Why Dogs Misbehave

Sign up here receive blog updates by email


Why Dogs Misbehave

1. Lack of Understanding
Some communication is so unclear that it is a miracle that dogs are able to meet any of our requests!

Sometimes they simply have no clue what we want of them.

And generally we keep asking the same thing, only with a louder voice, and more forceful actions, not realizing that the explanation needs to be delivered in a different way.

2. Lack of Motivation
The dog is not motivated to do it. Lack of motivation can come from a variety of reasons.

My favourite that I like to pick on clients for is plain and simply “owners are boring”. Dogs have too many rules, and are never actually allowed to be dogs. The owners are incredibly dull, always trying to suppress their dogs from actually being dogs! Because of the constant rules, when the dogs finally get a taste of freedom, you will lose all control, as there is no way that you can compare with a running-rabbit or great dog-game. Please remember that the entire purpose of giving rules is to give freedom.

Other reasons are rewards are predictable and always present. If you ask your dog to come ten times, and each of the ten times he gets a piece of cheese, it won’t take him long to realize the food is always there, so skipping an occasion to chase a rabbit won’t kill him. But if the food is only sometimes there (variable reinforcement schedule) then he has a reason to find out if maybe this time he will get something. We want to turn our dogs into little gamblers. It is worth coming, just to find out if this time something might be given.

In addition to this, our rewards themselves are dull. Cheese? Every time? Nothing is good every time.

How about having boring kibble, some cheese, a few pieces of hot dog, and three meatballs in your pocket? If the first reward is kibble, the second is a meatball, the third nothing, fourth nothing, and the fifth a hot dog – wait and watch the speed of your motivated dog. Keep them guessing!

Now, while this sounds like way too much work, it isn’t. All it means is on treat cutting days, you have seven zip-lock bags, and you put some of each in each bag. Toss the bags into your freezer, and grab a bag for each training session.

For all of your diligent treat preparers, once in a while pull your zip-lock out of your freezer, have it on you, and don’t dispense one single treat.Teach them that while the food might always be there, it doesn’t mean that receiving will always happen.

Feeding treats should not be an expectation your dog has of you. It is a reward given, only when deserved. Second commands never get fed. Mediocrity does not get fed. Only brilliance does. And brilliance means ten times better than last training day!

3. Lack of Respect
Quite simply, the dog does not respect you. Would you take advice from someone that you think is an idiot? Well, neither will your dog. Respect is a beautiful thing, that will only be given when earned.

Your dog must care what you think before he actually chooses to follow your instructions. So many of the dogs that I see are coddled spoilt brats, and the saddest part is they are unhappy.

Your dog deserves to be happy. He deserves to have rules and boundaries so that he can be successful with his responsibilities. Don’t become a pez dispenser for treats in an attempt to fake respect. A pez dispenser is exactly that – and you will have no relationship with your dog at the end of pez-dispensing. When your treats run out, so does your dog’s interest in you. This really is not the dog’s fault, but your own.

4. Relationship Problem
Some dog's have past baggage. And some dogs with a past have handler's who still carry their past, even though they've long since let it go. Or sometimes our puppy Labrador Retriever is constantly measured against our thirteen year old Labrador that just died.

To have a healthy relationship with a dog means you must be worthy. And for your dog, you need him to be the best that he can be, by building his strengths, lessening his weaknesses, and being his fearless coach, showing him how life should be lived.

Happy Training Everyone. Enjoy this fabulous weather.

Monique Anstee
The Naughty Dogge
Victoria, BC

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.