How do I stop my dog from doing —You Fill in the Blank!
Your blank may be filled with:
My dog jumps.
My dog steals my stuff.
My dog counter-surfs.
My dog digs in the back yard.
My dog barks at people walking by.
The list of complaints goes on and is never ending.
I Want My Dog to Quit?
It’s the age old question that, from your point of view as a dog owner, needs an immediate solution. Today! Better yet, yesterday!
However, this age old question from a trainer’s point of view begs another question.
I know, you’re never supposed to answer a question with a question.
Perhaps this is the one time where it’s okay. You’ll see what I mean when I ask the question.
Here’s my question.
What would you prefer your dog do?
Your Solution is in Your answer to Your Problem
That’s going to make you think a little, or a lot. It all depends on your list of grievances with your dog.
Thinking takes energy on your part, but here’s the thing about energy.
If you had spent the same amount of energy training your dog to do what you prefer instead of the constant corrections and complaining, we would not be having this conversation, would we?
There is High Value in Replacement Behavior
Your dog’s bad behavior never changes when you only correct him. He’s just doing what works for him (corrections are attention) AND because you haven’t taught him any different.
Once you “stop” the bad behavior there is a void to fill.
Until you fill the void with the “replacement behavior” YOU want, it will keep filling back up with the bad behavior that drives you nuts!
Here’s how you can get a head start.
Organize Your Objectives in Teaching the Replacing Behaviors
I like lists.
Lists help me to stay organized and prioritized with the things I need to do and in what order.
List all the inappropriate behaviors your dog does, what causes them (triggers) and then put down what you would prefer your dog do instead.
Each of your dog’s behavior is its own separate line item.
Don’t forget to prioritize them with the most irritating behaviors at the top of the list.
Here’s an Example of Listing Bad Behaviors You Want to Change
Bad Behavior: Jumping Trigger: Visitor I prefer: Sit to greet
Bad Behavior: Counter-surfing Trigger: Food on counter I prefer: down/stay while I’m cooking
Remember, there is more value in the replacement behavior because once taught, it becomes a win-win for you both.
There is also less stress on your dog knowing what to do and when to do it.
With your list now done, you can start working on each behavior, one at a time.
It goes without saying that the more practice you do on your own, the better your dog performs when real visitors come over or when you’re cooking a real meal.
Knowing the Root Cause Makes Fixing Dog Behavior Problems Easier
If you know WHY your dog is stealing your stuff you can fix the problem easier.
Maybe it’s attention from you that he’s not getting and it’s his way of engaging you. In his mind corrections are attention and apparently it works for him.
Do you keep his mind challenged?
I would say it’s a “safe bet” that you would never “over challenge” your dog. Most family dogs like yours are never over challenged and in fact sleep an average of 17 hours a day!
If you think about it, your dog lies around sleeping and waiting for you to come home and engage with him. Hoping you will challenge him physically and mentally.
If you don’t engage with your dog, he will try and light a fire under you by stealing your stuff as if to say, “Catch me if you can!”
If you don’t want to walk your dog because of bad weather, create mental fatigue by doing rapid fire sits and downs for 2 minutes three times in the evening.
You do have 6 minutes a day for your dog, right?
Challenge him by requiring him to work for his dinner by getting it out of a roller-ball (doggie food dispensing toy) that will take much, much longer than doing a quick “sit-and-gulp” his food in 60 seconds.
Challenging your dog using his food is smart. He will be mentally and physically exhausted. What’s the old saying? “A tired dog is a good dog.” A tired dog won’t steal your stuff.
So challenge your dog mentally and physically. Remember to think of what you would prefer your dog to do in each situation where he “acts out.”
Teaching him preferred behaviors expends less energy on your part and it’s a win-win for you both.
Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog
You got your dog for a reason. You wanted to share your life with a happy and loving dog. But now, your dog has big problems and life is not happy.
I can help you get that happy, well behaved dog back. We’ll work together at your speed and both you and your dog will have fun every step of the way.