Understanding and addressing behavioural issues in dogs is essential to promoting a healthy relationship between owners and their four-legged companions. Yet, dog behaviour problems are frequently misunderstood and mismanaged even by well-intentioned owners.
Whether you are a new dog parent, contemplating bringing a canine friend into your life, or seeking solutions for existing challenges, this article will guide you through the most common behavioural issues in dogs and provide practical methods to overcome them.
1. Behavioural Issues in Dogs – Excessive Barking
A dog’s vocal expressions are diverse, ranging from barking and howling to whining and more. However, excessive barking can pose a significant behaviour problem for both dogs and their owners.
To effectively address and correct this issue, it is vital to understand the underlying reasons for your dog’s vocalization. The most common types of barking include alerting or warning, excitement and playfulness, boredom, anxiety, attention-seeking, and communicating with other dogs.
Controlling excessive barking requires a patient and consistent approach. Teaching your dog bark/quiet commands can prove invaluable in promoting discipline and reducing unnecessary noise. Additionally, identifying and addressing the root causes of their vocalizations is key to achieving long-term success.
2. Attention Seeking
Dogs are social creatures and often exhibit affectionate and clingy behaviour. For instance, they often follow their owners around and constantly seek attention. While this bond is heartwarming, it’s crucial to ensure our furry companions can also spend time alone without developing separation anxiety.
To foster independence and prevent separation anxiety, you need to teach your pooch to be comfortable on their own. One effective approach involves using a baby gate, which allows you to create short periods of separation while reassuring them of your presence. Make sure don’t forget to provide a cozy bed and a long-lasting treat to make their solo time enjoyable.
3. Behavioural Issues in Dogs – Digging
Given the opportunity, most dogs will indulge in some degree of digging—it’s simply a matter of instinct. Some breeds, such as terriers, have a stronger propensity for digging due to their historical hunting roles. Generally, dogs dig for reasons such as boredom, anxiety, comfort-seeking, hunting instinct, and desire to conceal possessions or to access a specific area.
If your dog’s digging becomes a frustrating concern, try to identify the underlying cause and take appropriate steps to mitigate the behaviour. Start by determining the reason behind the digging, and then work diligently to eliminate its source. Providing your dog with increased exercise, spending quality time together, and implementing additional training can be effective measures.
Nevertheless, if digging seems inevitable, you can set up a designated area, like a sandbox, where your dog can freely indulge in their natural behaviour. Train your dog to understand that this designated space is the only acceptable area for digging. This will give them an outlet for their instinctual actions while preserving the rest of your yard.
Begging may seem harmless, and some dog owners unwittingly encourage this behaviour. However, it can lead to adverse consequences such as digestive issues and obesity in our beloved pets. Dogs beg primarily because they loveto eat, but it’s vital to understand that table scraps are not suitable treats.
Teaching your dog that begging is unacceptable is crucial, as allowing it sends the wrong message. Before you sit down to eat, instruct your dog to go to a designated place, preferably away from your direct line of sight. If necessary, confine them to a separate room during mealtimes. Once you and your family have finished eating, reward your dog with a special treat, emphasizing that this reward is solely for their good behaviour during mealtime.
5. Behavioural Issues in Dogs – Resource Guarding
Resource guarding is a natural behaviour in dogs that stems from their instinct to protect valuable possessions, such as food, toys, or even space. While this behaviour may have been advantageous in their wild ancestors, it can create challenges and potential conflicts in our domesticated canine companions.
Managing resource guarding involves several key strategies. First and foremost, refrain from punishing or scolding your dog for displaying these behaviours, as it can escalate the issue. Instead, focus on creating a positive association with people approaching their resources. Gradually desensitize your dog by rewarding them for allowing others to come near their possessions without any negative reactions.
Another common behavioural issue in dogs is chasing. Chasing can manifest in various ways, such as chasing after moving objects, animals, or even people.
To address chasing behaviour, you need to ensure your dog receives sufficient physical activity to burn off excess energy and reduce the inclination to chase. In addition, Engage your dog in interactive games, puzzle toys, and training sessions to keep their mind engaged and satisfied.Teaching a strong recall command will help you call your dog back to you, diverting their attention from potential targets. You can also carry treats or toys to divert your dog’s attention when you sense their focus shifting towards chasing.
7. Behavioural Issues in Dogs – Jumping
Jumping up is a natural and widespread behaviour among dogs. As puppies, they jump to reach and greet their mothers, and later, they may extend this habit to greet people.
To put an end to jumping behaviour, the best approach is to disengage with and ignore your dog. Simply turn away or walk away if necessary. Avoid making eye contact, speaking, or touching your dog during this time. Continue with your activities as usual. Once your dog relaxes and remains still, calmly reward them for their composed behaviour. With consistency and patience, your dog will soon get the message.
Wrapping Up on Behavioural Issues in Dogs
Addressing behavioural issues in dogs can be a challenging yet essential endeavor for responsible pet owners. While redirecting their instinctual behaviours may seem daunting, implementing effective solutions can lead to remarkable improvements in their conduct.
By investing time, patience, and dedication, you can guide your furry friends toward better behaviour, encouraging them to respond to voice commands, remain calm, refrain from jumping on others, and overcome other negative habits.