6 Dog Misdeeds That Are Probably Your Fault

3. Destructive tendencies

Photo: Flickr/ clickflashphotos/Nicki Varkevisser

Much of the time, says Ohlmann, hyperactive puppies who tear the whole house apart are simply feeding off their surrounding energy. If your household is calm, the dog is calm. If the house is chaotic, the dog will be too. “If they were with their mom they’d be learning social manners in their pack,” he says, noting that dogs model their behavior after their humans. “I pity the dog that was adopted the week before the start of school — everybody’s running around, they’re getting pushed to the back burner, and what they learn is to compete for attention.”

2. Incessant barking

Sure, some dogs are more vocal that others (we see you, German Shepherds) but dogs that are constantly barking do so because they’ve learned that such vocal harassment generally leads to them getting their way. Next time your dog starts barking for no good reason, don’t reward his or her bad behavior.

1. Growling

When your dog gets aggressive with other pooches at the dog park, this could be because you, his human, are a pushover. Aggressive dogs often lash out at other pooches because their owner doesn’t take a strong stance. Now it’s important to make it clear to your dog – maybe by breaking out your stern voice, or ignoring him for five minutes – that this aggression will not stand. To Fido, shrugging off the whole things sounds a lot like you’re saying this behavior is okay.

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J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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