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10 Behavioral Problems In Dogs and What You Can Do About Them

10 Behavioral Problems In Dogs and What You Can Do About Them

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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