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Behavioral Problems - Dogs

Behavioral problems often cause an owner to feel they must give up their pet. Problems can range from submissive urination to dangerous aggression, from destructiveness to disobedience, from too active and playful to ignoring you completely. Identifying exactly what is the cause of the problem is sometimes half the battle.  For instance, destructiveness is usually caused by boredom.

 Rule #1: A tired dog is usually a good dog, make sure your dog gets enough exercise.

Getting your dog neutered will affect all behaviors stemming from the sex drive, almost always for the better. This includes some dominance aggression and inappropriate marking (lifting his leg). If the dog is an older dog, and the behaviors have become habitual, the effect of neutering might not be as strong. It will also take longer for the effects to be seen in an older dog, sometimes many weeks. But, unless your dog is a choice breeding specimen (and he probably isn't or else you wouldn't be considering finding him a new home), please get your dog neutered. It will prolong his life too.

Spay and Neuter Information

One of the first things you must do is to have your pet checked out by your vet. Be frank with your vet about the behavior problems, they can stem from pain, a breed tendency, or even hormone levels that are off. Give your pet the benefit of the doubt that the problem can stem from a physical cause, for instance many a urinary infection has caused housebreaking problems, especially if the animal was housebroken before. In the meantime, do work on trying to correct the problem behaviorally, let them know what is and is not acceptable behavior.

If your dog is aggressive, and has bitten or you think he/she might bite, please see a trainer or behaviorist. A behaviorist is one who specializes in training beyond basic manners. Again, be very frank with this person. Many, many, most, ALMOST all dogs can be helped with proper training. The hardest part is actually training the humans.

Some aggressive animals cannot be saved, and it is often better to euthanize these animals than to pass along the problem and danger to someone else. Please work up the courage to take him to your vet for this, so he/she can go out with someone he/she loves, instead of a cold shelter, with a rescue worker who's heart has to break many times a day over these animals. Read Shelters vs Euthanasia. But, please be very sure it's warranted, try everything else first, get second opinions too.

The pages below contain links on different behavioral areas and problem, but be aware that there is a lot of overlapping (such as aggression, fear, and dominance). So, be sure to check out other areas too.
  • Dogs and Kids (and Adults too)

  • Getting Along with Other Animals

  • Puppy Stuff

  • Trainers and Behaviorists

  • Miscellaneous Behaviors

  • Back to CWH home page

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    The border graphic and background are from the painting "Copper", and is copyrightę2005 by Joan Berry. Used with permission.

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    Can We Help Main Page
    Dog Behavior Problems
    Cat Behavior Problems
    Housetraining Dogs
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    Noise and Barking
    No Time
    Getting Along with Other Animals
    Kids and Other People
    Shedding and Grooming
    Allergies to the Pet
    Puppy Stuff
    Finding a New Home

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