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Why dogs have behaviour problems

Dog behaviour problems can be an enormous source of stress for your family and indeed, your entire neighbourhood! Find out why they happen so that you can ‘nip’ dog behaviour problems in the bud.

An example of dog behaviour problems

Dog behaviour problems can range from minor problems such as whining to dangerous problems such as biting. Here is a list of common dog behaviour problems:

· Jumping inappropriately

· Toileting in the home or in areas they are not supposed to

· Excessive barking

· Howling

· Pulling on the lead

· Displaying aggression

· Biting

· Displaying fear or anxiety

3 key reasons why dog behaviour problems occur

Lack of leadership

First and foremost, a dog needs strong leadership. Dogs are pack animals and they are unsettled if there is no clear pack leader. If your dog doesn’t have clear and consistent boundaries, they will constantly be jostling for leadership within your human pack.

Dogs that jostle for leadership will challenge you whenever the opportunity arises. For example, rather than waiting respectfully for you to walk through a door in front of them, they will barge through, pushing you out of the way. Rather than greeting you respectfully when you come home, they’ll jump all over you.

With solid leadership, many dog behaviour problems literally disappear. To assert your leadership, your boundaries need to be firm and consistent. If your dog does something inappropriate, then show your disapproval by giving some sort of verbal warning, like a ‘no’ an ‘ahh! or a ‘shhh!’

If your dog continues with the behaviour then follow through with a correction. The consequence depends on the dog, but it should never involve hitting or beating.

Different ways that people correct their dog:

· Some people will tie their dogs to a tethered lead for a few minutes; this limits the dog’s freedom and shows the dog that, as the leader, you can grant and give freedom at your will.

· Some people will give their dog a firm (but not excessive) jab on the side of the neck with their fingers shaped like a claw. This jab is meant to mimic a bite, which in the dog world is generally given to a disobedient dog by the pack leader, or their mother.

· For timid dogs, some people simply walk over assertively and look down sternly, showing both their dominance and disapproval.

Remember these tips when correcting your dog:

· Seek professional assistance in all instances where your dog is displaying aggressive or dangerous behaviour that may threaten your safety.

· Time the correction for exactly when the dog is doing the inappropriate behaviour, not minutes or even seconds after it.

· Stay calm and in control at all times.

· Once the correction is given, don’t hold a grudge; return to being loving to your dog.

Lack of exercise

All dogs need exercise, but some dogs need a lot of exercise. Regular exercise allows dogs to release their energy, feel calmer, be happier and stay healthier.

Without regular exercise dogs will release their energy by barking, jumping, chewing and destroying things in your home and backyard.

You’ll know when you’ve giving your dog the right amount of exercise, because she’ll spend most of the day relaxing, or even just snoozing contently.

And remember, exercise doesn’t just have to be in the form of a walk, it can also be playing games in the backyard.

Lack of good nutrition

There’s a popular saying: ‘You are what you eat’. If you fill your body with lots of fat, salt, sugar, preservatives and junk food, you’ll feel irritable and sluggish (or hyperactive!). Exactly the same applies to dogs. If you treat your dog like a food disposal unit, then you can’t expect her to feel physically healthy.

So what do you feed your dog? There are many excellent dog foods on the market, do your research and choose one that is right for your dog’s breed and nutritional needs. If in doubt, check with your vet.

Dog Behaviour Problems can be a thing of the past

You don’t have to accept dog behaviour problems as just part and parcel of owning a dog. For every dog behaviour problem there is a solution. Good luck working on all your dog behaviour problems!

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