When Dogs Behave Badly

Is your dog protecting you or is it just behaving badly?

There are many behavioral problems in dogs that make us wonder “why is my dog doing that? What causes my dog to act like that and what can I do to stop its bad behavior?” Here are some of the worst behavioral problems displayed by dogs:

Destructive behavior is one of the most common complaints from dog owners. When your pet dog continues to urinate on your expensive rug or carpet, chews up shoes left lying around, or destroys clothing belonging to a family member, it makes everyone involved unhappy. Destructive behavior can have many causes, including separation anxiety. If you are away from home for many hours during the day, and your dog demonstrates destructive behavior, you must be careful that any punishment be administered at the proper time. If you come home and find the dog has chewed something it was not supposed to, don’t punish the dog then. The dog will not be able to associate its act of destruction with the punishment because it will not understand exactly why you are upset. It will act ‘guilty’ because it knows you’re upset, but will not be able to associate your anger with its act of destruction. Don’t punish a dog for its bad behavior unless you catch it in the act.

Another reason for destructive behavior is lack of environmental stimulation. Boredom is often the cause of destructive behavior, especially in puppies or large dogs that are not receiving adequate exercise. All dogs need environmental stimulation. You might consider getting a second pet dog to keep it company when you’re away from home, or you could buy interesting toys to entertain your dog during your absence.

Destructive behavior can also arise if you punish your dog by penning it in a closed room or a fenced yard. Your dog may be inclined to break through a fence or may destroy your door frame or door knobs.

To treat destructive problems in your pet, you must establish the exact cause of its behavior and make necessary changes. For example, if a young dog chews furniture but not doors, it is probably in need of more environmental stimulation. Try increasing the amount of time of its exercising, adopt another dog as its companion, or leave the TV or radio on when you are away from home.

Preventing bad behavior from developing is easier than treating it after your pet acquires it. Puppy owners should not give a new puppy old shoes or a piece of rug to chew on because the puppy will not be able to differentiate between old tennis shoes and your good leather shoes. Dog toys should be of the type that your dog can easily distinguish as being different from objects you don’t want chewed up.

Aggression is also a common complaint from dog owners and is usually a serious threat to public safety. Biting should never be encouraged when a dog is still a puppy because it will grow up believing that type of behavior is acceptable.

Excessive barking can really bug your neighbors as well as you. To cure your dog of this bad behavior, determine where and when, or at what it is barking. If it happens only when it’s out in the backyard alone, you should keep the dog indoors and only take it outside when on a leash. It is common for dogs to bark at strangers or visitors to the house. This is due to territorial behavior and the dog is simply protecting its property and you. You need to teach your dog to stop inappropriate barking by using positive reinforcement to modify its behavior. When your dog barks, call it over or command it to sit and reward it with a tasty treat. Negative punishment does not work in these instances because it can cause fear in the dog, which can make the barking problem worse.

Digging holes under your fence is usually the result of the dog trying to escape from your yard. Dogs will also dig holes to keep cool or to catch rodents. Place chicken wire where your dog likes to dig to discourage digging. If the dog is a natural digger like a Terrier then digging is part of its genetic makeup. You might consider marking off an area where the dog is allowed to dig. If your lawn also looks unsightly because your dog’s continuing urination causes your lawn to look like a hodge-podge of green and brown spots, try Lawn Aid, a formula designed to balance your dog’s urine pH to prevent unsightly discoloration of your lawn. The combination of Cranberry, Yucca, DL-Methionine and Brewer’s Yeast will help keep your grass green all season long. The Cranberry Extract in this perfectly balanced formula also supports proper urinary tract health.

Jumping up on people is a common behavioral problem that is usually minor, unless the dog is very large or you have small children. The dog will continue jumping up on people because it wants attention. The best way to stop this is to train the dog that jumping up will result in not getting any attention. You should ignore your dog completely when it attempts to jump up on you. Look up and fold your arms across your chest so the dog receives no physical or visual contact from you. Calmly command your dog to sit down. Once it sits, you should reward it with attention. You must be consistent and other family members also need to participate in this training. Your dog will soon learn that jumping up gets it no attention.

