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behavior problems

behavior problems

Sometimes dogs will be dogs in ways that are difficult or even dangerous. When you are faced with these problems seek help sooner rather than later--they aren't likely to "go away" without intervention.


Most aggression is ultimately a form of social anxiety. Our dogs adapt to human society admirably, but the social pressure of life in our complicated human milieu can prove too much for many dogs. An anxious dog under pressure is likely to act out with barking, snapping, lungeing and growling.

Other dogs are headstrong and manipulative, and need a no-nonsense handler who is one step ahead of them. These dogs can sometimes show aggression if their owners inadvertantly reward pushy behaviors. Some will guard their "stuff," their personal space, their food, their people.

Sometimes dogs who by themselves are even-tempered and sweet can become dangerously competitive with other animals--or even people--in the household.

In any case, you need to be back in control, and your dog needs your leadership. The good news is that most anxious dogs welcome the opportunity to learn new ways of responding to the things that disturb them, and even the gnarliest hard-heads can usually adjust to being demoted, so the success rate in treating aggression without force is high.

Separation Distress

This is one of the hardest problems to treat because at play are factors of fear and anxiety, boredom, frustration and outright panic, all colluding to short circuit a dog's ability to cope with the reality that you can't be with her all day long. Understand that your dog is suffering--she isn't trying to punish you and she's not seeking revenge for being left behind. If you feel that your dog is having trouble as you depart or while you're gone, please get her some help right away.

Elimination behaviors

Inappropriate elimination behaviors challenge many owners, and few issues are deal-breakers like this one is. For dogs, elimination, especially urination, is actually a very complex set of behaviors, and while most dogs can learn acceptable hygiene it isn't always a straight line from here to there. Previous experience, health, emotional state, social status, and environmental cues all play a role, often simultaneously.

Laura Costas, One-on-One Dog Training, 301-650-2326
This website is dedicated to the memory of Delta, 22 February 1995 - 21 August 2005.