Born to Bark, Sniff & Chew.

April 2, 2014 | By More

Stella Bella

Stella Bella

You cannot expect to stop these innate behaviors, but you can manage them.

Everything a dog sees falls into one of several categories: Do I Chew it, Chase it, Roll in it or Pee on it?  And typically, that’s determined with a good sniff.  There is a whole world out there of people, places and things which your dog might never get to, but one sniff can usually tell him what he needs to know.  It’s clear that sniffing is an enrichment every dog needs.

People complain about their dogs sniffing on walks instead of heeling at the owner’s side.  But how can a militant heel compare to the thrill of discovering who’s been there, what they were doing, and did they leave anything behind?  Walking, for a dog, is not about strolling casually by your side and taking in the sights.  The walk is all about the sniff.   Now, that being said, dogs do not have to sniff every tree.  In fact, I prefer to put this wonderful, enriching behavior on cue.  So when your dog is walking dutifully at your side for a block or two, release him with a “go sniff.”  If you allow him opportunities to explore the environment, it’ll be easier for him to fall into step, and the walk will be more pleasant for both of you.

Why do dogs bark?  They bark for many reasons: seeing a squirrel, a stranger approaching, getting attention…to name a few.  As the dog’s owner, it is up to you to manage the situation.  First, find out the reason for the barking before you try to correct it.  Attention barking is usually the quickest behavior to eliminate by ignoring the dog.  If your dog is barking at something going by outside, it could be as easy as blocking his view from the window (stop the bad behavior) and then begin working on the behavior you want.  Maybe come to you for a cookie when he sees the garbage truck.  The truth of the matter is, a dog is going to bark.  With patience and proper handling you can teach him when to stop.

What are you gonna do if your dog’s gotta chew?  Puppies especially are relentless in their pursuit of something to sink their baby teeth into.  But dogs of all ages need to chew.  It provides enrichment for an otherwise bored dog, stimulation for the gums, and gnawing a bone is a great way to clean teeth.   You cannot stop a dog from chewing.  But keeping him away from shoes, children’s toys and other forbidden objects while providing him with appropriate bones and chews, allows you to redirect him to chew only what you want him to chew.

Just a few things to consider when you find yourself annoyed with your dog’s behavior.  If you don’t expect your dog to bark, sniff or chew, maybe you don’t want a dog.  Or, maybe you can teach your dog when to bark, where to sniff and what to chew!   It’s easy with patience, understanding and positive reinforcement!

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  1. Stanislav says:

    While I agree that the e-Collar is dangerous in the wrong hands they can be a great tool if used ppreroly. The issue is that most people don’t read the instructions, don’t learn from someone that knows how to use them or just thinks it is a great toy. But I digress.Put the collar on early but don’t turn it on. This gets the pup used to the feel of the collar. Use a command lead or piggin string, short lead with a choke collar or a pinch collar to get the pup started on the basics. I am not going to endorse any one particular approach but I put them in the order I prefer. Once the pup knows the proper behaviour you can use the eCollar at very low settings. I have not used the tone mode but I am seriously considering that with the next pup.If you haven’t trained a dog or two with a check cord, don’t start with an eCollar and go to a class. There are some great DVDs out there but I think that a live seminar is a good way to start. I have trained under about 4 professionals and they are all different but they are also very much the same.