The Bad Things – “12 Things You Can Teach Your Dog Without Really Trying” Continued

puppy training

Thanks to for the photo

So in the first installment we talked about all the good things you can teach your dog without really trying.

It was all about how to reward behaviors he is already showing you so that he begins to show them more often.

Now let’s talk about how he gets you to reward the wrong behaviors…

In most of these instances, he is doing the training but it works the same way regardless if he is rewarded by it or he rewards himself he will continue the behavior.

Unfortunately this list is much longer than the "Good" list! 

puppy training, puppy potty training

I love statues like this, just don't want to see it in my house!

Accidents in the House

Accidents in the House:  Here is how it usually goes down; your puppy has an accident in the house in the beginning it is usually in front of you.  You see him and lose your temper, you yell, some people pop their dog’s on the nose, or with a newspaper or rub their nose in it and the dog learns that going potty  “in front of you” or simply pooping or peeing is bad.

He does not have the ability to comprehend that going potty “inside the house” is what you find appalling he thinks it is the act of pooping or peeing that you find objectionable.  This teaches him to want to hide and not urinate or defecate in front of you.

Instead, merely distract him with an “ehhh” and then take him outside and lightly praise him for going potty outside and in front of you.  This teaches him that you like it when he goes potty in front of you and there is no reason for him to hide when he feels he needs to go.

He will learn soon enough that going potty outside is what you want for more on that click here.  


This is one of my favorites!  Well, not one of my favorite behaviors but the one that people have a hard time understanding.  But there are so many ways to reward this behavior that people just don’t think about.

First off, so many people are worried that their puppies won’t ever bark that they over react when they do and teach inadvertent over barking.

Second, so many people think it is funny when their dog barks at the doorbell on TV or the other dog on TV that by thinking it’s funny and not putting a stop to it; they are in fact rewarding the behavior that can then get out of hand quickly.

Many owners often respond to a barking dog, which also rewards the behavior.  The dog’s ball rolls under the couch, the dog barks, the owner retrieves the ball for the dog.  Or the dog barks when it’s dinner time and so his owner feeds him.  Or, the dog barks when he wants his owner to throw the ball so his owner throws it; rewarding the behavior.

Yelling when your dog barks is a lot like barking!!  So if he barks and you are yelling “be quiet or shut up” or whatever your command of choice, your dog thinks you are joining in the behavior and this in turn rewards the behavior.

Barking is a natural behavior for dogs and is sometimes rewarding on its own, so it takes very little for your dog to find it even more rewarding!

Teaching your dog when to bark and when to be quiet is far and away the best when it comes to controlling barking.   For more on that click here.


puppy training, how to keep dogs from digging

Doesn't This Look FUN?? Love this photo!


Digging is another fun subject because as people we don’t understand how fun it can be!

We get to read, watch TV, play computer or video games, chat with friends… well the options are limitless.

But your dog doesn’t have a lot of options.  He can bark and hope the neighbor dogs bark back, he can trash or shred your things (that’s kind of fun) and when he is outside he can dig!

Digging is great because the dirt swirls around, flies through the air (this is fun enough) but the layers of dirt also smell different to your dog!  This is like reading a novel to your dog!

If you want to keep your dog from digging, you need to try to keep him from starting!

Dog’s dig because they are bored.

So don’t leave him outside for so long, or make sure he is tired when he goes outside, or give him something else to do like a great bone to chew on or a Kong stuffed with peanut butter!

For more on digging click here


puppy training

ha ha I always make underwear jokes! Thanks vetstreet for the photo

Stealing things is great fun!  Stealing things is great fun for your dog that is; not as much fun for you!

So let’s see it from his perspective:

If he is stealing food, he is rewarding himself so this isn’t likely to change until you teach him otherwise or make food stealing unavailable.

If he is stealing your things, showing you, and then running and you are chasing him you are rewarding him with the best game EVER!

Playing chase with him is what he would do with a littermate.  He would steal a toy, then tease his litter mate and then run, then of course they would give chase and try and take the item.

So when you stomp, and yell, and run after him; you are engaging in HIS game and teaching him that stealing things will get you to play.

Instead try this Teaching Your Thief How to Retrieve

puppy training, dog chewingInappropriate Chewing

Chewing is a way that dogs release some stress and some endorphins.  It begins in puppyhood when puppies start teething.  Chewing can be soothing.

If you don’t provide him with things to chew that are appropriate he will begin to select things that he likes.

Socks and underwear, sometimes even damp towels smell like you and are great things (in your dog’s mind) to chew on.

Other favorites?  Your cell phone, your kids’ hand held games, your purse or anything else that you spend a lot of time touching.

