4 Common Bad Habits Your Dog Has and How to Fix Them

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Even the best of dogs have a bad habit or two. From barking at the doorbell to chewing your things, they can range from annoying to destructive. Thankfully, with the right training, you can break your pooch of his bad habits. Check out some common bad habits and how to fix them:

Barking at the Doorbell

Whether your dog is excited for visitors or has a watchdog mentality, it can be pretty annoying if they bark whenever the doorbell rings. Some dogs even think that their barking is what makes you open the door — in other words, they think they’re training you.

Shouting at them won’t help — it’ll just get them more excited. Instead, train them to do something else when the doorbell rings. Wag! suggests trying one of three approaches to breaking the bark: Teach them to ignore the doorbell, keep calm, or go to a designated space when it rings.

Unwanted Chewing

As cliche as it sounds, few things are worse than returning home and seeing your dog has chewed up a pair of your shoes. Resist your natural instinct to get angry and punish. Dogs do not associate past behavior with present punishments, so this will only confuse them.

Keep in mind that chewing is natural for dogs — it’s only a problem when they are chewing the wrong things. Dog Time recommends simply swapping out what they are munching on for something more appropriate like a chew toy. Also, keep anything you don’t want to be chewed secured and out of their reach so they aren’t tempted to put it in their mouth.

Peeing in the House

When your housebroken dog is peeing in the home suddenly, the first step is to investigate the reason why. If they are going in the same spot again and again, most likely they are picking up a leftover urine scent. Dogs are wired to go in the same place, and often just removing all traces of the odor removes this problem.

If an older dog is spotting around the house, they may be marking their territory because they feel threatened. This can come in the shape of a new animal or even a new piece of furniture. Thankfully, these dogs tend to recover faster.

Some dogs may pee in the house when you’re gone as a way of acting out. They may not be getting enough exercise or are feeling separation anxiety. Make sure your pup is getting enough exercise and attention. Try coming home during your lunch break to take them for a walk, or hire a dog walker or pet sitter to come by once or twice a day if you have a busy schedule.

If you have outdoor space like a backyard, consider giving your dog free rein of the area for most of the day. However, this means putting up adequate fencing around the perimeter, not only to keep your dog in but also possible danger out

Begging at the Table

There’s nothing inherently bad about your dog begging, but it can get obnoxious. To successfully break this habit, you need to get the whole family on board. It won’t work if there is still one person slipping them food under the table.

Start by ignoring them when you’re eating. Acknowledging their behavior will only encourage them. You can also train him to sit away from the table when you are having a meal. Most importantly, do not feed them anything from your hands. This applies to everything from sit-down meals to snacks on the couch. It is okay to give your pup safe people food, but they should eat it from their bowl in their normal feeding spot. Make them work for it, too! Even if it’s just a simple sit command, teach them that food is a reward for listening, not begging.  

Break the Habit

Just like anytime you’re trying to break a habit, it takes time and patience. Remember that dogs do not think as we do. Be flexible, and be prepared to get creative in your training — no two dogs are the same. With the right persistence, your pup will be an outstanding citizen in no time!