How to Solve Dog Behavior Problems

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Posted on: 23 November 2015 by Ivana Craft

Although dogs are man’s best friend, they can sometimes have behavioral issues that can be problematic to owners. The only way to effectively combat canine behavioral problems is to understand why your dog acts the way it does. Every dog is different, but luckily there are some basic guidelines that apply across the board.

Dog control

If you control your dog, you will be in control of any situation. The easiest way to gain control is to use a lead and a training collar. Most dogs will quickly learn that you mean business when you put on the training equipment, and that it is not playtime. Having your dog on a lead gives you the chance to help your dog understand what type of behavior you are not satisfied with, and to guide him towards the right path.

Stay positive

Although it can sometimes be hard not to get angry at your dog, positive reinforcement can be far more effective. This can be achieved by giving your dog positive tasks such as “heel” or “sit”. By doing this, it means that you can praise your dog for something good instead of yelling at him for misbehaving. If your dog jumps up, for example, tell him to sit, and even help him if necessary and be sure to praise him after completion.

Let dogs be dogs

More often than not, behavior that owners might find annoying or problematic is nothing more than normal dog instincts. Digging, for example is a natural canine activity that, although bad for your garden may be hard wired in your dog. Scolding your dog for doing something that comes naturally is not only unkind, but ultimately fruitless. Instead, try to set up an area where your dog can be a dog. Praising your dog for digging in his area of the garden can stop him from ruining your plants, as can burying treats for him to find in “his” garden.

Consistency

When setting rules for your dog, it is important to stick to them, regardless of the situation. If, for example, you allow your dog to sit on the furniture, it is unfair to scold him for this behavior when you have guests over. Not only that, but it will confuse your dog by sending mixed messages. Whatever your rules are, you have to be consistent in order for them to be effective.

Exercise is crucial

Boredom and insufficient exercise are the leading causes of problematic canine behavior. While you are out of the house, your dog has nothing to do, and it is normal that he will get restless and bored. A familiar back yard will not engage your dog, as it provides no new scents or adventures. Taking the time to do fun things with your dog outside the home will make him more mellow when indoors. Taking your dog on walks in the woods, swimming in lakes and spending quality active time with him will do both of you a lot of good. 

Clarity

Being clear with your dog is the only way to ensure consistent obedience. Dogs are often confused by owners changing commands or words or repeating them without clearly physically showing the dog what you expect it to do. Worst of all, owners tend to assume that their dog understands them. Clear, matter-of-fact commands that are upbeat and praising in tone are the most effective. Body language is much more important than words, so make sure your body is communicating the same message as your commands.

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Ivana Craft

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