Skip to Content

Do dogs learn bad habits from other dogs?

Do dogs learn bad habits from other dogs?

Pet owners pour a lot of time, energy, and even money into training their dogs. You want your dog to be a companion you can rely on, but you also don’t want them constantly causing a mess or a ruckus inside your home. That’s why investing so much in dog training is regarded as worth it by more than a few pet owners.

Unfortunately, some of your dog’s undesirable habits may persist. It’s frustrating to see that after all their training.

Why are those bad habits sticking around? The answer could be related to your dog’s immediate surroundings. Continue with this article to see how certain elements of your pet’s surroundings can impact their habits.

Do Dogs Learn Bad Habits from Other Dogs?

Dogs don’t instinctively know how to behave inside a home. They may not see any issue with urinating or pooping anywhere they want, but you obviously have a different perspective on that. Some dogs may even chew up shoes or gnaw on furniture without knowing that they are being destructive.

Extensive training should get rid of those habits. You must train your dog so they become well aware of how you want them to behave inside your home.

Although training has eliminated some of your pet’s problematic habits, you may find that some have stuck around. That may happen because your pet is picking up the habits of other dogs in your area.

So, why is your pet likely to learn the bad habits exhibited by other dogs in your neighborhood? It’s because they are performing those bad habits instinctively.

Many examples of instinctive behavior in dogs are what we regard as bad habits. They may include loud barking, digging, or even fighting.

A dog may start barking because they heard another dog making noise nearby. Meanwhile, fights may occur as soon as two territorial dogs encounter one another.

Your dog doesn’t have to learn those bad habits. As soon as your pet sees another dog engage in one of those habits, your dog may already know what to do. They are just reacting to their surroundings.

Within your household, the arrival of a new dog can also spark some behavioral changes in your other pet. Once your older pet sees your new dog engaging in some bad behavior, the former may follow suit. Your old pet may think that misbehaving is fine because your new dog is doing it.

Will My Puppy Learn Bad Habits from My Older Dog?

Puppies are almost like blank slates. They are still new to the dynamics of your household so they may not understand how to act properly. If you have an older dog at home, you can expect your puppy to take cues from them.

Your new puppy is not going to shy away from imitating your older dog. It doesn’t matter what kind of habit your old dog is engaging in. Once the puppy sees it, they will want to join in on the fun.

Pet owners must be careful if they’re bringing a new puppy into a home with an older dog. During your puppy’s first few weeks, you should keep a close eye on them.

Monitor how your puppy behaves and see if they have picked up any bad habits. Scold them if they start to display bad habits. Discourage them from engaging in those bad habits as much as possible.

Notably, your puppy won’t just pick up bad habits from your older pet. Young dogs are smart. They can observe how you interact with your older pet and see which actions get rewarded with treats and praise.

After a while, your puppy will understand that behaving in a certain way makes you like them more. They can learn from the example set by your older dog. In a way, your older pet may be able to help you train your new pup faster.

How Long Does a Dog Remember Bad Behavior?

Let’s say that your dog picked up some bad habits from other pets they interacted with at the park. Following that trip to the park, you’ve noticed that your dog is still showcasing those bad habits.

Will those bad habits stick to your dog or will your pet forget about them eventually?

If you’re waiting for your pet to forget about those undesirable habits, you may be out of luck. Remember, the bad habits your dog mimics are examples of instinctive behavior.

They are habits your dog already knows. Their training simply discouraged them from engaging in those habits. You cannot expect your dog to forget about their instincts no matter how long you train them.

As a pet owner, the best thing you can do is to train your dog well enough that they don’t give in to their instincts right away. Get them used to different behavior patterns so they actively avoid performing those bad habits even when they are around other dogs.

How to Prevent My Dog from Picking Up Bad Habits?

A misbehaving dog can wreak plenty of havoc inside any household. No one wants to deal with that kind of problematic pet.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to stop your dog from picking up bad habits. We’ve highlighted them in this section.

Train Your Pet

There is no substitute for training your pet. If you want to curb unwanted habits, you need to train your dog.

Look up training methods online and see how well they work for you. Alternatively, you can also partner with some professional trainers to make things easier.

Remove Temptations to Misbehave

The contents of your home may be inviting your pet to engage in different kinds of bad behavior. While they’re undergoing training, make an effort to remove those temptations or at least make them inaccessible.

Set your pet up to succeed by removing those potential temptations.

Don’t Bring Your New Pet around Unfamiliar Dogs

Socialization is good for your dog, but you can hold off on that a bit during training. Avoid taking your pet to the park or other places where you know other dogs will be. By doing that, you can keep your pet from seeing other dogs engage in bad behavior.

Keeping your new pet in the same house as your older dog should not be an issue. Since your old dog is already trained, your puppy is unlikely to pick up any bad habits from them.