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Dog Behavior

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Nearly every dog develops a behavior problem at some point in its life. Whether this problem involves biting, excessive barking, or submissive urination, dog owners must learn how to correct these problems sooner rather than later.

Today, we’re going to teach you how to fix the top five most common dog behavior problems. Some of these issues are easy to correct, while others require a little extra effort on the dog owner.

Dog Behavior Problems

1) Begging

Dogs love food. Because of that, they tend to beg, and unfortunately, most owners tend to reinforce this behavior by rewarding the dog with tasty human food. If you reward your dog with food every time he begs beside the table, then the dog will continue to beg. While begging may seem innocent, it can jeopardize your role as pack leader: in a pack setting, subordinate dogs never beg the alpha male for food, and if they do, the alpha male cracks down harshly on the behavior.

We know how hard it is to resist that begging, puppy dog stare. But if you truly want to eliminate begging from your dog’s behavior, then you should avoid giving your dog any food from the table. Eventually, this will eliminate the connection in the dog’s mind that links begging with food.

2) Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is one of the saddest behaviors for a dog owner to witness. Every time you leave for work or go out with friends, your dog becomes so emotionally distraught that he tears your house apart.

If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms, then he might have separation anxiety:

• Dog becomes visibly anxious or nervous when you prepare to leave the house

• When home, the dog follows you everywhere and tries to be touching you at all times

• Dog pants, drools, howls, or urinates when you return home or when you leave

The problem with this behavior is that many dog owners simply believe that their dog is affectionate and isn’t a harmful problem. Other owners may feel that the dog is simply bored when the owner goes away. However, separation anxiety can lead to extremely destructive behavior. After coming home from work, for example, you may find that the dog has urinated or defecated around the home or torn up anything within reach. This poses a hazard to both your house and your pet.

There are several ways to cure separation anxiety, but it takes a concentrated effort on the owner’s part. First, try to keep your emotions in check when you are coming or going from home. While most dog owners lavish their pet with attention after arriving home, this only rewards the dog’s behavior and can cause more anxiety the next time the owner leaves.

If you anticipate being away from your house for a long period shortly, it also helps to condition your dog’s behavior beforehand. Walk outside your house for a few minutes and then walk back in. Keep your emotions in check during the whole process, and do not reward the dog’s anxious behavior. Once the dog displays no signs of anxiety (panting or drooling, for example), you can start to increase the time you spend away from home.

3) Chewing 

Dogs love to chew things. It’s a natural habit that has been conditioned into their physiology over thousands of years. They chew things when they’re excited, curious, or bored, and puppies are particularly prone to chew problems while they teethe.

Instead of removing chewing behavior entirely, try rewarding your dog for chewing on the right things. Buy tug toys and other objects that dogs are meant to chew on. Reward your dog with treats or affection when he chews on these objects and reprimands him if he starts chewing on anything else.

Watching a puppy chew on things may seem cute. However, it can lead to serious problems, like biting, later on in life. For that reason, it’s important to crack down on chewing sooner rather than later.

4) Barking

Just like chewing behavior, dogs are naturally conditioned to bark, howl, and whine. However, when a dog does this excessively, it can irritate both the owner and anybody nearby. There are several different reasons why dogs bark, including:

• Demanding attention from the owner

• Anxiety and nervousness

• Warning the owner of nearby danger

• Playfulness or excitement

• Being around other dogs

You can’t limit all of these variables. So what’s the solution? Well, one of the easiest ways to control excessive barking is to ensure that your dog gets plenty of exercises. Many dogs bark simply because they are restless, and it’s important to give them a chance to burn off that excess energy.

You should also avoid rewarding your dog when barking. If he is barking for attention, don’t reward him with affection or food. This will simply reinforce the bad behavior.

If your dog’s barking is still out of control, then the next step is to teach him commands on speaking and being quiet. This method is more advanced and may require professional dog training classes, but it is usually the most effective way to control your dog’s behavior.

Summary

Some aspects of dog behavior are more serious than others. If you want your dog to be as happy and healthy as possible, it’s important to limit all of the common behavior problems listed above. With a little bit of training and dedication on the owner’s part, training your dog should be a piece of cake.

Jeremy C. Harper

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