Many dogs develop problem behavior but there are some easy ways that usually help to solve these problems without the need to consult a specialist. If your dog demonstrates problem behavior such as:
then you probably have a dog who is confused about his or her place in your pack (i.e. your family or household). It is a dog’s natural instinct to live in a pack and every pack needs leadership.
But if there is no clear leadership and decision-making coming from the humans (in the dog’s eyes), he or she will take on that task themselves. This is a very big responsibility and a very stressful job, leading to some or all of the problems listed above. Swapping roles with your dog means that he or she can relax, chill out and enjoy life and therefore, the unwanted behavior stops too.
I can teach you the principles of a method of canine communication and understanding developed by Jan Fennell, author of several books including The Dog Listener and The Seven Ages of Your Dog. She has also made TV programs and a DVD called The Dog Listener.
Dogs are clean animals. If they can avoid it, they will never soil themselves or their sleeping areas. That goes as well with their place of feeding. Dogs might develop a certain habit of where they like to do “their business”. My dog will NEVER go on concrete, on naked soil – it has to be grass.
Watch your dog carefully and act accordingly. If you only walk him on concrete your animal might hold back during the whole walk and still have the urge to “go”. In that case accidents in your house can happen. I also trained my do to only urinate in the yard, nothing else.
When you first get the dog limit his “living” area. You should not let a new animal roam around the house unattended. If you prefer not to crate train, assign him a smaller space (with tile floor) where he will spend most of his time. Spend time with the dog in this area, play with him, let him sleep and eat there.
Your dog needs his special resting place, that might be toys, a dog bed, a dog basket, a large blanket, whatever you think he is comfortable with. As soon as the dog sees this area as his “home” he will avoid by all means to soil it.
Recalling your dog is one of the most important areas of training when it comes to safety. But so many of us let it lapse once the puppy training is done or the training classes are finished. Then, we only rely on it in an emergency.
And when a dog’s distracted by something exciting, that recall training from years ago may not work! Or the dog learns to associate you calling with only a negative consequence eg putting the lead on to go home.
So here are some tips for successful recall:
It should be a given that anybody who wants to adopt a puppy has prepared the basics to make that little guy feel comfortable and welcome. The basics include food and water bowls, collar (harness, I recommend harnesses for small dogs), leashes, toys, bed. You certainly want to have some food ready also but I highly recommend sticking – at least a few weeks – with the food the puppy is used to. A sudden change might trigger diarrhea. Ask the shelter, breeder, pet shop what food the puppy is currently on and get the same brand.
Because puppies are not house-trained yet and might eliminate all over the place it is not a good idea to have the new arrival sleep in your bed. Start crate training immediately and be aware of, that you might have to get up at night once or twice, to let the little guy relieve himself.
Some puppies feel very vulnerable and considering that it has been taken away from mom and the littermates that should not be surprising. Puppies need lots of attention, lots of love, and lots of sleep. When you play with your puppy do it quietly and don’t let your kids scare it with an outburst of emotions either. And always keep in mind, puppies tire easily. If you have the feeling it has enough, just leave it alone, it will most likely take a nap.
When you are looking to get a dog, consider adopting a homeless animal from your local shelter. Whether you want a puppy or a mature dog, a purebred or a mixed breed, your shelter has the best selection of animals. Check out also this Cesar Millan video:
As an additional advantage, you can be sure that all animals are in good health and don’t show any signs of abnormal behavior. Most animals from shelters will already be spayed and neutered, the costs are normally included in the adoption fee. Other good sources are pet shops that have monthly/weekly adoption programs.
Puppies, kittens, actually all young animals are usually very adorable. But these young animals require a great commitment of energy and time from their owners. Some of these really young ones almost require a 24/7 presence of the owner, which is hard to commit to with our work and busy schedules. If your daughter wants just a cute toy, get her one of these beautiful and cute gifts. Not a puppy.
An older animal is a much better option when you work, it does not need that much attention, care and exercise or stimulation as a young puppy. And don’t underestimate the advantage of a dog already been housebroken! Most of them have in addition the “bad teen-years”, as I like to call it, behind. Your furniture will probably survive without chew marks, your cables and carpets also. Continue reading
Dogs don’t chew your carpet, shred your couch or tear things up because they are mean, malicious or angry, it’s just that they are – DOGS. When dogs are left alone for too long the temptation to chew your belongings is higher.
Dogs that feel neglected, lonely, bored or anxious are more likely to search and find an outlet for his feelings. Punishing the dog is ineffective, prevention is the key.
As long as you cannot trust your dog 100%, don’t let him roam the house freely in your absence. Limit him to one room or fence of part of a room and create a cozy space for him. Give him a variety of toys, preferably chew toys.
One of the greatest toys to keep your dog busy are the hard-rubber toys that can be stuffed with treats. We have some reviews on our sister site PetStuffReviews. The dog will be busy and happy for hours and won’t even notice that you are gone. Continue reading
Cats eat cat grass, why do dogs too?
A craving for unnatural, non-food items is called pica in medical terms. Some dogs just enjoy eating grass, but that does not necessarily mean that they have pica. Some little nibbling is pretty common in dogs (mine does it too), and they seem to enjoy it.
As long as your dog does not start to eat grass excessively there is no danger this little snacking will turn into pica. However, if you notice him eating a lot of grass, quite frequently, consult your veterinarian. No one really knows why some dogs eat grass, it is one of the mysteries of the dog world!
My current dog is the first grass eater, and I had several dogs. I think it is unlikely that there is a reason for dogs to nibble on grass. Maybe they like the taste, maybe they try to settle an upset stomach, we don’t really know.
Digging occurs for many reasons. Dogs dig to bury and recover bones; they dig cooling pits when it’s hot and warming pits when it’s cold; they dig up prey and they dig dens. Digging is a highly enjoyable and natural canine activity. Lack of exercise, prolonged confinement and boredom can also cause digging. Once digging starts, it can quickly become a habit.
If you provide your dog with regular walks, runs, play-time and training, the chances are you will not have a digging problem. But until your dog has been taught that digging up your garden is not allowed, he should not be confined indoors or to a dog run, a certain area of the yard. Though this is not the solution; it is a temporary measure until your dog can be trusted not to destroy your garden or freshly planted bulbs. Continue reading
Barking is a normal dog behavior. Cats meow, birds sing, and canines bark, whine and howl. Every dog will bark, some more, some less. It is unrealistic to think that you can teach a dog NOT to bark at all. It is desirable though to keep barking under control.
Dogs who are alone and locked up in crates or apartments for a long period of time will eventually start barking as a hobby. Nobody is there to control him, he has a lot of pent-up energy, and so barking becomes an enjoyable distraction. Many dogs that start barking actually continue with that habit, it looks as if they do this just for the fun of it.
Excessive dog barking might also be a sign of separation anxiety. To control barking you have to realize first that the barking is caused by something. Either the dog is bored, frustrated, lonely, frightened, each one of these reasons might trigger barking.
The goal of teaching your dog to “leave it” is to protect him or your valuables. There are many things that don’t belong in your dog’s mouth. Whether it’s harmful or not, you probably don’t want your dog to eat certain things of yours, and this command can also hinder the investigation of something that he doesn’t belong in.
If your dog has already picked up something in its mouth, use the command “drop it” instead, which will also have to be taught. “Leave it” is important information for your dog to know; it lets him know what’s acceptable to chew on, eat, or investigate.
One method of teaching this command is by using the dog’s curiosity to your advantage. Leash your dog and allow him to play with a favorite toy for a few minutes. When she is sufficiently distracted, throw a new item into her field of vision. Most dogs will show interest in the new item and want to check it out.