Dogs have learned to live with humans and like to please us. But, we still have to train them to avoid some of their more destructive behaviors.
There are many pet habits that owners also consider harmful or annoying. Yet, these two are the most dangerous for your pooch and the people and animals around them.
As a first step, if the issue is new and unusual in your dog’s routine, you should consider taking your pooch to the vet to rule out any health problems.
It’s also important to note that some behaviors considered major for some owners are non-issues for others. For example, some owners would never let their dog sleep with them in bed while others prefer it. Some would rather their dogs didn’t bark. Other owners appreciate the notification when someone’s at the door.
So, whether behavior is indeed a problem at all is up to you and your dog, and the potential consequences.
Dog Behaviors And Symptoms
Bad or destructive behavior in dogs can be many, ranging from boredom to malnutrition to injury or illness. Sometimes we send the wrong signals, thinking we’re doing the right thing. For example, if your dog is growling or barking at another dog, you may try to pick them up or pet them. If you do this, your dog will think it’s okay and even desirable to act aggressively because you rewarded them for it.
The same goes for dogs whining, barking, and howling to get your attention. If you react to this behavior and start talking to the dog, playing with them, or giving them food, the behavior will continue.
Some “weird” dog behaviors are instinctive, some are bad habits that have formed over time, and some might be signs of an underlying health condition. Below are some of the common dog behaviors that are easy to spot but might be very difficult to eradicate.
Behaviors that are instinctive include digging, chewing, chasing, and rolling in dirt, poop or dead animals. These make perfect sense for your dog and are natural dog behaviors, no matter how uncomfortable it might be for you. You can train your dog to minimize or stop these habits, but it won’t be easy.
Bad habits like resource guarding, jumping on people, climbing on furniture, begging for food, clingy behavior, and taking over your bed are encouraged by our behavior toward dogs. If you don’t want your pet on the furniture, you must set clear boundaries and be consistent. It’s also essential that you provide your pooch the comfort, safety, and enough food so they won’t have to claim it for themselves.
Health conditions can also cause your dog to act out, become aggressive, or growl and bite. Separation anxiety is a big problem for some owners. Their dogs mess up their home and destroy things while they’re home alone. Excessive licking, eating poop, defecating and urinating indoors can also be signs of illness or injury.
First Things First
Keep in mind that this isn’t a definitive guide as your dog might act out because they are bored. Before you draw any conclusions, make sure your dog is healthy and getting enough exercise. If you misdiagnose a bad behavior as acting out or attention seeking when there’s an underlying health condition, things can go south.
For some dog behavior issues that persist, you will need to consult a dog behavior specialist. Most owners turn to professionals to help deal with aggression, resource guarding, and separation anxiety. These experts can help with dog behavior training, no matter how severe or mild the condition may be.
You don’t have to hire a pet behavior expert to deal with problematic dog behavior. You can also try to train them yourself. Choosing the right approach and being consistent is vital to success. Always bear in mind what you want to achieve and then find the best way to get there. Arm yourself with enough patience and treats and avoid punishment as a training method.