6 Bad Behaviors That Dog Owners Unknowingly Reinforce

Training Mishaps:

6 Bad Behaviors That Dog Owners
Unknowingly Reinforce

You must have frequently heard an expression “What’s wrong with my perfect dog?” But, have you
been training and acting perfectly with your flawless pooch? Bad behaviors and bad dogs are a product
of inadequate training, either consciously or unconsciously.

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For the love of puppies, some unwanted behaviors are promoted by dog owners because the actions
appear cute and harmless at first. Dog owners reinforce those behaviors by not setting the limits and
overlooking those behaviors. Sometimes, due to lack of consistency or consistency in a negative way,
the dog learns unwanted behaviors. Here’s a list of bad behavior dog owners or first-time pet parents


Dog parents promote the impulsive licking behavior by themselves. They may laugh or give treat or
cuddle or kiss the doggy back. It encourages the little pup or the adult dog to repeat the behavior to gain the appreciation and love from you. Whichever action has positive consequences, the dog will return to get more of the ‘good responses.’

Reinforcement is all about encouraging or discouraging a behavior through reward or punishment.
There are many behaviors we reinforce unconsciously in the dog’s mind. Your dog loves being rewarded and acknowledged for good work, so he returns over and over again.

Stopping your dog from licking doesn’t mean punishing or yelling at him. Instead, ignore him and walk away until he learns that licking has a ‘bad response.’


Puppies are cute, and ‘demand barking’ is promoted mostly at a young age. Demand barking involves
noisy pleads of the pup for food, favorite toy, etc. The dog acts like a boss because you pay heed to his
unnecessary demands. Some dog owners listen to their dogs to stop the constant barking. However, in
the long run, this behavior develops into harsh reactions of the dog for getting things done.

Behavior correcting practice includes pacifying the dog by commanding him to ‘sit’ before getting his
wishes granted. If he continues to bark, ignore his pleads and walk away. Consistency in responses will
increase the chances of rectification in bad behavior.


When you are having a meal, does your dog comes over and begs for food by making that adorable
puppy face that melts your heart? Do his sweet-sounding whines force you to give in to share a few
bites with your pup? You are reinforcing the result-driven pooch that his wishes will be granted if he’ll make that cute face and whine for food. Would you like him to act like a ‘food beggar’ when you are having dinner with a guest at home?

Beware of your dog trying to nibble on your cat’s food. Read more: Can dogs eat cat food?

You can either engage your pup with treat dispensing toys or schedule his meal around your meal-time.
Try serving him favorite dog foods, and you will never see your dog begging again!


Few dog breeds have anxious personalities and, thus, they are quickly caught up in separation anxiety.
However, in some cases, the dog parents develop or exacerbate its symptoms in their fur ball.

What creates separation anxiety? If you have given undue attention at all times to your dog during the
initial days, and, then, got back into your busy routine, you had worsened the situations for him. It’s
better to give time alone to the pooch right from the start.

Moreover, responding to upset or needy behaviors can make the dog behave that way to get your


Submissive urination is an instinctive behavior that was done when subordinate dogs greeted their
dominant partners. You may encourage the behavior unconsciously by either reacting negatively or
showing care and concern when the dog urinates around the house. The best technique is to ignore the dog to overcome this particular training mishap.

You can boost your dog’s self-confidence by training tricks and rewarding him for learning the
commands well and displaying good behavior.


As the whining and begging habits are reinforced, jumping and pawing of pups is enjoyed by humans as
it’s harmless. Most of the dog owners pet the dog for jumping up in excitement as they return from
work. But, when you are wearing your best suit for a big event, you will hate your dog for jumping up at
you. Or when your dog starts to greet every guest by jumping on them, the behavior gets detesting.

Think again, have you promoted this behavior? If yes, then, start ignoring his overexcited reactions and
pet him when he is sitting calmly.


If you have been blaming your dog for these or few other bad behaviors and the dog trainers have failed to correct those behaviors, then, reflect on your responses. Maybe it's you who have made these
training mistakes from the beginning. Even if it’s hard to resist responding positively, focus on the negative aspect such behaviors have on you, your family or your dog. It takes time and consistency to ‘untrain’ a dog, but you have to break the chain.


Fiona Appleton is a Labrador owner. She is the manager of https://ultimatehomelife.com/ that has been
developed to help people solve the troubles of pet ownership. She is an active advocate of animal
protection campaigns. She wants people to understand that dog-behavior is reflective of our behavior.