If you have a dog that is in need of some manners, ACDT is here to help! We offer professional dog training for pups that have developed bad behaviors or just need to learn some manners. Whether you are having problems with chewing, barking, or begging, ACDT has the solution. We offer a variety of different dog obedience classes for a variety of levels, so you’re sure to find a class that fits your needs. Contact us at 609-451-5252 to sign up for a class today!

The common thought is that your dog develops bad behaviors on their own, but the truth is that you, the owner, may be reinforcing their bad behaviors. In today’s blog, we will take a look at some ways that you could be causing unwanted behaviors in your pooch so that you can recognize, and avoid, them in the future!

Pawing

There’s nothing more enjoyable and relaxing than curling up on the couch with your pup, or absentmindedly stroking them while you talk on the phone or read a good book. However, have you ever noticed that if you stop petting your dog that he or she will nudge your hand or begin pawing at your leg? Some owners find this cute and endearing so they go back to petting their furry friend. Then, the next time you go to sit on the couch or you start to read the next chapter in your book, there it is again — your dog just won’t stop pawing at your leg!

If your dog paws or licks your hand every time you stop petting him or her, and, in response, you give him or her a nice stroke, you’re actually rewarding their behavior. Any type of affection is a reward to your animal because, after all, they just want to feel loved. If the pawing or nuzzling is constant and you find it bothersome, it’s because you reinforced it, and you need to find a way to fix that behavior.

Positive or Negative Reinforcement

Unfortunately, some dogs take any type of reinforcement — no matter if it is positive or negative — as encouragement. For example:

You’ve had a long day at work and you come home and sit down on the couch to watch your favorite TV show. Fido comes into the room with a toy and drops it in front of you. You proceed to half-heartedly throw it while watching your show. The next day you come home from another long day of work and Fido wants to play another game of fetch. This time, you’re too tired to even throw a ball so you just ignore him. Next thing you know, Fido is running around in circles barking, you get mad, and you yell at him.

In this scenario, all Fido wanted was some attention. By yelling at him for running around and barking, you’re not discouraging him, you’re giving him exactly what he wants — your attention. Eventually, this behavior will teach your dog that all he or she has to do to get the attention he or she wants is to do something bad.

That Small Chance

When you first get your new dog, you may decide that he or she will never be allowed on the couch or that you will never feed him or her scraps from the table. Then comes that first visit to the vet and you feel sorry for your pup so you give him or her a little treat at dinner or a quick snuggle on the couch. Maybe a couple weeks or a month goes by and, because you don’t break your rule all the time, you think it will be okay to let them on the couch or eat from your plate again. You probably believe that you’re in the clear because it only happened twice.

Unfortunately, now your dog has it ingrained in his or her head that they may get a treat at the table or a snuggle on the couch. This will lead to your dog begging at the dinner table or trying to jump on the couch, just because you slipped up a couple times.

Obedience Training

If you’ve made the mistake of encouraging your pup’s bad behavior, it’s not the end of the world. Luckily, the experts at ACDT can help you reverse the bad behaviors with their professional dog training. We offer different dog training classes for every skill level so you will be able to find a class to fit your exact needs. Whether you are trying to reverse bad behaviors, you need help with potty training, or you’re looking to train your dog from the moment you adopt them, we have the dog training tools and equipment to help! Contact ACDT to sign up for a class today!