10 Common Dog Behavior Problems & 10 Easy Solutions
Thoroughly understanding common Dog Behavior Problems, and the easy steps and timing to overcome them is the solution to a happier partnership between you and your dog[s].
Enrolling in a local obedience class will give both you and your dog[s] a solid foundation, a greater understanding, the tools and better relationship between you and your dog, not to mention will minimize, eliminate and prevent all the common Dog Behavior Problems listed below.
One of the most common Dog Behavior problems dogs exhibit can be excessive barking, howling and whining. They actually have sensible reasons for expressing themselves and can often feel, see and sense things that we less knowing humans are aware of in the moment.
Some of the reasons your dog will bark could be to:
· Alert you ~ Warn You
· Exhibiting Playfulness and Excitement to be with you
· Seeking and needing Attention
· Feeling Anxious
· Just plain Boredom
· Responding to Other Dogs or Outside Movement
Do NOT yell, verbalize or create negative emotions towards your dog.
Thank them and stay pleasant about their barking.
Say “Speak” as they bark.
When they stop or pause from barking ~ say “No Speak” in a calm, pleasant tone and thank them.
Make this a verbal learning experience between the two of you a consistent communication period during these annoying barking periods ~ and pretty soon when you say “NO Speak” your dog will associate “No Speak” with being quiet, and quiet they will become. Thank Them quietly and you too must express an emotion of thankfulness and calmness. Voila!
Learn to control excessive barking. Be consistent and patient. Also, consider teaching the Bark/Quiet Commands. Dedication and attention to detail can go a long way.
Chewing is a natural action for all dogs – it’s just a part of the way they are wired. However, chewing can quickly become a behavior problem if your dog causes destruction. The most common reasons dogs chew are as follows:
· Puppy Teething
· Boredom / Excess Energy
· Curiosity (especially puppies)
Encourage your dog to chew on the right things by providing plenty of chew toys.
Keep personal items away from your dog.
When you are not home, keep your dog crated or confined to an area where less destruction can be caused.
If you catch your dog chewing the wrong thing, quickly correct him with a sharp noise. Then, replace the item with a chew toy.
One of the most important things you can do: make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise!
If given the chance, most dogs will do some amount of digging – it’s a matter of instinct. Certain breeds, like Terriers, are more prone to digging because of their hunting histories. In general, most dogs dig for these reasons: Boredom or Excess Energy
· Anxiety or Fear
· Hunting Instinct
· Comfort-Seeking (such as nesting or cooling off)
· Hiding Possessions (like bones or toys)
· To Escape or Gain Access
Try and determine the cause of the digging, then work to eliminate that source.
Spend more time with your dog, give him more exercise, and work on extra training.
If digging is inevitable, set aside an area where your dog can learn it is “okay” to dig, like a sand box.
#4. Separation Anxiety
Dogs are a ‘pack animal’ and feel a need to be with their pack leader at all times. Separation anxiety is one of the most commonly discussed dog behavior problems. Manifestations include vocalization, chewing, inappropriate urination and defecation, and other forms of destruction that occur when a dog is separated from his owner. Not all of these actions are the result of separation anxiety. Signs of true separation anxiety include:
Dog becomes anxious when their pack leader/owner prepares to leave.
· Misbehavior occurs in the first 15-45 minutes after owner leaves
· Your dog wants to follow owner around constantly
· Your dog tries to be touched or touch their owner whenever possible
True separation anxiety requires dedicated training, behavior modification and desensitization exercises.
#1: Seek professional help from a professional Dog Trainer.
#2: Medication may be recommended in extreme cases, but this should be a last resort.
#5. Inappropriate Elimination
Inappropriate urination and defecation are among the most frustrating dog behaviors. They can damage areas of your home and make your dog unwelcome in public places or at the homes of others.
If this is not a medical issue [vet check], try to determine the reason for the behavior, which can come down to one of the following:
· Submissive/Excitement Urination
· Territorial Marking
· Lack of proper housebreaking
Submissive & Excitement Urination: You must be calm when returning home, after leaving your dog for any amount of time that causes this emotion, and ignore their actions when 1st entering. Walk away, wait 30 seconds to calmly reach down and ‘tickle’ their chests, using a calm, soothing tone of voice.
