Get Your Dog To Stop Doing Something

How to stop your dog from doing something

Don’t pounce on people. Don’t shout! Please don’t take my food! Dog training is typically sought after by owners when they want to stop their dogs from doing something they don’t like.

Exactly why do dogs “behave badly”?

Not every rule we have as humans is imprinted on dogs from birth. The fact that they cohabit with people and generally get along despite serious issues says much about their specialty. However, things generally don’t go according to plan because our dogs and humans have distinct ways of knowing and thinking. If we look at someone’s motivations to determine their goals, most problems can be solved.

Dependence on What Works

The impact of consequences on your dog’s behavior is significant. People earn things to get food, amusement, attention, and other things they want. They stop doing things that are harmful to them or don’t benefit them. Whether they generally go to the park or the vet will determine how quickly they get in the car.

The majority of the time, your dog’s motivations are clear-cut. They tug on the leash to go along more quickly. They jump up to greet people and get attention. They ignore your orders to “sit” because doing so is counterproductive.

An unsettling feeling

The other main factor influencing a dog’s behavior is emotion. How a dog reacts will depend on how they feel in that situation. A dog will try to flee or stop an uncomfortable or frightening situation. A dog that is content and at ease may be better able to listen to and learn information. To understand and change your dog’s behavior, you must first make them feel safe and at peace.

They don’t recognize any distinctions.

Dogs don’t urinate inside the house to annoy you or change the interior design of your home. In other words, people don’t know they shouldn’t. Dogs frequently view the world differently than humans regarding what is essential or genuine. When a medium-sized house for humans might be ample space for a dog, why not use specific areas for toileting? That tree at the end of the street may mean little to us when we want to take a stroll, but to our dogs, it is covered in intriguing and essential messages that demand sniffing.

Suppose your dog behaves in a way that differs from what you expect. In that case, it is your responsibility to train them to follow your expectations and to give them ways to meet their needs. They can’t read your mind, so you can’t tell them to stop immediately doing what makes sense to them.

First things

When we see bad behavior, the first thing that comes to mind is that it has to be remedied by punishment. However, to stop harmful behavior entirely, you must start from scratch.

Consult a vet.

Health and behavioral problems typically coexist. The first sign that a dog is unwell or in pain could be a behavior change. Tell your vet about your concerns, especially if the behavior is new so that any possible health problems can be checked out.

They meet their own needs.

Social interaction, exercise, play, smelling, and chewing are essential for dogs. If their fundamental wants aren’t met, they could behave strangely in a way to get what they desire. Even though it doesn’t always solve issues, exercise is essential before any other training can be practical to meet your dog’s needs.

Address fear.

It would help if you first addressed any intense emotions causing the problem behavior, such as fear. Other approaches won’t be able to adequately address the behavior issue without addressing this problem first (though teaching other behaviors can be a part of the plan). Read this for further details on modifying emotional reactions.

Prevent the problem.

“Management” refers to taking measures to prevent problem behavior before it arises. In contrast to training, management entails changing your dog’s environment such that they are unable or unlikely to pick up a specific behavior. Utilizing a kennel to housebreak a dog is one of the management strategies. Another management strategy is never leaving food out on the counter where your dog can steal it. While management won’t always get your dog to learn differently, unlike training, it is essential for preventing bad habits from repeating themselves and hardening. You may learn more about management here.

Various Resources for Handling Unwanted Behavior

Teach Me a Different Way

There are probably many things you don’t want your dog to do, but not many of them actually exist. Instead of chasing your dog around the house to stop the unpleasant behavior, it is almost always easier to focus on teaching and rewarding desirable behavior. This will make your life easier, keep your dog from being bothered and upset, and lead to a dog that obeys you with joy.

Even if training a new behavior takes time and effort, it is rarely as difficult as consistently punishing all problem behaviors. The use of positive reinforcement is effective, safe, and fun. It can address any behavioral issues you may have when combined with management, desensitization, and counter-conditioning. Dogs who have earned praise for their behavior do so willingly and enthusiastically. Here are some more details on how to teach a new behavior.

Interrupt and redirect.

You can stop your dog’s unpleasant behavior while it is still happening. Gaining their attention gradually and then showing them what you want them to do. The ones who get the most from this are puppies who are just starting to learn what works and doesn’t. For instance, give your dog a toy if they are trying to gnaw on the coffee table. Along with training to help prevent mistakes, redirecting can help your dog understand the intended behavior.

Interrupting and redirection are most effective when the “right” choice satisfies the same demands as the incorrect one and is equally, or even more, accessible to your dog. Although functional, redirection should only be used sparingly to avoid setting up bad habits that teach the dog that the only way to get what they want is first to make the “wrong” choice.

Take the reward away.

A crucial element of getting rid of undesirable behavior is making sure that your dog benefits in any way from it. Dogs are willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want or need. Ensure the undesirable behavior never “works” in the perfect problem. Management is one way to prevent your dog from being rewarded for actions you find objectionable. Still, there are times when you have total control over the desired result. For instance, you might reward them for begging and other annoying behaviors with your attention or a small bite from your plate. You must take away their reward if you don’t want certain behaviors to continue. This can be done by ignoring the behavior, not giving in to the puppy dog’s eyes, or leaving the situation.

Not all attention-seeking behaviors, meanwhile, are negative behaviors. How much of a difference will it make to my dog if I don’t react when they ignore [insert unwanted behavior]? Even if the answer is “yes,” it’s still important to reward your dog for the behaviors you want to see, so they may figure out how to pay attention in a way that you find more endearing. Teaching your dog the “correct” way to get what they want or need is only fair.

Note: If you try to abruptly stop rewarding behavior that was previously “working,” your dog can get very distressed. They may temporarily try harder, make more noise, be more determined to keep trying, or both. To prevent this, first, teach your dog an alternative behavior.

Punishment

Because your dog’s behavior is typically motivated by a desire to have what they want or a want to avoid getting what they don’t like, punishment may seem like a promising technique. A dog won’t repeat a behavior if it causes discomfort, pain, jerking of the leash, or any other uncomfortable or unpleasant experience. Punishment is brutal because it is typically the most challenging way to alter behavior.

To be effective, punishment must

  • Occur immediately and without delay after the behavior.
  • It happens every time, even if you aren’t present or distracted.
  • Be positioned to interrupt the behavior and increase its frequency in the future.
  • Be connected solely, and not with anyone or anything else, in your dog’s mind with the problematic behavior.

This is not at all easy to do in practice. You’ve likely used punishment to alter a behavior only to find that you must keep doing it. This shows that the punishment is ineffectual, and you make no headway in genuinely altering the behavior.

When punishment is used, your dog will likely experience punishment or even punishment, primarily if it isn’t delivered correctly. Instead of merely focusing on their behavior, the dog associates the punishment with the person giving it and other nearby people or animals. If you want to punish someone, you need to think carefully about this risk because it’s not a small one.

Summary

Numerous ways exist to change your dog’s undesirable behavior. Every situation will have a different solution, but the most rapid and significant change will be achieved using these stages.

  1. Ensure your dog’s safety and health.
  2. Consider the motivation behind the behavior—what does your dog expect to get out of it?
  3. Use management to put a stop to problem behavior.
  4. Decide on the proper behavior and reward it.
  5. Carefully consider your options before you give a punishment because it is usually more complex and riskier.