not afraid anymore. This is usually a reasonably easy fix. If your dog barks because he wants attention, make sure you give him attention BEFORE he starts barking or whining. The last thing anyone needs is a dog that tries to manipulate them into paying attention to them when they don’t want anything.
Controlling your dog’s unruly behavior, such as excessive barking and howling, can be a difficult task to do. The most important thing to remember is that you need to give your dog everything he needs to become a better dog. This will help build the relationship you both need for your dog to understand that these behaviors are not acceptable around you and others.
Always remember that excessive barking, howling, whining, and chasing are unacceptable behaviors for dogs. It is always essential that they learn what behavior works best for them when they want attention.