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6 Bad Behaviors in Dogs That We Help Create

People often inadvertently teach their dogs bad behaviors.

Sometimes we unknowingly create or encourage inappropriate behaviors in our dogs. Here are the most common bad behaviors that dogs do that are often caused by owners.

Jumping on People

When a puppy jumps up on your leg to try and get closer to you or get your attention, it can be cute. A lot of times, the automatic human response is to reach down, say something sweet to the puppy, maybe laugh, and lift him up.

However, as a dog gets bigger or your circumstances change and you no longer want him to jump on you (say when you're wearing special clothes, carrying a baby, or he jumps enthusiastically on all of your guests), the behavior becomes bothersome and inappropriate. The problem at this point is that it's a lot harder to train your dog to stop doing behavior that you used to encourage. It's confusing.

Regardless of how small and cute your puppy is, don't allow him to jump on you at any stage if you don't wish to have an inappropriate jumping problem later. Instead, ignore him when he jumps on you, and acknowledge and praise him when he sits calmly and looks up at you. Learn more tips for stopping this behavior here: "How to Stop Your Dog from Jumping on People."

Begging for Table Scraps

The moment you give your puppy or dog something from your plate, you've started the ball rolling on a lifetime of begging behavior that will probably escalate, becoming more and more bothersome. Eventually, your dog might be jumping on or barking at you while you eat, and he probably won't curb his begging behavior when it comes to guests in your home, either. Even if the begging doesn't particularly bother you, it's not a good idea to get your dog used to eating human food. It might make him more likely to steal foods that are toxic to him, get into the garbage, and be at higher risk of developing a weight problem.

Instead of feeding your dog from your plate, give him his own food while you eat your meal. And if you're having a snack, consider giving him a puzzle toy that dispenses treats or kibble to keep him occupied while you eat. Learn more here: "Dog Begging Behavior."

Pulling on the Leash

This one can really sneak up on dog owners. If you absent-mindedly let your dog pull on the leash sometimes or have a tendency to pull back on it routinely when you want to stop him or get him away from something, it can actually become a feeling that your dog expects and connects with walking. Once that connection is made, it's harder to break the leash-pulling habit than ever.

The better technique is to keep the leash loose but stop walking every time your dog pulls on it. When he comes back or looks up at you, give him praise or a treat and continue walking. Your dog will then associate pulling on the leash with stopping, which he doesn't want to do, instead of walking, which he does want to do. You can learn more here: "How to Train Your Dog to Walk Nicely on a Leash."

Playing Too Roughly

This is another behavior that we tend to inadvertently teach our puppies when they're small and then dislike when they grow up. Puppies naturally nip and use their mouths to play, so it's our job to teach them that it isn't appropriate to nip or bite human body parts.

Never use your hands to play with your dog, at any stage of his development. Always use a toy to play with. If your dog nips you during play, withdraw immediately, and don't play for a few minutes. When you come back, use a toy and praise your dog for biting it. You can learn more here: "Puppy Nipping Behavior."

Separation Anxiety

It's true that some dogs are just prone to this behavior; they have an anxious personality or had experiences before they joined your family that led them to have separation anxiety. However, it can also be caused or exacerbated by you.

When you first get your dog, it's important that you don't spend every moment of the first days with your full attention on him. Give him and yourself some breaks to be alone. Also, don't respond to overly needy behaviors or upset behavior when you leave a room or the home. Learn more, including exactly how what to do to decrease the possibility of the development of separation anxiety in your new dog, here: "How to Prevent Separation Anxiety in Your New Dog."

Submissive Urination

In the wild, subordinate dogs often greet more dominant ones by rolling over on their backs and sometimes urinating. However, this isn't an appropriate behavior in a human home. If your puppy does this, it's important not to reinforce it by reacting. Both overly positive and negative reactions can increase this behavior. Instead, ignore it as much as possible; don't give your dog any attention for doing it.

You can also build your dog's confidence through training exercises and by giving her lots of praise for learning commands and good behaviors. Learn more here: "Submissive Urination in Dogs."

You May Also Like These Articles:

How to Prevent Separation Anxiety in Your New Dog

How to Stop a Dog from Digging

How to Stop Your Dog from Jumping on People

Dog Begging Behavior

How to Train Your Dog to Walk Nicely on a Leash


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