COMMON BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS OF DOGS

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اعلان COMMON BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS OF DOGS

مُساهمة من طرف dr:sniper في الإثنين 06 أكتوبر 2008, 8:26 pm

COMMON BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS OF DOGS

There are many problem behaviours that may occur from time to time,
however we will consider only barking and aggression here. Please
contact us for information about other problems.

BARKING

Barking is a natural thing for a dog to do, and is a very important
form of communication. Often people choose to own a dog because it will
bark, and alert them when intruders enter the property, increasing
their feeling of safety. However, this natural behaviour can become a
problem if it is excessive and/or inappropriate. Barking is an
important problem in the urban environment, where people live closely
together. Excessive barking can become a source of annoyance and
frustration to neighbours, and can provoke complaints and retaliation
against the offending animal and it’s owners.

Most dogs appear to enjoy barking . Dogs bark excessively for a reason,
and finding out WHY the dog is barking is essential in treating this
problem. For some dogs, a barking problem can be controlled by allowing
the dog to bark in a particular place at a particular time e.g. such as
during a morning run in the park. By choosing an appropriate time and
place for the dog to express this natural behaviour, the dogs vocal
frustration can be relieved. It is important that the dog is always
under voice control, and that the rules of the exercise are known to
the dog, and are adhered to strictly. If barking occurs at other times,
then this can be a problem.

There are two main types of barking: alarm barking and attention
seeking barking. Alarm barking occurs when the dog is very stimulated,
and can be controlled by reducing the stimulation to bark. There are
many techniques which may be appropriate, depending on the reason for
the barking. For instance, if the dog is stimulated by animals or
people passing by the property, then replacing a slat fence with a
solid fence or rehousing the dog in to a more secluded area, such as
the back yard may be beneficial. If the human homecoming is
stimulating, then this routine needs to altered to reduce the
stimulation. If boredom or excess energy (mental and/or physical) is
involved, then providing adequate physical exercise and stimulating
games is required.

Attention seeking barking often has it’s origins in separation anxiety.
Many dogs feel stressed and insecure away from their owners, and bark
to gain attention and relieve anxiety. The need for social interaction
is strong in dogs, as they have evolved as a pack animal. Attention
seeking barking often has a component of boredom and frustration. This
is often seem with animals who may bark continually whenever their
owner is away. If boredom is a factor, then finding meaningful
activities for the dog to do to keep it busy during the separation can
help. There are various toys and games available for this purpose.
There are also emerging a number of "dog day care centres", where dogs
can interact together while the owner is away. In some instances, the
administration of anti-anxiety medication may be required if the
condition is severe.

Dogs may also bark , because they have been conditioned to think that
barking produces a desirable outcome for them e.g. makes the owner come
home or the car go the park. These cases can usually be retrained to
break the link between the barking and the outcome (from the dogs point
of view).

Anti-barking collars are available, and can be used with some success.
However, while the collars may reduce the barking, they do not treat
the CAUSE of the barking. The same anxiety or frustration which is
eliciting the barking will still be present, and may be expressed in
another way, e.g digging, self-mutilation. Likewise debarking
operations can be performed, but these again do nothing to address the
underlying causes of the barking. Our own opinion is that these
operations are dangerous, painful and cruel and should be banned. Our
clinic will not perform debarking operations on any animal.

AGGRESSION

Aggression is one of the most common problem behaviours seen in dogs,
and the most serious. Aggression can be directed towards other dogs or
people. It is important to remember that ANY dog has the potential to
be aggressive, with dogs differing from each other in temperament and
motivations. Aggression is influenced by many factors, including
genetics, history, and the individual circumstances at the time. An
understanding of the causes of aggression will also help to avoid a lot
of problems. Although many cases of aggression can be treated
effectively, there are some animals whose aggressive behaviour can
never be adequately controlled. Euthanasia MUST be considered in these
cases. The aggressive behaviour displayed by dogs can be grouped for
convenience into different categories:

1. Pain-Induced Aggression.

If a dog is injured, or otherwise in pain, it may behave aggressively.
Be mindful of this if you are trying to help an injured pet. It may be
best to apply a soft muzzle, as even a normally placid animal may bite
when in pain. Likewise, if a normally placid animal starts suddenly
behaving aggressively, it would be wise to have it checked over by a
veterinarian. The animal may be in pain, or have some other physical
disturbance that is influencing the behaviour

2. Maternal Aggression.

Females with young pups may behave aggressively. This is a natural response. Be aware of this potential.

3. Territorial Aggression

Dogs have a territory, usually their home. They will often defend it,
by barking or by more aggressive means. Again, the tendency to display
territorial aggression is influenced by many factors. Territorial
aggression can be a problem for workers who must enter other peoples
yards. Thankfully now a lot of information is available on how to avoid
conflicts in these situations e.g. Bark Busters "Stand Right-No Bite"
courses.

4. Predatory aggression.

The instincts to chase, heel and kill are natural, and of course are
likely to be stronger in certain breeds which have been selected for
these characteristics. e.g. working dogs and retrievers. It is
important to be aware of this before choosing a pet dog. These
behaviours are often stronger in a pack environment, and this is one of
the reasons why dogs should not be allowed to roam freely. They should
always be adequately restrained in areas where interaction with targets
for predatory aggression could occur. Dogs should be given plenty of
appropriate physical and mental exercise. They should be properly
trained not to jump, chase or lick. Adequate socialisation is essential
as a puppy, and well as continued training and reinforcement as to what
constitutes appropriate behaviour as an adult. Dogs have to learn that
it is not appropriate to "hunt" children, cats etc.

5. Fear Aggression

If a dog is fearful, then an aggressive response is one natural way to
respond. Again the likelihood that a dog will respond in this way
depends on many factors, and will vary between individuals. Any new
situation has the potential to frighten a dog. Be aware that ANY dog in
a situation that is UNFAMILIAR to the dog MAY behave aggressively if it
is frightened. The best solution to this problem is to try to expose
your puppy to as many situations as possible while it is still young
(under 16 weeks). Puppy pre-school classes are an important part of
this process. A confident, well socialised, and properly controlled dog
is much less likely to be frightened by life, and therefore less likely
to show fear aggression.

6. Dominance Aggression

This is a very common problem because it is a natural behaviour. In the
wild, dogs are pack animals, and have a definite social hierarchy. This
social ranking is determined by dominance, with dogs fighting for their
place in the social order. The more dominant positions obviously confer
the most social advantage, and are therefore highly desirable. For this
reason inter-dog aggression can be common, with individuals fighting
with each other to determine social order. The dog world is not a
democracy!!.

In situations where dogs live with people, we form their social pack
and they compete with us for dominant status. Conflict can arise when
the dog seeks to dominate humans in the family pack. It is important
that everyone in the household assumes dominance over the dog. This can
be done through proper training of the dog, and by adhering strictly to
the rules. Dominance behaviour is strongly genetically based, with
puppies inheriting the temperament of their parents. Dogs are often
bred more for physical attributes than for personality type and this
can create problems with certain lines of dogs. It is important to
study the behaviour of both parents when selecting a puppy.

Dominance aggression can be a very serious problem, and may need the
advice of a specialist animal behaviourist. A dominantly aggressive dog
needs to be slowly retrained to learn that it is no longer at the top
of the social order. All members of the household must participate in
training, and learning to dominant the dog. A non-confrontational
approach is required, to avoid physical injury to the people involved

_________________

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dr:sniper
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تاريخ التسجيل : 22/12/2007

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