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How to Break 7 Common Bad Dog Habits

- Provided by VetStreet.com

"No! Bad dog!"

How many times have you scolded your misbehaving canine with those words? Probably too many. But before you fly off the handle, one of the most important things to understand about correcting bad behavior is that punishment doesn't work. Many times, dogs don't understand what they're being punished for, and will respond by learning to hide the behavior.

To help you get a handle on your dog's conduct, we've listed common bad habits. We offer tips here and we also link to longer articles on each subject as well. But remember, it is always important to discuss behavior issues with your veterinarian who can determine if they are caused by a medical problem. If he gives you the all clear, consider enlisting the help of a trainer or behaviorist to teach your dog appropriate go-to behaviors.

1. Chewing Inappropriate Objects

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Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs, since they explore their environment with their mouth. It also relieves stress and boredom, and helps keep their teeth clean.

When you catch your dog chewing inappropriate objects (like shoes, as many dogs do), redirect the chewing to an appropriate item, like a chew toy or stuffed Kong. Then praise your pup for selecting an acceptable outlet for his chewing behavior. Talk with your veterinarian about which chews are safe for your dog.

2. Barking at the Doorbell

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Dogs bark at the doorbell for any number of reasons. They could be excited or anxious about visitors, or they might bark as a watchdog tendency. Some dogs even equate their barking with you opening the door, so they think they're training you to open the door when they bark. One of the best ways to stop barking at the doorbell is to teach and reward an alternative behavior, like sitting on a nearby mat and waiting for the door to be opened.

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