How to Tell if Your Dog Has Bad Manners (and How to Fix Them!)

Just as humans aren’t born with good manners, neither are dogs. They have to be taught appropriate behavior for various situations (like dinner time, the park, visiting friends, seeing other animals, etc.). While some pet behaviors are tougher to modify than others, with patience, understanding, training and positive feedback, it’s possible to have a very well-mannered dog.

What are Bad Dog Manners?

First, it’s necessary to understand what “bad” dog manners are. Bad manners and bad behavior are pretty similar. Bad manners tend to be those poor behaviors that make other pets and pet owners uncomfortable in social situations such as:

  • Trying to steal food off of the table or the grill
  • Jumping up on people
  • Leaping onto furniture
  • Barking at other dogs in the park
  • Ignoring you when you call or make a command

All of these less than savory pup behaviors can make it uncomfortable for people to visit your home or to welcome you and your dog into theirs. It can also make playtime at the park a stressful experience for you and for other pet owners.

Importantly, not every “bad” manner listed above is a concern for every dog owner. For example, many pet owners allow their dog to lounge on the couch. What rules you enforce are to your discretion as a pet owner. The key sign a dog has manners that need addressing is when you’ve established the rules and your pup still ignores them.

How to Address Bad Dog Manners

When it comes to addressing bad manners, there are several things you can try.

  • The best approach is early training. The earlier you get a dog, the sooner you should establish the house rules. If you aren’t up for training, look for an obedience school that will ensure your pet gets the lessons they need to be the perfect house guests (in your home and elsewhere).
  • If you missed the boat on early training, that’s okay. Keep in mind, though, that punishing your dog for bad behavior isn’t the key. Reward your dog when they happily wag their tail at house guests instead of jumping up on them. This will teach your dog to feel positively about their actions and to prefer it.
  • Try to figure out what’s causing the bad behavior. For example, your dog’s tendency to bark at or jump on strangers could be a sign of anxiety, overstimulation, or hyperactivity. Regardless of the reason, it is possible to address the situation. You might need to slowly introduce your pet to social situations. You might also need to keep your dog on a leash until he learns appropriate behaviors for social situations. Just as with encouraging new good manners, reward your dog when he does the right thing as this will foster future good manners.

As you can see, dogs are like people in more ways than one. When it comes to breaking bad behaviors, here are positive ways to encourage building good manners. At the end of the day, a healthy relationship between you and your dog is all that matters.

Encourage good pet behaviors with treat rewards. Old Mother Hubbard dog food makes a variety of healthy, natural treats perfect for rewarding your pup for using good manners.

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