«Bad advices to dog owners» or typical mistakes in raising the dog and how to rectify them.

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Hundreds of articles and dozens of books have been written on the subject of raising a dog. But what if one would put together in one article the information on how one must not bring it up? I mean sometimes it’s not enough to know how to manage the dog and it’s equally important to understand how to avoid the most common mistakes.

And sometimes such a selection of descriptive materials can reveal faults in your own work, after all, if you have, so to say, «the eyes glazed over», you can overlook the moment when you start acting wrongly. All situations which I will describe later were taken from practical experience and real stories of dog owners, and besides they were mentioned repeatedly. True, as a rule one makes two or three such blunders and no one can survive the full combination of this «encyclopedia of bad advices».

So here there are «bad advices» and useful advices as to how to correct the results of following the bad ones:

1. To feed the dog first, intentionally shortly before you are going to eat yourself

This is an ideal way to bring up a «little raspcallion», if not so small one. In respect to some sheepdog or Doberman the consequences of such training can be rather unfortunate and quite multifold. Afterwards they can manifest as pulling food from the table, stealing food from other animals and family members, and difficulties with obedience, and seemingly unmotivated aggression.

How can one correct this?

You should begin to feed the dog STRICTLY after you have eaten yourself. Exercise zero tolerance to beautiful or sad eyes and avoid any capitulations if the canine tries to press and demand something! The food should appear in its bowl only after its owners have already eaten (as well as cats, if you have ones, and it’s one of the things that guarantee that the dog won’t offend them).

2. Not to press for obeying the given commands, ignore the dog’s disobedience and still stroke it and give it treats, feeling pity for the dog

This can become the excellent way to rear an absolutely unruly animal! The dog which receives such a treatment understands the situation unambiguously and begins to think that it’s rewarded by treats for… non-execution of the command. And if so, it must wait for the command to come and ignore it as qualitatively and defiantly as possible. Then the owner will surely compliment it and give a treat!

How can one change this situation for the better?

At first you should stop rewarding the dog with treats for its disobedience. As soon as it gets the point and starts looking for ways of receiving desirable yummy food you should teach it commands as if it were a puppy and give it a treat strictly after they will be properly performed. In all likelihood you will very quickly find out that your dog already knows all the commands and carries out them almost instantly. And would a duck swim? After all, it has known them for its entire conscious experience but it has had the reverse mechanism of getting a treat and thought that in order to earn it, the very command must NOT be performed. Thus now we are just training it to another mechanism which is more accurate for both us and the dog since there are quite a few situations when the execution of the command can save the life of your dog (for example, the command «Freeze!» when the dog is crossing the dangerous road).

3. To let the dog precede when you are going out the door and to step it around, not daring to push it aside

This is yet another absolutely marvelous mechanism for making the dog a home tyrant and unruly four-legged bounder. I mean if the human lets the dog pass, then he places a priority on the dog, accepts its right to go ahead and to be a leader. To the extent that this is true, the leader has the right to decide as to what should be done and when, whom it will obey and what will be served today for dinner. In fact it can even decide as to who will be eaten for dinner if this «who» displeasures the dog somehow. And if it’s allowed to rest wherever it wants at home and stay put when the human approaches, then it will surely think that it’s, rather than the owner, a boss. I guess the consequences of such a situation require no explanations.

How can one rectify this?

You should start paying attention to who leaves the house first and goes through the door in general. You and other family members must always go first and only then the dog must follow. It’s a debatable question whether you should let the guests pass first or not since in the dog’s eyesight, it’s it and its owners who are on their own territory, so its world-view demands that you and it come in first and then the guests are permitted to follow. If you do the other way round, then be prepared that the dog will obey these guests perfectly well and it’s unlikely that it will attack them including for the purpose of defending you as it will classify this conflict situation as «wrangles of the seniors» so it mustn’t intervene in them.

