There may be times that you will see your dog exhibit some behavior problems over the course of your relationship.
How you deal with those behavior problems may differ from problem to problem.
The way you deal with these issues is always to help you achieve the best results in order to end the behavior issue.
What types of behavior problems could you encounter?
It is important to understand that are two groups of dog behavior. These are normal behavior and behavior issues.
Normal behavior consists of;
- Chewing is normal for puppies. Adult dogs also do it for fun, stimulation, or relief of anxiety.
- Mouthing is where the dog nibbles, nips, or bites in a playful way but could turn aggressive.
- Chasing this comes from their natural wild pack condition of hunting for food and protecting the pack from predators. The problem is this can be very dangerous for several reasons.
- Jumping this is also a natural behavior when dogs meet they smell the others face, as people, we are taller so they jump to get our attention and smell our face.
Behavior issues are not just natural behaviors, there is a reason the dog is acting out.
Some behavior issues are;
- Fear can cause a dog to become timid or aggressive.
- Anxiety; like people dogs can suffer from anxiety over different things.
- Guarding of food, toys, and territory can become dangerous.
- Barking too much is annoying to not only you but your neighbors as well.
- Escaping may seem cute but it can be dangerous to the dog.
- Dominance your dog will assert dominance if you do not show a firm and commanding direction to the dog. Dogs are pack animals and need to know that you are the alpha in the pack. If there is not clear alpha they will assert dominance to fill that void of leadership.
What causes these types of behavior problems?
There are several things that can cause behavior problems.
Some of the behavior issues can be in part fault of the owner. As the owner, it is up to you to make sure that your dog is not under stimulated.
Remember dogs before we tamed them were wild and lived in packs. Each dog had a job to do. Once we tamed dogs, they still have a pack nature but the pack has become human. Now the job of the dog is no longer as important and the dog becomes under stimulated which leads to boredom.
Of course, there are also other causes such as fear, depression, anxiety, boredom, health, and others.
How to deal with these behavior issues
In order to deal with behavior issues, you must first determine the cause.
Is it due to a health related problem or something else such as under stimulation?
Once you are sure that it is not a health related issue, you will then know that you will have to address the behavior; and how to do so.
An example is separating anxiety. This can be mild to severe. You have some options you can use to help reduce this anxiety.
Other behaviors that are not health related
These behavior issues not related to health can change with the right behavior corrections.
- Chewing, you must make sure that you provide toys as acceptable chewing options for your dog. You must also make sure that the dog understands which is which. To accomplish this start by telling the dog a firm no and giving the dog the proper acceptable chewing option such as the dog toy. Also, crate the dog with those acceptable toys while you are gone or sleeping.
- Jumping, you must immediately correct this. During the puppy stage teach proper socializing skills such as; sit. If the dog is sitting he or she cannot jump. If later the jumping starts, immediately reinforce the socialization training.
- Aggression requires attention right away and you should call professional help with this one. Aggression can lead to biting. It is also much harder for you to deal with alone.
- Begging during meals, here you can make sure no one at the table gives the dog food. Instead provide the dog with an alternative activity of playing with his toys or a food puzzle to work on in order to get the treat out.
- Barking this can be very annoying to neighbors who live close by. To address this teach the dog to wait by the door or close by without barking by rewarding the proper behavior.
Preventing behavior issues
Starting early with a puppy training in good behavior can help prevent behavior issues later on.
Using positive reinforcement works when training your dog.
One thing you must use is a confident communication. A firm confident tone of command shows the dog that you are the leader of the pack.
Being the leader of the pack reinforces the dog’s place in the home.
Also giving the dog duties helps the dog to fulfill the need of having a job to do.
Older dogs or rescues can learn to change behavior
Dogs that are rescued or come to the home as an older dog can still learn to change their behavior.
It may take a little more time and patience but spending the time and being diligent will help the dog stop the bad behavior.
Older and rescued dogs may lack the confidence to accept a new family but with patience and positive reinforcement will help build the confidence that the dog has lost.
With greater confidence the more settled the dog will become and the less the dog will act out with bad behavior.
Things to remember when dealing it behavior issues
A few things to remember when dealing with behavior issues are;
- You need to have patience, results are not instantaneous.
- Be firm in your commands without yelling or becoming aggressive toward the dog.
- Reward good behavior.
- When it comes to rescues remember the dog has a history. Find out as much as you can about that history such as was the dog starved, beaten with a leash or chain?
- You must pay close attention to the dog’s reaction such as licking lips in order to determine that it is time for a safe activity such as playing or just simply petting the dog to remove the stress.
Knowing as much as you can about the dogs past that you rescue will aid tremendously in helping to train the dog and clearing up bad behaviors.
This is where patience and plenty of love come in remember you are in this for the long run; so do not give up on the dog.
Providing the dog a safe and loving environment is only part of helping the dog, you also have to have patience when it comes to training.
While dogs are not children it may help you to approach it as you would a foster or adopted child. You have to have patience and work with the dog in order for the dog to feel safe and not expect immediate results.
Bad behavior from your dog can cause problems.
It is up to you to help your dog change the bad behavior.
The way you do that is based on the behavior and the dogs past (rescues have past experiences besides the time they have spent with you).
If you decide to call an expert, you need to pay attention to the methods they use. If you see that the dog is feeling anxious about this person and it continues you should look for someone new.
Traumatizing the dog with further during training or changing behavior problems will do no good.
Remember that changing the bad behavior may take some time so employ love and patience when working with your dog.
Before you go train that pooch new tricks, have a look at this relative video: