It is normal for puppies to be “mouthie”. Most chewing behavior is seen in young puppies due to their strong desire to explore. As dogs mature, this desire decreases and they are less likely to be destructive. This type of behaviour may start after a change in the dog’s routine or as a result of boredom. Often the dog does not know what it can and cannot chew unless they are shown or told. There are many suitable toys for dogs and choose toys which have been manufactured using high quality molded materials to increase durability. Offering household objects such as old slippers etc. for the dog to chew, will only confuse them when you tell them off for chewing your new shoes! The dog will find it hard to distinguish between what it can and cannot chew, therefore having their own toys will help define suitable chewing items. Some puppies may also play-bite hands and fingers. To the puppy, this action may seem acceptable if they have been allowed to do it elsewhere. It is important that the whole family does not encourage the puppy to hand bite. If the puppy does try to bite, command “no”, and distract their attention with a toy. Many of these habits can be modified quite easily if done correctly and persistently
When your puppy does any inappropriate behavior, stop it immediately by telling the pup “No”. “No” means “stop whatever you’re doing right now.”. Act early before bad habits become established. Ignore your puppy when he behaves inappropriately, rather than giving him attention. Consistency is the key with puppies. When the pup stops the bad behavior make sure you reward the pup with “GOOD (puppy’s name)!”. Puppies want to make their owners happy and you need to help them by your voice tone when they are being good. Praise your puppy when all four of his feet are on the ground.
Behavior modification suggestions:
Provide chew toys that do not resemble in appearance or texture unacceptable chew items. For example, a plush toy may be similar to a pillow, child’s stuffed animal or chair cushion.
- Prevent access to unacceptable chew items.
- Exercise and play with your dog regularly to alleviate excess energy and provide positive interaction.
- Reward your dog with praise for chewing on appropriate items.
- Put an aversive substance (bitter apple, etc.) on unacceptable chew items. Consultation with a behavioral trainer is also suggested.
Excessive Barking / Communications in Dogs
The dog uses barking to communicate a variety of different messages, such as a warning, a greeting, an expression of playfulness or as a general call for attention. In different situations, he will emit a different barking sound. Your dog will whimper or whine when he is in pain or feeling submissive, and as a greeting. He will express excitement as high-pitched yapping. Barking, whining, and howling are methods of communication for dogs. Almost as soon as they are born, puppies will cry in a variety of tones. The mother will know whether they are hungry, contented or in pain from the noise they make. The first bark may be heard from about three to six weeks after birth. Barking is used by your dog to communicate a variety of sentiments and a different sound may be employed in different situations. He will bark as a warning to ward off intruders or to claim his territory, in greeting other dogs, during play or as a general call for attention. Growling is used to convey a warning or threat and may be used in defence. You should not challenge or approach a growling dog, since this may provoke an attack. Dogs may growl when playing with other dogs, but their body language in this situation is clearly not suggestive of aggression. Some dogs may emit a low murmur of ‘conversation’ when petted by their owners, but again the body is relaxed and is not preparing for attack.
A howl is a long-distance call and it can be heard much further away than a bark. A howling dog is often alone and is probably seeking social contact of some sort. Whimpering and whining are used in submission, greeting and pain; yelping when in pain or defeat; and high-pitched yapping when excited.
Reasons why your dog barks excessively can be complex and must be determined before you can begin fixing the behavior. Those reasons vary from dog to dog, but include: greeting , play , territory and self defense , sight of other animals , separation from family (anxiety) , to get attention, and a sudden loud noise. Try identifying what triggers the behavior and use systematic desensitization and counter-conditioning techniques. Unfortunately, owners often attempt to silence their dog by shouting at him, but because the dog’s communication skills don’t extend to understanding your language, he simply assumes the owners are barking too and continues undeterred, or even redoubles the effort. Other dogs discover barking makes their owner pay attention to them, if only to shout “Quiet!” Eventually the dog may seem to develop an imagination, and bark at nothing at all, just to get a response from his owner. However, the main reason dogs learn to bark excessively at every person who passes their territory is the simple fact that most of those people go away again. The dog doesn’t realize they didn’t want to come in. He thinks he has successfully chased them off.
