Most dog’s behavior problems develop for one of three reasons. First, a dog with little or no obedience training can quickly develop bad habits and behaviors. There are countless ways to do something wrong, but only one way to do it right. Unless an owner communicates with his dog about what he expects from him, there’s no way for the dog to know what is appropriate. Second, a puppy’s seemingly innocent conduct can be reinforced by an inexperienced owner, which leads to behavior problems when he grows up. A puppy jumping up at you for attention may be cute, but an 80 pound adult dog jumping on guests isn’t. Third, some dog breeds were created for specific jobs that can predispose them to behaviors that people find problematic. Examples include beagles that bark too much or terriers that dig up the yard.
The bad news is that even though these causes for dog behavior problems can be avoided with knowledge and proper training, they rarely are. The good news is that, regardless of the source, bad dog behavior can be fixed with a little perseverance.
General approach to problem behaviors:
- Step One: Analyze your dog’s behavior problem
- Step Two: Manage problem behavior while retraining your dog
- Step Three: Train alternative or incompatible behaviors
Specific behavior problems:
If your puppy or dog’s issue has progressed to where he’s a danger to you or himself, please consult a professional animal behaviorist before following the advice contained in these articles.