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Dog Behavior

"Learn To Spot and Address These Issues"


Top 10 Dog Behavior Problems

Aggression....Dog Marking....Dog Barking....Dog Whining....Dog Jumping up....Dog Chewing....Dog Digging....Dog Nipping....Dog Running away....Dog Fear of Noise

Aggression....If you have ever been bitten by a dog, you are certainly not alone. More than 2 percent of people in the United States are bitten each year – that's more than 4.3 million people! But what causes aggression and how should an owner handle it in dogs?

Aggression in dogs is defined as a threatening or harmful behavior directed toward another living creature. This includes snarling, growling, snapping, nipping, biting and lunging.

Dog behavior problems are abnormal; they are exhibiting normal species-typical behavior that is incompatible with human lifestyle (and safety). There are many reasons why a dog will act aggressively toward strangers or even his owner.

Urine.... marking by leg lifting is a typical canine male behavior by which a dog marks his territory. Most owners are not surprised or alarmed if their male dog lifts his leg on a few bushes, fence posts and fire hydrants outside. They understand that it is normal for a dog to do this.

Dog Marking....some dogs have an obsession about marking their territory. After all, it is their heritage as pack members to live within a well-delineated territory. A territory contains all the commodities necessary to sustain the pack, including various valuable resources, including their mates and their progeny. Making it clear to strangers that they have crossed a line with respect to territory helps avoid unnecessary fighting.

Dogs use more than simply the odor of urine to define their territory. There are visible clues as well, including marks made on the ground by pawing and scratching.

Dog Barking....Dogs bark for a variety of reasons, some good, some not so good. Sometimes barking is a welcoming signal, other times not. Sometimes dogs bark briefly, and other times they just won't quit. And therein lies a problem.

By nature, some breeds tend to bark more than others. Beagles and Shetland sheepdogs, for instance, tend to be very vocal. Greyhounds and basenjis, by contrast, rarely bark.

Barking is a form of communication. When people or other dogs are around, barking can be a statement intended specifically for them. When a sound is used as a means of communication from one creature to another, the rudiments of language exist.

Language after all is just a complicated arrangement of verbal/vocal cues. We can communicate with dogs by means of our language, but we are often rather poor at understanding their requests.

Dog Whinning....The family gathers around the piano to sing a few favorite songs. As musical tones float in harmony from the group, the dog joins in with a howl that just doesn't seem to have a place in "Row, Row Your Boat."

Relax – your dog's howl isn't a comment on the family's singing ability (though your aunt may sound like a thresher machine that's thrown a cog). He probably just wants to show he's part of the family. Howling is one of the few forms of "verbal" communication that dogs possess; others include barking, growling and whining.

In dogs, the howl's purpose is not entirely clear, and it is perhaps one of the least used forms of vocal communication. Its roots go back to dogs' wolf ancestry. Wolves used howling to communicate over long distances. The howl sweeps through different pitches, which helps the sound carry over longer distances than other sounds

Dog Jumping up....When good behavior is consistently rewarded and jumping is ignored, dogs Jumping can quickly learn that keeping four feet on the ground is a preferable posture.

Training books and videos offer a number of creative methods for teaching a jumping dog to stop. Why, then, do so many dog owners continue to be subjected to this often unwelcome advance. The most important reason lies in the way that dogs learn.

Any behavior that results in a reward is likely to be repeated. Rewards may be obvious or may be quite subtle. When dogs are excited, they naturally jump up onto their "target."

Over the course of time they are met with hands petting them or pushing them away – with voices sometimes warm, at other times stern or surprised. All of these responses can be rewarding – and, therefore, all of them may reinforce jumping up behavior. When such rewards are scarce and intermittent – they are even more powerful reinforcers.

Chewing....As most of us know, your dog can wreak havoc with its teeth. Whether the culprit is a young puppy exploring her environment, an energetic juvenile displacing pent up energy, or an adult dog acting out the distress of thunderstorm phobia or separation anxiety, a canine with a penchant for chewing can transform your valuable piano to splinters in a matter of hours.

Because the reasons for chewing are so diverse, it should be considered a sign or symptom of some underlying motivation rather than a diagnosis, per se. Before attempting to change your dog's chewing behavior, it's first important to understand just why she's laying into your stuff .

Puppies and juvenile dogs learn about their environment by mouthing and gnawing on objects. Typically the targets are random, and may include shoes, books or bedposts. Investigational or "play-related" destructiveness of this kind is a normal behavior for a growing dog.

Some dogs just love to get down and dirty by digging and digging. Meanwhile their masters can do nothing but watch as the yard starts to resemble a minefield. What you should do about digging depends on why your dog is scooping up soil by the pawfull in the first place.

Dog Digging....There are a number of reasons that dogs dig. One is a well-founded urge for comfort, particularly on hot days. Dogs do not sweat very effectively and so they don't cool off as efficiently as humans.

Digging into moist soil and then lying in it can provide summer relief. Even if the weather is not particularly hot, a well-appointed hole may be comfortable for nesting. Looked at from that point of view, digging is an indicator of how ingenious dogs can be. Some dogs dig because they are pursuing an odor of buried food or a prey animal.

Nipping....When puppies play with each other, they use their mouths a lot. When they play with you or when they are petted, they usually want to bite or "mouth," too. This behavior is not frankly aggressive at this stage – though it may be pre-aggressive.

There are two different life stages in which mouthiness can be an issue – before maturity and after maturity. The pre-maturity variety, all too often not taken seriously, and misguidedly interpreted as puppy play, leads to the adult version.

Bear in mind that it is easier to "nip" the problem in the bud at this stage by training youngsters what is and is not acceptable behavior. Even if the behavior has been permitted to flourish into adult maturity, it is still possible to take corrective measures.

Dog Running Away....Some dogs are just born to run. Although the reasons for running away are varied, there are a couple of common themes. Dogs run away either a) to get to a better place where something rewarding may happen or b) to escape from a real or perceived danger.

It is useful to remember that dogs' living ancestors, the wolves, roam for a living. For them, roaming is a natural behavior that involves scouting, hunting, exploration, and discovery. Home, the den is reserved for family affairs but all other good things in life are procured by skillful exploitation of their home range.

Typically, a wolf's or wild dog's home range covers several square miles and nature has equipped them (and their domestic dog descendents) with a "Cadillac" North Star navigation system that enables them to create and store mental maps. Essentially, they never get lost and can always find their way home

Dog Fear of Noise....At the first clap of thunder, your dog is suddenly missing in action, and you're likely to find him in the far corner of the darkest closet or under the bed. Even if your dog is one of the so-called meanest breeds, he may sit trembling on your lap or at your feet when the thunder rolls.

Fear of thunder and other loud noises is not uncommon in pets. In the animal world, fear is a normal response to a threatening situation or aversive stimulus and is designed to protect the animal from harm. A phobia is a persistent excessive and irrational fear response. Fears and phobias can develop at any age and in any breed.

Fears, in general, can develop after a single frightening event or they can arise gradually over time. They are reinforced if the stimulus presentation is frequent. Dogs that are afraid of noise usually do not learn to tolerate the fear-inducing sounds.

It is important to be aware of "Dog Behavior Problems" and be prepared to address the problems and /or get help.

Dog Behavior Books


A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine.

I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now.

When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image.

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