If your dog howls, he is likely to be alone and seeking social contact. A dog’s howl can be heard much further than a bark, and is therefore used as a long-distance call. If your dog has suddenly started acting very anxious when he senses you’re about to leave, this is a good indication that he’s going through separation anxiety.
Pet dogs regard their owners as a substitute family and some can become distressed when left alone. Like people, dogs can also experience feelings of boredom when there’s a lack of mental stimulation in their lives. Get your dog toys that were specially created to provide mental stimulation and relief from boredom. Some of the behavioral problems observed in dogs are caused by lack of socialization during the puppy’s early months. A puppy that has started interacting with people at about 4 to 6 weeks of age and continues that interaction is more likely to grow into a dog that seeks and enjoys people. If you are away for a long period, try to arrange for someone to come in and let him into the garden, leave plenty of food and water and check the sleeping place is at the right temperature.
Some tips to control or reduce excessive barking
- Socialize your pet with other animals and people.
- Reward is, of course, the best motivation of behavior, so it’s important to praise the dog while he’s doing the right thing, not afterwards. This means he should be rewarded when he stops barking, and also when he doesn’t bark in a situation that would normally set him off. When your dog is lying quietly and allowing you to chat with visitors undisturbed, or when your neighbors come home and your dog doesn’t bark, you can praise and reward him. This will encourage your dog to remain quiet the next time, too. Turn away when he vocalizes inappropriately. Important: even negative attention to a dog when he/she barks is rewarding the inappropriate behavior.
- Exercise and play with your dog regularly. Many dogs bark in response to other dogs barking or as part of play. Try to increase non-vocal play (e.g., fetch) and exercise.
- Make your dog less responsive to the causes of his excessive barking. Gradually expose him to the stimulus and reward quiet behavior with praise, toys, or treats.
- Counter-conditioning is an effective way to stop nuisance barking. That is, create a new, more desirable response to the stimulus, like playing with a chew toy rather than barking.
- If your dog is defending his territory, try blocking visual/hearing access to intruders on or near territory.
- Your dog might have anxiety related barking, if so, medication should be considered. Please consult your veterinarian regarding medications that may be useful for your situation.
As always, we strongly recommend enrolling your dog in obedience classes. With the knowledge from the classes, teach them a “settle” or “quiet” command to use during desensitization.
“Mating” the legs of family members is another behavioural trait which is often misunderstood. It is not a sign of mislead sexual behaviour, but a sign of dominance. Even female dogs show this behaviour with dogs of a lower rank. You should never tolerate this behaviour, particularly not with children. Such behaviour should be met with a determined “no!” If it occurs more often, you should demonstrate your dominance to the dog by laying him on his side and holding him as described earlier. Start these measures early – it is best to begin just after he has got used to the new home. Then chances are good that your puppy will grow up to be a charming and well-behaved dog
Fear of men / shy / Introducing children to your dog
A dog that is frightened of people usually has his targets well defined. For example, it may be men with a large stature or a man with a really deep voice that induces fear in your dog. Children are also a common source of fear for dogs. And some dogs are just downright scared of strangers regardless of their sex, age, weight and other physical characteristics. Dogs that are scared of certain people avert their eyes, lower their head, flatten their ears, tuck their body and tail and may roll over to expose their underbelly and urinate. The best advice we can give is to pinpoint whom it is that might induce fear in your dog. This will help you avoid any unpleasant situations.
Non-confident canines require very gentle training and lots of patience from their owners. One of the most common causes of shyness is a lack of exposure to new people and places at a young age. Dogs look to their owners to be the “alpha dog” of their “pack”, and to guide them safely into new and stimulating situations. Without these experiences, the dog may become timid and skittish when introduced to things outside their immediate familiarity.
