You have a dog you love but sometimes they act so annoying…
They bark. Jump. Bite. Pull. Or show some other unwanted behavior…
And it makes you wonder why. What’s more, you want to make them stop. But you don’t know how…
Help’s here! Read on to find out:
- 3 common situations when your dog is acting annoying and why.
- 13 easily-implementable tips to follow and fix your dog’s behavior.
- The secret to getting your dog to act calm and collected in any situation (check out #6).
- And much more…
Table of contents
- Why is my dog so annoying?
- Why is my dog so annoying at night?
- Why is my dog so annoying in the morning?
- 13 tips to help you deal with your dog’s annoying behavior
- #1: Remove rewards for annoying behaviors
- #2: Out with the old, in with the new
- #3: Replace undesirable behaviors
- #4: Bring everyone on board
- #5: Keep them busy
- #6: Wear them out
- #7: Just stop
- #8: Attend an obedience class
- #9: Keep training your dog
- #10: Do not punish
- #11: It gets worse before it gets better
- #12: Ignore the annoying behavior
- #13: Be patient and consistent
Why is my dog so annoying?
Your dog is so annoying because they engage in undesirable behaviors to communicate their need. Undesirable behaviors include barking excessively, jumping on you, begging at the table, and biting. These behaviors are reinforced when you reward them by either giving them food or attention.
Why is my dog so annoying at night?
Your dog is so annoying at night when they bark excessively or get the zoomies. This is due to pent up energy they have been unable to release. Dogs need physical activity and mental stimulation to avoid engaging in undesirable behaviors.
Why is my dog so annoying in the morning?
Your dog is so annoying in the morning because they are hyper and excited. They display undesirable behavior by jumping on you, licking your face, or biting your hand. This could stem from hunger, inadequate exercise the previous day, or anxiety if you’re leaving for work soon.
Dogs are simply being dogs when they bark, chew, or chase animals.
Some behaviors come naturally to them, such as chasing cars or digging. These are behaviors that have to do with their heritage.
You should consider your dog’s behavior problematic if it affects your life and others’.
Let’s say you have a dog and it howls in the middle of the night. It disturbs your sleep and that of your neighbors’.
Other behaviors that you may find annoying are the following:
- House soiling.
- Begging for food.
- Jumping on people.
- Pulling on the leash.
- Ignoring commands.
- Barging through doors.
- Digging up in the garden.
- Chasing cars and people.
- Chewing on inappropriate things.
- Showing aggression toward dogs and people.
Thankfully, most of these annoying behaviors are either temporary or manageable.
13 tips to help you deal with your dog’s annoying behavior
#1: Remove rewards for annoying behaviors
Sometimes you’ll find it difficult to do this.
Particularly if your dog angles their head to look cute. Or when they look at you with those eyes while you’re eating.
Dogs are smart this way. You know why? Because they know to approach an attentive human when begging for food.
And that’s backed by this research. It studied both pet dogs and wolves.
The study wanted to find out if the rearing or living environment affects their begging for food.
The results showed that pet dogs and even wolves quickly learned to beg with practice.
Back in the home front, some pet owners might find it irresistible to give their dogs table scraps.
Now their begging could turn into an annoying habit. But the solution is quite simple.
Do not reward annoying behaviors.
If they bark while you prepare their dinner, don’t give them their food until they have calmed down.
It’s the same when your dog jumps at whoever enters the door. Do not reward this behavior. The reward here is petting your dog or giving them attention.
For cases like this, it’s best to ignore your dog. Only give them attention when their feet are on the floor and they are calm.
#2: Out with the old, in with the new
Old meaning old, annoying habits, and new meaning behavior you prefer.
The key to establishing a new behavior isn’t rocket science. But the success lies largely in you as the owner.
Because you need to be consistent 100% of the time for it to work.
So how do you establish a new behavior?
Reinforce the desirable behavior
…all of the time.
It’s not enough to simply stop rewarding undesirable behavior. You also need to teach your dog how to get what they need from you. The right way.
For instance, you’d rather have your dog sit than jump on visitors. So teach them how to sit.
Every time they display the behavior, celebrate!
Give your dog a jackpot of rewards: praises, treats and toys. Your dog will repeat the behavior because it’s rewarded! Hence, the behavior is reinforced.
