Dogs can often develop behavior problems because some underlying triggers that dog owners aren’t aware of. What happens is that some things in your dog’s life might be causing him to behave differently and you might not be completely aware of what could be the reason behind your dog’s barking at night, chewing on furniture or biting.
Whether your a new or an experienced dog owner, each dog is different and requires a different approach in training and handling which is why it is completely normal that you might be puzzled about how to manage your dog better and how to make him stop doing those annoying habits he developed. The first step that you need to do before resolving your dog’s behavior issues is thoroughly understanding what’s behind them.
So, today we’re telling you more on most common behavior issues in dogs, their causes and the best fixes to each of them. Let’s start!
1. Dog Barking (At Night)
Is your dog keeping you up all night because of his night-time barking? Barking, howling and whining is completely normal in dogs, but to a certain degree. If you feel like your dog is being overly vocal either during the day or at night, it’s likely that your dog is trying to tell you something. Let’s look at the main causes of excessive dog barking:
- Lack of exercise
- Attention seeking
Since there are several things that might cause your dog to bark excessively, you should try some of the following fixes.
- Entertain your dog with more toys and increase his playtime
- Associate stressful/fearful situations with a reward
- Increase your dog’s exercise time
- Ignore your dog’s attention-seeking barking
Bonus Tip: If your dog is crying in crate, in addition to fixes we already mentioned, try making the crate more inviting by putting in some more toys, or move the crate to a place closer to your bedroom. Also, make sure the crate is comfortable and big enough (but still not too big) for your furry friend.
2. Dog Chewing On Furniture
In case you’re dealing with puppy teething, it is completely normal that your pup is chewing on everything that can possibly enter his mouth. But chewing can quickly develop into a destructive kind of chewing that will ruin your wooden furniture and even some other “chewable” objects in your home. Let’s take a look at what could be the cause of destructive chewing:
- Puppy teething
- Boredom or excess energy
In order to stop your dog from chewing, you should do the following.
- Surround your dog with more chew toys and praise him each time he chews them.
- Whenever you catch your dog chewing on furniture, correct your dog with a “stop” or “leave it” command. Make sure you have an authoritative approach so your dog takes you seriously.
- Increase your dog’s exercise time to wear off excessive energy.
- If your dog is anxious, try spending more time with your pet or play them some relaxing dog music.
3. Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is a very common behavior problem in dogs. This issue includes other behavior problems such as chewing, excessive vocalization, peeing in inappropriate places and other forms of destructive behavior, but what makes it different is that all of these occur only when the dog is separated from his owner. While there are some dog breeds that usually tolerate better being alone, others can easily develop separation anxiety because of being overly attached to their owner. In order to manage your dog’s separation anxiety try doing some of these things:
- Leave a piece of your clothes that will comfort your dog when you’re not around or leave music/TV on.
- Exercise your dog before you leave.
- Don’t make it worse for your dog by being too dramatic when leaving or coming back. It will only enhance his anxiety.
- Break your dog’s association of anxiety with your departure by changing your “goodbye” signs. When you’re ready to leave, stay with your jacket on for 15 minutes in the house before you finally walk out of the door.
- No dog should be spending too much time alone, so make sure you don’t leave him alone for too long.
If none of these help, familiarize yourself with desensitization exercises or consult your vet/ animal behaviorist to see if medication could help ease your dog’s separation anxiety.
4. Inappropriate Urination/ Defecation
Apart from chewing on furniture, inappropriate peeing and pooping is definitely one of the most annoying dog behaviors. Not only does it require more cleaning, but it can also damage your floor and make your home smell like pee. Inappropriate elimination is normal in puppies younger than 12 weeks, but once they grow older, dogs should be able to be trained where and when they can pee. If all medical reasons that could be causing your dog to suddenly start urinating around the house are ruled out, then several other things could be causing this frustrating behavior. Main behavioral reasons your dog is peeing where he shouldn’t are:
- Lack of outdoor time
- Lack of house training
In order to stop finding pee/poop around your house, try doing some or all of the following:
- Not getting enough walks every day is the most logical reason of inappropriate elimination in dogs. In this case, make sure you increase the number of times your dog can urinate/defecate and take him out more often.
- Reward your dog with his favorite treats every time he pees/poops on the correct place. Be patient and go through basic house training until your dog learns that your apartment isn’t the right place for soiling.
- If you’re dealing with a male dog that is marking territory, stop him and redirect him to the “safe soiling area” whenever you catch your dog peeing in the house, clean the soiled areas, and ultimately consider neutering.
- Dogs can also pee when overly excited. Try employing calming methods that will decrease the amount of excitement your dog feels in certain situations.
- If your dog is experiencing a drastic environmental change or a new pet/ family member has been introduced recently to his life, chances are he is trying to tell you he’s really sad by peeing all over your house. Spend more time with your dog and try not to neglect him despite recent changes.
All dogs can bite, regardless of their age, sex or breed. However, it is one thing that a dog bites when threatened or attacked, and completely another when a dog reacts to other people or dogs with biting first. Unfortunately, this behavior is more easily prevented at an early age rather than corrected when the dog is already adult. However, it is usually fear what causes biting or aggression, which is why it’s important to familiarize your dog with all “stressful” situations on time. Let’s tell you about the ways you can prevent this behavioral issue first:
- Employ only positive reinforcement approach when training your dog. Punishment will lead to fear which is the core of the problem.
- Socialize your dog from an early age. Make sure he spends time not only with children and people but with other dogs too.
- Expose your dog to a variety of situations that include unexpected noises, new objects, people or cars. Make sure your dog feels safe next to you and whenever he looks scared, assure him that everything’s fine.
If you’re dealing with biting in an adult dog, then chances are biting may be a sign of aggression development. Try adapting some of the suggested prevention methods we previously suggested, and if nothing helps, contact an animal behaviorist that will know how to correct this behavior in a professional and most effective way.