If you’re a new dog owner, or noticing new behaviour problems in your pup, it’s helpful to know that many behavioural issues are common. And luckily, most can be solved at home with some dedicated training. Read on for the top five dog behaviour problems and their solutions.
Some chewing is harmless, like when your pup chews softly on your shoe. You don’t want to let it go, however, as the chewing may turn to destruction. Many dog owners come home to a chewed couch or cushion at least once: this isn’t because your dog is “bad,” but because they’re either bored or anxious. Make sure that your dog is getting enough exercise before you go out, and if the behaviour continues, consider confining your dog to a safe area where their behaviour can’t do damage.
2. Excessive barking
It’s natural for your dog to vocalize. However, the behaviour becomes problematic when your dog barks wildly at other humans or dogs, or when they bark incessantly when you’re away from home. To stop excessive barking at other dogs, you’ll need to train them to greet other dogs in neutral territory. A dog park can be great to socialize your dog, and reward your pup for good etiquette with a treat.
When your dog barks when you’re away, this is likely a symptom of separation anxiety. Separation anxiety can be common among dogs, and you want to train your dogs to handle your absence as well as possible.Try training your dog to handle small absences first, gradually graduating to longer absences. When you do leave, don’t make it a big deal: casually walking out the door will teach your dog there isn’t anything to worry about. If the behaviour continues or worsens, contact your vet to ensure your dog’s safety at home.
Begging can be one of the most irritating behaviour issues! However, this behaviour is purely the owner’s fault. If we feed our dogs scraps, they learn to ask for them whenever they smell food. So the answer to this behaviour is simple: no scraps, no begging. When you give your dog treats, make sure it’s out of the kitchen and never when you’re eating at the same time. This will prevent begging: since it can lead to dog obesity, you’ll be helping to keep your dog healthy and safe.
4. Jumping up
Many dogs will jump up with excitement when you come home, or when friends come over to your house. Dogs learned to jump up at a very young age, when they were puppies trying to get milk from their mothers. It becomes an attention-seeking behaviour, one which you don’t want to reward. If your dogs are jumpers, ignore them for the first few minutes when you come home. It may feel cold, but it will teach them that their behaviour is not successful. Once the dogs have calmed down, feel free to hug and kiss them. This training will also make it much more safe for your future guests.
When it comes to biting, there’s a spectrum. Play biting behaviour, in which the dog uses a non-injurious soft mouth with other dogs, is generally acceptable. However, when the biting turns hard or painful, there may be a variety of reasons: the dog may be afraid, over-excited, in pain, or tapping into its predatory instinct. You will want to correct this problem behaviour immediately for your own safety: start trying obedience training, so that the dog learns good behaviour from bad. Watch out for the dog’s body language, as certain signs precede bites: raised hackles, growling, or flattened ears. Consult a vet if the biting doesn’t improve.