Around 44 percent of households in America own at least one dog. That makes for a whopping 78 million dogs in the United States.
Unfortunately, many pet owners find themselves wondering how to solve dog behavior problems. The most common issues are often misunderstood or mishandled by owners. Dog behavior problems such as destructive behaviors, barking, or aggression can lead owners to surrender their pet to an animal shelter, adding to the nearly four million dogs that are surrendered in the U.S. every year.
Your furry friend is a massive part of your life, but the most common dog behavior problems can feel like a nightmare. Fortunately, these problems can be corrected by taking the appropriate steps.
The Top 9 Dog Behavior Problems and How to Solve Them
From barking to aggression to food possession – here’s a look at the most common behavior problems and how to correct them.
One typical dog behavior problem is barking. Dogs bark for several reasons, including territorial, greeting, and attention-seeking barking. But yelling at your dog in response to barking can further facilitate this problem.
Instead, teach your dog commands such as “speak” when you would like them to bark and “quiet” when you would like to encourage them not to. The next time your dog is barking, use words like “speak” and reward with a treat. Then, when they quiet down, use words like “quiet” and reward again.
Digging can be an instinct for your furry friend. But dogs that dig inappropriately, indoors or outdoors, may be bored or anxious. You can work towards correcting digging behavior by supervising your dog and redirecting them to toys, chews, or other boredom-alleviating activities. If your dog is an outdoor digger and there is an area of your yard that you don’t mind if they dig in, you can also redirect your dog to that area when they begin to dig, and reward them for digging in the appropriate location.
Chewing is one of the most commonly misunderstood dog behavior problems. It’s a natural behavior for every dog. Dogs chew for many reasons, including when teething, to burn off excess energy, out of anxiety, or out of curiosity. However, inappropriate chewing causes destruction and an endless source of frustration for owners everywhere.
Instead of punishing your pup for chewing, provide them with a toy or chew. Redirect their attention each time they begin to chew inappropriately, and reward them when they chew on appropriate items.
Aggression can be a significant behavioral problem in dogs of all breeds. Aggression may be toward adults, children, or other dogs and pets. Curbing aggression immediately is critical to prevent another person or animal from being injured by your pet.
The best ways to handle aggression in dogs depend on why your dog is aggressive and their triggers. For some dogs, the only solution may be to limit their exposure to things that trigger their aggression. However, other dogs may be more unpredictable. If you’re wondering how to solve dog behavior problems revolving around aggression, you must work with a professional behavior expert to curb this dangerous behavioral problem.
5. Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is one of the most common dog behavior problems. This problem can manifest in barking, destruction of property, and other issues whenever the dog is separated from its owner.
Curbing separation anxiety requires dedicated training, but there are steps that you can begin taking with your dog right away. After being gone for an extended period of time, it’s important not to make a big deal out of it when returning to your pet. If you greet your dog in an excessively excited manner after being away, you may encourage separation anxiety behaviors. Kennel training is another excellent way to prevent the destruction of property and other common separation anxiety-induced behaviors.
Begging is a terrible habit, but it’s one that many owners in the U.S. unknowingly encourage. If you sometimes feed your dog table scraps – even when you are done eating – you may be encouraging begging behaviors. Table scraps should never be used as treats, and giving your dog scraps is permitting them to beg.
You can discourage begging by having your dog sit or lie down in a specific area while your family is eating. If necessary, confine your dog to another room or area, preferably one where they are not able to stare at you and whine while you’re eating. If your dog does well and behaves, you can reward them with an appropriate treat once your family has finished eating.
Jumping is another common problem that many owners actually facilitate in their dogs. Jumping up, particularly when playing or greeting, is a natural behavior in dogs. But if you sometimes welcome your dog excitedly and allow them to jump, or designate times where it’s okay for your pup to exhibit this behavior, you may be facilitating the issue.
The best way to begin working with your dog when they are jumping is to immediately turn away and ignore your dog whenever they start to jump up. Do not scold, speak, touch, or make eye contact with your dog when they jump. If they jump during play, end play immediately and resume at a later time.
8. Food, Water, and Toy Possession
Some dogs attempt to guard resources of value to them, such as food, water, and toys. They may protect these items from other dogs or humans, but possession behaviors can lead to aggression, and you must work to curb these behaviors with your furry friend before they become too problematic.
You can work on correcting this behavior with your pet by teaching your dog the “drop it” command. When your pet is guarding a possession, introduce something that your dog may find more enticing, such as a toy or special treat. Use the “drop it” command and reward your dog when they give up the item they are guarding. You can return the protected object to your pet once they stop, and it’s essential to repeat this process as often as necessary.
Correcting Your Dog Behavior Problems With Phoenix Dog Training
Are you wondering how to deal with dog behavior problems? Is your furry friend exhibiting one of the most common dog behavior problems? Phoenix Dog Training specializes in the rehabilitation of even the most severe behavioral issues.
Is your dog’s behavior problems negatively impacting your life? Contact Phoenix Dog Training to get a quote and learn how to solve dog behavior problems today.