Dog Behavior Problems that You must Know

Dog Behavior Problems that You must Know

What if your best friend cannot speak the language you use? Behavior speaks loudly if you can observe. Thankfully, though, some very smart pup pros and veterinarians have dedicated their lives to helping us decode what every sniff, paw, tail wag, and head-turn really means.

Here are some ways your dog shows his inner feelings that you must know, so that you can solve and prevent them.

1. Chewing


Chewing is the part of all dogs’ nature. It’s just a part of the way they are wired. However, chewing can quickly become a behavior problem if your dog causes destruction. The most common reasons dogs chew are as follows:

Boredom / Excess Energy
Curiosity (especially puppies)

Encourage your dog to chew on the right things by providing plenty of chew toys. Keep personal items away from your dog. When you are not home, keep your dog crated or confined to an area where less destruction can be caused. If you catch your dog chewing the wrong thing, quickly correct him with a sharp noise.

2. He's curled up and his ears are flat or his tail is tucked in

Dog is curled up and his ears are flat or his tail is tucked in

When you notice these sorts of reduced-size postures, your dog might be trying to get away from a situation. This could be an especially dangerous situation with kids. Because they are often closer to eye-level with the dog, they'll look him in the eye, which could be perceived as a threat. If you think about it, direct eye contact is a major threat for humans, too - but we can tell people to back off. If a dog feels trapped or can't leave an anxious situation, he might stiffen up, growl, snap, or even bite. It's important to never leave a child and a dog alone unsupervised for this reason. People get into trouble when they assume their dog would never hurt anyone, but a young child could provoke a stressful situation.

3. Waging tail

Dog with waging tail

A wagging tail is a happy tail, right? Not always. Although many wags are good natured, others act as warnings or stress signals.

The wagging tail is one of the easiest signals to misinterpret, who notes that some dogs will wag their tails as they bite. Though the tail can give us some good information, if we only look at the tail, we might be missing something important. It’s sort of like saying that anyone who smiles is happy—as we know, that’s not always the case.

A loose, gentle wagging is generally a sign of a relaxed dog who just wants to play. If a dog's tail is high, stiff, and moving very fast, almost as if it's vibrating, it's a sign of aggression called flagging.

4. He doesn't approach you when you call him

Your dog doesn't approach you when you call him

Guess what? Sometimes dogs want alone time, just like you do. Dogs do not have to come when called. Inviting a dog to approach and then waiting for the response is best. You can do a similar test when deciding whether a dog wants to be petted - place him in area in which he can easily get away, and then try petting him. If he looks away, licks his lips, tries to move, or doesn't lean back into you once you stop petting him, he's uncomfortable. It's also best to leave your dog alone when they are in their safe area - like a enclosure or on a dog bed. It's just like how you would not want to be disturbed when reading a good book relaxed in a recliner.

5. Staring 

Staring dog

To a dog, stares often translate to challenge. Just watch your dog when he spots a squirrel—her level of fixation isn’t friendly interest. The last thing you should do is stare too long at a dog. Though you’ll probably have no problem with your own dog (note they still likely won’t love it), with others it might be interpreted as a challenge. Instead, ask people to look into your dog’s eyes for only a few seconds then break off. And never stare into the eyes of a dog that seems worried, edgy or aggressive.

6. Showing teeth, lunging and snarling

Lunging dog

It is important to know that any dog has the potential to become aggressive, regardless of breed or history. They show aggression by growling, showing teeth, lunging and snarling. However, dogs with violent or abusive histories and those bred from dogs with aggressive tendencies are much more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior towards people or other dogs. Reasons for aggression are basically the same as the reasons a dog will bite or snap, but overall canine aggression is a much more serious problem.

If your dog has aggressive tendencies, consult your vet first as it may stem from a health problem. Serious measures should be taken to keep others safe from aggressive dogs.

7. Jumping up

Jumping dog

Many dog lovers will tell you that they don’t mind an excited pooch jumping up on them as a greeting. Since the behavior is intended as a friendly gesture of genuine enthusiasm, what’s the harm? The problem is that dogs who jump up could potentially hurt someone, and must therefore be taught that jumping is never OK. If you allow your pup to leap up on your boyfriend, how is she to know that pouncing on your elderly neighbor is a no-no?

8. Too much alone time

Dog feeling alone

Dogs are social animals and you and your family members comprise your dog’s pack. Dogs left alone in a home or yard for ten or more hours each day can develop numerous behavioral and psychological issues, including separation anxiety, excessive barking or digging, destructive behaviour, or escaping. They can even lose housetraining skills and in the process trash your home.

Your dog is a member of your family and, as such, needs to spend time with you. So, spend quality time with your dog.

9. Whining 

Whining dog

Whining is one of many forms of canine vocal communication. Dogs most commonly whine when they’re seeking attention, when they’re excited, when they’re anxious or when they’re trying to pacify you. Dogs also whine in the presence of their owners in order to get attention, rewards or desired objects. Some dogs whine during greetings. This kind of vocalization is usually motivated by excitement and may be directed at dogs or people.

10. Pulling on the Leash

Dog pulling on the Leash

Help your dog learn to walk calmly beside you. Never let him pull, or else he'll learn that doing it sometimes pays off. Keep the leash short but loose. Stop when you feel it go tight. He'll stop to see why you aren't moving. When he comes back, reward him and keep walking. After a few days, he’ll figure out that pulling gets him nowhere. Keep in mind that by keeping a tight leash on a dog, you’re raising the level of stress, frustration, and excitement for your dog, and conversely, for you.
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