Misconception #4: My dog knows he’s being naughty.
Your dog can only know that he’s being naughty if you’ve taught him what behavior is acceptable and what behavior is not. If you’ve taught him well, he’ll behave well. Barking, digging, chewing and other similar behaviors may be undesirable in your eyes, but they’re normal, instinctual behaviors for dogs. Your dog doesn’t automatically know that these behaviors are not allowed and it’s up to you to teach him, otherwise he won’t have a clue what naughty is or isn’t. Part of this is understanding where undesirable behaviors come from, particularly if they start up suddenly. Often times, dogs become bored or frustrated with being left alone and will exhibit destructive behaviors. In this case, make sure your dog has plenty of social time with you. Further, exercise can help a number of behavior problems. Obedience classes can help as well.
Many owners say that their dog looks guilty when they’ve come home and found that he’s done something bad. They think that because he looks guilty, he knows that he’s been naughty. This isn’t true. If you’ve come home to find that your dog has been naughty, you most likely react by getting mad, getting angry, yelling, etc. Your dog may appear ‘guilty’ in response, but in truth he’s only reacting to your emotions and your body language. Unless you’re able to catch him in the act of his bad behavior, he can’t connect your yelling and being angry with that bad thing he did ten minutes ago or two hours ago. He just knows that you’re upset and he’s scared by it. If you do this often, you’re only teaching your dog to be scared of you and to distrust you. He may then appear ‘guilty’ when you come home because he’s learned that you coming home is a scary thing.