Monday, December 11

Solving Common Dog Behavior Problems Part 1: Chewing, Fear of Stairs, Begging, And Mouthing

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Chewing

All dogs, especially puppies, love to chew. Dogs of course pick up and carry things in their mouth. The chewing desire is written in their genes and its in its strongest when she is teething, that is between five to ten months of age.

Solution: Gather up a selection of chewing items that are safe for the puppy and “allowed” for use in your home. You can buy nylon chew toys and knotted ropes, cresite hard rubber balls and tugs, and several other dog toys. Put all the chewing items in a box. Make certain the puppy knows that anything that is not in this box is off limits. Keep the box on hand so that when the pup starts to chew on your favorite slippers, redirect her chewing urge. Scold only when you catch him in the act of chewing on something that is off limits. Tell him sternly “no chew” and then hand him the items he is allowed to chew.  Praise the pup when he takes the item.

Always keep an eye on your pup when he is free roaming inside the house just until he is past the teething stage. Always be on the lookout until the chewing is no longer a threat.

Fear of the Stairs

If your puppy will go up the stairs, and then stands at the top and refuses to come down, this is just normal. Puppies are seldom afraid to go up the stairs, because their balance seems to be alright in that direction. But when their head and front feet are facing down, they find it difficult to balance, like they are going to tumble down.

Solution: Put the puppy just two steps from the bottom. Call him to you or show him one of his favorite toys or a treat. He should be able to manage this short distance. Praise him with great gusto. Gradually, over a couple of days, increase the number of steps until he has got the hang of them all. Just be careful as the stairs poses a real danger if they would tumble.

Begging

This problem is solely created by people. Do not give your dog treats when you are eating. Don’t give in even if he shows you his big brown eyes. Once you give your dog some food when you are eating, he will be persistent in begging from you and even to other people. Your dog should get all his meals in the same place or dish. Treats are reserved during play time and training.

Solution: If your dog has already acquired this habit, you must scold him for something that has been alright with you. If he is already obedience trained use the “Stay” command when you stop him from begging. When the dog still begs, just say “No!” and take him in a reasonable distance away where you can still watch him. Put him on “stay”, and if he breaks the command and tries to beg, repeat the same step. Be consistent and do this when he starts begging. Do not use the crate for punishment because he will not learn that begging is no longer legal this way.

Mouthing

This is a habit that puppies do to people and other dogs. Its just natural for them, however, this is not desirable to people. They need to a lot of mouthing to learn how hard they can bite during play. Since you are not a puppy, do not allow him to bite or mouth you. When you do, this will put you in the same level as the puppy, like a littermate. When he gets older, he will think he can dominate over you.

Solution: If your puppy bites you even in a light manner, give off aloud and convincing “Ouch!” response. If he stops the biting, or lick your hand, praise him. If not, just repeat the “ouch” on the next bite. If he does not seem to get the message that biting is painful, you can grab his muzzle and say “no!” when he bites. When your pup stops, praise him and give him a chew toy. Gradually, your puppy will learn his lesson.

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