While dogs tend to be an infinite source of joy, some can be a bit more difficult!
Just like we teach our kids good manners, we need to teach our pets to learn what behaviour is acceptable and what is not. Remember, dogs are not born understanding your house rules, and while most puppies will shed their bad habits by adulthood, some continue behaving the only way they know how.
However, with the right level of respect and love, you can still train an adult dog!
Here are some of the most common behavioural problems in adult dogs - and how you can help change them!
1. Jumping on People
When the dog was little, everyone was probably entranced by the cute, little puppy who jumped up at them, laughing and wagging its teeny tail. Now it's a bigger dog and no-one wants his dirty paw marks all over their clothes. But the dog's behaviour is not its fault, because your loving attention has trained it to think that jumping up is a fun and rewarding thing to do.
Now you have to do the opposite from what you did when the dog was little. Instead of making eye contact and touching your pooch when it jumps, do the opposite.
Turn around and stand still completely ignoring it. Wait until he or she has all four feet on the ground and then give it a little treat. Keep doing this - it will take many, many times! - and your dog will eventually learn that it only gets a treat and your attention when it is sitting.
Remember, there is no point in shouting and pushing, because to a dog this is still attention and will only confuse it about what you want it to do.
Digging is natural for dogs, so changing an instinctive behaviour takes a lot of patience. You may need to keep your dog inside when you go out to limit its opportunity to dig. Keep in mind, things like turned soil is irresistible to many dogs, and it is unlikely you could stop yours digging in it if they are left alone in the garden.
To help deter a digging dog, give it plenty of exercise and lots of toys, preferably with food hidden in them, to keep it amused. Digging can be a sign of boredom, so make sure your canine pal has lots to interest it when you're not home.
Working breeds such as border collies and kelpies are more likely to get bored and find an outlet for their energy.
Firstly, find out what your dog is barking at and see if it something you can remove, change or fix.
Similarly, as dogs usually bark the most right after their owners leave home for the day, give your dog something to do every time you leave the house, like a chew toy stuffed with food. This will keep them occupied and may reduce the risk of barking and pining for their owner!
Finally, to help your dog break the barking habit, reward him or her often for quiet behaviour with treats. For example, if it starts barking, use a word like ‘quiet’ and reward only once your dog stops barking. At the end of the day, you can teach an old dog new tricks - with plenty of food at the ready!