Handling a Misbehaving Dog

Being a dog parent is fun on most days and fulfilling on a great day. However, there will be that one time or even stretch of time when your dog will engage in mischief, and test your patience in every imaginable way. What you do during these times will determine his future behaviour because as you might have already observed, being agitated when your dog is misbehaving only makes a bad situation worse.

I will walk you through what to do generally when your dog is misbehaving. Although different situations should call for different reactions these general guidelines should help you stay prepared. You should also know that to not lose your cool when your dog is misbehaving you should stop giving him human values. He is a dog. He is therefore just being a dog when he is chasing after the neighbour’s rabbit and following his natural instincts, and not doing so to annoy you. In short, try and think what motivates him to do what he does and continue from there.

The cause

First try and know what makes him engage in the bad behaviour you want him to quit. For example when does he start barking incessantly? Is it when he sees young children, when he sees other dogs, or cats? When you have your trigger then you want to find out why he misbehaves around the trigger. For example if the dog barks around small dogs, it could be that your dog feels dominant and just wants to exert his dominance on those dogs. If he runs and hides when there is company, then it could be because he fears people because he is not well socialized.

Curbing bad behaviour

Stay calm

Once you know what triggers bad behaviour, and why the dog reacts as he does you should stay calm and try to retrain the dog on the same. Using the above example of a dog that barks at small dogs, don’t follow the first reaction that comes to mind which is to shout at the dog to stop barking. Doing this is rewarding bad behaviour and the dog will keep repeating the behaviour to get your attention. Instead, ignore the dog or redirect him. Redirecting him means diverting his attention to something else, for example getting him to play with a toy.

Cute Photo @enz0bella

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