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What Your Dog's Behaviour Says About You

Are you barking up the wrong tree?

If you're a proud dog owner, you probably already know just how awesome canine companions can be -- which is great! But chances are, there are a few annoying little behaviours you're just not that into as well -- which is not so great. 

While you can do your best to teach Fido the difference between right and wrong, sometimes, despite all your efforts, getting him to follow a simple command can be like pulling teeth. Annoying much?

Well, as irritating -- if not infuriating -- as it is, don't ever be tempted to scold your fur baby because as animal behaviourst Laura Vissaritis told ten daily, your dog's behaviour is actually a reflection on your parenting skills.

"We have domesticated dogs over tens of thousands of years, to observe and follow our guidance. As a result, this has sometimes resulted in breeding unfavourable traits for behaviour," Laura explained.

When dealing with a problematic pup, you have to first ask yourself why it is happening? And then look at how your actions and behaviour might be making the situation worse.

"Most unwanted dog behaviour occurs as a result of it being reinforced by people -- whether that's through food, affection, attention, eye contact or your voice. So you may find that you're inadvertently rewarding behaviours you do not want," she said. 

Thankfully, as Laura explained, it's possible to help your dog overcome problematic behaviours -- if remember to treat them with consistency, patience and respect.  

"It's about learning how to understand your dog better and prevent issues from occurring rather than trying to manage them when they become bothersome," she said.

Read on to find out how you can become a better pet parent.

Don't punish your dog

Choose to correct bad behaviours rather than punish them. "Evidence shows that while this may change the dog's behaviour in the short term, they usually go back to old habits and the underlying problem is never dealt with," Laura said. Instead, use positive and negative reinforcement, time outs and preventative measures to discipline your pooch.  

Reward good behaviour

Rewarding means that your dog receives something it wants or values, as a consequence of its behaviour. "Look out for the things you want from your dog and consistently reward it," she suggested. Not only is rewarding with treats enjoyable for your dog but it also enhances the bond between you and your pet.

Strive for success

Remember your fur baby lacks the ability to rationalise or reason. This is your responsibility. "Always avoid scenarios where you know your dog won't cope," such as off-lead parks, or encounters with unfamiliar dogs," Laura advised. Also, ensure they always have access to toilet to prevent mishaps, and provide chew toys for them to nibble on instead of your couch.

Socialise your dog

A happy dog is a well behaved dog. What's more, as Laura explained, research has shown that dogs living with active people are better behaved. "The more you exercise your dog, the more content they generally feel. It's an old solution but one that works. Bored dogs invariably act out ... wouldn't you?"

Stay consistent

There's nothing more confusing to a dog that an inconsistent person. "Make sure Fido understands what you expect, what you want and what you don't want. More importantly, when they do what you want, reinforce it," Laura said. "This ensures they will continue offering what you want -- resulting in a happy dog and happy human."

Feature image: Getty.