We’ve all heard it - ignore what you don’t like. Okay.
Definition from Merriam-Webster Dictionary: to refuse to take notice of.
That includes you NOT saying a word. A VERY hard thing for many people to do, especially if they're accustomed to telling the dog what to do. "Stop, don't, leave it."
"Blah, blah, blah!"And that's just what the dog hears. Translation: Do it again and mom or dad will pay even more attention to you, Spot.
Ignoring that behavior is certainly a start, but not a fix in any shape or form, I’m afraid. But all too often, people think that’s just what they have to do.
Your part for starters is simple - ignore a behavior you don’t like, and you are no longer reinforcing it. Now your dog is getting the message that what it just did isn't getting a reaction from you, and perhaps will even drive you away (as in you walked away). What a wakeup call! And you didn't even say a word (I hope!)
Doesn’t seem like much, if you’ve never done positive training, but it’s actually HUGE, when turning around (reshaping) a behavior, and not confusing your dog.
And if you’re consistent in turning away, even walking away IN SILENCE, your dog will start using its brain, instead of waiting for you to react and start your "blah, blah, blah," and paying attention (even though it's negative) to the behavior you don’t like.
Frankly, when you pay attention to the dog doing what you don't like, you’re telling your dog in a lot of ways that it should go do it again and again and again, and that you'll pay even more attention to it next time. And you can even be confusing your pup.
It’s a matter of keeping the message clear. Black and white. If you don’t, you’re creating confusion and the dog will do the deciding as to what it’s supposed to be doing. Basically, the dog is going to fall back on old learned behaviors and/or instincts.
Think of it as the canine form of TOUGH LOVE. Be strong. And don’t let your dog guilt you into falling back in those bad habits which started the problem in the first place.
NOTE: Make sure that you haven’t set your dog up for failure by leaving articles out that you don’t want your dog to have. Remember, you dog can’t read your mind, but your dog WILL remember to go back and do it again, even days/weeks later, especially since you paid so much attention to it.