Rewarding BAD behavior
When our dogs are doing things that we don't like, it can be very frustrating. Jumping up on people is one of these common problems, especially with puppies and smaller dogs! Chewing on hands & feet is another puppy behavior that drives owners crazy. Eliminating in the house, The list goes on & on.
Often times the problem behavior is self rewarding for the dog, when Fido digs up your roses-first off he gets to dig and burn off some energy ( that's a reward) just like a work out makes you feel more energized! Then he gets all those great scents from the soil, maybe if he is lucky a neighborhood cat left a goodie there too-yes, it's gross for us, but a delightful reward to the dog, then he gets to rip, tear and chew on the roots of that award winning rose bush. Chewing is necessary for dogs, especially teething pups, but adult dogs get a lot of stimulus from the act of chewing too. Lastly, when he is good and satisfied, he gets a cool spot in the yard to lay his weary bones from the heat of the day.
The point is; dogs don't do anything that doesn't offer some sort of reward. Sometimes, like with the rose bush, there are multiple rewards and you have little control over them.
Now let's go back to jumping on people. Why do dogs do this? Specifically ask why does YOUR dog do this? If you answered, He wants attention, you are probably correct! So what do you do? Push him off? Yell at him? Step on his back paws or knee him in the chest?
How many of these options give your dog the attention that he seeks? ALL of them! That's right! Every time you talk to, look at ,yell at or make ANY physical contact with your dog, you are offering him a reward. Even negative attention, in the dogs mind is still attention.
Dogs don't think +/- like we do. That's why even abused animals will still show affection to their abusers. Didn't we create them to be our best friend, never to bite the hand that feeds them?
So, the next time your dog does something you don't want him to-think about it for a moment.
What reward is my dog getting from this behavior?
Do I have any control over the dog getting that reward?
In the case of the rose bush, you can fence it (or the dog)but the dog will just find another place to dig. Think about ways to create an appropriate solution for him to redirect that energy, thereby changing his behavior.
This is where dog training comes in- Give him something BETTER to do!