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Undesirable Pet Behaviors and How to Fix Them

in partnership with Noah's Animal Hospitals

Photo Credit: Chalabala / Getty Images

The joys of being a pet owner are countless. They add so much to our lives—love, compassion, fun, laughter, exercise, family... and those big, wide eyes and wagging tails can get away with a lot! Sometimes their behaviors can be frustrating, but try not to get mad—most of the time they don't know what they're in trouble for and majority of behavioral problems have an underlying reason that can be corrected.

When it comes to training your furball, always be patient and consistent. Remember, YOU are the pack leader and your pet will learn the rules of the house if you give them clear boundaries and praise their good behaviors.

 

GULPING DOWN FOOD

It doesn't matter what breed, size, or age... some dogs just gulp down their entire bowl in the blink of an eye. Speed eating can lead to vomiting, bloat, and more serious conditions. Try the #1 recommended food bowl that slows down their eating: Outward Hound Fun Feeder Slow Feed Interactive Bloat Stop Dog Bowl.

[WATCH] This dog eats his entire meal in 44 seconds from a regulary bowl, but eats the same amount from the Outward Hound Fun Feeder in 7 minutes and 30 seconds!

 

JUMPING

You're just as excited to see your pup when you come home, but showing excitement for their jumping only encourages the behavior. Even pushing them down or talking to them or petting them in any way encourages them because they know they're getting attention. Give them attention, but in the right way!

Your dog doesn't know the difference between jumping on you when you walk through the door vs. jumping on a guest, so training them to wait for their attention will help everyone in the end. Try these techniques:

  • Give the command to "sit" when your dog starts jumping. If your dog continues to jump, stand still, don't repeat the command, and wait for them to sit. Once they do, give them a treat and/or praise.
  • Another option is to fold your arms while saying "Off." Once your dog has all four paws on the ground, give them attention and praise. Repeat the action until they've calmed down.

*Make sure you communicate these actions with your guests so your dog understands these rules apply when strangers come over.

 

BEGGING

Begging for food is one of the most common undesirable behaviors all owners face. Have you been to dinner at a friend's house and their dog is pawing at your leg, barking, or breathing heavily right next to you? Wasn't a pleasant meal, was it? Don't make you or your guests deal with that. Start training your dog immediately to know their boundaries when it comes to your food.

  • Most important step... do NOT give them food from your plate. We know it's hard to resist those big, beautiful, wide eyes, but be strong! You know your dog is well-fed. You feed them everyday! You know best!
  • Teach them to do something else when everyone sits at the dinner table, like laying on a mat or dog bed that's close by. If they get up from their spot, direct them back to it and tell them to stay. *It might help to have a leash on them to easily guide them back.

 

PULLING THE LEASH

Walks are exciting! Dogs get to be outside, smell all sorts of things, explore, meet new dog friends, and spend time with their human! It's a lot to take in so dogs might want to sprint ahead or get distracted. 

  • When your dog starts to pull on the leash, stop walking and make them sit. Every time! They'll start to realize the fun stops when they pull.
  • Teach them it's worthwhile to know where their human wants to take them. When they get too distracted sniffing something, say "Let's go" in a high-pitch voice, and when they come to your side, reward them with a small treat.

Don't get frustrated looking for perfection the first few times (or even the first 10 times). Look for improvement! 

 

You can even train your cat to walk on a leash!

 

WHEN THE LITTERBOX IS IGNORED

Cats know where to go to the bathroom, so why aren't they using it?

  • Clean the litter box at least once a day. Clumping litter might turn away a cat.
  • Have at least one litter box per cat. Waiting in line might make them find a new spot to go... maybe on that new rug of yours—oops!
  • Try out different kitty litter or boxes until your cat finds one they like.

*Talk to your vet if the problem persists—they might have a medical issue that needs attention.

 

CATS WHO SCRATCH

Your cat isn't trying to annoy you or make you mad by clawing at your couch or curtains—they're just working off energy, or their claws are too long, or they have no other outlet to scratch.

  • Buy a scratching post for your cat and praise them when they use it with treats. Maybe even dab some cat nip at the top of the post to entice them to keep going back to it.
  • Keep their nails trimmed. You can easily do this at home with a Nail Clipper Kit.

No matter what quirks pets have, they have unconditional love for their human! Have you been wanting to expand your family? Noah's Animal Hospitals & Indianapolis Animal Care & Control are teaming up to help find loving homes for cats and dogs in local Indianapolis animal shelters.

See who's available to adopt:

Indianapolis Animal Care & Control Adoptable Pets November

1 of 10
adoptable cat Bobby
adoptable dog Sookie
adoptable dog Bow Wow
adoptable cat Cupcake
adoptable dog Columbia
adoptable cat Jack
adoptable dog Pappy
adoptable cat Mayo
adoptable dog Yoda
adoptable cat Serena
  • adoptable cat Bobby
  • adoptable dog Sookie
  • adoptable dog Bow Wow
  • adoptable cat Cupcake
  • adoptable dog Columbia
  • adoptable cat Jack
  • adoptable dog Pappy
  • adoptable cat Mayo
  • adoptable dog Yoda
  • adoptable cat Serena
Bobby
Photo by: 
Indianapolis Animal Care & Control

Noah's Animal Hospitals Links to their website

About Noah's Animal Hospitals: Noah’s Animal Hospitals are a locally owned family operated group of veterinary clinics serving Central Indiana and surrounding communities. With eight convenient locations to serve you, including two 24 hour locations, Noah’s is dedicated to providing you and your pet with the best possible care and exceptional client service, exceeding your expectations with every interaction. In fact, they like to consider themselves “The Best Friend of YOUR Best Friend.”

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