We love our dogs — except when they’re barking, begging, growling, and/or tearing up the household.
But one dog trainer now counters that some canine offenses actually stem from their owners, whose passive, impatient, and/or confusing behavior is giving these fur-babies tacit permission to misbehave.
“In order to fix a problem at the lower end of the leash you have to look at who’s holding the other end,” Kentucky dog trainer Tyler Ohlmann told NBC News. In a nutshell, dogs are only repeating tactics that have helped them get their way.
If you think about it, this makes sense. Dogs and puppies are pack animals, and they’re looking to you — their beloved human — for behavioral cues. Read on, then, to see which of your dog’s most irksome habits might stem from your leadership style — and hopefully help you set a better example for next time. Bad human!
Flinging commands at your puppy won’t set him or her on a path towards better behavior. If anything, impatiently calling your dog to “sit, sit, stay, come here!” in short order will only breed confusion — and reinforce the idea that they don’t have to listen the first time.
To Ohlmann, owners who led their dog take charge of the walk often suggests human who shy away from doing the heavy lifting. “To teach your dog not to pull means you have to teach, which means there is work,” he told NBC. “It’s a surefire indicator that they’re not willing to put in work for stuff.”
This one seems pretty obvious, but if you’re slipping your dog scraps from the table, s/he’s definitely going to keep coming back for more. To Ohlmann, this enabling behavior is really irksome, because your dog depends on you to make healthy choices on his or her behalf. “It’s shortsighted,” he says of your dog’s increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and other long-term effects. “You’re killing your dog with kindness.”
What other human behaviors are causing your dog to act out?
J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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