Any dog deserves to be a loved and respected part of the family. Like any family member, it’s important to realize that dogs don’t always behave as others expect them to. These “naughty” behaviors may be nuisances or real irritations that may prove to be hazardous to your dog or the people with whom your dog interacts.
Getting to the bottom of naughty behaviors in your canine companion is an excellent method of eliminating or modifying those behaviors. It’s not always easy to identify why your dog is acting that way he does, so be persistent and patient as you try to understand these issues.
Like children, dogs need clear communication to teach them what’s acceptable behavior. If you allow your furry friend to be on the couch most of the time but then try to banish him when company arrives, he may not take it well. The same is true when you allow him to jump on you when you’re wearing old clothes, but scold him for the same behavior when you’re wearing office attire. Accordingly, it’s best to institute a few hard-and-fast rules that you consistently enforce.
2. Health Concerns
Maybe the reason that your dog doesn’t come when you call is that he can’t hear you. Perhaps he’s irritable because his teeth hurt. When people don’t feel well, it manifests itself in grumpy behavior. The same is true for dogs. Consider scheduling a vet appointment.
3. Too Little Physical Activity
Some dogs require little exercise, but most of them need activity. An on-leash walk may not be enough to satisfy those dogs. Try taking your pup to the dog park or allowing him some unstructured time to play in your yard. Throw a ball or Frisbee for him. These are great ways to work off that extra energy.
Mental stimulation is just as important as physical activity. A bored dog may feel anxious, and this leads to unwanted behaviors. Look for enrichment toys to provide stimulation, teach her new tricks or take her to a doggy daycare a few days per week. Opportunities for play and socialization easily relieve boredom.
5. Upset Routines
Has your household undergone any changes like a move or the introduction of a new pet? Most dogs like structure and routine. When that structure changes, it makes them feel insecure, resulting in unwanted behaviors. Have patience, and give your canine companion time to adjust while also rewarding appropriate behavior.
6. Poor Socialization
Most dog trainers agree that pups need early, positive socialization with people and other dogs to prevent later problems. Unfortunately, some puppies have negative socialization experiences. Many dogs can overcome the poor behavior that’s caused by negative socialization. It requires patience and love as well as being careful about introducing the pup to stressful circumstances. Establishing clear rules and developing a positive relationship are always helpful.
7. Feeling Excluded
Happy dogs show fewer negative or destructive behaviors. As pack animals, dogs want to be included. Whenever possible, let your dog out of the kennel or into your home from the backyard. Make him a part of family outings, and let him cuddle with you on the couch. Put forth the effort to keep him active and engaged, and he’s more likely to behave.
8. Focusing on the Negative
Most dogs behave poorly on rare occasions. Unfortunately, people may regularly treat them as if they are “bad dogs.”. Rather than focusing on the negative behavior, try rewarding positive behaviors with treats, pats and play. This will bring about more of the positive behavior.
9. Genetic Predisposition
When a dog’s parents have upbeat, sunny dispositions and are excited about developing bonds with humans, then it’s more likely that their puppy will be similar. The reverse is also true, so if your pup’s parents are aggressive, destructive or anti-social, there’s a good chance that their puppies will be too. Meet your dog’s parents whenever it is possible.
10. Changes in Food
The vast majority of dogs are extremely motivated by food, and most of them eat the same kibble and wet food day in and day out. That’s actually a great plan as long as the food is nutritionally dense and good for them. However, if you switch to an inferior-quality food, that can leave him feeling unwell. This may even happen with an abrupt change to a quality food, so gradually mix in the new food with the old so that it’s less likely to affect his behavior.
Abby Drexler is a contributing writer and media specialist for Spring Creek Labradoodles. She regularly produces content for a variety of pet and puppy blogs.