Two Dog Behavior Issues and Solutions

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Unlike the dogs in most children’s movies, our dogs cannot talk to us to explain what they want and how they think. It’s up to us humans to correctly interpret their behavior in order to keep our furry friends safe, healthy, and happy. So whether you’re trying to connect with a new dog or attempt obedience training with your puppy, you may need some help with these three specific issues.

Constant Barking

Excessive dog barking is one of the most common problems that frustrustrates dog owners. However, since barking can serve so many different purposes, it must be diagnosed by its function. Alarm barking, for instance, will cause your dog to bark at every single noise and sight, regardless of where you are. This type of barking is often combined with stiffer body language than a dog who is just barking to greet a newcomer. Other dogs bark to get attention, and if it works, they will continue doing so until taught otherwise.

You can try to resolve this type of barking by teaching your dog a routine. Let him bark three or four times, then calmly say “Quiet.” After you clearly say the command, gentle hold your dog’s muzzle closed with your hand a repeat “Quiet.” Release his muzzle, step back, and call him away from the window or door. If your dog can continue to sit, give him a treat. If he stays beside you and remains quiet for the next few minutes, continue to give him small treats. Repeat the sequence as needed. It might take 20 times for your dog to learn.

Destructive Chewing

You turn your back for one minute, only to find that your favorite pair of shoes have become puppy chow. It’s infuriating, but not impossible to prevent. If your dog is chewing destructively around your house, there is a reason, and identifying the reason will help you change the behavior. For young dogs, chewing relieves pain of incoming teeth, while older dogs use chewing to keep their jaws strong and teeth clean. The behavior even helps boredom and anxiety.

The simplest solution is to “dog-proof” your house and provide your pup with plenty of his own toys to fulfill his chewing impulses. Rotate the toys every few days to prevent boredom. You can also use special sprays to make household items like shoes and furniture less appealing. Any time that your dog tries to chew something he shouldn’t, calmly say “Uh-Oh”, replace it with something he can chew, and praise him for accepting the switch.

If all else fails, ask your vet for professional help and training to teach your dog appropriate behavior.