Shy dogs need to have repeated positive experiences with many different people. Mostshy dogs can become friendly with positive human interaction. Usually these dogs must learn to trust individuals before accepting a friendship. Just be sure to let your dog set the pace of training. Never force your dog to do anything that makes him nervous.
Here are a few guidelines you should follow as a parent in order to ensure that the bond between children and dog remains strong:
- As mentioned before, your dog expects you to be the leader in your relationship. He looks to you for guidance and protection, and therefore you must exhibit the level of confidence and firmness you would like your dog to follow.
- When your dog is frightened, it’s human to want to comfort your dog and say “it’s OK”. However, your dog assumes that you are praising him for being scared – which reinforces skittish behaviour.
- Only praise your dog when he acts confidently.
- Enlist the help of less familiar people to educate your dog. If you have treats or one of your dog’s toys handy, give it to the children/stranger. While the stranger is still far away, have them toss the treat or toy, then just walk away. Repeating this exercise over and over, with the stranger moving in closer and closer each time, will train your dog to associate strangers with good things, rather than bad experiences. Eventually, your dog will feel more comfortable around unfamiliar people.
- Consider obedience training. Depending on the extent of your dog’s shyness, you may need to get the help of a professional trainer or behaviourist.
Fear of children
If you consider children are cause, consider the following actions
- Some children may unintentionally provoke or hurt a dog which could lead to dangerous results.
- Give your dog his own quiet place. Creating a special retreat just for your dog will give him a place where he can get away from noisy kids. Whether it’s home or a doghouse, make sure your children understand that when the dog is in his quiet place, he’s not to be disturbed.
- Teach children that their behaviour will affect the dog’s behaviour. Make sure your kids understand that if they make quick or sudden movements around the dog, scream or make loud noises, it could excite the dog and possibly result in aggressive behaviour.
- Teach children not to bother the dog while he’s eating.
- Most importantly, make sure your children understand that all dogs are different. While their dog at home may love to play and cuddle, not all dogs are friendly towards kids. Once your children learn these basic rules, they’ll be well on their way to forging a relationship with your dog that they’ll cherish for years to come.
Believe it or not, your dog is very intelligent and is using his observe-stalk and chase instinct of a herding dog! this does not however help you stop the problem but it does give you an explanation.
The best way to try and prevent the dog form chasing is to retrain him. He may not have had much association with cyclist as a puppy, and therefore sees them as a game and something to chase and hunt. There are a few things that you can try to control the problem:
- Make sure that the dog is having plenty of exercise. On some occasions this behaviour is associated with boredom. Exercise and stimulation with play will encourage him to be less interested in bikes.
- He would probably benefit form obedience and agility training to mentally challenge him. Retrieving games will be especially useful.
- You should try to teach the dog the leave command. This can be done in the house or garden with a toy, and rewarding him when he comes to you rather than chasing the toy.
- This command can thenbe used with the cyclist. You can start by asking a friend or family member to get on a bike so that you can train the dog more intensely. Initially start with the dog on a lead, and then take him off the lead to train him.
Dog Jumping Up
Your dog has a very friendly behaviour of wanting to greet people when she sees them. The tricky part is teaching her that it is good to greet people, but not by jumping up. She may have been rewarded for jumping up as a puppy, whether this was intentional or not, she has learnt that this is an acceptable way to greet.
Shouting at her after she has already jumped up will just confuse her as she has already performed the action. What she will do is think of another reason why she has been shouted at. She may think that she has been shouted at for greeting people, which is not what we want!
The best method to try and stop the dog from jumping up is to try and retrain her, and it is always easier to start at home.
If she jumps up to greet you when you enter the house, just ignore her and give her no attention ( I know that this will be hard at first!) Wait until she has all 4 paws on the ground. Wait for her to sit. If she doesn’t sit, tempt her with a small treat to sit and then praise her. Crouching to greet the dog should automatically stop her form jumping up as you are at her level, but wait until she is sitting and before you do this.
