How can a guest help an owner verbally discipline a dog when the owner's family gives inconsistent verbal discipline themselves? More background below.
My cousin owns a 2 year old male chihuahua. Whilst I was a guest in the house, I saw a lot of poor behaviour from the dog, namely:
- Biting: I was bitten whilst walking past the dog's food. My main concern is that my cousin has a baby, less than 1 year old, and I am more concerned about her future safety
- Growling: This was near constant, towards everyone in the house
- Protecting food: Whilst the dog was a puppy raised on the farm it was bred on, it competed heavily for food, an issue that has not been addressed
- Jumping onto furniture: This is a smaller issue, but the dog was constantly on the furniture, though my cousin permitted this
From what I've observed, the causes for the behaviour are:
- Competition for food at an early age, as mentioned above
- Conflicting verbal discipline from different members of the family, namely some will shout, some will make a joke about it, others will change the tone of the message part way through etc.
- The dog decides when the punishment ends, as the punishment is being sent to his basket. The dog decides when it can come out and is not sent back
- Lack of exercise
- Has not been neutered