Doggy Tails: Why does my dog.............?

Tyler was "taught" to jump up for this photo!
Tyler was "taught" to jump up for this photo!

As a dog trainer I often get asked “Why does my dog keep doing an unwanted behaviour and how can I stop it?”

They are basically honest creatures and do the things they do for very simple reasons. They are dogs not humans so they will do dog things like ignore you in favour of sniffing a pee stain on the pavement or dig and chase things. Their actions are driven by whats in it for them now, it gets the desired result and they do it because they can. They will steal food off a worktop if the opportunity arises and do it again if they get a chance because it tastes good. Or jump up at visitors for attention. Or pull on lead because they get to the park quicker.

They will usually avoid something painful or unpleasant unless the gain outweighs the pain. A dog will still pull on lead even though the owner is tugging back and they are choking in the collar (which is why I prefer using a harness).

One of my mottos is “Set them up for success.” Don’t wait for them to get it wrong and attempt to correct them. Prevent them from making the mistake in the first place. It’s like waiting for an accident you know is going to happen. See if we can control and manage to prevent them getting what they want. Then see if we can get them to do what we want instead.

Pop them behind a barrier or have them on a lead when visitors arrive so they can’t jump up at them.

Teach them to sit for a treat and then have a fuss from the visitor as that’s what they wanted in the first place , as long as they stay sitting. Train them to walk with a loose lead. And don’t leave food on the worktop where the dog will snaffle it.

If you have issues then try the most obvious solution first.

Be patient and try to understand your dog’s motivation. But if it doesn’t work get in touch with a force free, accredited dog professional who can help toadvise you.