Dog Behavior Problems

Dog owners and trainers often struggle with dogs that continue to display unwanted instinctive behaviour and other dog behaviour problems even after “successful” obedience training.

These behaviour problems in dogs may include dog growling, aggression, barking, whining, biting, chewing, and digging. There are many different reasons behind these problems as well as many different solutions.

When addressing dog behavioural problems, always remember that your pet is first and foremost an animal and will behave as such. While you may be able to get rid of certain undesired behaviours, there are some instincts that will be hard if not impossible to overcome during dog behaviour training. Praise your pet for his successes, and try to avoid punishment unless it is absolutely necessary. Instead, try to correct the problem and reward good dog behaviours.

Aggressive behaviour in dogs can include biting, barking, snarling, snapping and raised fur along the back of the neck and along the ridge of the spine. Aggression can come in many forms: defensive or induced by fear, pain, or punishment; dominant; possessive; territorial; intra-sexual (male-to-male or female-to-female); predatory; or parental. A dog may exhibit more than one type of aggression, and one breed may be more naturally aggressive than another. This dog aggression typically stems from a basic survival instinct meant to protect your pet. Make sure he feels safe and comfortable, and that may help ease his aggressive behaviour.

Tell any children who come in close contact with your dog to inform you whenever they hear him growling and it is clearly not during play. A growl is a warning that your pet is not comfortable with the situation he is in, and something in his immediate surroundings should be changed.

Dog barking may be quite annoying, but depending on the severity may not be considered a behavioural problem. Dogs usually bark when they are excited or confronted by something unfamiliar. Unless your dog is barking constantly, it may not be considered bad dog behaviour.

One easy fix is to make those areas you don’t want your dog digging unappealing by applying pepper, citrus, mothballs, diluted ammonia. Commercial products like No-Dig promise to curb your dog’s digging habit, but more often than not, are ineffective. You may also give him a specific area he can dig in, training him to only dig within his personal area. Burying treats or bones in this area may help him learn faster.

If dog whining is a problem, the first step in stopping this is to provide him with daily routines of play, exercise and training. Your undivided attention during these special times will often stop the dog from whining the rest of the day. Secondly, pay attention to your dog only when he is quiet. Ignore him whenever he begins demanding your attention by whining. If you give him attention when he whines, this will reinforce the idea that whining is good.

Behaviour training can help correct and overcome many of these common dog behaviour problems.

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