Remember the law of reinforcement:
- Reinforced behavior strengthens.
- Behaviors that are ignored weaken and eventually die down.
I cannot stress enough the importance of reinforcing behavior. Don’t be stingy with the jackpot prizes if your dog does the desired behavior.
And speaking of prizes…
Use high-value treats only during the training. High-value treats are way better than the usual cookie or kibble your dog gets.
In addition, your dog doesn’t get high-value treats very often. So when you give them these during training, they are more motivated to work.
You can make some high-value treats at home such as dehydrated chicken.
Here’s how you do it:
Aside from treats, rewards can be in the form of attention and play.
#3: Replace undesirable behaviors
Your goal for your dog is to stop doing undesirable behavior.
Your dog has a goal, too. After all, they display the behavior because they want to tell you something.
Figure out what it is. Then decide what the new behavior should be.
This is what your dog will do whenever they encounter the trigger for the undesirable behavior.
Basically, you’re teaching your dog a better way to communicate their needs.
The new behavior can be simple or complex, it’s up to you. Just make sure to stick to it.
Here are a few ideas you can use:
|Jumping at visitors||Giving/showing you their toy|
|Barking in the morning to ask for breakfast||Sit by their bowl|
|Barking to get out||Ring a bell by the door|
|Begging at the table||Lying on their bed|
Caution: Teach your dog the replacement behavior right away. Don’t wait until the undesirable behavior is so ingrained. By then, it will be difficult to teach a new behavior.
#4: Bring everyone on board
When teaching your dog a new behavior, don’t give them a chance to go back to their old ways.
Tips #1 and #2 will be useless if your dog goes back to their old behavior without your knowledge.
For instance, your dog barks because they’re hungry. Your spouse gives them their meal.
In this case, your dog’s barking was rewarded. If this happens again, the old behavior will be reinforced.
Correcting your dog’s annoying behaviors will be a family affair.
So it’s best to talk to your family about your goal. It helps when everyone is on the same page.
Otherwise, all your efforts will go down the drain.
So enlist the help of your spouse and kids. Let them know what they should do in case your dog misbehaves. And what they should do if your dog exhibits undesirable behaviors.
#5: Keep them busy
Boredom can push your dog to do undesirable behaviors.
They chew on inappropriate things or they bark excessively. They would find something to do to get out of their boredom.
And trust me, this ‘something’ is more often undesirable.
Just like a child, your dog needs mental stimulation and physical activities (more on this in the next section).
Give them as many activities as you can on a daily basis. They will be too busy they won’t have time to be bored. Or even engage in undesirable behaviors.
Here are a few ideas to keep your dog busy:
Puzzle toys are great tools to keep your pooch entertained.
It provides them some form of physical activity, like this classic Stuffed Kong. It rolls around so your dog walks around the room as they follow the Kong.
And of course, these provide lots of mental stimulation. Your dog gets to exercise their brains to get the treats from hiding places.
You may also consider getting the Nina Ottoson puzzle game. Thousands of satisfied customers have gotten their dog this entertaining toy.
This toy has many removable compartments where you hide treats. Your dog will be busy figuring out how to get their paws on the treats.
And if you’re getting your dog to lose weight, this toy can help as well. It slows down their eating because they have to figure out how to get the next treat.
A toy is also helpful in redirecting behavior. For instance, you’re about to have dinner.
Give your dog a toy that you only give them when you’re having a meal. It will keep them occupied and you can eat in peace.
A job in the house
Never underestimate what your dog can do.
Here are just some of the awesome things your pooch can do around the house:
- Mop floors.
- Fetch the newspaper.
- Open and close doors.
- Put things in the dishwasher.
- Bring in groceries from the car.
- Pick up toys and put in a basket.
- Pick up trash and throw in the garbage bin.
- Hold the shower head while you wash your hair.
Look, they can even open the fridge and get you a bottle of beer:
Perhaps this stems from their desire to please their owners.
Use this to your advantage to teach them tasks at home. With a task, they can help around the house. And they have something productive to do.
What’s reqired of you to achive this? To give your dog guidance, have a lot of paience and provide them with consistant training (this is key).
