We all have noticed behavioral problems in our dogs like barking, chewing and biting but most of us don’t know why the dogs display such behaviors. Due to the lack of proper understanding of these problems, we often handle them inappropriately.

It’s essential to first thoroughly understand the behavioral problems in dogs if we want to solve and prevent them. Here below, we discuss the most common behavioral problems in dogs and suggest you what you can do to solve these problems.

1. Aggression

Aggression is the most common behavioral problem. Snarling, growling, and biting are the common forms of aggression exhibited by the canine. Causes include fear, resource guarding, territorial guarding or it may be any disease that causes pain or irritation.

It may also direct its aggression toward a third party when aggression toward a primary target is brought to a halt; as when the dog bites its owner when the owner tries to stop the dog in a dog fight.

For aggression, it’s always advised to consult a professional rather than dealing with the issue on your own.

What to do?

The cause of the aggression needs to be determined at first and measures are taken accordingly.

If sudden signs of aggression are presented, there may be an underlying medical problem and it’s a must to consult a veterinarian. If a medical problem has been ruled out, it’s time to take advice from a dog trainer. By determining the cause of aggression and keeping it at a minimum, aggressive behavior can be controlled. If aggression is towards strangers, the dog can be limited to the backyard. Along with your trainer, extensive positive reinforcement will be the mainstay. For example, start by keeping distance between a ‘stranger’ and your dog and giving the dog lots of treats. The distance is gradually reduced, keeping up with treats. The dog will gradually learn that strangers mean treats, keeping aggression to minimum.

2. Inappropriate elimination

The dog may defecate and urinate anywhere, in inappropriate locations. While it is unavoidable in puppies, it is a problem that may persist in adults.

What to do?

First, you need to rule out any health problems by consulting with your veterinarian. House training should be focused through reinforcement of excretion in suitable locations rather than punishment when the dog excretes in inappropriate places. The owner needs to take their dog to the excretion area regularly and at appropriate intervals.

3. Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety occurs when the dog is separated from its owner and is left alone. The dog may show behaviors like distress vocalization, housesoiling, anorexia and becomes anxious whenever the owner prepares to leave the house when putting on shoes, locking doors. And when the owner returns, the dog becomes excited and becomes difficult to calm down. It requires training, behavioral modification.

What to do?

If you are doing certain things like putting on your coat or grabbing your key, be sure to spend some time with your dog before leaving so that when you are leaving the house next time, the dog will be less anxious. Medication is required only for extreme cases.

4. Chewing

While chewing is natural for dogs to satisfy their curiosity in unfamiliar objects like puppies do in puppy teething, it may become much more pronounced so as to cause the destruction of important objects in its surroundings. Causes include excessive excitement, anxiety or mere curiosity as seen in puppies.

What to do?

The dog needs to be encouraged to chew on chew toys which will entertain the dog. It will also consume time so as to eliminate boredom which may be a possible cause of chewing unnecessarily.

5. Excessive barking

Dogs may bark excessively when it is excited, when it senses a threat or as part of attention-seeking behavior. It will disturb your peace; can affect your sleep while earning you a bad reputation in your quiet neighborhood as the sole cause of noise.

What to do?

You will have to teach your dog when to bark and when silence is expected. ‘Speak/Quiet’ commands are the most beneficial. While it’s a Herculean task to be able to get good results soon, with consistency, one should be able to make it right. And the sooner you teach your dog the command, the better.

6. Digging

While digging is more common in some breeds than others, most dogs will do some digging if given the chance. Breeds like Terriers and Dachshunds love to dig which can be traced down to their history. Reasons to dig are varied. It may be due to boredom, excitement, anxiety, fear or to hide their coveted possessions like bones.

What to do?

Don’t leave your dog outside in the yard or in open places without supervision. Since bored dogs often tend to entertain themselves by digging, it’s your job to play with your pet and entertain it by playing games like fetch or tug-of-war.

For digging-breeds like Dachshunds and Terriers, certain spot needs to be provided for digging because they are just hard-wired to dig. Dog sports like Earth dog specially designed for such breeds needs to be considered.

7. Jumping Up

Dogs jump up to greet people as puppies jump to reach their mothers. Dogs may also jump to exert dominance on other dogs. Excited dogs may suddenly jump on you unprepared leading to accidents. This can be especially dangerous when the dog is exposed to young children.

What to do?

Some people seem to practice ‘knee to the chest’ method but there are problems with it. The dog may take it as playing which can be counter-productive. The best measure is to withhold attention whenever the dog tries to jump.

You can turn your back on him as it jumps up or cross your arms on your chest without making a sound. Reinforce good behavior by providing dog-biscuits. Teaching the ‘Sit’ command early and practicing it with other members of the family and your friends so that the dog won’t jump on other people is also productive.

8. Chasing

A dog chasing moving objects like a vehicle, animals or jogging people is a predatory instinct. It can be dangerous as people being chased-down may be scared or frightened.

What to do?

The dog should be kept on a leash unless under direct supervision. Proper training so that the dog will come when called and having a dog whistle with you to direct attention to yourself is advised.

9. Biting

While puppies bite on other dogs and people as part of their exploration and learning, it may persist in adults and can be due to fear, to exert dominance, or to protect something dear to the dog.

What to do?

Proper training and socialization are the required measures. Allow your dog to interact with children, elderly people as well. Expose your dog to various conditions. Keep your dog on a leash or in a confined area.

To prevent yourself from getting a bite, always keep a distance from an unfamiliar dog. Never run and scream and always avoid eye contact if you happen to be cornered by an unfamiliar dog. Regular vaccination is a must.

10. Begging

Some dogs have a bad habit of begging when they see you eating something delicious. It may persist and become a habit if you don’t discourage begging.

What to do?

While eating, you should keep you dog away at a place where it won’t be possible to look longingly towards you. If he complies with the method, he should be rewarded as part of positive reinforcement.

Featured photo credit: Angry Dog via pixabay.com

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