When a dog behaves badly try to put yourself in its place and ask “What is happening with the dog, or to it, that would drive

    me

batty or cause

    me

to demonstrate bad behavior too?

 

How to Stop A Puppy From Barking

Stopping a puppy from barking can be a difficult task, simply because barking is a natural form of communication for puppies. Puppies bark for many reasons: attention seeking, anxiety, boredom or just playing. Puppies and barking are a natural combination.

If you can establish the reasons why a puppy is barking so much, it will be easier to find a solution to the problem.

To figure out why your puppy is barking uncontrollably you first need to determine the situations or conditions that precede an episode of barking. If your puppy is barking at you, it’s usually trying to get your attention. If this is the case, just ignore it and avoid eye contact. When the puppy stops barking you can shower it with all the attention you want.

Don’t talk to your puppy while it’s barking at you and don’t relent and give in if the barking continues. If you do give in, the undesirable behavior will be implanted in the puppy’s brain as the best way to get your attention whenever it wants something.

If a puppy continues to bark while standing over its food bowl it’s just letting you know that it’s guarding its food. Puppies who bark for no discernible reason may simply be frustrated or bored.

If left alone, a puppy often becomes anxious and will bark continuously until its human returns. If you find out that your puppy barks a lot while you’re gone from the house it could be anxious about being alone, it could be bored, or there may be something disturbing it like dogs barking outside or noisy cars and trucks.

If you make your puppy’s surroundings more interesting the unwelcome barking may end. You can also give your puppy different toys to play with every few days, and be sure it gets a lot of exercise. If the puppy barks a lot and seems bored when you’re home try spending a little more time playing with it and giving it the attention it craves.

Stopping a puppy from barking too much will help calm shattered nerves, whether they’re yours or the next door neighbor’s.

Sudden Aggression in Dogs

Aggressive dog behavior may take the form of growling, snarling, snapping, biting or lunging at people. It’s very important to determine what is causing the sudden aggression in a dog.

Aggression in dogs can be caused by behavioral issues, medical conditions or both. If a dog suddenly begins to display signs of aggression or hostility, you’ll need to know the cause, or causes, before attempting to help your dog.

Hypothyroidism can sometimes cause a dog to behave aggressively. Hypothyroidism is a medical condition in dogs that causes the thyroid gland to produce less than the normal amount of thyroid hormone. The symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs can include weight gain, loss of energy, hair loss and sudden aggressive behavior.

When a dog is suffering from congenital or neurological problems, it may display aggressive behavior. A neurological problem caused by illness or injury can affect a dog’s judgment and behavior.

Trauma to a dog’s head, epilepsy and brain tumors can also cause sudden aggression and abnormal behavior in dogs.

Seizures that occur in the region of the brain that contributes to aggression can cause sudden behavioral problems in a dog. Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to this condition. The breeds include Cocker Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Bull Terriers, Poodles, and Springer Spaniels.

The symptoms of this type of aggression include a sudden change of mood before a seizure, the sudden onset of violent or hostile behavior, dilated pupils, heavy salivating, and aggressive posture. After an aggressive seizure a dog may appear lethargic, sleepy, or depressed.

Obviously, aggressive behavior in a dog must be diagnosed as soon as possible because it usually will continue to get worse and it could also be a sign of something more serious. Contact your veterinarian as soon as you begin noticing any sudden changes in your dog’s behavior or the signs of aggression.

The underlying cause of the problem will have to be diagnosed before any treatment can be planned. The vet will determine what type of treatment is necessary depending on the exact cause of the aggression.

If you have children or other pets, their well-being, or even their lives, could be in danger if the aggressive dog is not diagnosed and treated.