It's been a hectic time for me lately because I am currently competing in a website competition. Since my time is limited these next few weeks, today's post is from a special guest. Please welcome Rupert Brown, from MuddyPaws.co.uk.
Understanding Your Dog's Behavior
Having a dog takes up a huge amount of your time. They effectively become a member of the family. They'll be running to the front door to greet you when you come in and put their head in your lap if you've had a bad day. Your dog has as much of a personality as you do and, consequently, they have feelings as well.
If you want your dog to be happy, you need to pay attention to his or her moods. Different breeds have certain traits that you need to be aware of. For example, it is in the nature of a terrier to dig, in the same way as it is for a sheepdog to herd. These traits can affect their personality, but so can your behavior. Dogs recognize different tones of voice so if your dog does something to be proud of, tell them. Use an enthusiastic voice and smile. If you have a smaller breed, pick them up and give them a cuddle.
Making a fuss of your pet will help them to understand that they've done something good, increasing the chances of them repeating it. Rewarding them with healthy treats if they have behaved exceptionally well will help them to make the connection that good behavior equals tasty delights.
Don't Ignore Bad Behavior
Similarly, if they have misbehaved, it's important to make them understand but not to frighten them. Hitting a dog on the nose or around the facial area will provoke fear and they may lash out or bite you as a defence mechanism. Using a stern voice and repeating certain words such as 'naughty' will help the dog to understand that they have done something wrong but they also won't be frightened. The more often they hear the negative word, the sooner they will realize that what they're doing isn't right.
If you find your dog has behaved badly but you don't realize until much later on, it's important not to discipline them. They may struggle to understand what they have done wrong if the incident occurred some time ago and this can confuse them. Some dogs will realize that they have misbehaved when you discover what they've done and you can tell this by their reaction to you.
Understand Their Behavior
If your dog suddenly starts to behave in a submissive manner when you walk into a room and find the curtains have been ripped down, chances are they already know they're in trouble, indicating that their behavior is a cry for attention. Make a note of this, particularly if they repeat the behavior and continue to use the negative word if they show an understanding, to remind them that they have been naughty.
Think about why your dog is behaving in a certain way. It may be just because they particularly enjoy doing something or have developed a habit such as chewing. Many dogs chew shoes but if you give them an alternative and keep taking the shoes away, you might be able to break the habit. If they act up when a certain person is in the house, it could be their influence. Ensure any disciplinary rules are kept with everyone in the house. There is no point in you telling your dog it's naughty to take your socks if your partner then gives them socks to play with. Avoid confusion and your dog will be happy to accommodate some basic rules, particularly if they know they'll get cuddles, treats or walks out of it.
Rupert Brown is the Managing Director of Muddy Paws, a leading UK retailer of dog products. He lives in the stunning county of Dorset in southern England with his family and dog (as well as Muddy Paws product tester!) Oscar.