Affectionate, friendly, and loyal, dogs are by far the most popular choice of pet in the United States. Over 38% of American households own at least one dog, and many own multiple!
One of the reasons dogs are so favored among pet owners is that they have big personalities. And though this can lead to some adorable moments, it can also become frustrating at times.
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Because dogs are so expressive, they’re prone to whining, begging, and other behavioral problems. If you know how to stop a dog from whining and correct any other issues you may be experiencing with your furry friend, you can enjoy each other’s company even more.
This guide will help you learn how to handle negative behavior from dogs so you can get the most out of your relationship with your pet. Keep reading to learn more!
How to Stop a Dog from Whining
Perhaps the most common issue pet owners have with their dogs is excessive vocalization, whether that be through whining or barking. Now, it’s important to try to understand the cause of the vocalization.
Remember that dogs are territorial animals and their instinct is to protect their homes and families. If your dog is barking because they’re alerting you of a stranger’s presence, they’re simply trying to protect you.
Other causes of barking include excitement, a need for attention, boredom, anxiety, and responding to the sound of another dog’s bark.
The best way to stop your dog from barking is through bark/quiet commands. Like any type of training, this will require time and patience.
Teaching Bark/Quiet Commands
Teach your dog one word commands that tell them when to speak and when to quiet down. Some good choices are “quiet” and “speak”.
To start the training, wait until your dog begins to bark. Get their attention, and when they stop barking, give a small treat.
When they begin to learn that being quiet earns them a treat and, you can add in your command. Next time they bark, say “quiet” in a firm but upbeat voice and hold up the treat. Only give them the treat when they remain quiet for more than a few seconds.
How to Calm Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is tough to deal with. Depending on your dog’s level of anxiety, you might notice howling, inappropriate urination and defecation, or destruction any time you leave the house.
A dog with separation anxiety can exhibit the following symptoms:
- Anxiety when their owner prepares to leave
- Misbehavior 15-45 minutes after their owner’s departure
- Excessive following or need for touch in the house
Easing your dog’s separation anxiety will require extensive training, including behavior modification and exercises to show your dog that you’ll always come back to them. In extreme cases, your dog might even need medication.
Because separation anxiety is a fear, it can’t necessarily be considered bad behavior. This means that traditional training won’t work, as the goal isn’t to teach your pet anything but rather to soothe their anxiety. They’ll never overcome their fear of being separated from you, but the fear can be managed.
How to Prevent Chewing
When it comes to training to stop negative behavior from dogs, chewing is a special case. Chewing is a natural, and important, activity for dogs and therefore shouldn’t be discouraged entirely. That said, there are ways to teach your dog to stop chewing on inappropriate items such as shoes and pillows.
Depending on their age and personality, your dog might be chewing out of boredom, anxiety, curiosity, or because they’re teething. If your dog enjoys chewing, the best thing you can do is to provide them with plenty of chew toys.
Learn what your dog likes most, as there are a variety of toys available on the market. They might prefer soft stuffed animals over plastic bones or frisbees, for example. You want your dog to enjoy chewing their toys so much that they’re no longer interested in your furniture.
It’s also a good idea to take your dog for one or two long walks a day. Getting out their excess energy will limit destructive behaviors, as they’ll gain stimulation from exercise rather than chewing.
How to Stop Digging
Some dog breeds are more prone to digging than others because they were originally bred for hunting. Other than hunting instinct, digging can be the result of boredom, anxiety, or a desire to hide bones or toys.
If your furry friend enjoys digging a little too much and has begun to destroy your backyard, there are a few things you can do to stop it.
First, try to determine the cause of the digging and eliminate the source. For example, if your dog is digging in an attempt to cool off in the dirt, provide plenty of shade or even a small pool for them to relax in.
Ensure that your dog is getting enough exercise and attention to limit boredom and anxiety. And if you can’t seem to stop the digging, it can be helpful to give your dog a sandbox or an area where it’s acceptable to dig.
Consider Professional Training
Although at-home training can be extremely effective, sometimes dog bad behavior is too much to handle on your own and that’s okay! Don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional for guidance. They can give you helpful tips or even train your dog for you.
Certain dog breeds, such as the Pekingese and Perro de Presa Canario, or canary mastiff, are notoriously difficult to train. If you have one of these breeds, look into Presa Canario training — it can make a world of difference.
Improve Your Dog’s Behavior with These Tips
Just like humans, dogs have their good days and bad, as well as a wealth of emotions. And as helpful as it would be to be able to simply talk through problems with our pets, we must rely on positive reinforcement to promote good behaviors.
When you’re trying to figure out how to stop a dog from whining, it can be tempting to yell at them out of frustration, but remember that they won’t understand why you’re angry. Instead, always opt for stimulation, exercise, and lots and lots of love.
For more pet care tips and tricks, be sure to check out our blog!