Solving Common Behavior Problems in Dogs
Now I’m sure most people have dealt with a dog that has some behavior problems like excessive barking, chewing, or dealing with things like separation anxiety and aggressive behavior. I did not know this myself until doing some research, but dog behavior is one of the biggest problems with a dog and human relationship. In the U.S there was a study done a few years back that showed that dog behavior issues mostly related with aggression are the number one reason dogs get euthanized. Also, if owners can’t fix their dog’s behaviors right away they will more easily give them up for adoption or send them back to the shelter or store. I will be giving you tips and ideas to try to help solve a lot of these common behavior problems in dogs so that no one has to give their dog up.
Barking and Chewing
To begin with we will cover some of the more basic common behavioral problems like dealing with excessive barking or chewing. Pretty much every dog barks and chews to some degree but if it becomes a habit or becomes excessive it can be a big problem for you, your clothes and other materials, and possibly your neighbors if you have a loud dog. One of the things to remember for a dog barking is that it is completely natural and quite fun to them. Often dogs bark because of excitement, anxiety, responding to other dogs, boredom, seeking attention, or to warn and alert you. If you have a dog excessively barking the first thing you don’t want to do is yell at it for barking because they will think you are barking too and might just make it worse. Instead try teaching your dog to bark on command by using words like speak or bark and then teach them to be quiet by using words like shush or quiet. You can also try putting the dog in another room or closing the curtains if they are barking out the window. Walking your dog regularly or keeping them busy and distracted with a game or other extraneous activity will help keep them calm, happy, and quiet. Dealing with chewing can be tricky because all dogs chew either for teething, anxiety, curiosity, being bored or having too much energy. The best thing you can do is to make sure you provide your dog with a safe and acceptable chew toy and encourage them to use it instead of your belongings. If you have a dog that likes chewing on stuff around the house put them in a cage or a closed off room with safe chew-able toys. This can take a bit of trial and error but once your dog finds that chew toy that they love, they will most likely forget about whatever belonging they were chewing on before.
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Next, we are going to discuss tips for dealing with separation anxiety which is very common in most dogs. Separation anxiety is when your dog is excessively barking and whining or attempting to destroy their surroundings when they are being left alone. I can relate to this because one of my dogs Chico had terrible separation anxiety and he would start to freak out whenever I grabbed my coat or my keys. A tip I tried using which worked was that I started to pick up my keys and coat throughout the day even if I wasn’t leaving so that Chico wouldn’t think anything of it the next time I reached for them. Another thing you can try doing is to try and keep your comings and goings quiet, and not make it a big deal when you are about to leave.
Furthermore, you should always try to leave your dog a toy before you leave, and you can leave the TV on or put on a radio station to make them feel like they aren’t alone. You can also try to give them a treat whenever you leave so that they associate you leaving as a good thing. Last tip I have is to just practice leaving your dog and seeing how they react when you leave. Try leaving a couple times throughout the day even if it’s just for about 5 minutes or so and just see how your dog reacts. If they get upset, give them time to settle down and then walk in after and act as if nothing has happened. Try doing this a couple times and your dog will become more accustomed to you leaving.
In addition, the last behavioral problem that I will be giving tips on is aggression. Like I said before aggression is the biggest behavioral problem in dogs and is one of the main reasons dogs get euthanized so let’s give you some tips and not let that happen. There are various levels of aggression, so I will just be giving tips about minor aggression but if you need help for a dog that has a big aggression problem I would seek professional help. My other dog Jackie used to be very aggressive and she did not get along with other dogs at all. She would also sometimes randomly try biting and was not particularly good around kids. If you have a dog that isn’t friendly with other dogs always make sure they are being supervised and never left alone with another dog. Most dogs start fighting over food or attention so make sure to separate the dogs when eating and to make sure they don’t get too possessive of their toys. Also, if you have a dog that is being aggressive don’t use physical force to try and calm them down and don’t use things like prong collars, choke chains, or shock collars because it might worsen the aggression. Make sure to create a program of positive reinforcement and dog obedience right away by rewarding good behavior. All in all, all these tips are great for trying to solve some of your dog’s behavioral problems but remember that you must stay calm and be very patient with your dog.