Dog behavioral problems are the most common excuse people use when they decide to surrender a dog to the shelter. This is really so sad and, at the same time, so unfair for the dogs. Because in most cases, these problems have a solution.
The key element though is that YOU, the owner, is the one who must find these solutions. You are in charge in this relationship with your furry family member.
And we don't give up on our family, right?
Since you are reading this page I understand that you are already dealing with some difficult situation with your dog and you are feeling frustrated or even heartbroken by a problematic behavior your dog exhibits. Especially if this is your first dog.
Please relax and keep in mind that you are not the only one!
We've All Been There, Believe Me.
Life isn't like in the movies and that applies to ALL relationships. Even the furry ones!
First of all, let's see what are the most common dog behavioral problems dog owners are complaining about:
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The truth is that a lot of the things our beloved dogs do and seem inappropriate to us are absolutely natural animal behaviors.
It is natural for dogs to bark, to dig, chew on things and ... yes ... even to eat poop. However, since they are no longer living in the wild and we share our houses and our lives it is imperative that we teach them what is acceptable and what is not in our world.
You must understand that the unwanted behavior is the symptom and not the real cause of the problem.
Identify the problem behind the symptom and work on that.
The dog is not getting enough exercise. This is actually the source of so many problems (health and behavioral) in dogs. Have no doubt about that. ALL dogs, of all breeds and sizes, need to release their energy daily by walking, playing or running outside.
Your dog is not getting enough mental stimulation. In our modern world, dogs' place has significantly changed and they no longer have a work to do.
In a few words, they get bored.
The solution to that is simple. Make sure you spend enough time playing with your furry friend and also provide quality toys that will keep her mind working. There are some great products on the market for you to choose.
But also don't overlook the simple solutions. Let's say hiding your dog's favorite treat inside an empty water bottle or other toys you can make with things you already have in the house.This Pinterest Page is a great starting place to get ideas about homemade dog toys.
Are you sure she's not ill? Health problems are one more serious cause of dog behavioral problems. After all, who is acting at her best when not feeling good?
Genetic Issues. Certain dog breeds have certain characteristics. It is not reasonable to get a guard dog for instance and complain that your dog is barking every time someone is at the dog or a hunting dog and complain that she's super energetic and always wants to run. Choosing the right dog for you will make things easier for everyone. Get informed BEFORE you get a dog.
Has there been any drastic change in your dog's environment (new home, new baby in the family, new pet, a problem in the family that might have affected her)? Dogs are really sensitive and intuitive creatures and can understand so much more than we think... Give her some time and help to adjust.
Any changes in the dog's diet? That could also trigger problems. Make sure that any changes you attempt, especially if they are drastic (let's say switching from kibble to BARF diet) should be attempted slowly and after consulting your vet.
Poor or negative socialization. This is SO IMPORTANT. Ideally, dogs should be introduced to other dogs, pets, children, sounds and everything there is in their environment from an early age. However, that is not always the case as we all know the huge number of abused and neglected animals out there. Of course, that doesn't mean there is no hope for them. Love, knowledge, patience and collaboration with an expert can perform miracles.
Either the dog is neglected or spoiled. From the moment you know that all your dog's physical needs are met there is also something else to consider. Seriously. And please, be honest with yourself before giving your answer... Is she spoiled? Does she obey you? All the times? Or has she become No 1 in your family's hierarchy (even if it's just a family of two)? If this is the case then you know what's the real source of your problem, right?
A dog has so many gifts to bring in our lives but at the same time it's a big responsibility. Humans and dogs, two different species with a totally different perspective of life who-somehow- managed to live together. Isn't that amazing?
Don't hesitate to ask for help from the experts if you cannot find a solution to the dog behavioral problems that concern you.
One last word of advice. Just like with kids, physical punishment will NOT help at all. It will only make things worse and destroy the bond of love and respect between you and your dog. And also, getting a second dog to "teach" the problematic one will NOT help either. It will only make things worse.
EDUCATION - PERSISTENCE - PATIENCE - CONSISTENCE & L O V E are the ingredients of the "magic"recipe that solves all problems.