Sometimes, we encounter a dog who is hard to hang out with. Maybe they are a little grumbly or jumpy and nippy. Maybe they can't quite get the socializing etiquette that the other dogs seem to grasp. Sometimes, they are just plane unpleasant. It's not the dog's fault!
Human caretaker, you have some culpability in this.
When we take on the care of an animal we take on the commitment of building a trusting relationship with our buddies. They need us to help them feel confident in the world and to have enriching experiences. When we don't build the bonds of trust with our pets, they act out and it makes it harder for us to bond.
It's not a lost cause though. Recognizing that you have taken some missteps in the rearing of your pup is the first step to helping your pal be the best they can be. Next is identifying the behaviors that are problematic.
Dogs need attention, affection, exercise, boundaries and good nutrition to keep them feeling balanced. Like us humans, they are social!
In this entry I want to talk specifically about nipping and barking behaviors. Nipping and barking can be playful but can quickly turn into aggression and injuries. Not only is it dangerous for playmates but can be very dangerous for the aggressor in the end. Some dogs are good about communicating boundaries with nippy barkers and others have zero tolerance policies that can lead to fights and bites that bleed.
~My dog barks at guests and nips at me when I try to get her to calm down.
This is super common and one thing I always suggest is get your dog calm before inviting your guest in. This starts well before guests arrive. Regular exercise and stimulation are important as well as working on basic obedience regularly to get your dog to understand what you want them to do.
Sit, Wait, and Leave it, are important commands to master with your pup and, to add a little flair, try working on Got To Bed.
Next, communicate with your house guests and house mates the rules of engagement. Do not address the dog until the dog is calm. No physical contact, no eye contact, not verbal queues outside of Sit, Wait or Leave it. If your dog jumps, ask your guest to give the dog their back, look away and say Eh, eh. or Nope.
When the dog is finally calm, they you may greet and treat. Four paw on the ground or a full sit and pup can get treats and attention. Barky nippers get the cold shoulder.
Fur-Ever Is A Promise offers training sessions and walking services to help with these sorts of issue and we would love to work with you and your fur buddy to help you strenghten your bond and trust!
Until next time!
letty and Kimbo Puppy