Common Behaviour Problems in Dogs

Listed below are some common behavioural problems that affect dogs. Most of them are treatable using behaviour modification programs that centre on desensitization and counter-conditioning. This is vital in the early management of fears, phobias, and anxieties. Medication may also be an option, prescribed by your veterinarian to help your pet.

Abnormal ingestion behaviour is the act of eating extraordinary amounts or types of food, or ingesting non-food items. It also includes pica (the ingestion of non-food items), drinking excessive amounts of water, anorexia (eating too little), and gorging.

Attention-seeking behaviour happens when the dog behaves in a manner that gains the focus of people who are busy doing things that don’t directly involve the dog. For example, a puppy might start barking in order to get attention when no one is actively playing with it. The owner might then respond by showing it interest or shouting at it to keep quiet; both these positive and negative attention responses from the owner emphasize this behaviour. This may be an unwelcome behaviour, but it is widespread and it is undoubtedly a behaviour that people involuntarily reinforce in their pets.

Senility, which is also known as cognitive dysfunction, is comparable to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Common indicators include a reduction in social interaction, forgetting of housetraining, lack of awareness i.e. getting lost in well-known environs, and variations in sleep patterns. Although there are medicines and special foods that can be used to treat it, all they do is slow the development of signs, but will not turn it back.

Fear is manifested in physical signs such as withdrawal, meekness, and evading in the absence of any hostility. The signs that relate to fear and anxiety generally overlap. Some vague signs such as evading and trembling can be attributed to both fear and anxiety.

Hyperactivity is a situation of exceptionally high degree of activity that is unresponsive to correction, redirection, or control. True hyperactive behaviour is uncommon in dogs and is not the same thing as activity. Overactive dogs tend to be very animated and full of life, but are able to slow down and react to human control.

Neo-phobia is actively running or staying away from new or unfamiliar items and situations.

Noise phobia is manifested as an abrupt and deep reaction to noise, leading to extreme anxiety or panic, or attempts to break away from confinement. The most widespread noise phobia is fear of thunderstorms, though there is also a frequent fear of fireworks or other loud noises.

Compulsive disorders are recurring behaviours that come out of ordinary circumstances, occurring for much longer periods than is normal. A good example of this is a dog constantly licking itself. The dog uses so much time performing the compulsive behaviour that it doesn’t have time for ordinary activities.

False pregnancy is a where a dog acts as though it is pregnant, yet it is not. The dog may even create a nest and collect small items that it treats like puppies.

Separation anxiety occurs when a dog is left alone and then begins panicking. It may cause great anxiety, leading the dog to bark, pace, or defecate/urinate inside the house. Dogs that are locked up in usually damage kennels, walls, or doors when trying to join up with their owners. The first 15 to 20 minutes of being left alone are when the signs become most pronounced.

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