Features July 2009 Issue

"Demand Behaviors" in Dogs

How to eliminate your dog’s “demand behaviors” (such as begging, whining, jumping up, or nose-nudging).

There’s a grey area between acceptable communication and unacceptable demand behavior; what’s perfectly appropriate to one dog-person may be annoyingly inappropriate to the next. Who gets to decide what’s acceptable for your dog? You do.

A dog’s mission in life is to make his world work for him to get good stuff. His goal is to get as much good stuff as possible, perhaps including a safe, predictable environment, lots of attention from his human, opportunities to herd sheep or chase rabbits, plenty of bone-chewing time, hikes in the woods, running after flying discs, sailing over flyball hurdles, or a soft bed upon which to lay his body. Recognizing that those with opposable thumbs are more able than he to open doors, throw tennis balls, and operate can openers, a dog spends a good part of his time figuring out how to manipulate his humans into making good stuff happen.

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