Common Behavior Problems in Canines
1. My dog is tearing up socks and blankets in the house and chewing on everything!

This is a common problem with dogs, and especially teething puppies.  Just like children when they teethe, puppies need something to soothe their gums and enhance the growth of their adult teeth.  In stores and in magazines, there are numerous products which can be purchased to help aid your puppy in going through this stage and to keep them from using your good things to soothe and help cut their new teeth.
In adult dogs, chewing can represent dental problems that the dog may be experiencing, it can also represent boredom, anxiety from being abandoned or left alone for too many hours by their owners, and/or nervous conditions.  Some dogs will even chew on themselves, on their own legs and create sores on themselves.
If you have an adult dog that has a need to chew, then you should try to provide to them toys, rawhides, chew things that will help deter the dog from chewing on things that are not desirable for them to chew on.  If the dog is mutilating themselves by chewing on their own leg, you need to consult a vet for what needs to be done.  Strict training of "NO" should help in situations where the animal is chewing on something they are not supposed to and removing the object from them that you do not want them to chew on.  A veterinarian can prescribe medication to help them overcome their anxiety.

2. My dog will not stop barking or has excessive barking issues.

This is another very common problem with dogs.  Dogs of course cannot talk as people do, so barking is their common way to express themselves and communicate with one another.  Dogs bark to claim territory, to intimidate other dogs and sometimes people from that territory.  They bark because they hear something that doesn't sound safe to them, such as a howling wolf or whatever.  They bark happy barks to show you that they love and care about you and are happy you are home.  They bark because they are unhappy, cold, want to come in the house and be with you. They bark while they are playing with other dogs as a means to communicate with one another.  Understand that this is their means to communicate and they are not intentional trying to drive you crazy with their barking, even if that is what is happening.  Strict training of using "NO" each time that they bark at times that is inappropriate will help to fix the situation. Some barking needs to be overlooked, as teaching a dog not to bark when a stranger approaches, may not be the best solution as the dog is only trying to protect you and defend territory.  Usually over time a dog understands who is accepted into your yard, friends and family as opposed to someone they have never seen before, just simply by letting them know "It's OK, quiet down" or "NO" when that particular individual approaches your house.  There are many types of dog training programs available and numerous videos and books that can help you to fix this situation.  If worse comes to worse, there are also dog debarking collars.  These collars are never left on for a long term, they are for training purposes only.  We don't recommend these if you want your dog to be able to alert you to danger approaching your property.  If a dog is trained to never bark, then you will never know if your life or property may be at risk. lf this doesn't concern you, then a training collar is an option for you in quieting your pet.

3.My dog is soiling in my house, and leaving me messes.

This has to be one of the number one reasons why people abandon their dogs,
they don't want to deal with the house training of the pet, so they leave it to someone else to deal with.  A puppy has to go through many procedures in house training by using newspapers, puppy pads, and numerous trips outside, etc. for many months.  You have to be consistent.  You have to let your dog out  within reasonable time limits.  You can't 'hold it' for 8 hours, neither can your dog.
If you do not have the time to take care of this, then a puppy is not the best option for you to have, this is a time consuming long issue in your dog's life, just like training a child to go from diapers to the toilet without accidents in between.  Dogs cannot control their bladders fully until they are at least 6-9 months old, one cannot expect a 3 month old puppy to hold it all night long, it will not happen.  You will have to get up many times just like with a newborn to take care of this training.  Once the animal has realized that outside in the place to go, reinforced by positive rewards for a job well done, and the animal's bladder is strong enough, your problems will be resolved.
If you have an older adult dog in their senior years experiencing problems, this is a normal bladder control issue that happens even with people in their older years.  Just like people, dogs lose control over muscles in their elder years, and medications, and diapers for dogs are an option to help to aid the senior dog in a more controllable situation for them and you.                                                                       If you have an adult dog not in their senior years that is spraying or marking your home, chances are that dog was not properly neutered and/or got neutered after the problem began and the dog will continue to mark in your home.  The dog must be confined in an area rather than be allowed to freely roam to mark in your home.  If the dog is caught doing the negative behavior, it must be reinforced for the negative behavior with a strict "NO" at the time it occurs and immediately put outside so that it realizes that outside is where it needs to go. There are numerous books and tapes that can help aid you with this problem and many types of advice on fixing this problem using positive reinforcement.  However, it will remain your responsibility to be consistent in training, and empathetic to your dog's needs.

