Your dog may well be your best friend, but she also likely has habits that you’d rather she break. Instead of suffering through your dog’s undesirable behaviors, try to find ways to teach your dog which behaviors are desirable and which behaviors aren’t. Just as you try to communicate with your friends if they do something that annoys you, you should do the same for your dog. It’s not impossible to teach your dog to do or not do a certain thing, as dogs are very smart. It has been proven over and over again that dogs can learn and understand instructions quite well with proper training. In fact, it’s easier for dogs to lose bad habits and create good ones than it is for human beings.
Digging is one behavior you might want to change in your dog. Dogs are naturally prone to dig as part of their behavioral makeup. While it’s sometimes fun to watch your dog dig, it can also be frustrating when clumps of dirt are all over your lawn or your dog digs somewhere she shouldn’t. Most people think of dogs digging in order to bury a bone, but there are many reasons why dogs dig. Reasons may differ depending on breed, age, and other factors. Alpha breeds like Rottweilers and Great Danes often dig because they have excess energy they haven’t burned off. In this case it would behoove you exercise your dog more frequently. However, if you have a male dog of breeding age, it may very well be that there is a female dog next door he’s trying to get to. Mating is often one reason a dog will dog. If this is the case, neutering your pet is the only option to solve it, and is generally good practice, anyway, if you’re not planning to breed dogs. However, sometimes dogs dig just because they want to. In this case you can easily train your dog not to dig by either spraying the lawn with a repellant (non-toxic, of course), setting aside a portion of the yard where your dog can dig and keeping the rest off-limits, or simply using another training method to teach them an alternative behavior to digging.
Chewing is another common behavior that dogs exhibit, and is also ingrained in your dog’s DNA. As with digging, there are various reasons why a dog may choose to chew. Boredom, teething, and wanting to get attention are the most common reasons dogs chew. It’s not uncommon for pet owners to forget to spend time playing with their dog or be detached from their dog’s play, but then to actively punish them when they run off with a shoe or article of clothing. Unfortunately, this only teaches your dog that if they want to play with you all they have to do is grab your shoe. Actively engage in play with your dog to see if the chewing and running away with articles of clothing subsides.
Bored pets are also inclined to chew, so giving your dog an array of toys and things to play with and chew on is important. Try switching out a set of four or five toys every few days so your dog never gets used to the same toys. It will keep things new and interesting for your dog ,so she’ll be less likely to chew on inappropriate items like pillows or furniture. Teething is also a common cause of chewing.
Regardless of the reason, playing with your dog and providing her with a variety of toys she can chew on will teach her that those things can be chewed on. Make sure to give your dog plenty of exercise, and spend time with her. Be clear about what you expect by being consistent in the behaviors you reward and punish. Cultivating obedience in your dog through patient consistency is the best way to ensure a long-lasting, loving, and peaceful relationship.