Common Dog Behavior Problems

We know you have questions about your dog’s training, health, and happiness! See below the answers to common dog and puppy questions. Need more help for your dog?

Solutions to Common Behavior Questions
Feeding Etiquette for a Well Mannered Dog

Teaching your dog to ask politely for food, toys and attention allows you to prevent nuisance behaviors like “begging”. In fact you can replace annoying “begging” by teaching your dog to “beg” in a way that is pleasing to you and gives them the opportunity to earn the things they value most in life by displaying polite and calm behaviors.

This will also prevent resource guarding in a fun and playful way. That means your dog will not “defend” their bowl, food or chew toy when someone walks nearby because they will learn there is only more and better stuff to be had.

For more games and tips to help with this very important topic let DogRelations give you a private dog behavior lesson and show you the many ways you can make feeding time fun and educational at the same time.

Destructive Chewing

Destructive chewing should be considered in context and relationship to when the behavior occurs.

If you have a puppy who is teething, the puppy will try to get his teeth on pretty much anything to alleviate teething pain or simply chew on something because it is available and tasty and calming and fun for the puppy. So really the key to solving puppy chewing is: Limiting access to tempting and/or dangerous temptations. Keep your puppy crated or gated and provide him with great chew toys and do not underestimate a puppy’s need to run, play and exercise!

If, however, you find that your dog is chewing on things when left alone you might be dealing with a more serious problem, either boredom or possibly separation anxiety. If your dog tears up the apartment by chewing on couches, door and window frames or desperately tries to get out of the crate you should definitely call a professional trainer for help, especially if you think you have provided the dog with good exercise and mental stimulation and something appropriate and delicious to chew on before you leave the house.

Contact us at DogRelations to learn how you can safely and happily raise your puppy without having your belongings destroyed, prevent separation anxiety. If you have a puppy or dog who might be suffering from separation anxiety, please call us so we can help you and your dog.

Barking

Is your dog barking often or uncontrollably? Too much barking can be a major annoyance.

If your dog is basically not aggressive then most likely the excessive barking is a behavior that has been inadvertently reinforced.

How on earth could that have happened?

Well, if you admonish your dog when he barks, you are giving him attention for an undesirable behavior. Your dog however, smart as he is, immediately notices that in a certain way barking works in his favor because it makes you notice him. So, when he feels bored or ignored he decides to try this again…he barks: and miracle of miracles!! You start to engage with him again! In the dog’s mind this is a great discovery and so, since practiced and rewarded behaviors get stronger: Voila! Your dog has successfully found a way to get your attention and you have inadvertently reinforced a nuisance behavior!

For a consultation on how to re-educate your dog and find being quiet more rewarding, please call DogRelations for comprehensive dog training consultation.

Jumping and Nipping

Jumping up and nipping are normal dog behaviors among dogs!

Of course when humans get into the mix these behaviors can become a lot less cute and, depending on the intensity, problematic and unacceptable.

Reprimanding or physically pushing back your puppy or dog really only engages you more with the dog when they are behaving inappropriately and therefore reinforces those behaviors especially when they do not know what to do instead!

Of course your best practice for jumping up would be to make staying on the floor far more rewarding for your dog. Ideally that actually means: reinforcing the dog when they are not jumping in order to make the jumping behavior less attractive in general. Behaviors that don’t fulfill the dog’s goal will become less interesting very quickly. As soon as the dog offers an acceptable replacement behavior by even just having all four paws on the floor, reward your dog highly. Additionally, always reward your puppy highly when they are calm, have all four paws on the floor or play nicely with one of their toys.

Help your dog by providing enough mental and some physical exercise and appropriate things to chew and nibble on so they can have an outlet for those very natural urges.

For specific advice and how to time your reinforcements properly contact us at DogRelations and I will be most happy to consult with you, give you individualized advice and teach your dog all the skills they need in private in-home dog lessons.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is unfortunately not uncommon.

Observable behaviors might include:

  • Whining, barking, and howling 
  • Destructive chewing, particularly door, and window frames
  • Attempts to escape any containment area
  • Urinating and defecating inappropriately

These and other behaviors happen when left alone or sometimes even only if a particular family member leaves or when sleeping separated from the rest of the family.

Teaching the dog to be more confident and optimistic can play a big role in helping them overcome their anxiety. I can help you analyze how you can start turning around this frustrating situation. I will support you through this process and replace the worry with practical and goal-oriented advice. Please choose a Comprehensive Behavior Consultation to address this behavior issue successfully.

Why is food delivery so important?

What’s wrong with leaving food out and letting the dog graze throughout the day?

Anything that requires an effort is more appreciated. Things that are taken for granted are not as desirable. So if food is available all the time it becomes much less likely to be a motivating force and is more likely to create a fussy eater. 

Fussy eaters are more difficult to reward and can therefore develop behavior issues that are harder to remedy. However, that fussiness can be prevented or remedied easily by making food a valuable commodity. 

Additionally, teaching your dog that he does not have to worry about his food or his bowl will prevent resource guarding. For guidance and solutions to this important topic, let DogRelations give you a private dog behavior lesson and show you the many ways you can make feeding fun and educational at the same time.

Dog Pulling on the Leash

Pulling on the leash is a natural behavior. Dogs usually like to explore what is up ahead and all around them. The leash obviously constricts freedom of space. Allowing the leash to be tight all the time or pulling the dog back will only increase that behavior:

  1. All practiced behaviors increase in strength
  2. A tight leash transmits tension and nervousness
  3. Jerking or snapping on the leash can temporarily get your dog’s attention but certainly does not tell the dog what to do instead of pulling. In fact your dog might interpret those leash jerks as encouragement to pull even harder.
  4. Pulling on the leash is hard on both your body and the dog’s body.
  5. It takes the fun out of walking with your dog because it simply is not enjoyable.

The easiest way to stop leash pulling is to teach the dog to walk on a loose leash next to you by rewarding the dog whenever he is at your side. Walking on a leash is a learned skill for the dog.

For personalized instructions or private dog lessons to teach your dog to walk on a loose leash next to you contact DogRelations.

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