Once you have established a good routine at home, you can start introducing her to other people. Try first with people you know who you can discuss which way you would like them to greet her. Children are very good at reinforcing the wrong behaviour, as they may not understand that you are trying to train her, so greeting should be supervised. However, contact with children should not be avoided as it is very important that the dog is socialised with all people and it is more likely that contact will be with children rather than adults. Teach the children to fold their arms, stand still and shout “off’, whilst showing the dog no eye contact. The dog will soon get bored as the child is not interesting enough.
As she is very friendly, she will automatically want to greet everybody. Start with her on a lead, and walk towards the person, or have them walk towards you. Just before you meet, stop. She may attempt to jump up at the other person, but since you are holding her on the lead she will be unable to do so. The person should wait until all the dog’s 4 paws are on the ground and any excitement has died down, before asking her to sit. Again use a treat if necessary. When the dog is sitting the person should come forward crouch down and reward her.
If she starts to jump up, restrain her with the collar and repeat the exercise. Soon, she should automatically sit to greet people.
Obedience classes will also be beneficial to her, as there will be general advice for all types of training and modification. As there will be other dogs with their owners it will help get her well socialised.
House soiling is the urinating and/or defaecating in an inappropriate area. It is not unusual for dogs to have an occasional accident in the house. If this behaviour is occurring on regular occasions, there can be a number of reasons as to why.
Has the pet got access to the outdoors? Is there an underlying medical cause?
Is there an underlying behavioural cause?
Dogs are very clean animals, and can be toilet trained very effectively. If the dog has soiled in the house, it may be that his access to his usual toilet area has been blocked off. It is not uncommon for the older dog to lose some of the ability to control his bladder. If the dog has arthritis, he may find it more difficult to get up and go outside. Maybe he finds access to the garden quite a challenge for his weary legs if he has to go up or down steps. Your vet will be able to advise you on physiotherapy or medical treatments that can aid your dog’s agility.
There is a possibility that the dog may be house soiling as there is an underlying medical reason. There are many medical problems that can cause signs of incontinence. The best method of diagnosing a urinary problem is by urine examination. Your veterinary surgeon may ask you to collect a urine sample from your dog for analysis. He will test the urine using a ‘dipstick’, and possibly examine the urine under a microscope. Some causes of incontinence can be due to urinary infection, cystitis, bladder stones or hereditary defect. Most urine related problems can be managed very successfully using drugs and/or diet.
The other possibility for your dog house soiling is if there is an underlying behavioural cause, such as, submissive urination, stress, a breakdown in toilet training, territorial marking or separation anxiety. Once again, these behaviour problems can be modified effectively. Your veterinary surgeon will initially request a urine sample from your dog to rule out any underlying medical cause. Providing the urine tests are clear, he will advise you on suitable behaviour modification. Treatment may also include drug therapy or neutering.
If your dog has house soiled, it is important that the affected area is cleaned promptly using a biological washing powder in warm water. If it is not cleaned effectively he may mark that spot on repeated occasions.
As there are so many causes of house soiling, it is best to seek veterinary advice to determine the true cause of the problem. House soiling can be very stressful for yourself and your family, but can often be treated very effectively and quickly.
If you’ve ever come home to find that your otherwise well-behaved dog has destroyed furniture, had “accidents” on the carpet, or has been disturbing the neighbors with his loud howling, it’s very likely that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety.
Dogs are one of the most social creatures on earth. They just love spending time with you, whether they’re playing a game with you or just curling up next to you on the couch. So when it comes time for you to go to work or leave the house for long periods of time, it can make your dog lonely or anxious.
There are a number of reasons why dogs suffer from separation anxiety:
- Fear of abandonment—This is especially common with rescued strays and dogs that have been adopted from animal shelters.
