Behavioural Habits in Dogs – Digging, Barking & more
While certain behavioural habits are associated with a dog’s breed, all dogs will demonstrate certain behaviours at some point in their life. This includes: aggressive behaviour, dominant behaviour, destructive/compulsive behaviour and insecure/fearful behaviour.
As an owner, it is important to understand dog behaviour to find ways to stop those actions which may be dangerous or harmful to your pet or others. Here’s how.
It is extremely common for dogs to dig in your garden but if you want to save the plants then all you need to do is construct a sandpit in a small corner of your outside space. Dogs often dig out of boredom so providing your beloved pet with some toys in the new sandpit can really help. Toys which hold food and require dogs to play to receive a treat can also work wonders.
Barking is your dog’s way of communicating with you and other animals so you will never be able to eliminate it entirely. However, if it starts to become a serious problem then you can use training to rectify it.
First, train your dog to bark when you say “speak”. Once you have accomplished this, you can easily teach them the reverse command to guarantee “quiet time” when you need it. It is important to reward your dog when he behaves well and not to reward him for any barking that could be seen as aggressive.
Many dogs will want to explore your garden and that often means eating your favourite plants! Whilst this is a normal sign of exploration, you need to discourage the behaviour quickly as some plants are toxic to dogs and can even result in death if ingested.
First, make sure your dog is kept active when outdoors by providing toys and engaging in play. You should also supervise your dog at all times when in the garden and ensure that you do not reward any destructive behaviour he shows.
You should also ensure your garden is safe for your pooch by taking care to avoid the following things which can all be hazardous to a dog:
- Weed killers
- Slug pellets
- Electric cables
Dogs that crave attention often steal things to prompt a reaction from their owners. The best way to combat this problem is to ensure you have a solid routine in place which involves: playtime, feeding, grooming and exercise. Keep toys for your dog within easy reach and offer attention and fuss whenever good behaviour is shown to prevent any attention-seeking.
Dogs should be taught to walk to heel but you may find your dog likes to pull ahead. Be consistent in your training and remember it is a constant process so if your dog starts to relapse into bad behaviour then retrain them.
When your dog pulls ahead, stop dead and say “no”. Make the dog sit next to you at heel and wait a few seconds before walking on. Repeat this as many times as is necessary and keep a few small treats with you to reward your dog when they walk correctly.
A well-behaved dog is a happy dog
A well-behaved dog is a happy and healthy dog so do everything you can to encourage the good and prevent the bad. If you are concerned about your dog’s behaviour then it is important that you seek assistance from vets and animal therapists who may be able to help.