You love your dog, of course, but his bad habits can still be incredibly annoying. Sometimes his misbehavior is just plain irritating, but other times, it can be harmful to your property. Below you will find two of the most common behavior problems (barking and digging) in dogs, their causes, and how to fix them.
Barking is one of the most common behavior problems in dogs, and it can also be the most annoying. To make matters worse, in many instances, we can’t even detect why our dogs are barking. If your dog barks when the mailman delivers a package or when the neighbor has their dog out for a walk, then it’s obvious what is stimulating your pet’s instincts. If, however, your dog frequently barks without reason, there could be a hidden cause.
In some cases, your dog’s unexplained barking could be the result of his ability to hear sounds that we cannot, sounds that do not register with the human ear. Common culprits include electronic car key locks, electronic garage openers, and many types of radio frequencies.
To determine if this is the case, pay attention to your dog’s behavior. Does he bark right before you hear the sound of a neighbor’s garage door opening? Or just before they remotely lock their car? If so, your dog’s barking could be the result of irritation or alarm caused by these noises.
If you’ve investigated these possibilities and still see no logical explanation for your dog’s barking, it could be possible that your dog does bark for no reason at all. In any case, there are tried and true methods for reducing barking. The spray bottle trick is especially effective. To do this, you simply squirt your dog’s hindquarters or nose with a stream of water when he barks, and this distracts him from his barking and eventually teaches him that barking results in an unpleasant experience.
Digging is often the result of a dog’s natural instincts, but that doesn’t mean you want your dog ruining your yard or garden. If you have a large yard or a yard with a concealed area (behind a shed, for example), consider giving your dog a special digging zone. This gives him a safe area to give in to his natural urge to dig.
If you do this, however, be sure to find a way to reinforce the idea that the rest of the yard is off limits. Whether you accomplish this with fences, leashes, special training, or some other method is up to you; just be sure to do it.
If you’d rather stop the digging altogether, there are several options. First and foremost, it’s important to ensure that your dog’s digging tendencies aren’t just the result of boredom or inadequate exercise. Dogs need plenty of physical activity and stimulation, and if they aren’t getting it, they’re highly likely to misbehave. Take your dog for walks, allow them to run around and play, and give them plenty of chew toys.
If your dog continues to dig despite being adequately exercised, there is one other easy trick you can try. Inflate several balloons, and lightly bury them in the places where your dog likes to dig. As he digs, if he pops a balloon, the noise will startle him. As with the spray bottle trick above, this will eventually teach your dog that digging results in an unpleasant experience (in this case, a sudden loud noise).
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