Dog Behavior Problems, continues with more common canine ‘misdemeanors’ and remedies. If you missed part 1, you’ll find a link at the bottom of the page.
When discussing dog behavior problems you should realize that there is no such thing as a naughty dog, they simply have no concept of the word. There are however dogs who behave in ways that we humans find unacceptable. Yet underlying these dog behavior problems is always a reason which, to the dog, makes perfect sense. Understand the reason and you can understand the behavior. Understand the behavior and you can address it.
Here are some of the common dog behavior problems we see in our dogs together with a probable reason and remedy:
Behavior: Separation Anxiety
Possible reason: Nervous dogs, those that have not been properly socialized, and those that have had several owners are particularly prone to separation anxiety. They’ll bark, howl, try to escape and destroy property when left alone.
Remedy: Get into the habit of giving the dog a special treat before you leave. A chew toy or a marrow bone is ideal because they keep the dog occupied while you’re away. You may also want to put the dog in a dog crate because dogs are generally calmer when confined to a smaller space.
Behavior: Possessive Aggression
Possible Reason: A dog may aggressively defend its food, toys, or favorite resting place because it sees itself as the dominant pack member.
Remedy: Assert your position as pack leader. A good way to do this is to give your dog basic obedience training. Teach the dog the “sit” and “lie down” commands. Then when he acts aggressively order him to lie down. This automatically puts you in a dominant position over him.
Behavior: Territorial Aggression
Possible Reason: Dogs, especially those that are not properly socialized will aggressively defend their territory against strangers, including visitors to your home.
Remedy: Introduce dogs to strangers gradually.
Have the visitor sit, as the smaller profile is less threatening. Also, advise your visitor not to make eye contact with the dog initially, as this could be perceived as a challenge.
Once the dog has calmed down, you can allow the visitor to feed the dog a treat while the dog is restrained on a lead. This will make the visitor seem less threatening.
Behavior: Aggression towards other dogs
Possible Reason: A dog that has not been properly socialized with other dogs will see every dog outside its ‘pack’ as a threat. He will bark aggressively and even try to attack every dog he encounters.
Remedy: Order your dog to sit. If he understands that you, as pack leader, are not concerned about the other dog he won’t be either.
Of course, obedience training is very important in this instance because a dog in a highly agitated state will be unlikely to respond unless he trusts you fully.
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