There are plenty of abnormal dog behaviors out there, and most pet owners have in one way or another experienced them already. The irony is that these dog owners often misunderstand behavioral problems and end up mishandling them. If your dog happens to exhibit any of the problems listed below, it is best to seek help from a veterinarian before anything else. The dog could have some underlying health problems that need to be addressed. If health problems are ruled out, you can start building a solid foundation of obedience training to help you prevent abnormal dog behaviors from happening again.
4 Abnormal Dog Behaviors
Destructive dog behaviors include chewing or urinating on furniture to digging hole after hole in the yard. Even the most well-behaved dog can develop a certain aggression toward inanimate objects. The reason behind these common dog behaviors can be traced back to the dog’s lack of exercise. If he keeps wrecking things while you’re away, he’s probably only doing this because he has so much excess energy to burn. This is why play, and not punishment, should be the first solution a dog owner turns to.
A majority of abnormal dog behaviors can be reduced by increasing exercise. Daily walks might not be enough for older dogs and working breeds. Try mentally stimulating activities like scavenger hunts and interactive toys. Running will also help burn all those excess energies.
Fear, Phobia, and Anxious Behaviors
Fear is the instinct to be apprehensive toward a certain situation, person, or object regardless if it’s real or not. When overcome with fear, the body tends to react in three ways: freeze, fight, or flight. At times, fear is considered normal behavior for a dog, as they are intelligent creatures that have the need to adapt and survive. But when you notice that their fear and anxiety is overtaking them, dog owners should be responsible enough to take action.
When it comes to anxiety, a dog may exhibit the behavior in a variety of ways. Some of these include destruction, barking, and whining. You can minimize these instances by making the dog feel comfortable. Create a calm space for your dog by surrounding them with their favorite toys, treats, and even a DAP diffuser to release calming hormones. The next time your dog exhibits anxious behavior, lead them to the safe space until they’ve calmed down.
Another effective way to manage fears and anxiety is to identify the cause of fears. For example, your dog could be terrified of Fourth of July fireworks or even thunderstorms! You can help drown this out by having them listen to calming sounds at a low volume. Gradually increase the sound until they’ve completely calmed down. Understanding dog body language is very important.
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Obsessive Compulsive Behaviors
Aside from destructive behaviors, excess energy may develop into obsessive compulsiveness. Common symptoms include spinning, licking, nipping at themselves, tail chasing, and others. Do note that these behaviors could require medication, so consult your dog’s vet first.
If left untreated, obsessive compulsiveness could result in serious injury. After speaking to your veterinarian, you can treat compulsive disorders by stopping it before it gets worse. Distract your dog with a command once they start doing unwanted actions. For example, when the dog starts chewing on himself, redirect his attention to a chewing toy or bone.
Aggression is a serious dog behavior problem. Behaviors such as growling, biting, and snapping are scary. It is important to first know that all dog breeds are capable of aggression, and yes, that includes the family-friendly Labrador. While aggression cannot be cured overnight, it is very treatable.
Aggression starts with fear. Once you notice that your dog tends to be aggressive toward inanimate or live objects, you need to teach him to respond to your voice commands. Use treats and the dog’s leash to reinforce this. For example, when you’re out in the dog park and your dog gets aggressive toward other dogs, teach them to look away when he hears the commands “leave it” or “watch.”
If you’re unsure about the right way to deal with abnormal dog behaviors, remember to talk to your veterinarian and other trained professionals first. Never self-diagnose, as you might end up causing more harm than good.