A dog who can politely walk on a leash, will not jump on company, won’t bark constantly, and will not wreak your house is a joy to live with. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t born knowing social etiquette and manners, leaving it up to you to teach them.
Walk Nice, Please!
Do you have a dog who strains at the end of his leash, eager to go, go, go? This can be really hard on your arm and make walking your dog something to dread. It’s time to teach your dog some leash manners!
Put your dog’s leash on in the house or unexciting backyard. These are everyday places for him and not filled with such tempting scents to track. Now, get your dog’s attention with a treat. Lead him around the room/yard with the command “heel,” stopping if he starts to pull. If he tugs, get his attention again and, if he lets the leash slacken, give him a little treat. Do this every day until your dog will walk around the room/yard without so much as a tug, expecting a treat at the end. Now implement the same training on a small section of your street. There are more distracting things for your dog here. Give the command “heel” and walk back and forth with your pocket full of treats, getting your dog’s attention so that he’ll walk at your side, wanting the yummy snack. Reward him with a treat every so often to keep him interested. After your dog walks without a pull on a part of your street, walk the whole length. Your dog might forget his training and start to pull, so give him the command “heel” and get his attention with a treat. You can slowly wean him off of treats when he perfects walking at heel.
Don’t Jump, Pup!
Okay, I’ll admit it. I jump up on people. It’s rude, I know, but I just can’t contain my happiness when visitors arrive! My humans, however, have been working on having me sit instead of jump for attention. I’m getting better at it, even though I still love to jump up and give everyone kisses! Does your dog jump up on people? This can be irksome and possibly dangerous in the case of a larger dog, and our claws tear your clothes and skin. Teach your dog to ask for attention in a polite way!
To begin with, don’t let your dog get away with jumping on anybody. Not you, your spouse, your kids, your dog-loving friends, nobody! Your pooch doesn’t know the difference between jumping up on you and jumping up on guests. So, whenever your dog jumps up on anyone, help him off and say the command, “Off.” Give your dog a lot of attention when all four feet are on the ground. And, from now on, when your dog comes up to you, tail wagging and all four paws on the ground, pet and praise him for being such a good pup.
Now, teach your dog Sit and totally perfect it. When that is done, start asking your dog to sit whenever he wants your attention. Don’t do it all of the time or your dog might start avoiding you! After you see your dog starting to sit without you asking him, take it another step further. Have a family member or friend come up to your dog after coming home from work, school, or the mailbox (even a few steps to the mailbox means joyous jumps upon your return!). If your dog is especially hyper, it might be a good idea to leash him at first. Have the other person totally ignore your dog until you command your dog to sit. When he does, the person should pet the dog and make a big fuss over him. Practice this for many days until your dog will go up to a family member or friend and sit to be pet. After that, try it on people your dog regularly doesn’t see. Leash him and ask him to sit. If he complies, have the guest reward with a whole lot of praise! Also, when you have guests over now, explain to them how you are training your dog to sit for attention so they can pet him when he does. Maybe later on you could build off of this command and teach your dog to offer guests a paw!
The Barking Problem
Is your dog an excessive barker? I know I am! My humans are alerted of every leaf that falls and of any squirrel that crosses the yard. I’m a good watch dog, right? Unfortunately, my humans don’t think so! How do you stop your dog from barking too much?
Whenever you catch your dog barking, let him do a few woofs to alert you and then ask him to sit. Have a yummy treat on hand and command him, “Shhhhhh!” (Make sure to excessively drag out the “Shhh!”) When he quiets down, reward him. From now on, when your dog barks, get up, ask him to sit, say “Shhhhh,” and reward him. Soon, you can wean him off of treats by mixing up the rewards. One time give him a treat for being quiet, another time a belly rub, and another time play his favorite game. Don’t stop giving him the treats right away or he will just continue to bark! Keep very patient and positive, never getting angry with your dog. Guarding your home is in your dog’s roots and not something you should punish. Also, alerting you when people come up to your door or fence can be a good thing. Let your dog give you a few alerting barks before giving him the command, “Shhhh!”
Does Your Dog Destroy Your House?
You’ve been gone all day at work and come home, planning to give the dog a quick walk and then watch a little TV. You open the door and – oh, my goodness! Your dog tore apart the couch pillow, peed on the carpet, and ate that bread you left on the edge of the counter! And there is your dog, looking up at you with big brown eyes, leash in his mouth. Baaaad dog!!
Or is he a bad dog? What do you think drove your dog to tear up the pillow, pee on the carpet, and eat that bread, and how can you fix it?
First of all, that shredded pillow. What did you leave for your dog to do? A few toys will only keep your dog interested for so long! You might need to invest in a Kong that can be stuffed with peanut butter or other treats. This can keep your dog engaged for an hour or so, depending on how much your dog likes the challenge of getting the treat out. Also, walk your dog vigorously and feed him before you leave. A tired dog with a full belly will want to sleep for a while. When he wakes up, he can play with the Kong, stroll across the yard (if he has access), take another nap, play with his other toys, and greet you at the door. If your dog is still bored and destroying your house, you might need to drop him off with a pet sitter or at a doggy daycare.
As for peeing on the carpet, did your dog have access to outside? If not, he just had to go, so don’t punish him for something he couldn’t help. See if your schedule will allow you to stop by your house and let your dog out during the day or hire a pet sitter to. What if your dog did have access to the yard, though? Well, accidents do happen, especially with puppies and older dogs. Clean it up without any fuss; it might just be that your dog didn’t make it outside in time. If your dog continues to relieve himself in the house while you’re away, you may need to consult your vet.
If you’re wondering about the bread, make sure you push and put up all food and items out of your doggy’s reach!