Having a dog as a pet is most definitely a full-time commitment, and it isn’t unusual for a dog to exhibit abnormal behaviour. This could be caused my many different things, and it can be a challenge to identify the cause and figure out how to resolve the issue, and with that in mind, here are a few typical dog behaviour abnormalities and how to treat them.
- Chewing – Chewing is perfectly natural dog behaviour, and is just one of many dog behaviour problems you might have to deal with. Puppies tend to chew more than mature dogs, and rather than trying to stop him chewing, buy him some dog chew toys and he can cut his teeth as much as he likes without damaging furniture and shoes. If he has his very own cow-hide bone to chew, he will retreat to his bed and chew away to his heart’s content.
- Digging – It can be a real challenge to stop him digging up the back lawn, as digging is instinctive for dogs, which is one way of hiding food for another day. Rather than focusing on stopping your dog digging, it is better to select a small area where he can dig and teach him to focus his digging there. Some dogs try to dig indoors and this can destroy your flooring, and should he have this habit, take him out to his digging spot and show him it is OK to dig there. Many behavioural issues are caused by plain and simple boredom, and if he is not getting enough exercise, this could result in digging.
- Jumping Up – This can be embarrassing, especially if he’s a large dog, and it is usually due to excitement that he is unable to control. The best way to correct this behaviour is to put him on a leash when a visitor rings the doorbell, and when the visitor enters, hold the leash in such a way that he cannot get off the ground. Dogs respond well to positive reinforcement, and when he does not jump up, reward him with a chew and a little affection, and if you are consistent with this, he will eventually get the message.
- Separation Anxiety – This occurs when the dog is left alone, and can manifest itself in destructive ways, and no one likes to come home to a badly chewed sofa or a ripped apart cushion. The best way to treat this behaviour is to get your dog accustomed to you coming and going, by leaving him in a room for just a few minutes, and don’t make a big thing of leaving, or returning, rather act as if nothing has happened. If he is calm, then immediately take him for a walk, and if he isn’t calm, wait until he is before you take him for a walk. This might need to be repeated many times, and by leaving him for longer and longer periods, he will soon understand that you always return.
When with your dog, try to maintain consistent behaviour when responding to him, and this will go a long way towards changing the behaviour you don’t want, and with some positive reinforcement, he will soon learn how he should behave.