Welcome guest blogger Brandon Butler. He’s is a dog lover and vet tech, who loves helping pet owners. You can find more of his wisdom on Fur and Feathers.
Two Etiquette Tips to Help Your Dog Be A Better Neighbor
As a dog owner, you probably love everything about your pet. You accept your dog, muddy paws and all. You accept his faults because he loves you unconditionally. Sometimes, adoration for your dog means that you ignore some of his behavior that may be bothersome to others.
We’re a nation of dog lovers, but… it’s up to owners to teach their pets to be good neighbors. The good news is that you can address most problems yourself.
- Correct excessive barking
You may be numb to his barking, but your neighbor probably isn’t. If your dog is an excessive barker who howls at every pedestrian passing your home or just goes off on a yelping rant whenever home alone, there are steps you can take to stop or minimize the yapping.
The first rule is to resist the inclination to yell. Your dog doesn’t know what it means when you raise your voice to him, and if he’s barking, he’s just going to think you are joining in on the noise. Instead, speak to him in a confident, authoritative voice. Here are some tips to curb barking:
- Remove the barking stimuli. If your dog barks all day at people walking by the front of the house, make it so he cannot see out that window. Restrict access to rooms that face walkers and other activity.
- Desensitize your dog to things that would cause barking. For example, if your dog barks at other dogs, incorporate socialization with other dogs and reward him for not barking around those that he meets.
- Train your dog to be quiet when you command. Just like other problem behaviors, your dog is only barking because he hasn’t learned that it’s inappropriate. Again, you accomplish this training goal without yelling, but by rewarding your pup with training treats for stopping barking on command.
- Calm your dog through adequate exercise
Problem behaviors often arise in dogs who are bored from inactivity. A dog may jump on a visitor, chew on furniture, and even have accidents in the house because of pent-up energy and nervousness. If you provide frequent interaction and activity your dog will be less likely to engage in a destructive stress-relieving behavior. Try this out: double the frequency and duration of your current walking schedule. In most cases, you’ll be hearing more snoring than barking, and your well-exercised pup will be a lot less likely to engage in other inappropriate behavior.
Dog walking provides benefits for owners in addition to controlling bad canine behavior. The activity gives owners exercise and has been shown to reduce stress. It also is a wonderful way to connect with your dog. If your busy schedule limits your available time for walking, consider hiring a dog-walking/dog sitter service. These services can help make sure your dog gets frequent attention.
Today’s gig economy makes finding dog sitters and walkers easier than ever, but ask some essential questions before hiring a service. For instance, ask how they would handle an emergency situation. Insist that they provide a reference list of current and former clients, and make sure that you give the service clear instructions and have an open line of communication.
Through basic obedience training and frequent exercise, you will find that many of your dog’s problem behaviors disappear. You, your dog, and the entire neighborhood will appreciate it.