If you get your puppy or dog appropriate items and things that taste good, you will imprint him to chewing on the right things at the right time.

But if you allow him time to steal your things and then take them somewhere to chew them he learns he can chew up what he wants.

I keep an eye on my puppies and don’t allow them access to my house until I know that they will no longer steal or chew on inappropriate things and they know where their toy box is and it has many available toys.

For more on chewing click here.

Want Some More Quick Tips?

We've got quick tips on digging, chewing, and stealing food in our Dog Training Video Vault members area that you should check out!

Click here to access the Video Vault Members Area








puppy training, leash manners

So uncomfortable for everyone involved! Thanks to dogblogpedia for the photo

Pulling on Leash

If  you go back to my first article I talk about heel position and in the beginning how most dogs and puppies chose to be near us at first.  If only we would reward the behavior!

But instead, most people strap on a leash and allow their dogs to pull them from place to place.

By allowing their dogs to pull and sniff and pull again we are essentially telling the dog YES!  Please pull me wherever you would like to go; this is all about YOU!

Instead, I teach my dogs leash manners and I reward them for not pulling, for respecting me and the leash and for giving me eye contact and focus when I ask for it!  For more on eye contact and focus click here.

It is all about what you allow, and if you allow your dog to pull you for an hour he will!

puppy training, dog jumping up

thanks to dogspelledforward for the photo

Jumping up

Jumping on people or you for that matter is a self-rewarding behavior.

To some degree you can yell and swat all you want but just getting up in your space can be rewarding for your dog.

It is kind of the same principle that negative attention is at least attention.  So even if your dog knows he is going to get in trouble for it, he at least gets a little interaction!

The other problem is that we often encourage it sometimes, but don’t want it at other times.

Dogs aren’t great mind readers.  They can’t tell when you are dressed up and they can’t jump on you, they just get used to getting excited and jumping up.

In order to teach your dog to stay off of you, you have to teach him that keeping all four feet on the ground is rewarding.

If he knows that sitting, or laying down, will get you and others to pet him and fawn all over him (if this is what he wants) he will begin to show this behavior.

For more help with jumping click here.

But you have to teach him what you want!

One of you is in charge of the dog training in your home, I always try to make sure it is in my hands and not his paws!

I try and reward the behaviors I want to continue seeing, give him an incompatible behavior to show, or ignore the behaviors I want to go away!

What other behaviors does your dog teach you??


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  1. Tony in Puerto Rico says:

    I agree with 99% of this being all bad. I know that un uncontrolled barking can be annoying, but IMO I like and somewhat need for my two Rottweillers to bark. It lets those wondering eyes know that they are present.

    I have been fortunate that my babies only bark when someone comes close to their area. I trust their instinct and love how impressive they get when a stranger comes around and how they are so sociable with the grandkids and the people I have allowed to get close to them.


    Minette Reply:

    I don’t mind barking, I just keep it on my command.

    I can tell my dogs when to bark, when to bark toward someone (if I feel nervous) and when to be quiet.


    Lori Butler Reply:

    What is your advice for multiple dogs and training? Not just barking but everything. I have 4 shelter dogs of different ages and all need training. I have been trying to do separate training sessions but it’s hard to catch them doing something right and rewarding them if the other dogs are there also. Should I focus on one dog at a time? I can’t reward one with a treat and not the others, they won’t understand.


    Minette Reply:

    Sure you can!

    I can reward one dog without rewarding the others.

    If you have 12 siblings do they all get birthday presents on YOUR birthday?

    But ultimately I separate for training so that it is easier on me and they get use to having alone time.

    wendy Reply:

    I bought a maltipoopom puppy & my husband took a job that requires us to stay in a hotel 2 to 3 weeks straight, I desperately need to teach her to not bark!! I saw an ultrasonic barking device at a pets store, do they work? I cant take her to classes because of the constant travel, she does know the basic commands & we take her to dog parks everywhere we stay


    Minette Reply:

    They work on some dogs and not others, and some dogs they traumatize.

    Most good dog training facilities have “drop in” classes where you pay a flat rate and train with the class that shows up, but you have to have the basics down.

  2. Jeannie says:

    We rescued a dog, shes 2,occasionly goes potty in house when left, if I don’t see her how do I stop the behaviour?
    (a minature schnauzer)


    Minette Reply:

    I like crate training, it keeps the dog safe and it keeps your things safe.

