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Control Bad Dog Behaviors

So, what do you do when Rover exhibits bad dog behavior?

Lets face it, dog owners like us derive considerable happiness from our trusty pets. It’s known that older people who live alone, but have a dog are happier, healthier and live longer than those who don’t have the companionship of a furry friend.

Nonetheless, our beloved pets usually are a bit mischievous sometimes, beating you to the newspaper and using it for a bone. At times, in his enthusiasm to love you, he jumps up to give you a hug and snags your favorite sweater on the way down. Then there’s downright bad dog behavior, such as snapping when annoyed or chasing the mail carrier. Dogs make wonderful pets, but they all must have training to quell their latent bad dog behavior tendencies. It’s best to start this training at an early age, because these bad habits just become harder to break, down the road.

Puppies tend to chew on anything small enough to fit between their paws. This is cute at first, unless it’s your prized Steinbeck first edition. You hate to punish this fuzzy little ball with teeth. You needn’t be harsh, but you’ve got to nip this habit in the bud. The old rolled-up newspaper is the best choice for this kind of discipline. It makes a loud noise, but does no more than sting that cute little nose for a moment. Even slapping the floor with the paper can do the trick.

You must catch them in the act and deal with them swiftly. Adding a verbal “Bad dog!” following newspaper application puts a little oomph into the action, as well as paving the way for future disciplinary action. After puppyhood has passed and infractions are fewer, a simple verbal “Bad dog!” is usually enough to correct most minor bad dog behaviors.

Jumping up on people is not something you want to encourage. Most bad dog behavior is cute when they’re small, but never when they’re grown. A medium sized dog can bowl over a child with disastrous results. When your dog jumps up, grab his front paws and hold them away from you at the same height. Don’t allow him to stand down. Quite soon, he’ll think this is not a great idea. He wants be on all fours, like a good dog. Hold him upright until he gets fidgety and whines. Gently let him down. You needn’t say a word. Don’t pet him or he’ll be confused, thinking it’s some sort of punishment-reward message. After several repeats, he won’t jump up on you or anyone else.

A gentle but consistent correction is sufficient to curb most bad dog behaviors. If your pet exhibits any malicious behaviors, such as snapping or biting, it’s probably best to engage a professional before the dog gets out of your control.

For all Rover’s virtues, there’s one character flaw in general: dogs find that roast on the counter-top irresistible. I can’t help you with that one.

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