Common Dog Behavior Issues, Why They Happen, and How to Correct Them
They say that a dog is man’s (or woman’s) best friend, and they definitely can be. But as any dog owner who’s struggled with their dog’s behavior can attest, sometimes it can feel like a dog is your worst enemy. In fact, bad dog behavior is probably the single most challenging aspect of owning a dog.
If you’ve ever come home to find a favorite pair of shoes chewed up, or had your dog ruin your dinner by begging throughout it, or had to apologize to a neighbor for your dog’s constant barking or another dog owner at the dog park for your dog’s aggressive behavior, then you understand the challenge. But where does the bad behavior come from and what can you do to correct it? Read on to find out.
Aggression in Dogs
Depending on the breed of dog you have, aggression can be a mild nuisance or a matter of life and death, potentially. A certain amount of aggressive behavior is part of a dog’s nature. After all, we tamed wolves and bred them for a wide variety of characteristics over thousands of generations.
Any dog breed designed to hunt, eradicate vermin, or protect livestock is bound to have a little bit of aggression in their nature. The trick is managing that aggression so that it doesn’t become an issue around people or other animals. Socialization and training are key.
Any dog, no matter the breed, should be socialized to people, other dogs, and as many other common pets as possible from a young age. But, especially when dealing with an aggressive dog of a larger, more powerful breed, bringing in a professional trainer is usually the best way to remedy a challenging situation.
For a dog, barking is a means of communication. Dogs bark to get things, to warn others that a potential danger or food source is nearby, to express their feelings about things, to convey greetings, and to warn others to back off. But incessant barking, especially if you’re hearing about it from the neighbors, is a problem that needs addressing.
You can train your dog to bark on command and to stop barking on command.
Dogs that bark incessantly when their owners are away are usually suffering from separation anxiety and may require professional training to correct this behavior. Remember, very few dogs would self-select to go into a home and hang out alone with nothing to do all day.
When Begging Becomes an Issue in Your Dog
Begging is one of the most challenging of all dog behaviors for some owners. Dogs are very food-motivated—some more than others. They want what they’re having, and also what you’re having and if they believe that they are higher in your home’s pecking order than you are, they may feel entitled to some or all of your dinner.
Good fences make good neighbors, or so the saying goes. Not giving your dog the opportunity to beg may be the most expeditious answer. But if you want them to be around and also leave you alone while you’re eating, good training and consistent enforcement of boundaries are key. If you need to bring in a professional, be sure and do so.
Dogs and Excessive Chewing
Lastly, some of the most damaging problematic dog behavior comes from boredom. If your dog continues to destroy household objects past their puppy years and despite the presence of toys they are allowed to chew, you may need to bring in a professional. Just as with incessant barking, chewing up household objects can be corrected with proper training.
Getting the Behavior You Want From Your Furry Companion
Chewing, begging, incessant barking, and aggressive behavior are challenging potential aspects of having a dog as a companion animal. But, there are ways to deal with problem behavior in dogs. Once the issues behind the behavior have been identified and dealt with, the true joy of dog ownership can have a chance to shine through.
Author: Giano Panzarella