The most common question asked is “How do I get my dog to stop doing ________.” For example chewing or biting or going to the bathroom in unwanted places. Most people fall short with their communication as how we handle these situations.
What do you do when you enter the room to find your shoes chewed up by your pup? You decide to call your pup over to you and he/she comes running over to you with their tail wagging, you then begin to yell and grab the shoe showing the pup this was wrong saying no or bad dog then put them in the kennel. Although this is a common response and seems correct from a human stand-point, this is definitely not the right way to handle the situation! Doing this will actually make your dog never want to come when you call them, as you just reprimanded them for coming to you and will also make them hate their kennel as you’re using that as a punishment tool.
The easiest way to correct this unwanted behavior is actually the most simplistic and that is to praise your dog for not doing these behaviors. If your dog walks by a shoe without chewing it – praise them. They settle down in the house on their own – praise them. They come and sit by your without jumping – praise them! Dogs naturally want to please us as our companions but so often when we see them doing something unwanted we tend to block out all of the good behaviors and focus on the negative behaviors.
Attention is attention, positive or negative, so when your dog learns they get more attention for doing unwanted behaviors this will only ensure they will continue to do these unwanted behaviors. The best way to avoid these unwanted behaviors is to stop them before they happen. Put shoes out and redirect your dog. Give your dog some deer antlers to keep them occupied. Keep a leash attached and whenever your dog moves to your shoe just give a slight leash correction (a flick of the wrist) BEFORE he/she gets the chance to get to your shoe. You want to be very proactive and have your dog think that you are faster than they are. Once they learn they can grab something unwanted and then play the “catch me if you can” game it will be a longer process to get them to understand what they should and shouldn’t be doing. It is hard not to get frustrated at your dog, but remember, they are learning our language and our world – not the other way around, so be patient and set your dog up to succeed!
Here is a video on how to desensitize new objects and stop unwanted biting: