Curing your Dog's problem behavior

As dog’s owners, we have the capacity to create some behavior problems in our pets. We ask so much of them as companions and want them to share our lives our homes, but we also expect these pack – orientated animals to be content to be alone when we do not want their company. This causes problems.

Doing what comes naturally:
Many aspects of dog behavior which we perceive as problems are totally natural for dogs and we need to understand why they behave in specific ways if we are to live together in harmony. For instance, we may wish a dog to want us of intruders but we don’t want him to create any unnecessary noise. When he fails to live up to the canine image we have created, we say he has a behavior problem, meaning that he does not always behave in the way we expect.

A new industry of animal behavior has arises around the need to stop dogs doing what comes naturally to them – chewing, gnawing, barking and urine making on the dwarf conifers. It is possible to modify some of a dog’s more annoying behavior traits if we try to analyze what is causing the behavior and why the dog finds it necessary to do it. Whatever the problem is, it’s not done to annoy us.

Being a good owner:
A good owner will take the initiative to establish a good relationship with their dog and promote and reward desirable behavior from an early age. Mutual trust and respect are essential elements in a successful human/canine relationship. If your dog wants to please you, it is easy to promote and reward his good behavior. By being aware of the warning signs of unwanted behavior and taking action to manage them, you are less likely to encounter problems later on. If you stop bad habits forming when your puppy is still young, you can encourage good behavior and reward him when he gets it right.

Shouting is counter – productive:
If your dog behaves badly, shouting at him is nearly always ineffective and will only make him anxious or even frightened of you. This is especially true if he is unsure of the reasons of the reasons why you are displeased with him and you are punishing him some time after the event that provoked your punishing him some time after the event that provoked your displeasure. Owners who are in control and effective pack leaders do not need to shout at their dogs; they know how to earn their respect and get their compliance. By rewarding good behavior when it occurs and training their dogs to respond to the basic commands, they can not only have to joy of owning a well – behaved dog but can also build a relationship which is based on friendship and will last a lifetime. Dogs soon learn that behavior that is rewarded is worth repeating.

House soiling:
If you house – train your puppy effectively at an early age, you should how ever, you may inherit or adopt a rescue dog who is not house – trained or soils your home due to anxiety and nervousness. Sometimes a dog, who may have been perfectly house – trained for a long time, will suddenly start to urinate or worse in the house, either during the night or when you are out. In order to treat this problem successfully, you need to discover the reasons for the dog’s behavior.

Examine the possibilities:
First of all, think illness. Are there any indications that the dog is now ell: is he drinking more; does he have diarrhea; is it inevitable that he cannot wait as long as you expect him to? Can you make it easier for him to get outside when he needs to go? Have you made any changes to his diet? Could the formula of the food you give him have been altered?

Then think disturbance. Have there been visitors or workmen in the house, or another pet introduced? Are there any new noises from your neighbors? Many dogs are creatures of routine and they can be disturbed by domestic change. Tummy problems may be their way of expressing their anxiety, so watch carefully for a few days and then, if there is no improvement, consult your veterinary surgeon.

Build an outside run:
It is a good idea, if possible, to create the means whereby your dog can exit the house into the garden when necessary. You could build a small well – fenced concrete run to which he has access through a dog door. He will soon learn how to use it, and he will have to an alternative environment when you are out which is preferable to being shut inside the house.

Take your dog outside regularly:
Dogs who are house – trained will want to go to the toilet outside instinctively and will be clean in the house. However, they cannot last for hours on end, and you must let them out first thing in the morning, at regular intervals during the day, after meals and last thing at night before you go to bed, otherwise, you must be prepared for the inevitable accident. In warm weather you can leave the doors open to your garden if it is fenced securely and allow your dog to come and go as he pleases.

Play biting:
Many people are disappointed when they want to cuddle and make a fuss of their new puppy but he seems intention on biting them. Although his tine sharp teeth can infect quite painful bites, this is normal behavior and not the portent of an aggressive dog. When you get your puppy at around eight weeks he should have his first set of baby teeth, but the second – permanent – teeth will be coming through until he is about four months old. Teething pain causes the puppy to need to gnaw, unfortunately often at your furniture or even your hands or ankles. To make teething less painful, offer your puppy some hard nylon bones or edible chews or gnaw on.

Preventing play biting:
Puppies can play quite roughly with their litter mates but they do need to learn not to treat their human playmates in the same way, however exciting it may seem. Some plays bite more than others, especially Terriers and bull breeds, and you not indulge in rough and tumble games or allow them to bite you or hang onto your clothes. Don’t let your children play chase and grab games with the puppy.

Separation anxiety:
Some dogs suffer from separation problems and hate being left alone at home. This may be because they are pack animals and isolation is not a natural state for them. When they are left alone they may whine or back excessively, scratch and chew doors in an attempt to get out and seek their owner, or urinate separation anxiety, you need to find an effective way of treating the problem and teach him to get used to being left alone without getting upset.

Training starts in puppy hood:
Being alone in a room for a short time is one of the lessons that a puppy should learn in his first weeks in your home. Puppies need periods of quiet and rest, but make sure that the ‘time out’ is quite short and peaceful and not a punishment for bad behavior. Tidy up the room before leaving the puppy as he may well chew any object you have recently handled and which smells of you. Alternatively, you can place hi bed and toys in a playpen. Make his bed comfortable, and leave a soft toy and a nylon chewing bone where they can be found, together with a small in-tippable bowl of water. Perhaps leave the radio on tuned to a talk station so that the puppy hears a human voice. Put him in the room, give him a treat and praise him, then quietly shut the door and walk away. Gradually increase these periods of isolation, starting with a short length of time – maybe just a few minutes – and repeating the sessions several times a day.

Your puppy will eventually grow to accept your absences if you keep repeating them and extend the time gradually. If the puppy cries initially when you shut the door, harden your heart and walk away. When he has been quiet for, say, five minutes, open the door and let him out. Your behavior at this stage is critical, so do not make a great fuss of him. Just treat it as ordinary day – to – day experience. It is also probably a good idea to follow the ‘time out’ by going into the room used with the puppy finding something to do there, so that you and the puppy can be companionable together in quiet situation and he does not link the room with being left alone.

Make your exit low – key:
As the puppy grows, you may need to be away for longer periods. It is important to make your exit and return very low – key and not to say effusive farewells nor greet the dog too enthusiastically on your return. These will only make the dog feel that your absence is a big event. Before you go out, it may be a good idea if you take him out for a walk to exercise him or have a little play session together, but do nothing that will heighten his excitement.

Boredom and destructive behavior:
If you leave an active dog alone for long periods, he will become bored and this can trigger various firms of problems behavior, including noisy barking and chewing furniture and other forbidden items. Terriers and the working breeds may be particularly affected and are more likely to engage and go to sleep. To prevent this happening, you need to leave your dog something to do to keep him busy while you are away. You can then be confident of returning to an undamaged house and a happy dog.

Solving the problem:
Before you leave home for any length of time, make sure you exercise your dog physically and mentally. Take him out for a long walk or a run. Play some game with him or even engage in a training session together. If he is pleasantly tired after spending some enjoyable time with you, he is more likely to settle down happily and have a sleep or some quiet time on his own after you go out.

Make sure you leave him some toys or chews and bones to amuse and keep him occupied during your absence. Try to provide a new smelly one which will grab his interest, but remove it later when you come home. Leaving different chews will not only give him something to do but it will also make it less likely that he will chew rugs and furniture if he is bored.

If you are planning to be out for long periods, say, most of the day, you should arrange for a friend or neighbor whom your dog knows and trust to come in and play with him and also take him out for a walk and to go to the toilet to prevent mess in the house.

Escaping and roaming:
Some dogs, no matter how happy they are at home with their owners, are accomplished escapologist and will take advantages of any opportunity to slip out. This problem is usually sex – related and starts puberty. Male dogs sometimes escape to get to a neighboring bitch in season – they can smell one within three – mile radius. Bitches who cam into season may also try to leave home to find a mate. However, some dogs run away because they are anxious or frightened at home, or because life outside appears to be more exciting to them.

Dealing with the problem:
How you treat this problem will depend, of course, on the cause of your dog’s behavior. You need to confirm the reason by finding out where your dog goes and what he does when he is away from home. If your dog escapes in search of a mate, neutering may be the answer, and you should talk to your vet about this course of action.

If he heads for the park or local woods and fields in search of canine or human company, he may be bored at home and seeking excitement elsewhere. If you think that this is case, make an effort to put aside some time every day to play with your dog. Make this session enjoyable for both of you – your dog should be mentally and physically stimulated. Do remember to praise and reward him when he behaves in an appropriate way. You could also try teaching him some simple tricks to exercise his mind or, if you are both very energetic, go along to fly ball or agility classes. These are the fastest growing canine sports and exciting for the dogs his owner.

Jumping up and excitable behavior:
Excitement seems to project a dog into jumping up towards our faces, just as very young puppies will jump up to the mouth of their mother to get her to disgorge food. It is embarrassing and annoying when your dog insists on jumping up to greet a visitor.

Dealing with the problem:
One way to stop your dog jumping up to greet you is to crouch down to make a fuss of him. Alternatively, you can take hold of his collar and tell him firmly to ‘sit’ before getting on his level and rewarding him. If he behaves well with you, he is more likely to be well – mannered with visitors to your home.

While it is perfectly acceptable for your dog to enjoy chasing a ball, this is not the case if he likes to chase cyclists, joggers and cats. Herding breeds and sight hounds may often be afflicted with this problem as they are genetically programmed to chase. If your dg enjoys chasing people, other animals or even cars, you must channel his instincts into a more suitable outlet and teach him to chase toys instead.

Cat chasing:
Many dogs chase cats because they regard them as legitimate prey. Other just enjoys the thrill of the chase or perceives them as intruders on their territory and want to remove them from their homes and gardens. If your dog has these tendencies try to prevent neighboring cats visiting your garden and keep him on a lead when cats are around, praising and rewarding him if he is calm and ignores the cat.

Aggression to other dogs:
This is a very common problem for which there are many possible causes. Bad experiences and poor socialization in puppy hood. Limited opportunities socialization in puppy hood. Limited and a desire to defend owners and territory can all play their part in making dogs behave aggressively towards each other.

Preventing the problem:
Effective socialization starts while your dog is still a puppy and you should take him to training classes to mix with a wide range of other dogs. He must have pleasurable experiences with them and enjoy playing together without any bullying or aggression. If your dog is fearful of strange dogs and barks, lunges or growl at them, you should not let him run freely in public places. Exercise him on an extending lead and try to focus his attention on you. Encourage him to enjoy playing with you instead of wanting to approach other dogs, and reward his good behavior with motivational tasty treats and lots of praise.

Aggression to people:
If some dog behaves aggressively towards strangers and visitors or even towards you and your family in specific situations, you must take steps to discover what is causing this behavior and solve the problem. Dogs act aggressively when they feel that they are threatened. Often they have had traumatic experiences as puppies and were under – socializes. They only feel safe with people they trust and may growl or lunge at strangers.

Resolving the problem:
If the dog is still young, it is not too late to conquer his fears and provide lots of enjoyable experiences with a wide range of different people in various situations to make him react in a more confident, friendly way. You can help him by being kind but firm, encouraging and rewarding friendliness and earning his respect. Create a safe environment for him. Body language is important, - too don’t tower over him or raise your hand. Get down to his level and approach him from the side, avoiding direct eye contact. By adopting a non – threatening posture you can encourage him to lose his anxiety and approach you in a more friendly fashion.