5 Ways You Could Be Stressing Out Your Dog
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5 Ways You Could Be Stressing Out Your Dog

Dogs
Pet Psychology

Dogs are adorable creatures that keep owners amused for hours whether it's out on a walk or in the home environment. However, there are times when things get the better of our four-legged friends which means they turn a bit naughty which is followed by a bout of unwanted bad behaviour. But did you realise that you could be the one contributing to this type of scenario and the way your dog behaves at times?

The way owners act around their dogs can affect how they behave and although it can be stressful when your pet does not respond to you, they will pick up on this and get more stressed which can make them misbehave even more. It can be a vicious circle that leaves both owners and their dogs at their wits end. The problem may even start when a dog is being trained when unwittingly, owners undermine all the good work they're attempting to do by interacting incorrectly with their pets.

The result is a confused canine and one that is not sure what they are doing wrong and why their owners are annoyed with them. This in turn stresses them out even more which just makes the situation worse. Below are 5 things to avoid doing around your dog so you don't confuse them which could end up stressing you both out.

Believing Your Dog is Dominant

When it comes to "dominance", this should not be confused as being a dog's character trait but rather a behaviour based on a situation – in short, it is situation-specific. With this said a lot of dogs display dominant behaviour not because they are trying to be the alpha dog but rather through insecurity or at times even fear which will trigger this type of behaviour. This means the type of behaviour they demonstrate is quite the opposite of "dominance".

Dogs that consistently try to hump another dog could be behaving like this due to the fact they are overly excited or it could stem from them feeling insecure. Dog owners who believe their pets are dominant characters often think the best way to train and treat them is to use harsh methods and techniques, but all this ends up doing is rendering a dog more fearful of their owners and therefore is totally the wrong way to act around a dog.

Believing Your Dog Is Disobedient Out of Choice

Dogs are naughty and behave badly not to be spiteful, but because their behaviour although unwanted, has been reinforced in some way by their owners. The way a dog reasons is quite different to the way people do and although our canine friends have complex thought processes and emotions, they would not do anything out of "spite" because they do not reason or possess the same moral code as that of humans.

It is important to understand that our canine friend's motivation to do anything is driven by outcomes and not morals. When you get home and find your dog has done something very wrong and looks as guilty as sin, this is not repentance they are showing you but rather a reaction to your behaviour when you find them at that moment that has been reinforced by your behaviour in a similar situation in the past. In short, your beloved pooch is playing to the camera and acting submissive or maybe even frightened to appease you due to the fact you are unhappy or annoyed with them.

Do You Punish Your Pet For Being a Dog?

Dogs love doing certain things which makes them what they are and they are never happier than when they are digging away at something, chewing a favourite toy, barking a warning that something may be amiss and chasing anything that's running away from them, being thrown for them or other. These are all very natural things that dogs of all breeds love doing. As such owners should never tell their pets off for doing anything that comes naturally to them.

An example being that you should never tell your dog off for chewing on something they shouldn't but rather redirect them to something they are allowed to gnaw on to their heart's content. If you find your dog just cannot resist digging up the lawn, think about creating an area in the garden where they would be allowed to do this. If your dog is a "barker" then consider teaching them to "talk" to you on cue which is a great way of controlling and curbing their desire to hear the sound of their own voices. Interactive games that involve chasing something will keep them happy and busy for ages which satisfies your pet's urge to chase and hunt!

Are You Just Too Soft?

Dogs are at their happiest when they are given clear, distinct boundaries and if these do not exist you may well find your canine friend is often out of control. If you do nothing to sort out your pet's confusion, you will not be doing them any favours. This is because if you are not consistent in your behaviour towards them and you tolerate bad behaviour every now and again, your dog understands this as reinforcing the fact they are allowed to do something which in reality they are not. This includes jumping up to greet people which is a real no no – the rule of thumb is that your beloved pooch should always have four feet on the ground even when they are over the moon when they greet you or anybody else!

Boundaries are a must for a dog and these need to be consistent, static and not changed or altered to suit an owners mood. This will just end up confusing your pet and the result could be a lot of bad behaviour.

Do You Think Your Dog Should Obey You Just to Please You?

In normal circumstances a pat on the head and a "good boy/girl" is really all a dog needs in the way of reward because it means they have your full attention which is something dogs love and crave. However, when a more challenging situation presents itself, a pat may not be enough. If your pet has had to demonstrate a lot of self-control then you should reward them with something special so they register the fact if they are good they get a real treat. You need to offer them their special reward immediately not further down the line because your pet won't make the association.

The other thing you need to bear is mind is the treat has to representreal value to your dog otherwise you might not make a good enough impression on them. It would be a mistake to think your dog should behave well and be good just to please you because it's all about give and take with our canine friends. Your dog can love you but they still need to be taught the boundaries which gives them something to work to and this makes them much happier characters all round.

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