Guest Post by Jennifer Scott
Nothing can ruin your day, or your dog’s, like a full-blown doggy disaster. Yet, as pet owners, we’ve all come home to an undesirable situation every now and then. While dog shaming can be good for a laugh, preventing these common misbehaviors is much more productive. Here are some common doggy disasters and some ways you can prevent them in your home:
Having Accidents Inside
New puppies are especially prone to relieving themselves inside since they haven’t had a chance to be housebroken. You can encourage your dog to do its business outside by scheduling plenty of potty breaks. Take your puppy outside and give lots of praise when he goes where he’s supposed to. Eventually, your dog will get the idea and should begin to ask to go outside.
If your adult dog suddenly has frequent accidents, schedule a check-up to make sure that health issues aren’t causing these problems. If your vet gives him a clean bill of health, his food may be to blame, whether due to an allergy or because he simply doesn’t like it. If this is the case, try switching to an organic brand of food with limited ingredients, which will be less likely to upset his digestive tract.
Destroying Their Toys and Bed
We’ve all given our dogs the perfect new toy or bed, only to have them rip it to shreds in a matter of minutes. While watching them de-stuff a toy isn’t cause for concern, chewing up their bed could be a signal of a much bigger issue. Make sure your dog has the right kind of bed for his needs, as this contributes to his sense of safety when sleeping and lounging in it. If this doesn’t seem to be the issue, your dog’s destructive habits could be rooted in some other problem, such as a lack of attention or anxiety. Take steps to relieve any anxiety and remedy your dog’s destructive tendencies.
Guarding Food and Resources
Resource guarding is a common issue with dogs, especially those who have spent time in a shelter. If you are working with a rescue animal, know that at some point, your dog may have had to fight for food or water. It takes time to break this habit; it requires a patient process of training to build trust between you and your dog. Resource guarding can also be a sign of insecurity. You can prevent resource guarding by establishing yourself as the leader in your pack. If your dog growls over food, water or toys, be cautious and do not allow children to handle these items around him to prevent bites.
Counter Surfing for Human Food
Even the most well-behaved dog can’t resist the scent of human food on tables and counters, but many human foods can cause health problems for your dog, while some can be deadly. The best course of action to prevent counter surfing is to eliminate access to tempting items. Dogs are opportunists, and if they can reach it, chances are that they will eat it, so keep your snacks and food securely put away in cabinets and pantries. Don’t forget to stow potentially dangerous chip bags away, either; dogs can get their heads stuck inside and suffocate in a matter of minutes.
Chewing Shoes and Furniture
Chewing is another prevalent issue for pet owners. If your dog has taken to using your favorite new shoes or chair for a chew toy, it can be stressful for you and dangerous for your dog. In the case of shoes, putting them away is your best option. Keeping your dog away from furniture can be a lot harder. For many pet owners, crate training is a good option for keeping dogs out of trouble while humans are out of the house. With positive training, most dogs find crates to be comforting. Just be sure to never use the crate as a place of punishment. It’s also important to get to the bottom of the issue. Puppies frequently chew due to teething, but adult dogs that chew random items could be displaying signs of stress or anxiety.
Preventing these common doggy disasters can protect your sanity, but more importantly, it can protect your dog’s safety. Take these steps to curb bad behavior and build a better bond between you and your dog.
Jennifer Scott has experienced anxiety and depression since she was a teenager. She shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at http://spiritfinder.org/
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