Dog training

How To Encourage Your Dog’s Positive Behavior

When you bought or adopted your dog, you may have imagined a Lassie situation, but ended up with more of a Marley and Me. Even if you find your dog’s antics amusing, there are times when it’s important that you’re able to control him. 

Inexperienced dog owners may not know the best way to go about this, but even the most experienced owners can have a bit of trouble when it comes to certain behaviors or situations. The Vet on Fourth has put together a list based on common concerns.

Keep in mind that some of the entries on this list could indicate a medical emergency (such as when a dog refuses to drink), so the advice may include a call to your vet.

Getting professional help and advice, such as from a vet or qualified trainer, is a way to teach you as the dog owner the correct way to deal with your dog, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re having trouble on your own. 

How Can I Make My Dog Stop Barking?

The short answer: You can’t. Dogs bark, so stopping the behavior completely isn’t always possible. You can  try and limit the barking at inappropriate times by removing stimulus (i.e., shutting the curtains) or by not giving the dog what he wants, which is often attention.  As difficult as it may be, ignore your barking dog. Once he quiets down, give him a treat or attention. Eventually, this will help your furry friend learn that not barking is more rewarding than barking. 

How Can I Make My Dog Eat?

If your dog is refusing food, it could be due to a medical issue. If he just wants to skip a meal, don’t panic. He could simply have an upset tummy from something he ate while in the yard or on a walk. If he continues to refuse to eat after 12 hours, make an appointment with your vet—especially if there are accompanying symptoms, such as diarrhea or vomiting. 

If your dog is refusing food, it’s not likely you can make him eat, but try offering a food that is different from the norm as there is a chance this may stimulate his appetite. 

How Can I Make My Dog Drink Water?

Dogs need water, so if they are refusing all water, this needs to be addressed by a vet immediately. You can also try moving the water bowl or trying a different bowl. For example, if a dog had an automatic waterer in the corner and they went to drink and it made a loud glugging sound. This scared the dog, and he refused to drink water from that waterer ever again. This problem could be solved if the owner bought a new bowl.

Another tip to get your dog to drink water is to mix some food in with it. Some dogs who refuse water will drink it when food is involved. 

Of course, you always want to make sure the bowl is clean as some dogs will not drink from a dirty bowl—and we don’t blame them!

How Can I Make My Dog Take Medicine?

If you’re lucky, you have one of those dogs who will happily scarf down medicine like it’s their favorite treat. Other pet owners, however, have to get creative when it comes giving their dog medicine. Some things to try include:

  • Pill Pockets: Products made specifically for this purpose operate on the same principle as wrapping the pill in a treat, but it’s easier to do so as the pockets are pliable. Various flavors are available. While they are fairly good at masking the scent and flavor of the pill, some dogs won’t go for it. 
  • Mixing with Food: Wrapping the pill in peanut butter or mixing it with wet food are other options. If you try the latter, only mix in a very small amount of food as that will make it easier to tell if he ate the pill. Note that you’ll have to watch the dog like a hawk while he eats. Otherwise, there is a good chance he’ll eat all the food and leave the pill on the floor next to the bowl. 
  • Pill Guns: If all else fails, ask your vet for a pill gun. This is a very inexpensive device that essentially forces the pill down the dog’s throat so he can’t spit it out. It’s simple to use, but ask your vet or a vet tech to demonstrate to be sure you’re using it properly. 

How Can I Make My Dog Poop?

Options for treating your constipated dog include adding fiber to his diet, such as canned pumpkin, increasing exercise, or, in severe cases, talking to your vet about medication. Occasional constipation is nothing to worry about, but if it happens often or lasts longer than a day or two, you’ll want to talk to your vet about it to rule out a serious medical issue. 

How Can I Make My Dog Gain Weight?

If your dog has lost weight, a trip to the vet is advised. While it could just be as simple as he moves more than he eats, weight loss can also be a sign of a medical condition, so you’ll want to rule that out. Once the medical side of things has been addressed, ask your vet to suggest a quality, high-calorie food that will make it easier for your pup to put on weight. 

You can also switch from scheduled meals to free-feeding, but this is only an option if there are no other animals in the house who will scarf down all the food. 

If the problem is that your dog is finicky, try mixing his kibble with wet food or chicken—whatever will make his meals more appealing. 

How Can I Make My Dog Stop Chewing My Shoes?

Dogs chew shoes for the same reason they chew anything else: They like to chew stuff. While that sounds simplistic, it’s true. To them, your shoes on the floor are no different than all the other toys you toss their way, so you shouldn’t be angry with them for doing what dogs do.

That being said, we know it’s heartbreaking to find your favorite slingbacks or Sperry’s chewed beyond repair, so here are some things you can try:

  • Make Sure Your Dog Has Plenty of Exercise to Combat Boredom
  • Spray Shoes with a No-Chew Product, Such as Bitter Apple
  • Provide Lots of Chew Toys

The best way to make your dog stop chewing your shoes is to keep them out of reach. It might be a hassle to ensure your shoes are safely tucked in a closet, but it’s less of a hassle than replacing your shoes every other month. 

Have more questions about making your dog behave? The Vet on Fourth is here for you. Our highly-reviewed staff provides comprehensive veterinary services, and we truly care about the well-being of all of our patients. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to make an appointment.

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