For many people, dogs can be as important as family. The bond between humans and their canine pets spans throughout history. However, with that love sometimes comes a tendency to brush off behavioral problems. “Oh, he’s just vocal,” you might hear people say as Fido barks and barks. “Oh, he just gets a little excited,” you might hear people say as Fido lunges forward on the leash. While these behaviors are commonly downplayed as lovable quirks, they might actually need to be addressed and rectified.
Before you can take steps for improvement, though, you must first be able to recognize the different signs of behavioral issues in dogs.
Why It’s Important to Think About Dog Behavior
First and foremost, behavior issues can cause a dog to be a danger to people and other pets. Canines who are unable to discern between safe interactions and threatening interactions can spontaneously overreact and end up biting in attempt to protect themselves. Surprisingly, though, poor behavior can also impact your dog’s own mental and physical well being in the long run. Dogs with behavioral problems are less likely to be taken out for walks or have friendly interactions with other dogs, which can impact their quality of life. Furthermore, dogs who are constantly panicked can actually develop stomach issues that cause both pain and discomfort.
So why is it important to take a closer look at your dog’s behavior? Well, the answer is simple: addressing behavior issues will help keep the people around you safe, healthy, and happy; and it will keep Fido himself safe, healthy, and happy, too.
5 Signs of Behavioral Issues
Dogs may bark for a number of reasons. However, if they bark constantly— or if there seems to be no clear reason for it— then it is possible your dog is using barking as an attention-seeking strategy. It may also be possible that your dog is barking because they suffer from separation anxiety and dependency issues.
If your dog is constantly digging, then they may be suffering from boredom and have a compulsive desire to keep themselves active. Just like with barking, it may also be a sign of anxiety. Anxious dogs can dig as a coping mechanism or a way to try to find safety.
- Jumping Up
Some people may be much more forgiving than others if your dog jumps up against their legs. In worst case scenarios, the impact could actually knock someone over and cause injuries. Jumping up is yet another sign that your dog is seeking attention. If you respond in any way— even negatively— it gives your dog the attention they wanted.
- Inappropriate Peeing
As a dog owner, you can expect to have to clean up after an accident or two throughout Fido’s lifetime. However, if your dog pees at inappropriate times and seems to do so often, then it could be a sign of excessively territorial behavior. Dogs can also pee at unwarranted times because of extreme anxiety.
Biting is a problem on a number of levels. It can cause injuries to others, and it can also be a sign that your dog is overly protective of your property or of you as their owner. While their desire to protect you and your home might be well-intended, it is important to implement a training program as soon as possible in order to prevent violence. Without a training program to address this behavior, your dog will constantly assume danger is present even when it is not.
Finally, if a dog is extremely violent and showing signs of aggression, it could be an underlying sign that they are not only suffering behaviorally but also physically. You should talk to your veterinarian immediately to check and see if a health problem is the root cause of your dog’s aggression.
What Can You Do to Help?
If any of these habits sounds familiar to you, it may be time to help your dog practice new habits to create change. Don’t panic, though, because the good news is that most dogs are trainable with the right techniques, patience, and routine. The retraining process should include consistent practice and reward, not praising bad habits, and talking to your dog’s veterinarian throughout the process. You can also check out Our Pooches to read advice and get support from other dog owners who might be going through the same process. No matter what, though, it’s important to create a steady system to help Fido live the best possible life.
Recognizing, admitting, and addressing behavior problems does not mean you have to stop loving your best friend. Ultimately, you can be immensely proud of your dog and still help them make positive changes.