    And, most dogs can be taught to love a crate


    viv fruitbat Reply:

    probably a good idea to leash your dog sometimes, so they calm down when you have new visitors or tradespeople in. but I don’t understand why any dog would be happy in a crate. dogs prefer to be around their owners – maybe not kept in a crate for hours or days. any dog must be seriously depressed if stuck in a crate all day. perhaps taking them out for a walk is a better option.


    Minette Reply:

    My dogs love their crates because I play games with them in there when they are little.

    Two of them have run of the house and are almost never forced to be crated; however both of them often nap in there even when I am home.

    Sure they will come up if I am eating or doing something they think is exciting, but their crate is their home or their den and they like being in there.

    If you do it right a dog will enjoy a crate! And, then when you go on vacation you can take their “home” and they feel more at ease.

    Nancy Reply:

    I have German Shorthaired Pointers. I’ve trained them all to crates ie: kennels. They love them think they are they’re homes. I always
    recommend crate training to people who buy our pups as Shorthairs are prone to separation anxiety and can get really naughty when left alone. But no dog should be shut up for extended times.

  3. Jody says:

    I adopted a 2-3 yr old bichon who insists on messing in the house even if I’m home (he will also mess in his crate). I have gated off the room he likes best and I gate off my bedroom at night, he hasn’t messed in there. He will go in the basement as a last resort. Any suggestions?


    connie Reply:

    I adopted a 2 yr old male, looks like part yorkie He had been abused and was not housetrained. others tried adopting him but couldn’t stand the messes he made. I spent 2 months sleeping on the floor in front of him so that every time he woke up we went outside for a walk. (I made the choice not to let him sleep on my bed but that’s just me) I only used positive reinforcement and no shaming, yelling and never ever any physical abuse at all if he made a mistake. I would take him outside immediately and when he did his business out there I would happily reward him with praise, play or a small treat. It is very very important to clean up all traces of urine or poo as the smell seems to trigger them to repeat the bad habit. I read somewhere it’s important that the dog does not see you actually clean up after them I don’t know why but I followed that advice. (my dog monkey says it’s because how can you trust someone who steals your poo all the time. lol) good luck.


    Minette Reply:

    I’ve never heard that 😉 I would clean it no matter what. I would also use a crate at night and any time you are gone and remember hard habits are hard to break!


    Connie Reply:

    The reason I could not use the crate was because a young couple who tried to adopt Monkey(but ended up returning him to the shelter) thought it was ok to keep him in a crate all day and night. They had no idea how to treat a dog. At least they were smart enough to give someone else the chance to love this little guy. I do have a crate that I am using as part of a game I call “hide the treat”. He’s not very food motivated but likes this game and is learning that the crate is a happy, safe place to go. For some reason the only other time he goes there is when I sing. “Hey Monkey, nobody likes a critic, lol”

  4. Vince Babler says:

    Diffrent subject.
    We have 2 German sheperd female pups (9months). Live on a farm
    and when he let them out in the morning if we don’t go out
    with them they are apt to take off. Sometimes they will return
    right away when called and other times they seem to return
    when they get ready to come home. Longest they have been gone
    is about 1 to 1 1/2 hours and a neighbor called and said he had
    seen them about a mile from home on the road. What do you
    suggest to do to keep them from running off?
    thanks for any info you can provide


    Minette Reply:

    Fencing of some sort or going out with them on leash.

    The more they reward themselves by running the more they will chose to run and may get hit by a car.


  5. James says:

    Great article and reinforces all the activities within your Hands Off Course. Great work.


  6. Amy says:

    HELP, I feel like such a failure when I watch these videos. I must be a total idiot because all I can get my dogs to do is sit, stay for a little period of time, shake and down!! I really do not know how to train. My dogs are always begging and we never give them any of our food, my dogs never jump on me but they jump on everyone else who enters the house. I feel helpless!!!


  7. Diana says:

    Have a mimiture golden doodle. Took her to training .she did perfect. Does all her commands perfect. Crate trained since she was six weeks ,potty trained her right away with bell training. Our only problem is she will come at us and lay her ears back and show her teeth and try to grab our arms,,we can’t seem to break her of this , sometime we look like we have been in a war zone with all the scratches and small bits. Trainer suggested a shock collar,he said we would probably only have to use it a couple times and that should stop her. Any other suggestions. She is 7 months old.


    Minette Reply:

    If you shock, be willing to be at the end of a serious attack and make sure you are stronger. That is like punching a robber in the face… are you willing to take that risk?

    I have a dog that if shocked would bite harder and not release his grip.

    I would find a veterinary behaviorist (they know the science behind and don’t use shock collars) and they will witness the behavior and help you.


  8. leonie says:

    How do I get my dog to toilet at ho.e? She will only go away from home she is 2 1/2 and has always been like this


    Minette Reply:

    You’ll have to use a leash and take her out every 2 hours until she is used to it.


