A badly behaved dog can cause problems both for himself and for his owner. However, with a basic understanding of how a dog reacts to particular situations, an owner can correct bad behavior. Often, behavioral problems result from a breakdown in communication between dog and human. With a better understanding, most behavioral issues can be resolved.
Behavioral Problems: Barking
Barking is probably the most effective way that your dog has of communicating with you. A barking dog can let you know that a family member has returned home, a stranger is at the door or simply that he’s excited or needs to go out to relieve himself.
However, excessive barking is a behavioral problem that is often a sign of anxiety. Dogs become anxious for a variety of reasons: being left alone for long periods, feeling that their territory is threatened, being hungry or thirsty, or being just plain bored.
To minimize your dog’s anxiety, schedule regular meals and frequent exercise. A consistent schedule that combines exercise with proper nutrition will make for a calmer, more confident dog. If your dog is happy, confident and sure of his territory, unnecessary barking is likely to diminish.
Behavioral Problems: Biting
Dogs are naturally sociable creatures that are much more likely to lick you than bite you. However, if a young dog is teething or a dog of any age feels threatened, the risk of being bitten can be real. Puppies who try to bite people, even in play, should be gently but firmly disciplined to discourage this type of behavior. A teething puppy is usually more than happy to chew on a toy as an alternative.
However, a dog’s natural reaction to a threatening situation can be to bite. If goaded by a child, a dog may react aggressively. In this situation, you must educate both the child and the dog. While you should discourage the child from teasing any dog, make the child aware that even petting a dog while she’s eating could be threatening to the dog. Likewise, the dog should be disciplined if she starts to show any sign of aggression towards the child. Even if a dog is being threatened, she should be trained never to respond with biting.
Behavioral Problems: Fighting With Other Dogs
Evolutionarily speaking, dogs are pack animals who guard their territory and assert themselves and their rank in a pack, be it a pack of dogs or a family. If your dog has aggressive tendencies and often gets into fights with other dogs, obedience training and regular socializing with other dogs can be very effective in correcting this bad behavior.
Through obedience classes, dogs learn to socialize and exercise with other dogs in a controlled environment while seeing other dogs behaving well. Dog obedience classes also allow for dog owners to see how to appropriately break up a dog fight.
Correcting Bad Behavior
Happy and contented dogs rarely behave badly. The best way to ensure that your dog is well behaved is to understand his personality, his needs and the causes of his anxieties. While you shouldn’t give in to his every whim, being consistent is important and he should come to know that you’ll always treat him fairly. If you follow these simple rules, your dog will respect you. With your dog’s respect, you’ll be able to correct bad behavior quickly and effectively.