All puppies (and adult dogs, too) do some things you would rather they not do!
So you're reading this page because your dog is doing something you don't like – some behavior you want him to do differently – or simply stop doing.
- Housebreaking "accidents"
- Barks too much
- Won't let go of things
- Steals food when you turn your back
- Jumps on people
- Chews on your hands
- Constantly seeks attention
- Guards his food or toys
- Pulls on the leash
- Aggressive toward people or other dogs
- Struggles when you try to restrain him
- Chases the cat
- Chews on the furniture or your belongings
- Did I mention housebreaking "accidents"?
The "magic word" for virtually all dog behavior problems is "No." But what you do AFTER you say "No" is the true SOLUTION for stopping dog behavior problems. Do you know what to do next?
"How can I stop my dog from....?"
One of the most common questions dog owners ask me is: "How can I stop my dog from (doing some specific behavior problem)?"
They're hoping I'll tell them where to find a secret button on the back of their dog's head that will trigger a MISBEHAVIOR-OFF switch.
Alas, my answer is almost always the same, no matter what the misbehavior is. Here it is (free of charge!): "You need to tell your dog, 'No. Stop that.'"
Does that sound too simplistic? It probably does, because most owners respond, in a frustrated voice, "But I already TELL my dog NO, but he doesn't stop!"
Then he doesn't truly understand what No means....or else he understands but doesn't see any reason why he should do it.
You must actually communicate to your dog what No means (I can show you how).....and then whenever he disobeys the word, you must respond in a particular way that encourages him to respect you. Because without respect, your dog may UNDERSTAND what you say, but he doesn't see any reason why he should DO what you say.
No matter how large or how small, all dogs need to respect their owners. I teach my toy dogs respect in the same ways I taught my German Shepherds.
Getting your dog to respect you means getting all of your daily interactions with your dog right.
You might be thinking, "But I already do that. I know how to interact with my dog....it's easy."
Actually, it isn't easy. Your dog is a completely different species, and canines interpret the world differently than we do.
Whenever you do anything with your dog, even just walking through the kitchen or petting him or speaking to him......he is busy judging your tone of voice, your facial expression, your body language, how you're touching him, how you respond when he does X or Y.
All of these things are very, very important to dogs....they use these little things to draw conclusions about you.
- If you interact with your dog in ways that are WRONG for canines, he will conclude that even though you're a nice person and you love him, he doesn't need to obey you. And you will see behavior problems.
- If you interact with your dog in all the RIGHT ways for canines, he will conclude that you're not only a nice person who loves him, but also a capable leader who is worthy of respect. Then he will listen to you when you say, "No. Stop that."
Dogs need enough exercise and active play sessions to tire them out. Some dogs need only moderate exercise to make them feel content. Other dogs need a TON of exercise. You have to meet the needs of your particular dog.
Respectful dogs don't misbehave. It is as simple as that.
Well....it's ALMOST as simple as that.
Even respectful dogs will misbehave if they don't get enough daily exercise, play sessions, and ongoing companionship.
Dogs are sociable creatures. If you work all day and your dog is home alone, he will feel bored and frustrated. If you leave him outside most of the day, he will feel bored and frustrated. If you don't provide enough physical exercise and active play sessions, he will feel bored and frustrated.
Dogs vent their boredom and frustration by chewing and destroying things..... digging holes......acting hyperactive and rambunctious...... barking barking barking.
Those "misbehaviors" cannot be solved by training. Your dog has every right to vent his boredom and frustration when his needs of exercise and companionship are not being met. You have to meet those needs while also teaching him to respect you by interacting with him in all the right ways.
You need to learn the right ways to interact with your dog....and the wrong ways, too – so you don't do those! You need to know how to teach the Magic Word ("No") to your dog and how to respond when he doesn't obey it. Because that's how you stop behavior problems. With that one word.
Here's another article I've written on Respect Training.
Or just follow the complete, step-by-step Respect Training program in my book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. You can download it and start reading immediately, or you can have the printed book mailed to you.