4. To walk the dog at its first request, as soon as it begins to whimper and to thrust itself against the door and not to train the dog to wait quietly for a walk or not to anchor it the specific time when it’s usually walked.

This is yet another way of training a capricious home tyrant instead of a fluffy four-legged friend! It will quickly get the hang of this offered role and will make your life a hell without sleep and rest!

But it can be put right. How?

First of all if the dog is thrusting itself against the door you should call it down. No matter how badly it wants to do its business, it doesn’t justify such a behavior. Even if it wants out very badly. Seriously, you don’t want to live with the ragged door or to regularly change the door covering, do you? So you should stand your ground and rigidly suppress such actions.

It’s a bit harder with whining since the dog must have some kind of a signal to inform the owner that it wants out. In this case you have to make an effort and learn to differentiate between the capricious whining which means «I want out and that’s that» and serious need. The second request actually sounds more quietly and guiltily but still more insistently. And it’s usually accompanied by the dog’s attempt to poke the owner’s arm, leg or other parts of his body. The dog sincerely craves for going out and tries to make it clear by all means. Only then it must be taken for a walk! Gradually you should force it to wait for a bit longer and to change its feeding schedule in such a way that in a month or two this situation will be driven into the frame of the convenient time when the dog is walked in the standard mode, e.g. twice a day.

5. To let the dog to sleep in your bed, including on your pillows and not to chase the dog from there, at best to lure it away with a treat if you want yourself to take the bed.

Such an approach not only leads to complete disobedience of the dog but noticeably complicates the life of its owner as well. Just image, you come from work dead tired but in order to take a rest on your own bed, you should undertake some kind of shamanistic dance to lure the dog from there. It’s not the most convenient position, is it?

So it’s worth fighting with.

This is where you should do your best. The dog which has got brazen to such an extent may even start to demonstrate serious aggression and show teeth at your attempts to change the current state of things. You’ll have to cope with that as well as with your own fear of the animal. If you can’t handle this situation singlehandedly then you must ask for a professional help of a dog specialist, otherwise in one of these far from fine moments you risk facing the problems not only with taking your own bed, but, for example, with entering your own house as well.

You will have to banish the dog from the bed fairly harshly and severely and by no means give it easy time or treats. You can give it a reward in the form of a treat again only when it learns to leave the bed on your command. And in this case you may give it something yum-yum in sign of correctness of chosen behavior. But don’t make it a common practice! Otherwise the dog can quickly conclude that in order to surely receive a treat it should climb on the bed and then to jump down on your command and it can play this trick twenty times during the evening.

6. Not to take away from the dog its toys when it’s playing and to always let it have them, to play with it at its first request.

schanuzer with childrens
Such an approach turns your dog into a very self-assured animal which thinks that the world revolves around it. This may be uncomfortable not only for the master but also may be dangerous for the dog.

Judge for yourself – not only you are pestered with invitations to play when you may be busy or tired, the dog also treats other people in the same way. Someone may fail to comprehend the dog’s behavior.

So you must fight with it as well.

But this time all is a little easier. You should just start ignoring the dog’s rising demands to play for a while. Start small in order not to get exhausted yourself but gradually increase time to thirty minutes, an hour and until you finish up your work and can play with the animal.

7. To let the dog get away with growling and bearing its teeth at yourself and houseguests, to appease it with a sweet voice so the dog won’t be angry.

If you want to find yourself being squeezed to the wall or with a torn piece of clothing then it’s an absolutely great way to achieve that. But if you aren’t okay with such a behavior, you still shouldn’t let your pet do it.

You should fight with it as quickly and as harder as possible. Don’t calm down with a sweet voice the dog which has succumbed to aggressive mood but, on the contrary, check it pretty sharply and let it know with your voice tone that you don’t approve its actions. If it’s not enough you may growl in return, run it out from the room. Yes, it will fight back if you have previously allowed it other behavior so get ready for it.

