12 Reasons Your Dog Develop Behavioral Problems
Thursday, October 13, 2016 6:17 PM
- Genetic issues. Behaviors that range from aggression to hyperactivity can come down to what your dog inherited from its parents.
- Pain and discomfort. Any condition that leads to an increase in pain or discomfort can lead to increased irritability, increased anxiety, fear of being handled or approached, and ultimately, increased aggressiveness.
- Misunderstanding normal behavior. Normal dogs bark, pull on leash, eat poop, roll in dead things, jump up to greet, guard food and bones (to a degree), growl when they are threatened, chew whatever they can get their mouths on, pee and poop wherever, nip, protect property or their family, herd, chase small animals, and sometimes kill small animals. All of these "nuisance" behaviors are perfectly natural parts of a dog's repertoire, and vary depending on breed.
- Lack of enough exercise. Dogs need physical exercise to be happy, and on-leash walks around the block are not usually sufficient.
- Organ problems. Diseases of the internal organs, such as the kidneys or liver, can cause a number of behavior changes, primarily due to the toxic metabolites that accumulate in the bloodstream. Organ decline and dysfunction is more common in the older pet.
- Inconsistent environment. If you sometimes let your dog jump on you because you're wearing casual clothes, but at other times punish him jumping, how fair is this to your dog? Dogs do not know the difference in clothing! This pattern, or lack of pattern, is very confusing for them and can cause anxiety. It reinforces jumping or any other behavior you are rewarding inconsistently. If you want your dog not to do something, be consistent by making that clear to him in a kind manner
- Change in diet. Switching your dog to a poorer quality or less suitable diet may also cause him to act up. Diet has a huge influence on behavior (going back to health influencing behavior). Switching your dog's diet to something that is of poor quality or that doesn't agree with him may change how the dog acts.
- Lack of enough mental stimulation. Often-forgotten mental stimulation is essential for a well-balanced dog. Mental exercise can� e just as tiring as physical; someone who works at a desk job can be as tired at the end of the day asa landscaper
- Sensory decline. Pets with diminished sight or hearing may have a decreased ability to detect or identify the stimuli, and might begin to respond differently to commands, sounds, or sights. Sensory decline is more likely to be seen as a pet ages.
- Changes in routine. Changing the routine can be stressful for your dog, and may cause your dog to act out. Just like us, dogs need a sense of security.
- Conditions of the nervous system. Diseases of the nervous system (brain and spinal cord) can lead to a number of behavior and personality changes. Conditions such as epilepsy, brain tumors, infection, and immune and degenerative diseases can all directly affect a dog or cat�s nervous system, and therefore its behavior.
- Poor or negative socialization. Dogs need to be socialized to the human world starting as young puppies and continuing throughout their lives. The period from 3-16 weeks of age is the most critical socialization period. This time lays a foundation for a well-balanced dog. If a puppy doesn't get proper socialization during its critical period, it can grow up into a shy, fearful, or aggressive adult.
Any medical condition that causes an increased frequency of urination or decreased urine control, such as kidney disease, a bladder infection, bladder stones, or neurological damage, might lead to an increase in house soiling.
If you are buying a puppy, it is imperative to find out if the parents have positive temperaments. If they do not, the chance of your puppy having a poor temperament is very high.
If your dog jumps, for example, take time to practice sitting with positive reinforcement (providing something your dog likes such as treats or play immediately after the behavior) and ignore your dog completely if he jumps. Ignoring your dog means no talking, touching, or eye contact, as all are forms of attention and can reinforce behavior you don't like. Cross your arms, turn your back, and ignore your dog until all four paws are on the floor.
The endocrine (hormone) system also plays a critical role in behavior. Over-activity or under-activity of any of the endocrine organs can lead to a number of behavior problems. The thyroid and parathyroid glands (in the neck), the pituitary gland (in the brain), the adrenal gland (by the kidneys), the pancreas, and the reproductive organs can all be affected by conditions or tumors that lead to an increase or decrease in hormone production.