If your family includes a dog, you are among the 48 percent of Americans who have welcomed this furry and loving companion animal into your home. Owning a dog can come with a variety of benefits, but only after you take the time to properly train your pet. Some behaviors may be easier to curb than others, but understanding why your dog acts the way it does and what it may be trying to tell you can make the training process simpler and allow you to better bond with your pet.
1. Blanket Digging
If your dog digs up the bed you made for it, you may wonder if this is a sign that your pet is not happy with the bed or blankets when in fact, this is an instinctive behavior that most dogs engage in. Before dogs were domesticated, their wild ancestors dug up depressions in the ground and shifted around leaves and other materials to make a bed for themselves. Blanket digging is usually a normal habit, but some breeds that were bred to dig, such as terriers and dachshunds, may do it more often.
2. Carpet Scooting
While it may be amusing to watch your dog scoot its buttocks across a carpet or in the dirt, your pet may be trying to relieve itching or irritation in or around the anus. Some dog breeds, such as retrievers and boxers, can be prone to allergies that make them itchy. If your dog also licks or chews its paws often, these could both be signs of allergies. Your pet may also have full or irritated anal glands, so you may want to visit your vet to have them emptied or examined. This is one of many reasons why you should feed your dog a grain free diet.
Puppies and young dogs usually chew because they are teething and want to relieve the discomfort until their adult teeth come in. Some dogs enjoy chewing objects well into their adulthood, and this behavior can be destructive if not channeled correctly. Dogs with anxiety might chew objects to relieve stress, while others chew up shoes and clothing out of boredom. To curb this behavior, make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and playtime, as this can help it shed excess energy and provide it with safe toys for enjoyable chewing time.
Most puppies nip out of play and to explore the world around them, but as they grow, nipping can hurt you, your kids, or other pets. Smaller breeds, such as terriers and chihuahuas, are usually more likely to nip as adults out of anxiety or excitability. You can discourage this behavior while your dog is still young by not allowing it to mouth or bite your fingers and praise it when it displays gentleness. Avoid encouraging rough play, especially with larger dogs, as they cannot understand the damage they might inflict.
5. Consistent Barking
Dogs bark when they are excited or want to alert you of potential danger, such as a stranger at your door. However, some dogs bark constantly, indoors and out, and this can become problematic and annoying. Dogs that bark all the time could feel insecure, bored, or anxious, so it is important that you address its needs and find the root of the problem. If your dog barks when you leave the house, it could have separation anxiety and require additional training. Using sound-activated bark collars may help reduce this unwanted behavior and avoid you having to rehome your dog because of its excessive barking.
Owning a dog can be a delightful experience that provides you with years of unconditional love and companionship, especially when you understand some of your pet’s more unusual behaviors. The more time you take to observe and learn from your dog, the better the bond between the two of you can be.