Featured Article: Dealing With Your Dog's Behavioral Problems: Barking & Biting
All puppies are rambunctious and love to chew on everything from shoes and toys and, at times, even their owner. While these are normal activities for a pup, the greater concern is to correct this behavior before your little one matures into a disobedient dog. In addition to biting, some dogs do not understand the limit when it comes to barking. All dogs bark, but how much is too much and what can be done to correct the problem? If your dog's bark is worse than his bite, that's a good thing, but what happens if both are equally troubling?
When it comes to behavioral problems, there are a number of factors that may be contributing to your four-legged friend's unruly actions. Health problems are a common reason why some dogs act out with aggression in the form of barking and/or biting. If a dog suddenly begins to demonstrate any type of negative behavior that has never before been an issue, consult with a veterinarian as these issues may be related to a health problem that needs a proper diagnosis and/or treatment.
If your dog is still small or young enough that he/she is easy to control, it's important to begin obedience training to help eliminate aggressive behavior. Not only can barking and/or biting be stressful to visiting guests, it can also be a potential warning sign that your dog is asserting dominance and may not be safe to be around.
When your dog barks, pay close attention to his/her demeanor. Is it a playful bark or one that is followed by a snarl or growl? If you don't sense any danger, you can begin to train your dog to stop barking on command. By using positive reinforcement, your pet will learn to obey your instructions. Place your hand up and open as though you were about to wave at someone, but make sure that your hand is in front of the dog, but not too close. Bring your middle finger and thumb together in a swift motion as though your hand were a closing mouth. As you do this, say it in a firm voice. If your dog stops barking, reward him/her with a treat. Repeat this step until your dog learns to obey your command.
When it comes to a dog that bites, the corrective training approach must be handled very carefully. If your dog simply likes to chew or believes in playing rough, giving him/her a chew toy to redirect their attention may be the answer. If your dog is especially aggressive toward you, your family or visitors to your home, it's important to deal with this issue quickly. The best approach is to have your dog examined by a veterinarian and, if advised, enroll him/her in an obedience training course. If your dog is able to develop the right social skills, he/she will likely be more relaxed around people.
The information contained in this article is designed to be used for reference purposes only. It should not be used as, in place of or in conjunction with professional veterinary advice and/or recommendations surrounding aggressive behavior, including barking and/or biting, or the corrective approach required to reduce such actions. For additional information on training techniques, safety and health concerns, consult with your local veterinarian.
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