  9. Peter says:

    Our 4yo American Pit Bull Layla was adopted from the Maricopa County humane society a few days after our 12yo black Lab, also adopted, died on July 4th. Layla and I began bonding almost immediately on the way home. She rode quietly in the back seat, seemingly enjoying herelf after having spent five months cooped up with hundreds of howling, barking and frightened dogs.

    We are working on training and she is now able to tell me when she wants to go for a walk. The first few days in our home she pooped and peed twice which may have been caused by anxiety when we went out and didn’t crate her.

    Strangely Layla has never barked during the five months she has been with us, Interestingly, she does greet me whenever I come home with an excited series of howls. Woooooo…Wooooo Wooooo! with her nose pointed straight up, just like a wolf. She then darts back and forth howling all the way before throwing herself down on her back waiting for a good scratch, hug and belly rub. I reply to her with my version of howls, just like hers. We are now best pals and she has become a real member of our small household.

    Peter in Arizona


  10. Bruce says:

    We rescued a Red Pomeranian (Duchess) from the shelter when she was about 2. I have heard and “read” about Poms having the bad habit of peeing in their bedding and she does this from time to time. Is there any way to stop this. She has a doggie door to a grassy, fenced in area and the two other dogs (a cocker spaniel and another one, a blue heeled mix both go out without fail. Duchess is a sweet dog and my “little girl” but this is the one thing I wish we could change about her. The other two dogs are both female. She always tries to cover up “their” pee when they all go out together. Like a male dog would.


  11. Bruce says:

    Duchess is 9 now.


  12. Helen Hayler says:

    My dog – a Whippet is 20 weeks is it too late to train her to heel, or any other obedience for that matter.


    Minette Reply:

    It is never too late


  13. Bonnie says:

    My newest dog is a 4mo. Siberian Husky (Missy) and my other is an 11yr. old ShisTzu (Gizmo). Now Gizmo has been huskies his whole life and I have never problem. But now when Missy even sniffs Gizmo, he starts growling at Missy and she never even touched him. In fact, it is almost like Gizmo is goading Missy. The only time Gizmo will sit right next to Missy & behave is when I give them a special treat. What can I do to get them to get along?

    My second problem is how do you teach a big dog to stay off the counter tops. I have never had this problem with my previous 6 huskies.


  14. Jo Ann Carrigan says:

    I adopted a Pitt Bull mix. I was told he was half Rhodesian Ridgeback. Achilles is six years old and previously owned by a woman who worked long hours. She had a lot of people in and our of her house so he is great with people. The problem is other animals. He attacked my other Pitt Bull, Ace, who is so easy going that he pays no attention to my daughters small dogs or her Amazon parrot. But, I can’t have these two dogs in the same room with each other. Achilles has attacked one of my daughters dogs and my cat. So far, we haven’t had any disasters, but I am constantly on guard checking doors to make sure they are closed and I know each of them is safe. They are powerful dogs and I don’t want any of them hurt. I would like to know if this dog can be trained to accept other animals. It isn’t just mine. I live in a area where people have horses, cows, goats, and probably at least one dog to every house. I don’t know if he thinks he is playing or was never introduced to other animals. What is your take on my situation?


  15. I’m no expert, but you have a dangerous situation on your hands. At 6 years old this dog is very much set in his ways, and you don’t know enough of his history as to why he attacks other animals; was he attacked at a younger age? was he trained to attack? At this point, it’s irrelevant anyway. The adopted dog will continue to attack other animals. Its impossible to keep him separate from your other pets, neighbors pets, and so on, perfectly, all the time; and who would want to live with the stress of an attack always looming. Not me or my dogs! Sadly, you should return the dog to the adoption facility and tell them what you told us here. They may decide that it is un-adoptable, because as things are now, no animals are safe in the same house with it; no animals are safe in the neighborhood who may run into it; and when it does get in fights any humans trying to separate it from its victim may get wounded too. There are too many good dogs available to adopt. Dangerous dogs need to be put down. Knowing this dog is prone to attack and dangerous, you will have a HUGE LEGAL LIABILITY on your hands if you keep this dog and a tragedy occurs. You will also find yourself paying your neighbors vet bills.


  16. Sue says:

    My 1yr and 4 month Golden sometimes jumps and hangs on my and keeps on doing that like an attack and is hard to stop unless I use a squirt gun then he stops. He usually does this when I am talking to people or if he wants something when we are walking


    Minette Reply:

    Put a leash on him and teach him an alternate behavior like sit or down.


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