Identifying the 5 most common behavioural issues in dogs, the causes and healthy solutions
Taking on the responsibility of a dog is much like having a baby. You have to provide them with love, attention, food, play time, discipline and exercise. But one aspect that many people often neglect is ensuring the stability of their dogs. How often have you encountered a dog who barks excessively? Or has to be kept on a leash because they get overexcited or perhaps even aggressive towards other dogs. A similar comparison, in human terms, is dealing with a child who doesn't concentrate well in school, throws big tantrums, bullies other kids, or is hyperactive!
Whether you're dealing with a child or a dog, it's your duty as the parent to get to the cause of the issue and treat it accordingly, because most behavioural issues are avoidable and can be managed!
Let's look at the 5 most common behavioural problems in dogs and discuss healthy solutions, so that you can raise a healthy, happy pup!
Common behavioural problems in dogs
Jumping and over-excitement
There are various reasons as to why a dog may jump (either on people or other dogs) and get over-excited. Let's equate this behavioural issue to a child who is hyperactive and struggles to remain focused. Jumping starts as a puppy. Puppies jump up to greet their mothers, to show dominance over their pup siblings, or to get attention! Sometimes, the puppy might just have a hyperactive disposition and uses jumping as a way to burn off energy.
In this case, the fur parent needs to teach the pup how to settle down and learn boundaries. Common mistakes that people make when a dog gets over-excited is pushing them away, shouting at them or even encouraging it. All of these reactions give the dog the attention they're looking for and, in turn, reinforces this behaviour.
- Ensure your dog gets enough exercise and play time to burn off their energy in a healthy and constructive way. Giving them interactive and stimulating toys also teaches them to focus and hone in on their concentration skills.
- Teach them to settle down from a young age. Take them for training (or do it at home if you're comfortable) to learn tricks like "sit!", boundaries and positive reinforcement. Reward them with natural and organic treats, that will make training enjoyable for both you and your pup!
- When your dog starts to jump and get excited, instead of giving them the wrong message or encouraging it, simply ignore them and walk away. They'll learn that this behaviour brings no satisfaction, and will soon get the message.
- Use a natural remedy such as PetCalm to quickly calm hyperactive and highly strung pets. It effectively soothes excitability and calms them down, in a natural and safe way!
Barking is a natural instinct for dogs to alert us of danger or convey some other message. However, if your dog barks excessively, they're displaying symptoms of a behavioural issue.
Excessive barking can be caused by boredom, anxiety, highly strung dispositions, or can be equated to a child who rambles on in order to seek attention. Most fur parents handle excessive barking in a nonconstructive way by shouting at the dog, smacking them with rolled up newspaper or locking them up in the backyard. None of these methods will solve the issue and may even encourage it!
- Make sure that your dog gets the stimulation they need. Take them for runs as often as possible, play with them whenever you get the chance, or provide them with interactive and stimulating toys to keep them entertained and happy. This will solve the issue of boredom!
- If your dog is anxious or highly strung, use a natural remedy such as PetCalm to quickly calm hyperactive and highly strung pets. It effectively soothes excitability in a natural and safe way!
- Give your dog as much healthy attention as possible! When they start barking and you respond by shouting, you're teaching them to seek negative attention. Instead, reward calm and quiet behaviour with natural and organic treats, praise and affection.
Canine aggression is a serious matter. If a dog attacks other dogs, or even people, the consequences can be fatal! Please note that aggression is not only limited to fighting and attacking dogs or people. Biting, growling, agitation, jealousy and unpredictability all fall under the classification of an aggressive pet.
Although some breeds are definitely more aggressive than others, experts say there are usually underlying reasons for aggressive behaviour such as fear, insecurity, stress, problems relating to breeding, jealousy, past abuse, illness and pain. Many owners tear their hair out trying to control their aggressive dog while at the same time, trying desperately to find a reason for their behaviour! The sad truth is that too many dogs are put down, or taken to dog shelters, before the owner has time to constructively (and successfully) remedy the issue.
- Starting from a young age, take your puppy to socialisation classes to learn how to interact with other dogs and people. A dog who has largely been sheltered from healthy interaction may act out in fear and anxiety when they're subjected to a social circumstance.
- If your dog is older and suddenly starts acting aggressively, take them to the vet immediately to rule out whether they have an underlying medical condition. They may just be snapping at you because you've unknowingly touched them somewhere that's painful!
- If your dog comes from an abusive past, seek the help of an experienced dog trainer or behaviorist. Go take a look at Ceser's Way on TV - you'll see how much of a 360° difference it can make!
- Natural remedies like Aggression Formula can calm anxious, aggressive, highly strung, previously-abused or jealous animals, effectively reducing aggression levels and related problem behaviour. You can also introduce AllisOne Rescue Synergy, which is a combination of excellent lactose-free tissue salts for composure and stability, and PetCalm to quickly calm hyperactive and highly strung pets.
If you find that your puppy starts chewing your shoes, furniture or other inappropriate object, it can be very frustrating! The truth is that puppy chewing is very normal and, in fact, a healthy response to teething. You know how a teething baby has an uncontrollable urge to chew on objects to relieve painful symptoms of teething? The same applies to puppies!
The behavioural issue comes in when your dog is no longer a puppy and still chews on inappropriate objects. They're no longer teething, and can cause some serious damage! Chewing in adult dogs stems from bad habits formed as a puppy, as well as anxiety, restlessness, boredom and a way to keep their jaws strong. It's commonly found that dogs are more likely to chew when their owners are away - this is a clear indication of separation anxiety and boredom.
- If your puppy is teething, guide them to chew on appropriate objects, such as interactive and stimulating chew toys. Not only will the toys provide a safe, healthy and appropriate way to relieve their teething pain, but will give them hours of fun and stimulation.
- Use a natural remedy such as PetCalm to quickly soothe and calm anxious, highly strung and stressed pets. You can also introduce AllisOne Rescue Synergy, which is a combination of excellent lactose-free tissue salts for composure and stability.
- Dog-proof your house! Keep valuable objects out of your dog's reach so that your dog’s chewing behavior is restricted to appropriate items. Remember that your dog's wild instincts are much stronger than ours, so make it easier for them by keeping chewable things out of their reach.
- Provide your dog with plenty of physical exercise and play time. If you have to leave your dog at home for long periods of time, make sure you balance it out by taking them for runs or walks! Also make sure to leave them with interactive and stimulating toys to keep them stimulated and occupied while you're gone.
Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to digging due to their hunting backgrounds, however digging is fairly widespread among canines. Dogs also dig in order to bury their toys or treats, which is an instinctual behaviour designed to hide food from other predators! Some dogs dig to alleviate boredom or just for fun.
While there are valid reasons for their digging, it can be highly frustrating to arrive home from work to find your flowers and grass dug up and destroyed. Before you reprimand them and overreact, remember that they're only doing what comes naturally to them, and they're not aware that they're doing wrong.
- Ensure your dog is not bored or unstimulated by frequently taking them for runs and giving them ample play time. Alleviate boredom by surrounding them with interactive and stimulating toys and giving them positive attention as much as possible.
- Once again, the culprit may be that your dog has separation anxiety or a nervous disposition. Digging gives your dog a sense of comfort and distraction, so a natural remedies like PetCalm and AllisOne Rescue Synergy can effectively help them to find their 'inner peace' and bring them emotional stability.
If you have any questions, please contact us for FREE advice. We're always happy to hear from you!