Teaching Your Dog to Do the Wrong Things

Many dog owners inadvertently end up teaching your dogs the exact things that they donít want their dog to do. This can happen for any number of reasons, but in most cases this type of rewarding of bad behavior is easily preventable by consistency and patience with the dog.

In reality dog owners tend to spend a lot of time working with their puppy, especially in the first six months. The owner is proud and eager to take the puppy to obedience classes, to teach them all kinds of tricks and even to plan time each day to work on training routines.

For many puppies this is the key learning time, however it doesn't mean that this is the only time owners need to work with their dogs.

What You Should Never Teach Your Dog to Do

Usually after the six to eight month time frame the owner begins to expect the dog will follow through on commands, and perhaps begins to become a little less attentive to rewarding the dog for following commands. Gradually the dog becomes a little slower at sitting down, spends a couple more seconds sniffing around before coming back and maybe just gives one extra bark after you give the command to stop.

By not re-training or correcting these behaviors immediately you are actually teaching your dog that you donít have to pay attention or that they can choose to listen and obey when it suits them.

Some owners even make the mistake of more directly rewarding their dog for bad behavior. This is most common with small and toy breeds that may fall into the spoiled dog category. When these dogs bark or snap at someone, the owner picks up the dog and actually pays more attention to it, rewarding all the possessive and territorial behavior.

Correcting problems doesn't mean using any type of punishment or harsh discipline; rather it means working on obedience and finding ways to reward the dog for doing the right thing. For most dogs this means combining food rewards, verbal praise and lots of petting and attention for the right behavior.

Using ignoring the dog when it does something wrong or a simple "No" or "Bad dog" and then ignoring is all it takes if the dog is bonded to you at all.

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The other option is to teach a dog to do a positive behavior that will prevent the bad behavior from occurring. For example, if your dog jumps up on people, teaching your dogs to sit to get attention and to greet visitors. A dog that is sitting cannot be jumping up at the same time. Once the dog learns that sitting equals getting attention while jumping up means being ignored, they will soon be running over and sitting down to say hi.

A refresher obedience class or even taking the dog through any type of training program will really help as a refresher class. It is also a great way to bond with your dog and provide both socialization and exercise. The trainer can also help with re-training for any bad habits and getting you both back on the right track.

Article by Karen Olson of Oh My Dog Supplies, check for current specials on round dog beds online.

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"Never stand between a dog and the hydrant." - John Peers