Owners often blame their pets for having bad habits, without realising they can sometimes be the cause of them in the first place. A pet can inadvertently be taught from a young age that certain behaviour is acceptable because their owners find it endearing, only for them to continue it into later life and then become confused when they are punished. Here are a few bad habits people encourage in their pets.
Pet owners can often view a puppy jumping up as cute, and reward them with praise and affection when they do this. However, it can become problematic for guests, strangers and the owners when the tiny puppy reaches adult size, height and weight, and attempts to jump up. The dog will not know why this type of behaviour is no longer acceptable, as they will not understand the difference. It is therefore the responsibility of the owner to correct this from as early as possible.
Your puppy may jump up because they are excited to see you, and want you to give them affection. To stop them from jumping, only respond positively to calm behaviour. Don’t punish them if they do jump, but rather ignore them and turn your back to show the puppy they will not get a reaction from you by behaving in that way. Instead, reward calm behaviour such as if the puppy sits, and only acknowledge and praise them when their feet are on the floor.
Don’t be tempted to provide your pet with scraps off your dinner plate. Many people can’t resist their dog’s endearing facial expression reserved for begging, or they feel feeding their pet includes them during family meal times. Whatever the reason, it encourages the bad habit of begging and can cause weight gain whilst potentially giving them unsuitable foods. If you want to include your pet at meal times, why not have a look at some pet-friendly recipes? It will give them a change from their usual food, and means they can enjoy healthy human food without all of the additives that aren’t suitable for animal consumption.
Chasing other animals
Getting your dog excited and riled up enough to chase other animals makes them think it is acceptable to chase them at all times, as they will not be able to distinguish the difference between birds in the garden, the neighbour’s cat or another dog when out walking. It can therefore have a negative impact on socialisation, as a pet should exhibit calm behaviour around other animals and people. Getting dogs too excited can also encourage other bad behaviour such as excessive barking.
Biting can be encouraged when people put their hands or feet near their pets’ mouths and allow them to chew. This may seem cute whilst they are puppies or kittens, but it can soon become painful when the pet gets older. It also suggests biting is acceptable behaviour, which can lead to potentially dangerous aggressive biting.
Anxiety around animals and people
Not introducing your pet to other animals or people, or walking them in quiet areas where not many are present may impede your pet’s socialisation. They might be afraid of other people and animals, and could react nervously or aggressively in their presence. It is the responsibility of the owner to develop their pet’s confidence through socialisation so they can be happy and healthy.
What to do
If your pet does exhibit some bad habits, there are certain things you can do to attempt to change their behaviour. Depending on how long the animal has been getting away with the behaviour, they could take a while to train. Visit your vet or a behaviourist to see what can be done to deter your pet’s bad habits.