Avoiding and Mending Common Doggie Disasters at Home
If you’ve owned a dog before, you know that they are never perfect. That’s why they’re so cute — so you’ll forgive them after they chew up your favorite pair of sandals. What many experienced dog lovers don’t know is that many of their pup’s worst behaviors are misunderstood and mishandled. By exploring the motivations behind his actions, you can find ways to correct and prevent them from happening again.
Inappropriate indoor elimination is frustrating, but it’s important to maintain composure when you stumble upon Fido’s accident. If you catch him in the act, interrupt him with a loud noise or yell “Outside!” If you find the soiled area after the fact, it’s too late to correct your dog. Do not rub your dog’s nose in his spot or administer any other kind of punishment. This will create a connection between their feelings of anxiety and fear with the act of elimination — not good. Plus, accidents happen. If your dog is a puppy, he is just now learning how to control himself and will make mistakes before he gets house training down. Older dogs who are house trained are likely sick and elimination was an unwanted symptom. Take your dog to his veterinarian if you think there may be a larger problem at hand.
Jumping on People and Furniture
Some dogs love people so much that they can hardly contain themselves when they see one. However, jumping is not a good behavior and should be discouraged. If your dog acts too excited when he sees you, ignore him so you don’t validate his behavior. Delay greeting him and go about your business without letting him interrupt. Once your dog calms down and acts appropriately, use positive reinforcement and give praise or a treat as encouragement.
If you don’t want your dog on your furniture, provide him with a better alternative than the sofa. His very own dog bed can be his area for hanging out with the family and being comfortable. If you do see him on the couch, command him “Off!” and instruct him to go back to his bed. But realize that your dog wants to be on the couch because he loves you. The sofa smells like the people he loves the most, so, of course, he wants to be there.
To ensure that your house stays tidy despite the endless onslaught of pet hair and dander, consider purchasing a good lightweight vacuum that can reach tight, hard-to-reach places. There are several different models available, so read reviews to help you weigh the pros and cons of each (easy to clean, good for carpeting, etc.), to ensure you’re getting the one that fits your household needs.
Chewing and Destroying
If your dog’s favorite chew toy happens to be your Italian leather loafers, the best way to prevent their destruction by his jaws is to eliminate the temptation altogether and put your shoes someplace your dog will never be able to access. Give your dog plenty of toys to chew on to curb the habit, as well. Puppies especially need these toys when they are going through the pain of teething. If your dog has a habit of chewing things you can’t hide from him — things such as furniture — you can use a nasty tasting repellant spray to make a negative association in your dog’s mind and mouth. Since chewing is also a symptom of anxiety, make sure your dog is getting plenty of daily exercise that helps curb stress and promotes healthy and happy behavior.
Dogs are sweet, loyal, and cute, but they certainly are not perfect. Every dog makes a mistake now and then. Your best bet is prevention, so make sure your dog goes outside to potty plenty of times throughout the day, give them chew toys and beds to use as their own, and help prevent anxiety and destructive behaviors by making sure your pup gets enough exercise every day. While you can correct the behavior if you catch your dog in the act, remember that your dog ultimately wants to please you. Give your dog a break instead of letting anger get the best of you.
Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.