5 Good Doggie Behaviour Tips
Updated: Feb 12
Is there something that your pooch does that drives you crazy? Maybe it’s jumping up on you or barking at the door when someone comes. I reckon we can all think of something that causes us to think “how can I stop him/her doing that!”
Discouraging bad or annoying behaviour in our pooches is a necessary part of our relationship with them but how do we go about that in a way that is positive, nonthreatening and deepens the bond?
Positive reinforcement is a great method you can use to train your pup. Their bad behaviour will be discouraged and gradually disappear whilst they will be encouraged to positive ones.
Here are 5 forms of positive reinforcement you might like to add to your dog training arsenal.
1. Rewards There are very few dogs who don’t respond to treats and praise. Dogs have an inbuilt need to please, so use it to your advantage when training. Find out what it is your dog loves and use it as their reward for good behaviour. With most dogs, food is a great motivator but many pooches love play or just plenty of extra attention as their reward. Whatever it is, make sure that you reward instantly. Dogs live for now, so the minute they do what you want, reward them. To help with this I use a treat pouch. That way the treats are ready to hand when I need one.
Beware of accidentally rewarding bad behaviour too. For example, if you are trying to discourage your dog from jumping on you for attention. Make sure that you ignore them when they do this. Only reward them when they sit quietly for you instead.
2. Training should always be fun!
Dogs do not have the long attention spans that we do, so make sure your training sessions are short and sweet. But importantly, they should be as fun packed as possible. Once your pooch realizes that he is rewarded with lots of fun in these sessions, his motivation levels will go through the roof and positive behaviour will happen.
3. Make sure you send clear signals.
It’s no good trying to teach your dog something if you aren’t clear about what you want and neither is the dog. So make sure you are consistent in your communication of what you want.
Here’s an example for you.
Fido has just peed on your brand new rug..
Your first reaction might be to yell and scold him but what does that really say to him?
It probably makes him think “Geez mum gets cranky if she sees me pee here. So maybe I’ll wait till she’s out of the room next time.”
Look clearly at what it is you want…in this case, you want Fido to pee outside right? So, whenever he does go outside and pees, Reward him! You’ve just sent him a clear message that you are really happy when he pees outside.
4. Hang out together. Most of us get a dog because we want a furry companion to become a part of the family. So make sure you hang out together. Ignored and neglected dogs tend to become dogs that will misbehave and get into trouble. Make sure your dog gets plenty of you and them time. You’ll be rewarded with better behaviour and a pet that loves you even more.
5. Give your dog something to think about…(other than getting into mischief that is)
Many dogs just love mentally stimulating activities. They help run off nervous energy, prevent boredom and are a great way of positively reinforcing good behaviour.
Here’s a good example.
My dog just loves hide and seek games. Here is how we play the game
I put him in another room and then spend a few moments hiding treats around the place. Then I let him out and encourage him to find the treats. Being a lab, he has a great nose for sniffing out food lol and he’s gotten really good at the game. He just loves it! And he gets the reward of the treats when he finds one.
What it is also doing is getting him to listen to me when I tell him to search and as I always make sure I play with him when he’s being a good boy, he knows that his good behaviour has a wonderful reward. It also uses up excess energy.
This is just one example. I’m sure you can think of plenty more that would work with your dog.
Hopefully with these new tricks in hand, living with a naughty pooch will gradually become a thing of the past.