- A change in your dog’s daily routine—This can include changes such as going from not working or working part-time to a full-time job—or anything else that suddenly keeps you away from the house for longer (or different) periods of time.
- Moving to a new home or other change in environment.
5 ways to nip separation anxiety in the bud
- Confine your dog. Try to keep him in an enclosed area, such as a crate, when you’re out. Dogs are den animals, so they feel safer in their own small space. This will protect both your dog and your belongings.
- Alter your habits. Do you have a set routine each day before you leave the house? Perhaps you jingle your keys, put your bag or briefcase near the door or kiss your spouse and kids. Your dog picks up on these cues, and associates them with your leaving. Try to mix up your normal routine by doing your usual activities in a different order.
- Practice leaving. Plan short trips that allow your dog to gradually adjust to being alone. If your dog seems comfortable after half-hour departures, and exhibits no anxious behavior, increase your time away.
- Go for a walk. Taking your dog for a long walk before you leave will help make him too tired to misbehave after you leave.
- Keep your dog busy. Before you leave, bury toys and hide treats where he can find and “dig” them up. Keeping a TV or radio on can also provide “company” for your pooch.
Try not to cure your dog’s anxiety problem by giving him even more attention—you’ll only create a vicious cycle of neediness. Likewise, never get angry when your dog acts clingy as you prepare to leave. This can cause even more anxiety because your dog will associate your absence and return with punishment.
With some time and a lot of patience, your dog will have a renewed sense of confidence —and you can be confident knowing that your dog is fine being home alone.
Biting / Aggression in growing puppies
The two most common manifestations of aggressive behavior toward humans are fear biting and dominance-related aggression. The first step for you as a puppy owner is to distinguish playful aggressive behaviours from more serious types of aggression, such as possessive aggression, conflict/ dominance-related aggression, protective aggression, and predatory behaviour.
Fear biting is most commonly seen in a dog raised without appropriate human contact during the socialization period of growth (6 to 12 weeks of age). Such an animal fears people who are unfamiliar to it, and it may attempt to bite when feeling threatened. When a dog shows aggression toward members of the owner’s family rather than strangers, the animal is probably attempting to establish dominance over those family members. Other causes (which will not be discussed here) for canine aggression toward people include pain induced aggression, hyperkinesis (over activity), territorial aggression, and parental protectiveness.
Biting is a canine dominance behavior and is surprisingly, a form of communication to establish standing within the pack – which could mean a pack of wild dogs, a litter of puppies, or your own dog communicating with your family. In the eyes of a dog, all the members of your family are fellow pack members. When a dog bites, chances are it’s not a problem that suddenly developed overnight. Somehow, the dog has reached the status of pack leader – in other words, he’s been led to believe that he’s the one in charge, not you. So if the pack leader (your dog) decides that a member of the pack (you or a family member) is getting out of line, he may bite that person to show them “who’s boss”.
However, with the help of a qualified obedience instructor or dog behaviorist, it’s possible to correct this problem. This process will also require you and your family to make changes in the way you interact with your dog as well. That means not encouraging rough play ( No slapping or wrestling and Play only with toys.) and everyone being diligent in enforcing basic commands to show your dog who the real leaders of the household are. Don’t abruptly reach for your dog or its collar or pull the dog’s legs. First have the dog sit and stay. Then leash the dog. Don’t disturb your dog when it’s resting, sleeping, or lying in front of a door or on the sofa or bed. Like wise Don’t let your dog sleep on the bed, especially if your dog reacts aggressively when disturbed there. If your dog barks, growls, or ignores you, try to shift its attention to an exercise or a task it knows well. If this doesn’t help, walk away from the dog, or sequester it in another room. Banishment and withdrawal of attention are the most potent forms of correction.
If your dog is properly trained to “sit,” “stay,” and “come,” he’ll be less likely to be aggressive with people because his first concern will be to obey your commands. A dog that’s under control and knows you are the leader of his “pack” will behave and won’t bite anyone.
