Another great article from our friends at Dogster...
If you've obedience trained your dog, you have a pooch who is a good listener and a savvy learner. But some dog problems and behaviors cannot be solved with the basic commands such as "Sit!" and "Come!" And a dog who follows every command during a training session can still have behavioral problems.
When the peace and quiet of the home hearth is suddenly disrupted by your dog's bad behavior, it's not time to get frustrated and lament how this can be. You may ask why they didn't cover digging in obedience class or excessive barking or shoe chewing. But you can find the answers to these mishaps right here.
The first step is to analyze the destructive behavior by asking yourself a few questions:
What - What exactly is he doing?
When - When did this behavior start? Does this behavior occur at a certain time of day or during the week?
Where - Has there been any change in my dog's environment, big or small? Does it always occur in a certain room or outside or in a new space?
How Often - Is the behavior consistent or does your dog just misbehave when something is different, such as having guests over?
Why - An analysis of these questions will give you a "why."
Consider ruling out an illness before you begin your strategy. Any significant change in a dog's behavior warrants a visit to the vet. Look at the time the behavior started and tie that into any possible change. Change means something big like a newborn or something small like a change in your dog's routine. If the behavior occurs at a specific time each day, consider what goes on during that time - is it when you leave the house or come in? Or is it when the trash truck comes? Also, consider your dog's environment where it occurs - has there been a rearrangement of the furniture in the living room? Or new sod in the backyard?
Keep notes about the time, place, and activity going on when your dog misbehaves and follow these tips to correct the behavior.
What - If your dog is digging small holes, it's not a huge problem. If he's digging a crater in your yard, something must be done.
Why - Dogs dig for many reasons. Some dig when they're bored, some dig to bury things, some dig to create a sort of den for themselves, some dig to try to get out and some dig to follow a smell.
Where - Does your dog only dig near the fence? Then he is likely trying to escape? Near the trashcan? Then he's following a scent.
When - If your dog is digging when the sun is high, he's likely trying to cool off.
The Solution: Determine what is going on in your dog's environment outside. If he's reacting to noise or heat or the neighbor's cat slinking into the yard, bring him inside. To cure those who bury things, do not leave any toys or bones out with your dog. To keep a dog from digging to get out, place patio stones along the fence. And to thwart a scenthound, cover areas in cedar to distract his nose.
What - A few warning barks should not be curbed by a dog owner, However, excessive barking must be stopped.
Why - Dogs bark mostly to warn their humans of some danger. A dog may also bark in response to another dog or a sound such as a siren.
Where - Barking inside bursts your eardrums, outside bursts your neighbors'.
When - If a dog only barks at a certain time of the day, it is likely a sound outside.
The Solution: Unfortunately, we don't have much control over our outside environment. There are a few humane tools we can use, though - the Citronella Collar and the Ultrasound Anti-Barker. Both of these are harmless and can deter barking.
What - No chewing of human items is acceptable.
Why - Your dog may be bored or he may be lured by the new pair of boots you bought.
Where - If your dog only chews on things in the kitchen, it may be that those objects are particularly desirable to him. If he runs outside with something, He may be more interested in burying it.
When - If your dog chew things while you are away, it actually isn't some sort of revenge. But it is a sign of boredom.
The Solution: the easiest thing to do is to put everything away. It will mean a more organized house for you and less temptation for your dog. You can spray items with a deterrent such as Bitter Apple or switch his focus from the bad item to a toy. Always leave him durable chew toys when you leave the house.
What - No jumping should be allowed.
Why - Dogs jump on people to get attention and/or to assert dominance.
Where - If your dog only jumps on people at the door, it is likely both a greeting and a way of showing who is in charge. If your dog jumps up on people in someplace like the kitchen, it is likely to get that bit of chicken off their chin.
When - Perhaps your dog is not a jumper except when he goes out for a walk. Or maybe he jumps on you only when you wear a hat.
The Solution: The best command to use when a dog jumps on you is "Off!". As you say the command in a firm voice, gently raise your knee into a larger dog's chest or gently move a smaller dog away with your foot. Make your dog sit and reward him. To stop jumping on other people, make your dog "Sit!" and "Stay!" away from the door when guests come in. Have a lead on him so you can easily correct any movement. Another tip is to spray your dog with water when he jumps or use a loud noise to distract him. The key is to firmly remind him that you are the alpha.
Many of dogs' behavioral problems stem from something we do or some change in the environment. Perhaps you didn't know that being a dog owner can also mean being a detective and the code you're deciphering is your dog's mind. But with a little detecting, you can solve your dog's problems easily.