Territorial Marking/Anxiety & Attention Seeking: You must eliminate any prior eliminations completely ~ using Vinegar, as dogs sense of smell from prior eliminations trigger and tell them it’s OK to eliminate here again. Minimize areas that you allow your dog to roam indoors, and then slowly enlarge his space within the house over weeks, as they show ‘no more marking’.
Lack of Proper Housebreaking: Consistent feeding & walking schedules are important. Within 30 minutes of eating, and after a lot of ‘fun playing’ ~ take your dog for a walk, or to an area that you want them to eliminate. Return them to same area that has a scent of previous eliminations. Give them time to ‘sniff’, and as they begin to eliminate choose a word that will connect them to this exercise in future, i.e. “Go Potty”. Use a calm tonality, calm voice as they are eliminating, and reward them with a loving pet after they have ‘finished their business’.
Removing the scent of prior eliminations is KEY to your future success. This problem is easily fixed ~ do not become frustrated.
Whatever you do DO NOT SCOLD or PHYSICALLY PUNISH any dog for eliminating ‘after the fact. This is cruel and unnecessary, and they DO NOT understand why they are being verbally or physically being punished, even when you believe they do because they show signs they are about to be punished. All they know is that you beat or hurt them when you exude a certain emotion [usually negative].
Begging is a bad habit, but many dog owners unfortunately encourage it. This can lead to digestive problems and obesity. Dogs beg because they love food – but table scraps are not treats, and food is not love! Yes, it is hard to resist that longing look, but giving in “just this once” creates a problem in the long run. In a pack setting, a subordinate would never beg from alpha dogs without reprimand. When you teach your dog that begging is permitted, you jeopardize your role as pack leader.
Before you sit down to eat, tell your dog to stay, preferably where he will not be able to stare at you. If necessary, confine him to another room. If he behaves, give him a special treat only after you and your family are completely finished eating.
A dog’s desire to chase moving things is simply a display of predatory instinct. Many dogs will chase other animals, people and cars. All of these can lead to dangerous and devastating outcomes! While you may not be able to stop your dog from trying to chase, you can take steps to prevent disaster.
Keep your dog on a leash at all times (unless directly supervised indoors).
· Train your dog to come when called.
· Have a dog whistle or noisemaker on hand to get your dog’s attention.
· Stay aware and watch for potential triggers, like joggers. Your best chance at success is to keep the chase from getting out of control. Dedicated training over the course of your dog’s life will teach him to focus his attention on you first – before running off.
#8. Jumping Up
Puppies jump up to reach and greet their mothers and as a form of play, from an early age. Later, they may jump up when greeting people. Dogs may also jump up to exert dominance. A jumping dog can be annoying and even dangerous.
The best and fastest action that is most effective and not painful to the dog is to simply turn around, away and ignore your dog.
Some old methods, that aren’t always the best, include lifting a knee, grabbing the paws, or pushing the dog away might work for some, but for most dogs this sends the wrong message.
Jumping up is often attention-seeking behavior, so any acknowledgment of your dog’s actions provide a reward! The best method: simply turn away and ignore your dog.
Do not make eye contact, speak, or touch your dog.
Go about your business.
When they relax and remain still, calmly reward them. It won’t take long before your dog gets the message.
· Fear or Defensiveness
· Protection of Property
· Pain or Sickness
· Dominance Assertion
· Predatory Instinct
You, as the Alpha pack leader between you and your dog….mustn’t ever allow your dog to use his teeth, no matter how slight, for anything but to chew food or play with a toy.
Biting is a serious matter and will not go away unless immediate action is taken to ‘nip it in the bud’. Every time you ‘pull away’ from your dog’s forward motion into ‘biting’ ~ you are confirming to your dog that ‘they are in charge’ & this action/re-action will escalate. Seek professional help immediately from a good dog trainer who will nkow how to correct this escalating, unacceptable, problem.