Is your dog misbehaving? The solution to your problems may be simpler than you think, and with just one or two adjustments, you could be on your way to a perfectly behaved pet…well most of the time! Here’s our list of the top 5 most common causes of bad doggy behaviour and how to solve them...
1. Not enough exercise
As simple as it may sound, your dog may just be BORED. Boredom in dogs is common – especially when their owners lead busy working lives and they are therefore left alone for a good portion of the day. Dogs need physical exercise to be happy, especially if they are young or a particularly active breed.
Sometimes an on-lead walk just doesn’t do the trick. If safe to do so, some off-lead running or playing fetch in a dog-friendly field is much more likely to help your dog burn off their energy. If your dog isn’t used to being off the lead, keep it safe and find somewhere enclosed. Don’t forget practice your recall command beforehand. If you’re busy, try looking for a doggy day-care option so your pet can socialise with other dogs, whilst giving you a break.
2. Not enough mental stimulation
Mental stimulation is often forgotten, but is essential for a well-balanced dog, alongside physical exercise. This is one of the easier problems to fix – by simply using your dog’s usual treats and doing some training, or hiding them in their meals so that it is harder to find, your dog will have to use their intelligence and therefore be mentally motivated. Plus, a bit of training will also go a long way in improving their behaviour.
A fantastic tool to use to alleviate boredom (it also helps with separation anxiety too) is a Kong. The Kong is designed to dispense treats as your dog plays with it, and is brilliant for keeping them mentally stimulated.
3. Dogs without boundaries
Believe it or not, letting your dog do exactly what they want is actually the worst thing you can do – a dog without boundaries will not understand when they are misbehaving. The dog will behave with no restrictions, and therefore when a boundary is imposed (i.e. going to the vets), they may react with aggression. It is important that the dog learns his position in the family hierarchy, and knows the house rules.
4. Poorly socialised pups
If your pup isn’t socialised when young, it could lead to bad behaviour once they’re fully grown. Puppies have a period of malleability from approximately 3 weeks to 3 months of age, so it is key to socialise with them as much as possible during this time. Puppies who are well socialised are more likely to develop into calm, confident, well behaved dogs. Dogs that are not well socialised are likely to become fearful of people and other dogs, potentially reacting badly to environments, sounds and interactions. Fear may also lead to aggression, which is the last thing you want!
If you feel that your dog’s behaviour problems may be the result of poor socialisation as a pup, then don’t worry, contrary to popular belief, you can actually teach an old dog new tricks. We would recommend working with a dog trainer to identify the triggers of their poor behaviour and work on solving them together.
5. Health problems
Dogs behave very similarly to humans – if they’re under the weather and not feeling themselves, they will tend to act up. Dogs don’t have the words to tell you they’re in pain, so instead they will behave differently. The most common health issues to alter behaviour are digestive issues, allergies and water infections. So, if your pooch suddenly starts to act out of the ordinary, its best to contact your vet just to be on the safe side.
By making these small adjustments to your lives, you could solve your dog’s behavioural problems just by changing what is around them.