If your dog keeps getting in your way, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about them.
So, why does my dog keep getting in my way? Possible reasons why your dog keeps getting in your way are that it wants to see what you are doing, it is waiting for you to go past, lack of awareness, separation anxiety or having learned that the behavior gets rewarded.
There are actually a number of possible causes and it might be due to a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.
Reasons why your dog gets in your way
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog gets in your way and what would make each of them more likely.
It wants to see what you are doing
The cause could be that it is trying to see what you are doing. This would be more likely if it also looks at you when it gets in your way and it does it more when you are walking somewhere such as into the kitchen.
It wants attention
The reason why your dog gets in your way might be that it wants attention. This would be more likely if it comes and gets in your way when you are sitting down. It would also be more likely if you tend to reward it with attention when it gets in your way.
If you do tend to reward it with attention, when it gets in your way, then consider training it to sit somewhere else and to avoid rewarding it when it gets in your way.
It is waiting for you to go past
Another possible cause is that your dog wants you to be the one that is in front so it stands there waiting for you to go past it. This would be more likely if your dog does it when you are both heading in the same direction.
Encouraging the behavior
The reason why it gets in your way might be that you have inadvertently rewarded it. This would be more likely if your method of getting it to stop getting in your way is to give it things that it wants such as treats, attention or toys.
Lack of awareness
It could just be the case that your dog does not realize that it is blocking your path. This would be more likely if it stands there when there is not much room about and it is waiting to see what you are doing.
The reason that it does it might be that it has some separation anxiety. This is where your dog does not like being left alone and the prospect of being left alone causes it to get anxious. This would be more likely if your dog tends to get anxious when you are about to leave.
If it does have separation anxiety then it might get in your way in order to make it more difficult for you to leave it.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started getting in your way
If your dog did not always get in your way, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
Things that might have happened that could have triggered it to start doing it could be:
- You rewarded it one time when it did it
- You moved home and it is anxious in its new environment
- Its schedule changed and it does not know what to expect now
What is different when your dog does not get in your way
If your dog does not always get in your way, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not get in your way.
If you notice that it gets in your way when you are about to leave then it might be that it has some separation anxiety. Whereas, if it seems to do it at random times then it could be that it does not realize that it is in your way.
What to do about your dog getting in your way
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
Negative reinforcement training is where you inadvertently reinforce bad behaviors by giving it things that it wants when it gets in your way. If you want to get your dog to stop getting in your way, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it does it.
Positive reinforcement training is where you reward your dog for doing the things that you want it to do getting it to learn to do them more.
To use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop standing in your way, you would:
- Reward it before it gets in your way
- Stop rewarding it when it gets in your way
- Get it to stop standing in front of you and avoid giving it attention until it doesn’t try to get stand in front of you
- Reward it each time it does not try to stand in front of you
Avoid punishing it
While it would help to avoid rewarding it, when it gets in your way, it would also help to avoid punishing it. If you punish it, your dog might not know why and it could cause feelings of resentment.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it is well behaved and to use positive reinforcement training to get it to be well behaved.
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