Having a disobedient dog can be incredibly hard-work. Some dogs bark incessantly while others get very aggressive and frighten visitors to the house or even the owners themselves. Training a dog from a young age is an ideal way to ensure any bad habits are overcome early on, rather than trying to force the dog out of them later on.
Understand the disobedience
Dogs can develop habits but they often behave in a particular way for a reason. For example, if they get very agitated and start barking and trying to attack the post when it arrives, this could be due to them feeling uncomfortable about the postman. It’s unlikely that your dog has ever met the man who delivers the mail so he may act defensively when a stranger comes onto his property. Try introducing the dog to the postman and allow them to get acquainted. Keep the dog on a lead and take it slowly, allowing your dog to be reassured that the postman is a normal part of the day and ensure he stays calm throughout the meeting.
If there is a new person coming to the property, the dog may be barking to act as a warning to you. He could be letting you know that someone is there, like an alternative doorbell. If he hears a familiar voice, this is often effective in calming a dog down as he will know that it’s someone he recognises and isn’t a threat to you or the home.
Some dogs will misbehave in a bid to get the attention of their owners. They may take things that aren’t theirs, beg at the dinner table or chew up things they shouldn’t. It can help to treat the dog in a similar way to a child in these circumstances. Use repetition so the dog understands certain words. For example, try using the phrase, “no, we’re eating” in a stern voice accompanied by eye contact whenever your dog begs for food. The phrase will eventually register as being negative, something your dog will want to avoid. Similarly, using the same phrase for praise also reiterates your point. “Good boy” is a common phrase used to highlight when your dog has done something well.
If your dog takes things that don’t belong to them, pay attention to what they are. If he’s taking a slipper or a piece of your clothing to bed, this may be a sign of affection. It smells of their owners and they want to be close to them. It may also be a sign of insecurity so ensure your dog feels safe and give him lots of affection.
If you discover that your dog has chewed up your favourite pair of shoes and you think he did it three weeks ago, don’t tell him off for it. He probably won’t remember what he did and will get confused as to why he’s being told off for just sitting in his bed. If you show him the ruined shoe and he shows signs of recognition or even shame, use a stern voice to make it clear the behaviour is unacceptable. Again, always use the same phrase.
It’s not recommended to hit your dog as it can invoke fear and cause them to use aggression as a defence mechanism. There are various training aids you can purchase, particularly for incessant barking that are effective in teaching your dog the difference between right and wrong. If you are still having behavioural problems with your dog, consider taking them to an animal therapist. Puppy school can also be effective when you first get your dog. It allows them to interact and become comfortable with other dogs, as well as giving them basic training while they’re still young.