Dog behavior issues are frequently misunderstood or mishandled by dog owners. Perhaps you are new to dog ownership, thinking about getting a dog, or simply want to assist your dog with a difficult issue. Understanding the most common dog behavior issues is the first step toward solving and preventing them. A solid foundation of obedience training will help you prevent or better control many of these issues.
Most dogs vocalize in some way. They may bark, howl, or whine, among other things. Excessive barking is considered a behavioral issue.
Before you can correct excessive barking, you must first determine why your dog is vocalizing in the first place. The most common types of barking are:
- Warning or alert
- Excitement and levity
- Responding to other dogs
- Control your dog’s excessive barking
Consider teaching them bark/quiet commands. Be consistent and patient. Address any underlying causes of barking. Dedication and attention to detail can go a long way toward preventing a dog from barking.
Chewing is a natural behavior for all dogs. Chewing is an important activity for most dogs; it’s just how they’re wired. Excessive chewing, on the other hand, can quickly become a behavior issue if your dog causes damage. The most common reasons dogs chew include:
- Puppy teething
- Boredom or excess energy
- Anxiety Curiosity (especially in puppies)
Encourage your dog to chew on appropriate chew toys by providing plenty of them. Keep personal items away from your dog. When you’re not at home, keep your dog crated or confined to a less destructive area.
If you catch your dog chewing on the wrong thing, quickly distract him with a loud noise. Then, replace the item with a chew toy. One of the most important things you can do is make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise so that it can burn off energy and be stimulated in other ways rather than chewing.
Most dogs will dig if given the opportunity; it’s instinct. Because of their hunting backgrounds, certain dog breeds, such as terriers, are more prone to digging. In general, most dogs dig for the following reasons:
- Boredom or excess energy
- Anxiety or fear
- Hunting instinct
- Comfort-seeking behaviors (such as nesting or cooling off)
- Desire to conceal possessions (such as bones or toys)
- To escape or gain access to a location
When your dog digs up your yard, it can be very frustrating. Determine the source of the digging and work to eliminate it. Give your dog more exercise, spend more quality time with him, and work on extra training. If digging appears to be unavoidable, designate an area for your dog to dig freely, such as a sandbox. Teach your dog that digging is only allowed in this area.
Separation anxiety is one of the most commonly discussed dog behavior issues. When a dog is separated from his owner, he exhibits vocalization, chewing, inappropriate urination and defecation, and other forms of destruction.Not all of these behaviors are the result of separation anxiety. True separation anxiety symptoms include:
- When the owner prepares to leave, the dog becomes agitated.
- Misbehavior occurs within the first 15 to 45 minutes after the owner has left.
- The dog constantly wants to follow the owner around.
- The dog tries to touch the owner whenever possible.
True separation anxiety necessitates dedicated training, behavior modification, and desensitization exercises. In severe cases, medication may be advised.
Inappropriate urination and defecation are two of the most aggravating dog behaviors. They can cause damage to your home and make your dog unwelcome in public places or at the homes of others. It is critical that you consult with your veterinarian first to rule out any health issues. If no medical cause is found, try to determine the cause of the behavior, which could be one of the following:
- Urination in a submissive/excited state
- Territorial delimitation
- A lack of proper housebreaking
Inappropriate elimination is unavoidable in puppies, especially before the age of 12 weeks. It’s a different story with older dogs. Many dogs require significant behavior modification to break the habit once it has become ingrained.
Begging is a bad habit, but many dog owners encourage it. This can lead to digestive issues and obesity.3 Dogs beg for food. However, table scraps are not treats, and food is not love. Yes, it is difficult to resist that longing gaze, but giving in “just this once” creates a problem in the long run. When you teach your dog that begging is acceptable, you are sending the wrong message.
Tell your dog to go to its place before you sit down to eat, preferably somewhere where it won’t be able to stare at you. If necessary, confine your dog to another room. If it behaves, give it a special treat only after you and your family have finished eating.
A dog’s desire to chase moving objects is simply a display of predatory instinct. Many dogs will chase other animals, people, and cars. All of these can have disastrous consequences. While you may not be able to prevent your dog from chasing, you can take precautions to avoid disaster.
Keep your dog confined or on a leash at all times (unless directly supervised indoors).Teach your dog to come when called.To get your dog’s attention, keep a dog whistle or noisemaker handy.Stay alert and on the lookout for potential triggers, such as joggers.The best way to succeed is to keep the chase under control. Dedicated training over the course of your dog’s life will teach him to focus his attention on you first, before running away.
Jumping up is a common and natural behavior in dogs. Puppies leap to greet their mothers. They may later jump up when greeting people. Dogs may also jump up when they are excited or seeking an item in the person’s hands. A jumping dog can be annoying and even dangerous.
There are numerous methods for stopping a dog from jumping, but not all of them are effective. Lifting a knee, grabbing the paws, or pushing the dog away may work in some cases, but it sends the wrong message to most dogs. Jumping up is often an attention-seeking behavior, so any acknowledgement of your dog’s actions provides an instant reward, reinforcing the jumping.
The best method is to simply turn away and ignore your dog. If necessary, step away. Do not make eye contact, speak to, or touch your dog. Go about your business. Reward him calmly when he relaxes and stays still. It won’t be long before your dog gets the message.
Dogs bite and nip for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are instinctual. Puppies nip and bite to investigate their surroundings. Mother dogs teach their puppies not to bite too hard and discipline them when necessary. This helps the puppies develop bite inhibition. Owners must frequently demonstrate to their puppies that mouthing and biting are not acceptable by continuing to teach bite inhibition.
Dogs may bite for a variety of reasons other than puppy behavior. The motivation to bite or snap is not always aggressive. A dog may snap, nip, or bite for a variety of reasons.
- Fear Defensiveness
- Property security
- Pain or illness
- Predatory instinct
Any dog may bite if the circumstances warrant it in the dog’s mind. Owners and breeders can help reduce the tendency for any type of dog to bite by using proper training, socialization, and breeding practices.
Growling, snarling, flashing teeth, lunging, and biting are all signs of dog aggression. It is important to understand that any dog, regardless of breed or history, has the potential to be aggressive. Dogs with violent or abusive histories, as well as those bred from aggressive dogs, are much more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior towards people or other dogs.
Unfortunately, some breeds are labeled “dangerous” and are prohibited in certain areas. However, it is usually not about the breed as much as it is about history. The environment of a dog has a significant influence on its behavior. In addition, regardless of breed, a dog may inherit some aggressive characteristics. Fortunately, most experts agree that breed-specific legislation is not the solution.
The reasons for aggression are essentially the same as the reasons a dog will bite or snap, but overall canine aggression is a much more serious problem. If your dog is aggressive, see your veterinarian right away because it could be a sign of a health problem. Then, seek the assistance of an experienced dog trainer or behaviorist. Serious precautions should be taken to keep others safe from aggressive dogs.
If you suspect your pet is ill, contact your veterinarian immediately. Always consult your veterinarian for health-related questions, as they have examined your pet, know the pet’s health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.