Experienced pet parents and those new to having dogs in the home often find themselves perplexed when their fur babies begin to exhibit dog behavior issues. After all, it’s impossible to really know how a pet is feeling, and it’s probably safe to say that most people aren’t well-versed in deciphering a dog’s body language. As such, it can be all too easy to conclude that a pet is simply acting out.
However, most — if not all — of these so-called “problems” or dog behavior issues are simply manifestations of their fur babies reacting to their environment, testing the limits of what they’re allowed to do, or simply doing whatever they feel will achieve a certain result.
Because of inexperience or lack of knowledge, many pet owners tend to misunderstand and thus mishandle these challenging behaviors. But when you take the time to comprehend your pet’s actions and the motivations behind them, you may be able to prevent, curb, and even control these issues. You’ll know when it’s best to give your pet a stern verbal warning or if the most appropriate action is to use customizable dog leashes and collars on them.
To help with that, here are a few of the most common dog behavior issues that are often misconstrued to be problematic and what you can do to address each one:
All dogs bark, howl, whine and make other types of noises. These vocalizations are how they express their excitement, give off alerts or warnings, cry out for attention, or respond to other dogs. It’s only when barking becomes excessive that you should consider it a dog behavior issue.
The first thing that you should remember is that barking serves distinct functions for dogs. They can learn to use it to their benefit if they are rewarded enough times for doing so. Keep in mind that giving them treats to get them to quiet down counts as rewarding them, too, so try to avoid that.
Next, you’ll want to determine the source of the excessive barking before you can address it. You can do this by taking note of the answers to the following questions whenever it occurs:
- When and/or where does the barking happen?
- Who and/or what is your dog barking at?
- What triggers the barking?
- Why is your dog barking?
Once you’ve narrowed down what it is that’s causing the behavior; you can then move on to training your pet to discourage said behavior. You can minimize their exposure to the sights and sounds that trigger the barking, teach them to follow the “quiet” command, or use collars designed to discourage barking.
Chewing doesn’t just come naturally to all dogs. It’s an important activity that enables them to explore the world. The activity also relieves pain caused by teething in younger pups. It benefits older dogs as well, as chewing helps keep their teeth clean and their jaws strong. It’s only when chewing becomes excessively destructive that pet parents should see it as a dog behavior issue.
Many dogs may start to chew when they’re feeling stressed or anxious about something, such as being separated from their pet parent. Puppies may also begin chewing out of curiosity or when their teeth start to grow in. Some dogs may chew for no other reason besides boredom.
The best way to discourage them from gnawing on your possessions is to redirect the action. Customizable pet products such as chew toys and teething aids can help minimize the destruction. When you find your pet chewing on something they shouldn’t be, you can grab their attention with a sharp noise and replace it with a more appropriate item.
Aggressive behavior in dogs can take many forms, and it can happen for any number of reasons. Even the most domesticated animals will still become aggressive when they feel that their territories are being encroached upon or if they feel that their safety or that of their offspring is under threat. Dogs also use aggression and the threat of it to maintain peace and negotiate social interactions.
When a dog becomes aggressive, one of the first things you’ll notice is that they become very still and rigid. They may also growl, snarl, show their teeth, lunge, or bite. Some of the most common causes of aggressive behavior include strangers and unfamiliar dogs. Pets can also be aggressive when they feel threatened or cornered.
To minimize aggressive behavior in your pet, it may be necessary to limit their exposure to what triggers it. You can also use behavior modification techniques such as setting limits, depriving them of an emotional response, or rewarding and reinforcing positive behaviors. Sometimes, though, the best way to address aggression is to allow a professional to work with your pet.
Don’t wait; take action to fix dog behavior issues
Many pet parents get so caught up in their love for their fur babies that they fail to discipline them, thus encouraging and reinforcing dog behavior issues. If your pet is displaying any of these behavioral issues, you should still be objective enough to do what needs to be done. Curbing them isn’t a punishment. Instead, you help both your dog and yourself when you set the necessary limits and teach them how to behave better.