The Top 3 Canine Behavior Problems And How To Solve Them Part 1

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A Word about Dogs, and One of the Top 3 Canine Behavior Problems; Excessive Barking

Dogs are wonderful; just ask any one of the millions of canine owners world-wide. They make terrific companions, are loving, loyal, protective, entertaining, and obedient. Well, most of the time anyway.

As with humans, no dog is perfect – including my treasured poodle, Muffy. She is wonderfully calm and composed, especially considering her breed type. And she has been my best friend for nearly 14 years. Nevertheless, she has her faults. We all do.

That aside, it is important for new dog owners to understand the differences between dogs and humans. Recognizing the differences will help owners balance expectations and keep them realistic.

Some behavior is ingrained; inborn and common to the canine population. Their ways are not our ways. We cannot punish a dog for being a dog. It would be unrealistic, for instance, to expect a dog not to be inquisitive; not to sniff, not to defend its territory, or not to explore and “cut loose” in an open field. People who cannot accept normal dog behavior should not own a dog.

Other behaviors in dogs are learned – due either to past experience, or neglect on the human’s part. Case in point: a mother dog does not hesitate to teach her puppies acceptable social skills and proper manners. She will correct and discipline a pup when they need it.

We humans, however, take a puppy away from its disciplinarian – its mother – and adopt it into our home. When the puppy bites, nips at our hands, or chews on things that they shouldn’t, we hesitate to discipline him. Either because we think he is too small for discipline, or else too darn cute! It is only after the puppy gets older and a bad behavior pattern has set in that we decide something must be done.

When it comes to problematic canine behavior problems, three are most predominant: excessive barking, biting, and jumping up on people. In this 3-part canine behavior and modification training informational, we will address each behavior problem individually.

Excessive Barking

Dogs can bark excessively for different reasons: boredom, loneliness, and defying being left alone are among the top reasons.

You have some control over your dog’s boredom and loneliness. Besides providing warm shelter, adequate food, and an adequate supply of clean water, both dogs and puppies require entertainment and exercise to be happy and relieve boredom.

Playthings and chew toys made for dogs help to keep a dog entertained. Spending time with your dog playing and exercising him is also important. A happy, content dog is less apt to bark excessively.

When it comes to having to be left alone, however, your dog must learn to accept being alone without causing a ruckus. There is little more annoying to neighbors than being forced to listen to someone else’s dog bark nonstop.

If a dog barks excessively for no good reason, well-known dog obedience instructor and author, Jerry Climer, suggests that you walk up to him and close your hand around his muzzle; forcefully, but not enough to cause pain. Hold his mouth closed and command “Quiet!” If he tries to break away, be more firm and forceful. Hold his mouth shut and snap your finger sharply across his nose, commanding again “Quiet!” Once he has stopped the excessive barking and is silent, praise him.

When training a young puppy not to bark, place a short rope on his collar and let him drag it around the house. When he barks to alert you, let him bark once or twice, and tell him he’s a good dog. Then use the command “Quiet!” in a firm tone, while at the same time giving his rope a little jerk to startle him. Insist that he stop the noise immediately, and praise him the minute he becomes quiet.

Whether training a grown dog or a young puppy, discipline must be consistent in order to be effective. After the lesson has been learned, commanding “Quiet!” will be enough to bring peaceful silence.

We at Savvy Dog Lover care about you and your pet. In part 2 of this 3-part instructional we will discuss the problem of biting. Read part two, “How to Control the Canine Behavior Problem of Biting,” at

Savvy Dog Lover editor

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