6 Tips for Fixing a Dog Behavior Problem
Fixing a dog behavior problem is usually simple. Instead of
getting frustrated and angry, calmly evaluate the situation and
work with your family to agree on the best solution.
Tip One: Decide on a Plan
Before you can fix a behavior problem, you need to make sure
everyone in your family is on the same page. If you are working
to fix the behavior, but everyone else is reinforcing the bad
behavior, your training program isn't going to get very far.
Work with your family to establish some rules.
Tip Two: Examine your Behavior
If a bad behavior persists, you are doing something to
contribute to the problem. For example, if your dog is jumping,
are you yelling at the dog? Pushing him off? All these things
are reinforcing. You are touching him, looking at him and
talking to him. Though you mean to punish him, you are actually
reinforcing the behavior.
Look at how you are reacting to the situation and determine
what is reinforcing your dog. Then, change your reaction. In our
jumping example, ignore your dog when he jumps by turning your
back and walking away.
Tip Three: Reward Good Behavior
Too often we inadvertently reward bad behavior and then
ignore good behavior. When your dog stops jumping, for example,
you are then free to walk in the door, so you stop paying
attention to the dog. Now, he learns that he is ignored when he
To reduce bad behavior, reverse this trend. Ignore the
jumping and praise and pet your dog when he is calmly standing
beside you. Even if you don't have treats, a simple "good boy"
does the trick when your dog does something that you like.
Tip Four: Teach an Incompatible Behavior
Think about what you would like your dog to do instead of the
bad behavior and teach him how to do that using positive
reinforcement. For example, if your dog gets underfoot while you
are cooking, teach him to go lie in a bed in the corner. This
way, he is still in the kitchen watching, but he's not in the
way. To reward him for this behavior, intermittently toss him a
treat, praise him or go to the bed to pet him.
Tip Five: Start Small and Build Up
In our previous example, you can't expect your dog to go to
his spot and lie there for an hour when you first teach the
behavior. You start by standing right by the bed, sending him to
it and reward him for standing on the bed for a second or two.
Then, you slowly build up amount of time he can stay. You slowly
build the distance that you can move from the bed. If your dog
ever breaks the stay, you are moving too fast.
Tip Six: Be Consistent
The secret to successful training is consistency. If you
sometimes pet your dog while he's jumping on you and sometimes
punish him, he doesn't know what to do. He will try jumping
every time because it sometimes gets him attention. However, if
he never get attention when he jumps, he will stop.
Building a training program depends on the dog and the
behavior, but every training program relies on the same basic
concepts. Be positive and consistent, and your dog will begin to
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