Feelgood Pets

Does your dog have bad habits?

Here are some common bad behaviour and habits in dogs that you can change:

1. Chewing furniture & objects

It’s perfectly natural behaviour for dogs to chew objects, and chewing is actually one of their favourite ways to explore the world – in this case, with their mouths! Puppies, just like babies and toddlers will put things into their mouth to chew to ease the discomfort of teething. Dog owners who have experienced the joys of having a puppy will know how much they enjoy chewing shoes, socks and furniture. Older dogs that engage in destructive chewing may be doing this for a number of reasons. As a puppy, your dog wasn’t taught what to chew and what not to chew; he may also be bored or suffering from separation anxiety, seeking attention or even be afraid of something.

SOLUTION:   If you have a puppy, puppy proof your house! Remove objects of curiosity such as electrical cords, shoes, socks, your kid’s toys and books or block access to rooms so that your puppy cannot get in. Puppies who are teething will benefit from our chewing toys for dogs!

Encourage appropriate chewing by providing your dog with chew toys that he can enjoy to his heart’s content. Make sure that you select the right chew toy for your pooch – for instance, some balls may be too small and become lodged in your dog’s throat. Take care when giving them bones to chew as bones can splinter and puncture your dog’s stomach, especially cooked bones. Praise your dog when he chews on the toy – and gradually, he will learn what items are his to play with. NEVER punish or discipline him after he has chewed an object!

If your dog is bored or looking for attention, you need to spend more time with him. Play with your dog regularly, and take him for a walk every evening so that he gets exercise. Remember, a tired dog is also a good dog! Dogs who are suffering from separation anxiety will benefit from our PetCalm, 100% homeopathic remedy which will improve their sense of security and wellbeing, and also lift their mood.
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2. Digging in the garden

Some dogs love digging! Others will dig up your prized roses or that huge hole under your fence because they are simply bored, chasing a mole, mouse or lizard, or hiding their prized possessions like a precious bone or toy.

SOLUTION: It’s always best to figure out what may be causing your dog’s digging expeditions! Give your dog lots of physical stimulation so that he can release all that pent up energy. Increase his walks to twice daily and play fetch with a ball or Frisbee. If your dog is left alone in the garden area quite a bit, leave toys out for him that will provide enough mental stimulation and keep him entertained. Enclose fencing structures so that he doesn’t escape or place rocks strategically it to secure the area. Use chicken wire to enclose grass or plant beds that you don’t want your dog to dig up. Always give your dog lots of praise and rewards for good behaviour! Problem behaviours such as digging often need a bit of extra help, and our PetCalm does just that! This homeopathic blend controls and reduces destructive behaviour with a few, regular doses.
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3. Begging at the table

Most dog parents become very annoyed when their four-legged kids beg for food while they are eating. Trying to change this behaviour starts with YOU!

SOLUTION: Yes, we all know how hard it is to say no to that adorable, little face looking up at you eagerly waiting for a titbit! Your dog has learnt that if he begs, he will get food – you have reinforced this behaviour!   Go deep within yourself and find the willpower to ignore your begging dog and don’t feel sorry for him either. Keep in mind that you are feeding him well and you can include treats as a reward for good behaviour. Be consistent and patient, and your dog will soon learn that begging for food will get him nowhere!
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4. Sleeping on your bed

Mmm! This is my Holly’s favourite and she is well known for sneaking onto my bed at every opportunity! If your dog becomes a pest and insists on climbing onto your bed, guess, who’s to blame here? Only you are, I’m afraid! Here’s the thing…allowing your pooch to sleep on your bed places him on an equal footing with you. This means that he’ll challenge your authority more frequently and be more territorial around you. If there are other dogs in the home, he’ll also see himself as a cut above the others – when all pets should be treated equally. So many people indulge their pets when they are small and cute – and then try to correct the problem when they are big and troublesome! Try to establish clear behavioural boundaries right from the beginning and if you have already developed bad habits, be consistent in showing your dog what is not allowed and what is. Don’t give in – it’s just like training a child!

If you have encouraged sleeping on your bed and now want to change the status quo, your furry sleeping partner may experience some separation anxiety when you aren’t at home or lay down the law about sleeping on beds, couches or other comfy no-go spots! Problem behaviours such as chewing, barking and marking his territory may increase.

SOLUTION: Go out and buy your pooch a comfortable dog bed. It would be best to place the bed in your bedroom as moving it anywhere else in your home would cause too much stress for your pet. To keep your dog off your bed, take him into the bedroom on a leash. When he jumps onto the bed, pull him off gently and say “off” firmly. As soon as he’s off the bed, praise him, “Good boy!” and reward with a doggy biscuit or piece of biltong. Practice this regularly and after a few weeks, you’ll have your bed to yourself again.   
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5. Urine marking inside the house

Urine marking usually happens when your dog is protecting its territory and feels insecure. Your dog may feel threatened because another person or animal has entered their territory. No one likes their home reeking of urine, so this is definitely something that you’d want to prevent from happening!

SOLUTION: Neutering will reduce the likelihood of urine marking. It will also extend your dog’s life. When a new pet, a baby or visitor is introduced into the household, your precious pooch feels like the “new person” has entered their kingdom or may be replacing him (in the case of a new pet or baby). This can easily be resolved by allowing the new person or pet to spend time with your dog. Don’t allow the new pet or person into your dog’s space until they are well acquainted. If your dog experiences a bit of anxiety about this transition, a good dose of PetCalm will keep him calm and reduce any stress he may be feeling. PetCalm is one of our most popular remedies for pets. It is a 100% homeopathic rescue remedy for pets – helping to calm and soothe them in times of stress.

So you see, with a little self-discipline and perseverance you CAN teach an ‘old dog’ new tricks – even yourself! 
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