Top 10 Dog Behavior Problems: Types and Treatments
Despite training attempts dogs sometimes behave themselves badly. The problems are chewing, barking, biting etc. Owners often don’t understand the reasons of behavior changes – they think dog has a bad character, cannot be taught and even punish pets undeservedly.
If you have got your small friend recently, just plan to do that or want to make relationship with dog better, it is necessary to understand the main reasons of bad behavior and learn solution to the problem.
Problem 1: Continuous barking
The problem is very common – there is no dog who has never barked or whined. Anyway too loud or continuous barking is a sign of bad behavior. To solve the problem, owner should understand the reason of dogs ‘concert’ first of all. Pet may bark to:
- Warn you of danger;
- Show playful mood;
- Get more attention;
- Show anxiety;
- Do something to overcome boredom;
- React to other dogs.
To stop continuous barking, prepare to be patient. Understand, that problem will not be solved after one training only. It is better to come up with special commands like ‘Voice’ and ‘Be quiet’ and train your pet little by little.
Problem 2: Chewing things
Chewing is not something strange for dogs, just one of their habits. But when your small friend spoils things it becomes a real problem. Moreover, dog may eat something harmful.
The main reasons of chewing are:
- Puppies suffer from teething;
- Dog is bored or too energetic;
- Pet feels anxious;
- Puppies are curious so they explore things.
There are several rules which will help to save your things from spoiling. Firstly, buy some chew toys. Secondly, hide things you don’t want to be chewed. Thirdly, leave small friend in a room where it can’t spoil anything while you are absent.
To stop your pet from chewing, scold it using special sound or command. Then give it a chew toy. Assure, that dog is busy enough during the day and can waste energy doing exercises and jogging so there is no time to chew.
Problem 3: Digging holes
Digging a natural dogs’ instinct. There are breeds whose main task is to dig holes and hunt animals inside them (terriers, for example).
However, digging has more than one reason:
- Dog is bored or has too much energy;
- Hunter instincts;
- Looking for more convenient place or lower temperature;
- Hiding toys or food;
- Escaping or getting somewhere.
Dog cannot dig in flat but if you have a garden it can be spoiled. Try to find out the reason of bad behavior and then eliminate it. Let your dog run and play more. If it doesn’t help, make a special zone where animal is allowed to dig or visit places where digging is possible.
Problem 4: Anxiety because of separation
Thinking that only your dog behaves extremely bad when you are absent is a wrong position. The situation is really common, and many owners suffer from it. Dog may react to the separation in different ways: bark, whine, defecate in the wrong place, chew things. Additional symptoms of separation are:
- Dog feels anxiety before you go out;
- Pet behaves bad during first hour after you leave;
- Dog can’t let you be alone and always tries to chase you;
- Dog tries to touch you anytime.
Anxiety requires special training. Moreover, there’s a necessity to make your pat less sensitive during the separation. Veterinarian can prescribe some medicine, but that is an extreme measure.
Problem 5: Excrements in the wrong place
Problems with sudden urination or defecation may be symptom of bad behavior or health troubles. Anyway the situation is not pleasant at all: things in your flat may be spoiled and that is quite risky to visit public places or homes of other people with your pet.
First of all, there is a necessity to visit a doctor and confirm or exclude illnesses. If pet’s health is okay, reasons of sudden urination or defecation may include:
- Dog marks its territory;
- Pet feels anxiety;
- Animal draws attention;
- Dog is not trained enough.
Troubles with toilet are usual for puppies at the age of 3 months or younger and old dogs. It’s very important to train your pet from its childhood to avoid sudden urination in the future.
Problem 6: Begging food
That is a pity, but often people are sure that begging looks cute and nicely. So they can’t refuse pet and feed it from the table. That may call problems with stomach and cause obesity.
Dogs ask because they like to eat. But people’s food may be harmful for animals and pets should eat to live, not live to eat. Though it is difficult to refuse pets’ ‘begging eyes’, that’s almost impossible after you give in to them once. Dog remembers that begging is allowed and it becomes a habit.
Before sitting at the table, ask your dog to return to its place (that is better if place is not in the kitchen). If dog behaves well, encourage it after eating.
Problem 7: Chasing
The problem is caused by predatory instincts. Usually dogs chase smaller animals (especially cats), strangers and cars. That may be dangerous both for your pet and people or pets who are chased. Owner is not able to stop the dog from chasing, but he or she should do everything to prevent the catastrophe.
To avoid the outcomes of chase, owner should follow simple rules:
- Wear a collar and leash on the dog before the walk;
- Teach dog to react on special calling command;
- Buy a dog whistle to draw pet’s attention;
- Look around and search for other animals, running people or cars while walking.
That is very important to visit special trainings where dog will be taught how to behave when your call it and listen to your commands instead of running.
Problem 8: Jumping on people
Puppies start to jump to reach their parents as they are too small to do that without jumping. Then it becomes a habit and dogs jump on owners. Another reason for this behavior is showing domination – this time jumping dog may be annoyed or even dangerous.
There exist several ways to stop the habit there’s no guarantee they will help. Knee raising, paws holding or pushing animal away may be understood incorrectly. For example, if dog is searching for attention, it reaches the goal and repeats jumping again.
It is better to ignore your pet, look the other way and keep silence. Just continue doing what you were doing before. After your dog calms down, you may give him attention. Soon pet will understand the message.
Problem 9: Biting
Causes of bites are instincts and mentality. Puppies bite others to learn the environmental and their place there. Your task is to show that biting is not allowed by stopping it.
Elder dogs use bites when they:
- are scared or want to protect themselves;
- feel sick or have aches;
- want to protect their territory or food;
- show domination;
- demonstrate predatory instinct.
Though some breeds are known to be more aggressive, specialists are sure that correct training and socialization can decrease dog’s biting instinct.
Problem 10: Aggression
Dogs show their aggression by snarling, lunging, showing teeth and biting. Any pet can become aggressive and no matter what breed it has. But dogs whose life stories are violent or who has aggressive ancestors are usually fiercer. The reasons of aggression are mostly equal to the biting causes, but first problem is more serious.
If your dog seems to be aggressive, visit veterinarian. If there are no problems with health, ask for trainer’s or behaviorist’s help. Try to decrease aggressiveness of your dog to protect it, other pets and yourself.