It is a joy to have a dog. They provide companionship, unconditional love and furry huggability at all hours of the day, rain or shine. However, even the sweetest of dogs can occasionally develop some bad behaviors. With attention and care, you can help your dog correct his behavioral problems to make both of your lives more manageable. Shutter Hound Pet Photography outlines a few of the most common doggie disasters and how you can avoid them.
Investigate the reasons for your dog’s excessive barking
One of the most common canine behavioral problems is excessive barking. A little barking is a good thing – it’s your dog’s main way of communicating with you. Getting to know your dog’s different barks can prove useful, and help determine whether he is attempting to alert you to a stranger at the door or tell you it’s dinnertime. The problem generally arises when your dog won’t stop barking even after you’ve told him to be quiet.
What you should always remember is that, as ASPCA notes, dogs always have a reason to be barking. There may be something you can’t hear or see, like an insect in the house, or a suspicious person lurking around the house. He may just be excited, hungry, or bored. Take steps to identify your dog’s reasons for barking before scolding him. For instance, if he’s excited or bored, engage him with play.
Prevent boredom with exercise
Boredom can lead to a number of other behavioral issues, including chewing and general acting out. If you find your dog chewing on furniture, correct the behavior by showing him a chew toy to entertain himself with instead. Toys, in general, are a great way to prevent boredom in your dog. Dogs who aren’t getting enough activity may become frustrated and act out, so make sure your pup is getting a lot of exercise.
If you have a busy schedule, hire a dog walker to stop by once or twice a day to walk your dog while you’re out, or hire a pet sitter who can keep him company more regularly. Letting your dog go without exercise may build up aggression, leading to more significant behavioral problems down the line. Plenty of opportunities for playing outside may involve installing a fence to contain your furry friend, especially if you live on a busy street. This type of project is best left to the pros, so use an online service directory like Angi to find and research fence companies in your area, reading up on customer ratings and reviews to get you started.
Establish yourself as the pack leader
Aggressive behavior can also be due to territorial instincts, particularly where food is concerned. PetCareRx suggests establishing yourself as the alpha dog of the pack by setting boundaries. Before feeding your dog, make sure that he is sitting quietly. Try breaking up his meal into several small portions, making your dog sit still each time before you allow him to eat, then praising him for his calm behavior.
You should also have your territorial dog sit before he is given a toy. By establishing yourself as the pack leader, you will have tapped into your dog’s natural pack instincts, and he will become much more obedient.
Reduce separation anxiety
If your dog whines before you leave and once you get home, has begun to destroy furniture, carpet, and other things inside the house, he may be experiencing separation anxiety. Separation anxiety has many causes, including a change in location or owner, long vacations, the loss of a loved one, genetics or boredom. To reduce your dog’s anxiety, start by changing the triggers that cause him to start feeling anxious. At its most basic level, this can mean grabbing your keys, wallet and coat in a different order than usual.
You can also incorporate parts of your leaving routine such as getting dressed in a suit into your normal actions at home to eliminate their ties with your absence. Downplay goodbyes to make the separation seem less impactful and tire your dog out beforehand with a walk to reduce his stress.
If your dog has been acting out, remember to examine the reasons for your dog’s behavior first. Dogs will never misbehave without a reason (even one as simple as boredom). As such, every behavioral problem has a solution.
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Thank you to Cindy Aldridge of Our Dog Friends for this guest post!