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Let us face it: A dog’s bad behavior will always get attention, even if it is not archetypally positive attention. However, at times, ignoring your dog’s bad behavior can stop him from continuing it. Believe me, giving your Fido a cold shoulder when he indulges in a bad behavior, can effectively resolve that behavior problem.
Ignoring can work like magic
Don’t get me wrong-not all behaviors will go away completely from your cold shoulder tactic. But stats will stand with me. For instance, ignoring him when he tries to dig your flower beds, is likely to have an insignificant impact on your dog’s behavior, largely because your reaction is not the reward/treat for the digging.
More factors, including the release of surplus energy, the urge of cool dirt and the craving to discover the hidden scents as well as treasures, are some of the most important things to your pup in the moment. However, if your dog’s behavior is primarily informed by just wanting to get your attention, then ignoring him can work like magic.
Watch a video of this lab who follows table manners…
Your attention: When and How to withhold it
Recently, I got this story from a dog owner: His dog would mouth and jump on her (she is a lady) family members during walks. The owner’s reaction would be to look down at him, talk to him (the dog) and sternly say “no”. The owner would then quickly move the hands away from his puppy. From my perspective, the dog’s main reason for jumping as well as mouthing at her( the owner) was very clear: “When I walk coolly by you, I do not get the attention I hanker, but I have discovered that by jumping and mouthing at people, you look and talk to me.”
The solution here is simple and clear: Deter him from jumping and mouthing by taking away the reward — the attention you give your puppy for his behavior. When your puppy jumps and mouths, stand in a statue-like fashion and discontinue the walking. As soon as your pup stops mouthing and jumping, continue the walking. This way, your pooch will quickly learn that jumping and mouthing are no longer pleasurable since it makes you remove the reward and the attention he gets.
Most importantly, the pup should learn that embracing an alternative behavior — like walking quietly —is likely to reward him a treat, attention, and occasional praise. Problem solved.