4. The dog will not share it's food with the other dogs, it's very aggressive around food.

Food hoarding is a common occurrence with dogs, especially if you have more than a few dogs at your home.  Realize that dogs react over food in a way similar to the wolf pack family which they descend from.  The order of the pack, which dog is dominate, which dogs are subordinate, etc.  Some dogs feel that others must wait their turn and take their place, other dogs feel that they deserve to eat first even if they are out of turn in eating.  Food hoarding can be overcome if dogs are fed in separate food dishes rather than have several eating out of one. You may have dogs that are of different sizes and their food intake needs are different, if one dog feels threatened that he will not get enough to eat, he may react aggressive to make sure he does not starve.  Survival of the fittest is the dog's world, and the world of the wolf pack to which they descend from.  If your dog is acting aggressive with you over food, there are many different books and training programs available to help you to understand why this is happening, and how you can become the "TOP DOG" of your wolf pack and regain your status over your dog.  This situation is fully solvable once you realize what is causing the problem and then making the positive steps to fix the problem.

5. The dog is getting too aggressive, I don't trust it.

Canine aggressiveness can have many different meanings depending on the situation going on in the dogs life.  Could the animal have an underlining illness that has not be diagnosed? Could the animal be being abused by your children, spouse, neighbor, neighbor's kids, dog walker, etc that you are not aware of? Is the animal upset with you over your daily abandonment of him, or jealous of a new animal that you are swooning over?  Are you causing problems between your dogs because your feeding them or giving them treats "out of order of the wolf pack rules" of their dominance in their minds?Are they getting equal attention and love from you? Is the older dog in your home upset with your families "new Addition", "new pet or child", and he is no longer the center of attention, and no longer understands his place that he is below humans and your new child rather than being above the baby like he is viewing the "families wolf pack to be"?  It's hard to discern when an animal should not be with your family anymore over aggressiveness issues.  If you personally feel that an animal is dangerous, and has showed you and your family enough aggressiveness that there is no longer trust between you and the pet or what the animal may do to someone else, then that decision has to be made.  Many aggressive behaviors can be overcome through neutering the animal and addressing the problem that is causing the aggressiveness, but sometimes animal aggression cannot be fixed.  We believe that understanding the problem may bring a solution to many cases of aggressive behavior.  There again are numerous books that will help  you with this situation and help you cope with any difficult decisions you may need to make.  A veterinarian may be able to diagnose a physical problem that is causing the aggression.

6. The dog challenges you/jumps on you, doesn't listen.

Again, all common issues.  Dogs view your family as they view their wolf pack.  An older dominant female dog will challenge the dominant female in the house for position.  Dominant male dogs may challenge or not listen to what they view as subordinate males in the house as well.  This is all about training your pet and reinforcing that training.  You can quickly stop a jumping dog by blocking their path, putting your hands out in front of you and stopping them before they jump.  Use sharp "No's" in letting them know it is not a desired behavior, and teaching them how to sit, teaches them to wait for the reward of food, treats, or even your touch without having to jump on you. If you allow a dog to jump up on the wall of a kennel and reward them with hugs, your touch, or food, then you are reinforcing that jumping is a desired response from them which they will continue to do while out of the kennel.  By teaching them to sit for love, food, or treats while in the kennel, they learn not to jump when out of the kennel.  Dogs can and will learn patience as long as you teach them from the beginning. An out of control dog is a dog that hasn't been properly trained and positively reinforced in that training.

Before you give up on your animal and stress it out and abandon it, please take some time to read about what may be causing the problem and how you can fix that problem.  This is the least you can do for the animal.

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