Dog Behavior and You, How to Help Your Dog Change

Welcome back to the Acoma Animal Clinic Blog! Last time on the blog we talked a lot about the dog-friendly activities and restaurants in our lovely city of Tucson. That got the gears turning in our minds though. What if your dog’s behavior is less than ideal? You can’t take them out and about, they’re poor listeners or worse. We’ve previously talked about clicker training your dog, this time we are going to look at more options for dog behavior and how you can make sure they’re ready to go out and about in Tucson with you!

Here are just some steps you can take with your pooch on a daily basis. These will be steps you should be able to notice changes within the week!

dog behavior

Reinforce Relaxing

Our dogs constantly pay attention to what we are doing, they want to follow our lead, jump up off the couch as we walk about the house and follow us wherever we go. These behaviors are anxious, but they also are self-sustaining. The dog is behaving in an attention seeking manner, and so we give them the attention.

It’s not because we’re bad owners! We just don’t know that we are feeding into those negative behaviors. So how do we correct it? Be watchful for when your pup is relaxing!

Have some treats on hand and keep an eye out for when your dog is relaxing on the bed, asleep on the sofa, or what have you. Grab a treat to reward your pooch and if they jump up to see what’s going on or leap for the treat, simply pace it back and don’t make any comment on it.

The goal is to separate anything you do with the treat. Instead, as this happens repeatedly your dog will begin to ignore your movement for the treat and keep on relaxing. Drop the treat between their paws and move on and keep repeating. This behavior will eventually be rewarded and they’ll stick to it.

Give a Command, Get a Response

How many times have you tried to get your dog to sit only to be ignored on your first, second, even eighth command? We know. We’ve been there.

How do you correct this? Get your hands on some treats again!

Throughout the day approach your pet and give them the command one time only! One command, then wait and watch. Count to five in your head but do not make any noise. If on the count of five your dog has still has not sat do the following:

Take the treat in hand, hold it above the dogs head and move it backwards towards their tail. Do not repeat the sit command. Instead, as the treat moves towards your pup’s tail, if they complete the sitting motion say ‘Yes!’ and give the treat.

Do this repeatedly throughout the day in-between other things. Soon enough your dog will know to listen to commands the first time! Keep on training and begin to ask for them to sit without a treat in hand. When he sits without a treat in hand, repeat the praise, ‘Yes!’ and grab them a reward. They’ll be listening better in no time!

Keeping Quiet

Loud, whiny dogs can be an absolute deal breaker when taking them out and about with you. If our friend is a frequent barker they can get you and them the boot from that hip new brunch spot.

Like our first point, it is a negative attention seeking behavior that we all too often inadvertently reward when all we want in the world is to stop them from making noise!

When your dog begins making a fuss, identify what it is the want. It might be food, a walk, for you to throw a ball, whatever. Whatever it is wait for them to briefly pause their noisemaking and quickly deliver a ‘Yes!’ or other verbal note and then do what the dog is begging for.

Continue with this, each time making the wait between ‘Yes!’ and the action longer and longer. Soon your pup will recognize that you aren’t doing what they want until they remain quiet.

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