Owning a dog can be exciting and rewarding. They provide loyal companionship, curiosity and play, and an incentive to exercise too! It’s not for nothing they’re often called man’s best friend. Unfortunately, dogs can also be difficult and frustrating – and it doesn’t make you a bad or uncaring owner to acknowledge that difficulty! The key to being a good dog owner is how you respond, and today we’re helping you respond with care and love by anticipating some of the bad habits dogs can indulge in, and looking at ways you can respond constructively.
Vomiting and Diarrhea
These aren’t strictly bad habits, but if your dog keeps throwing up and diarrhea is a regular problem, then you’re not going to be a happy dog owner.
The key thing to do is look for the cause of the problem. If your dog regularly forages for what food they can find while on walks, then you’ll need to keep a closer eye on them. You might even have to consider getting a muzzle! This might cause some initial discomfort, but that’s by far outweighed by the harm they might do themselves if they eat something toxic!
You can also provoke an upset stomach yourself by changing your dog’s food too quickly. Whether you’re changing brand, or moving to a different kind of diet to support their health or a change in life stage, make sure you do it gradually. A sudden change can have unpleasant consequences!
You might find your dog greets in the morning with a pool of yellowish bile – this can be caused by your dog’s stomach going empty overnight. It’s not good for a dog to have nothing to digest for a long period of time so try feeding them a small meal before bed or leaving them so biscuits to snack on.
If none of these causes seems to be behind your dog’s gastric issues, and they don’t clear up quickly, it could be a sign of something more serious so stay alert and contact your vet if you’re worried.
Pulling on the Lead
There’s nothing more frustrating when you go for a walk than your dog pulling on the lead to the point of strangling itself!
You can do something for the discomfort by changing from a collar to a harness – this means they can’t crush their windpipe against their collar, but pulling is a matter for training. The key is not to reward it by taking even a single step with your dog when he pulls on the lead – this shows him that pulling works! Instead, come to a stop, distract him and begin again, rewarding him for good behaviour rather than punishing bad.
When your dog is excited to see you (or anyone else) he might jump up at them. Depending on the size of the dog, this might be adorable or terrifying! It’s a behaviour that it’s best to discourage, by not giving your dog the reward he’s looking for when he does it – attention. Turn away, wait for him to calm down, then reward him your attention! You can also train for and reward related positive behaviours like sitting and staying to command.
The key for any bad or difficult habit your dog might have is to make sure you don’t ascribe any malignity to it. If you can understand the root of the behaviour, you can change what goes into it – whether that’s food or rewards – and get better behaviour back out.