#6: Wear them out
When your dog has a lot of pent up energy, they’re going to unleash it in ways you won’t like!
As a result, they engage in annoying behaviors in trying to burn that excess energy.
Some dogs do that by jumping or running around the house. Or they bark or howl at night, just when you and your neighbors are about to sleep.
Dogs like these are lacking in physical activities.
The physical activities you give your dog will depend on their age, breed and health.
Some working dogs (like a healthy adult German Shepherd) need at least 2 hours of exercise. Others may need only an hour before they’re exhausted.
Even senior dogs need physical activities to keep in shape
Plan what kind of physical activities to give them.
Take them on a long or brisk walk. Preferably in the morning before you leave for work and at night when you’re home.
Give them time to sniff around. This can be mentally stimulating for your dog.
In addition, engage in multiple play sessions. Have your dog fetch a ball or play frisbee.
If your dog is allowed to run, go running or even hiking. Swimming will also give your dog a nice work out.
The idea here is to tire your dog out by involving them in an activity they like. For my dog Lissa, ‘fetch’ is one f the most desirable game.
If they’re tired, they’re less likely to engage in annoying behaviors such as having the zoomies at night. Plus, chances are, you’ll see your dog having that goof smile thnat melts your heart.
Note: Strive to give your dog adequate physical activities on a daily basis. If you can’t personally supervise it due to work or other commitments, consider hiring a pet sitter. Doggy daycare is also a fantastic idea.
#7: Just stop
Some dogs pull on their leash as though they’re late for a canine meeting somewhere.
Or they jump all over you during a play session.
These are annoying behaviors that can be fixed by stopping.
Leash pulling is truly an annoying behavior. An untrained dog will try to scram as soon as you step out of the house.
But the solution to this is really very simple. When your dog pulls on the leash, stop walking.
Wait for several things to happen: your dog sitting, or coming to you. Only continue walking when they’re calm.
Keep stopping in your tracks whenever they pull the leash.
Or, use the ‘heel’ command to get your dog to walk beside you.
Stop the game
If you’re having a play session and your dog jumps over you, stop the game immediately.
Trust me, they’ll know it’s no fun when you stop.
They’ll figure out that for the fun to continue, they have to sit or stop jumping.
Biting and mouthing are also annoying behaviors.
This is most common among puppies. They are at an age where they explore the world with their mouth.
And that’s perfectly fine, as long as they’re not biting your limbs… Some of you know that puppy biting hurts a lot. It’s due to then fact that the puppy’s teeth are sharp as razors…
Don’t worry-after several months this changes. And by time it does, your puppy would have learned bite inhibition (how hard it is acceptable to play-bite) if you’ve socialized thnem enough with other dogs.
Until your puppy still has their baby teeth on, it’s the best time to discourage them from biting you.
As soon as they bite your hand or arm, let out a yelp. Then have your arm go limp.
Your dog’s first reaction is to stop biting you. Stop the play time to let your dog know that biting is not an acceptable behavior.
Note: Give them toys on which to nibble. And also use the toys to redirect the puppy if they start biting
#8: Attend an obedience class
Not all pet owners are experts in dealing with these undesirable behaviors.
So when your dog’s behavior becomes severe or causes harm… What to do?
One, don’t be afraid to ask a professional’s help when needed.
These professionals spent years gaining knowledge by working with animals. They are the ones who know how to correct ingrained behaviors.
Should you decide to get the services of a professional, your cooperation is vital in the success.
Because you’re the one whow ill be working with your dog by the rest of their life. So, it’s important to have a good connection with them and know how to address problematic behaviors before they escalate.
Two, enroll in an obedience class. Here they’ll learn desirable behaviors.
And it’s a great bonding activity for you and your dog.
Not only that. It presents a chance for your dog to socialize with other dogs. This will ensure that your dog learns to get along with other dogs.
#9: Keep training your dog
Training regularly is one of the ways to get rid of annoying behaviors.
That’s why it’s essential for your dog to go through obedience training early on. This will be the foundation for all behavior modification.
In obedience training, you teach your dog basic commands. They learn to sit, stay, down, heel and come.
Other useful commands are leave it, watch me, quiet, off and stop.
These basic commands will always come handy when correcting annoying behaviors.
