What You Do to Annoy Your Dog
We adore dogs but why do Max and Fluffy bark at all hours, gnaw the kids' new shoes or (gasp!) hump the pastor's leg?
While aggravating dog habits make owners show their teeth, clueless humans also raise the dog's blood pressure. Here are seven common things you do to make your dog howl.
Misunderstanding His Bark: Dogs use barks to communicate alarm, excitement and boredom -- and owners annoy dogs by ignoring these important warnings.
- Shouting "Shut up!" can increase barks if your dog thinks you're joining the barkathon.
- Ignoring some barks -- squirrel alert! -- could encourage a dog to stay quiet when a burglar drops by.
- Lonely dogs relieve boredom by talking to themselves with barks or howls.
Instead of yelling when your dog sounds off, say "Good bark," so he knows you heard him. That will also reassure him that you plan to address the scary squirrel issue that he so kindly pointed out. You might also try create a three-bark limit before asking him to hush with a treat or toy that keeps his mouth busy and quiet. (Puzzle toys stuffed with treats are particularly good at keeping bored dogs entertained.)
Being Inconsistent With Potty Training: Accidents in the house are common owner complaints, but dogs don't think we play fair. Yelling at your dog to stop midpee or punishing the dog minutes or hours after she's done the dirty deed is confusing. She knows you're unhappy but won't know what to do instead. Particularly confusing is if you do something crazy like rubbing your dog's nose in her mistake.
Anger over potty problems teaches your dog to hide deposits better and avoid "going" in front of you, which makes it even harder to explain proper potty manners. Instead, take your dog to the right spot after meals, naps or playtime, and reward her production so she understands that pooping outside on the street is what you want.