8. To stroke the dog at its first request as soon as it starts fawning upon, even if you are sitting at the dinner table or busy

You will have much trouble washing your hands and eat quite a few canine hairs, if you let the dog such things. Plus, the plate can be turned over on you! In this case if you stroke the dog once more, then next time it could happen again.

And you don’t want that, right?

Then to attempts to fawn on at the wrong time you should calmly yet firmly drive it away and send it to its place (hopefully, it knows what it is), and even if it returns, keep on ignoring its attempts and send it back. The dog must understand that you can be busy but it also must know that later on it will surely get your attention so as soon as you are done with the work, call the dog yourself, interact with it and stroke it.

9. To let the dog jump on you and even knock you down

Well, that goes without saying that in this case the perspective of the owner is pretty clear and ranges from the dirty clothing to traumas. If your less than light dog knocks you down somehow unsuccessfully, you never know how it’s going to turn out. And what if the dog takes down your child?

Anyway, you must fight with it as soon as possible and quite strictly. The next time it leaps on you, you should catch the dog by its knee and push it away. The animal won’t like such a landing but it will make it think whether to jump next time. And if it has already brought you down, catch it by the ear and pull it. Not only mischievous children but also mischievous dogs dislike pulling by their ears. And it works similarly effectively.

10. To allow the dog not to wear the muzzle if it doesn’t want

So what? If the dog doesn’t want to wear the muzzle, we will go out without it. And if we have to ride the bus and much less to take the train and it doesn’t want to travel in its muzzle,we will have to make it without the muzzle. Have you got the picture? And then imagine you are walking behind the required transport. You don’t want it, do you?

Then you should train the dog to wear the muzzle when it’s necessary.

First and foremost accustom the dog to the muzzle in general. It’s better to do this with the help of classical methods by putting there tasty canine food or by giving treats through the muzzle. In a word you form positive reinforcement and perception of the muzzle as a normal thing rather than something unpleasant. Afterwards it should become habitual for the dog that every time when it has to go out with the owner to public places, it must wear the muzzle.

11. Not to tell the dog off when it’s barking loudly at passers-by and other dogs

I suppose each one of us has had to face with such a picture – the dog is virtually hanging on the leash, gasping from barking, and the owner can’t do anything. At this point it’s actually a little difficult to improve the situation. But if it’s not so bad, it’s possible to work with that. And it’s necessary. As soon as the dog begins barking at cats, people, other dogs without any obvious reason and need (for example, to defend the owner), you must tell it off, distract its attention and let it know in every possible way that this action is undesirable. And stroke it as soon as it will go silent. If it repeats the bark, immediately stop stroking. The dog will grasp this connection rather fast.

12. To let the dog pull on its leash and choose the direction of the walk

In fact it’s one of the most harmless phenomenons of this type. In certain cases we really don’t care where we walk the dog as long as it isn’t on the road. In this instance we can let the pet choose the direction of movement wherever it likes. But if you are going about your business or you are heading to the place where dog walking is banned, then you should resolutely make your dog to go where you need, otherwise you can get into a troublesome situation – you can be late for the appointment or on business or you’ll have to pay a sizeable fine for walking the dog in a forbidden place.

13. To let the dog steal and chew your stuff

It’s the easiest way to remain without both normal stuff and the adequate dog. In this case the fate of your stuff is pretty obvious and the plight of your dog is rather sad, since with this attitude it can allow itself to steal some bottles with household chemicals (which is far from harmless) and actually all sorts of things. This behavior can have sad and tragic consequences. And such a dog can easily growl at the owner in order to fight off its «own» clothing which it wants it see in its own paws rather than on its owner.

To prevent that from happening, you must insistently take away your things from the dog without forgetting to switch its attention to suitable toys. The dog may need to chew or stomp on something, but your task is not to indulge its uncontrolled behavior but rather to offer it a perfect substitute which will be safe for both you and your household and will satisfy the dog’s needs.


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Ольга Сергеева
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