Instead of barking for attention, they could sit and wait patiently. ‘Leave it’ is useful when you don’t want your dog digging in your garden.
In addition, these commands can save your dog. For instance, you’re out and about and your dog finds the grass appealing.
Before they can sample the grass, give the ‘come’ or ‘stop’ command. Or before they take a lick of some spilled liquid on the road, give the ‘stop’ command.
Obedience training also includes crate training. Your dog has to know that their crate is their safe place.
Thus, they will feel relaxed even when confined.
Training your dog to be relaxed inside the crate can take some time. So this is best done from puppyhood.
Now this is beneficial in many cases. For instance, your dog won’t throw a fuss when confined in their carrier when you take them flying.
Your dog will also feel relaxed in their crate when you leave for work.
When you have visitors at home, you can command your dog to lie on their bed or stay in their crate.
Crate training also helps eliminate separation anxiety.
But you have to teach your dog to love their crate. Otherwise, putting them inside the crate will worsen behavior problems.
According to this research, putting dogs inside the crate when they have separation anxiety is a bad idea.
If dogs are not used to being confined, you might notice increased likelihood of lip licking. In this case, lip licking is a sign of stress.
#10: Do not punish
Punishment is never the best way to correct your dog’s annoying behaviors.
If you’ll notice, when you yell at your dog for not obeying you, they cower in fear. Or they bark because of the attention you give.
Never punish your dog by throwing them in their crate. They will associate their crate with punishment.
As a result, they will feel anxious every time they’re in the crate.
When walking, don’t yank at the leash when they pull it. It will be difficult to teach them to enjoy walking by your side.
This study proved that the use of punishment leads to increased aggression and excitability in dogs.
On the other hand, the use of positive reinforcement leads to dogs that are less anxious.
Note: Ignoring your dog is better (and simpler) than yelling at them or yanking at the leash. Wait for them to pay attention or to calm down.
#11: It gets worse before it gets better
At some point, you’ll find the undesirable behavior worsening.
For instance, you notice that your little land shark is more determined in biting your arm or hand.
I’ve came across an example of a pet owner who complained in an online forum about their dog. Her husband took the dog for a walk.
But back home, the dog acted up and kept biting the husband.
It ended in frustration and tears.
The fact is, many dogs are surrendered in shelters. One of the reasons is that their humans can’t tolerate undesirable behavior.
And instead of addressing the problem, they chose to relinquish their dog.
This is a sad reality. If only pet owners take responsibility for their pets, including undesirable behaviors.
They wouldn’t give up their pets if they realize that it gets worse before it gets better.
Dogs put more effort in doing undesirable behavior…
For instance, your dog becomes more vocal when you’re about to give them their meal. They jump at you, trying to reach the food bowl in your hand.
Or they do this silly dance that gets them spinning around.
If they do any of this:
Put the food bowl where they can’t reach and sit down. Ignore their barks of protest.
Your dog will soon realize that the behavior (barking, jumping etc.) no longer works for them. They’ll eventually calm down, sit, or lie down.
Congratulations! Your dog is learning.
#12: Ignore the annoying behavior
Sounds simple, right? And what’s great is that it’s not only simple but also effective.
Remember, treats are not the only things that reward a behavior. Your attention is highly reinforcing for a dog.
Use this to make behavior modification more effective.
Before, you’d prepare your dog’s meal when they bark. And you’ve been rewarding your dog’s behavior by preparing their meal.
Now, use the ignore tactic when they bark. If they keep quiet, that’s the only time you prepare their food.
#13: Be patient and consistent
I know, this is easier said than one.
But think of your dog as your child. They need a lot of guidance and understanding to become well-behaved.
As I’ve mentioned in tip #2, the success of behavior modification will depend on you.
On how much you want your dog to develop desirable behaviors. And how consistent you’ll act on it.
Consistency affects the success of removing annoying behaviors. This study showed that dogs that were less obedient and more aggressive were due to their owners’:
- Inconsistency with interactions with their dogs.
- Less engagement in training and play activities.
If owners engage more with their dogs in training and play activities, the dogs are more obedient.
As you can see from these tips, there is no overnight solution for your dog’s annoying behaviors.
But, it’s possible to correct these behaviors. It takes consistency, patience and lots of love from you, the owner.