Like people, dogs have habits. Some dogs are born with habits they have been doing since day one, and others are developed over time. Some dog habits are endearing, and some can be downright annoying.
What is a habit? It’s a tendency, behavior, or act that is difficult to give up. Now, I don’t think there has ever been a dog who has thought: “Gee, I need to give up this habit of chewing on every shoe I find.” But as owners, we understand for the dog, and our sanity, that some habits are best if they can be changed.
Our lab, Lewie, has a habit of sucking on our Anatolian Shepherd, Moses, ears. He has been doing this since he was a puppy and, at two years old, still continues to treat Moses like a security blanket. Personally, we think it’s gross. We’ve tried giving Lew a time-out in his kennel when we’ve caught him in the act. We have also plied him with toys to suck on…
Lewie, sucking on a toy while napping.
He always seems to go back to Moses. We did some research on this habit and learned that it’s not harmful to Moses or Lewie. We seem to mind it more than Moses, who doesn’t seem to mind it all. In fact, we think it’s a bonding thing for them.
Bonded brothers - Moses and Lewie 2019
Most habits are benign, while others that develop can indicate health issues. Our yellow lab Indy LOVED licking her paws. A dog licking its paws can be a sign of an injury or a food allergy. If your dog develops this habit, it’s good to have them assessed to rule anything serious out. Indy? We learned this was just her pastime. Some people knit, some dogs lick their paws.
Indy, on her bed - her favorite place to indulge in paw licking.
Our Akbash, Sam, had a habit of coming by the table as if to say hello and then pouncing on whatever was on your plate. He came programmed liked this. He was a rescue who had been starved and was always looking for a meal anywhere he could get one!
Sam, looking to say hello...but really just checking out the plates.
Can you break your dog of a bad habit? You can...and it’s probably much easier than trying to break a habit of your own! The goal is to make it more rewarding to NOT repeat the habit. If you have kids, you are a pro at this because it’s what parenting is all about. Redirect and distract. Hey! Who wants a cookie?!?!
And if you are wondering if Moses has a habit…does shedding count? Because he does it all the time…and sometimes it gets a little annoying! LOL. Check out how much he sheds on our Dog Hair Everywhere video.
We asked our Facebook fans for some of their dog’s habits. Here are our favorites…
You can check out the entire Facebook post HERE in our Loose Leashes page ...and don’t forget to follow us!
Does your dog have a habit? Share it in the comments below!