Dogs love to make us happy and do things that earn them praise, treats, and petting, so it can be confusing when your dog does something he knows you don’t like. For example, why does your dog jump on the furniture when you’ve asked him not to or chew on the shoes or slippers when he knows you only allow him to play with his toys.
Here are some of the reasons your dog does things he knows he shouldn’t be doing.
Table of Contents
Why Does My Dog Do Things He Knows Is Wrong?
Age of the Dog
Dogs, like humans, learn at different rates. Some dogs take longer to learn something than others. If your new puppy isn’t listening to you yet, don’t get frustrated and give up—it may just be a phase they are going through! Consistency is key: Be patient and consistent while teaching your pet.
They will eventually catch on if you keep practicing. It may also help to enlist a friend or family member to help with training. Make sure they understand what you want your dog to do before starting any training session. You can even make a game out of it by giving them treats every time they successfully complete an exercise.
This way, your pup will see learning as fun rather than work. When all else fails, bring in a professional trainer for some extra help. A professional trainer can show you how to properly train your dog and will have plenty of tips for building a stronger relationship with your furry friend.
Did Something Negative Happen Right Before?
Dogs are great at picking up on our non-verbal cues and can easily detect and associate feelings we are having with certain situations because of their keen senses. For example, if a child gets bitten by a dog, there is an increased likelihood that they will become fearful of dogs in general.
The same goes for your pet. If something bad happened to them right before or during any sort of negative behavior, chances are they won’t want to repeat whatever caused them to feel uncomfortable in order to avoid feeling uncomfortable again.
It’s important to note here that just because you scold your dog after doing something wrong doesn’t mean they will be able to connect your anger towards them with what they did. They may simply think you’re angry about something else entirely.
This is why it’s so important to take time out from disciplining your dog and give him plenty of love and attention. He needs to know that no matter what, you still love him.
WORTH READING: Why Do Pitbulls Smile?
Is there a Pattern to Behavior?
Before you can fix a behavior problem, you need to understand why your dog is exhibiting that behavior. If there is no obvious reason, such as pain or fear (and provided your pet has had a veterinary exam and been cleared of any health issues), then take some time to observe your pooch’s daily routine.
Patterns are important because they’ll give you clues about what may be triggering certain behaviors. For example, if your dog barks at people in a particular way every day at 4 p.m., but not at other times of day, then you know that something about 4 p.m.—maybe cars driving by—is causing him to bark.
Once you figure out what triggers his barking, you can work on changing his response, so he stops doing it altogether. The key here is to pay attention! Your pet will tell you exactly what he needs from you, whether that’s more playtime or just a good scratch behind the ears.
The more information you have about his patterns, habits, and likes/dislikes, the better equipped you will be to address his behavior problems head-on.
Did You Accidentally Reward Bad Behavior?
Maybe your dog is doing something you think he shouldn’t—scratching at doors, begging for food, pulling on his leash. The fact is, dogs do a lot of cute things. But sometimes bad behavior isn’t really so bad—just misunderstood.
If you want to get rid of an annoying habit, try adding some context to your pup’s actions and see if what you reward changes. For example, scratching might be a sign that your dog wants attention or needs to go outside.
When you scratch him behind his ears or take him out for a walk after he scratches, you’re actually reinforcing scratching as a desirable behavior.
To stop unwanted behaviors in their tracks, first, identify why they happen in the first place, then develop strategies for training yourself (and your pup) to change those behaviors into more acceptable ones.
Is there an Environmental Trigger?
Usually, dogs will learn that what they’re doing is bad (pooping in a certain place, eating from your trash, etc.) because you scold them. If your dog has made a habit of doing something but seems to know it’s wrong – and he still does it – then there may be an environmental trigger for his behavior.
For example, if your dog loves playing with your slippers and he keeps chewing on them even though you keep telling him no, maybe he just can’t resist seeing or smelling them on the floor. In these cases, try changing where you put things so that he doesn’t have access to temptation.
The goal here is not to punish him for being bad; rather, it’s about finding ways to make it easier for him not to misbehave.
Can you prevent this behavior in the future?
The more common a behavior is or seems to be in your canine companion, particularly dogs at their developmental stage of life (puppyhood), and if it’s something you are having difficulty stopping or preventing from happening over and over again for no apparent reason, there may be an underlying cause.
Many dogs will engage in attention-seeking behavior if they have not been properly trained or socialized to learn what behaviors are appropriate.
A dog who has not learned basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, down, and/or come can often become frustrated with his owner(s) because he cannot communicate effectively with them.
Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety often exhibit destructive behavior when left alone by themselves because they feel anxious about being separated from their family.
Does your dog like to do certain things?
If your dog is misbehaving, try to think about what’s motivating him. Dogs have very few wants, but they are all instinctual; dogs don’t want food or water as much as they need it.
By understanding your pet’s natural instincts, you can recognize and redirect these behaviors into appropriate ones.
For example, some dogs like to dig. This behavior may be a holdover from their days of hunting for prey in holes in the ground. They’re not just digging because they’re bored—they’re doing it because that’s how their ancestors hunted for food! Try redirecting your dog by teaching him a new trick, such as fetching a ball.