And, if your dog is socialized properly, he’ll be comfortable around strangers and in new situations. If you haven’t raised your dog from puppyhood, be careful when you first start taking him outside. Until you’re sure he’s bonded with you and respects your commands don’t put him into situations, such as busy streets full of people, that might make him feel threatened or scared.
The more he gets outside and encounters lots of other people and unfamiliar things, the less likely he will be to act aggressively around people. So provide your dog with a chance to socialize with people and other dogs. Take him out and about, and spend lots of time with him.
If your dog is aggressive when fed, feed it in a separate The rule is that you shouldn’t disturb your dog while he’s eating. room with the door closed Dogs can, however, be conditioned so they don’t react if their food is removed while they’re eating. Start by putting a small amount of food in his bowl as he eats, then move your hand to the box to get more food. In this way, the presence of a hand becomes rewarding. If your dog is happy and does not show signs of aggression, take his food away. Reward him with a pat if he doesn’t react. After he has been given a reward, return your dog’s food, and let him resume eating.
If biting continues to be a problem, take your dog to a professional dog trainer who will work to change the behavior.
Guests and aggression
Dogs are creatures of habit. As they age, they often become even more attached to their routine and less tolerant of new people and circumstances. So when that routine is disrupted with the arrival of holiday guests, it can be stressful for him. He might display uncharacteristic unruly behavior—or even have an accident in the house. The good news is that a few common sense steps can help prevent potential problems and make the holiday less stressful for you, your guests, and your dog.
Exercise your dog before guests arrive. After 30 minutes of walking or playing, most dogs will be more relaxed or ready to take a nap. And, as every dog owner knows, a tired dog is a well-behaved dog.
Give him some space. If the arrival of guests makes your dog excitable, give him a break in his crate or in a quiet room with a familiar doggie bed or blanket. Allow your pooch to join the festivities after the initial commotion has subsided.
Provide “door bell” training. Train your dog to sit quietly near the front door when the doorbell rings. Practice every day to reinforce the behavior. A dog that barks and jumps up on guests is usually not appreciated.
Distract him with new toys. Just before your guests arrive, give your dog some fun new toys to play with. Long-lasting chew toys are nearly indestructible and will keep him occupied for a long period.
Never leave your dog alone with small children. No matter how much you trust your dog, make sure an adult is always in the room when small children visit your home.
The holidays can also result in doggie “accidents” in the house—especially among senior dogs that may already be experiencing bouts of incontinence. Excitement, too many doggie treats, table scraps, and distractions that prevent you from walking your dog can all contribute to the problem. Be careful not to alter your dog’s normal diet and feeding schedule, and resist the urge to give him holiday leftovers. In addition, be extra vigilant about taking your dog out for potty breaks.
Above all, make time for your dog during the holiday season. While we all get busy with guests, shopping, cooking and decorating, it’s important not to ignore our dogs in the process.
If you have a “sofa dog,” you know how nice it can be to curl up with your canine in front of the TV. No doubt, your dog loves it, too. If you’re away, he may also find comfort on the couch because it smells like you. But are sofa privileges a good idea? Aside from the extra wear and tear on your furniture, there are a few behavioral factors to consider.
Dogs are “pack” animals which means they think of their human family members as pack mates. When you allow your dog on your sofa or bed, instinct tells them they are equal or above their humans in the pack hierarchy. For some dogs, this can lead to territorial behavior. In fact, many pet owners encounter dogs that growl and snap when they’re moved off the sofa.
Of course, this is not the case with all “sofa dogs.” But in general, dogs who are treated as equal members of the family tend to be less respectful of owner’s commands and household rules. Behavioral problems are much more common with sofa dogs than non-sofa dogs.
A few additional considerations:
If your dog is allowed on the sofa with you, be prepared for him to jump up and make himself comfortable when guests are over, too.
Wherever you take your dog—such as to a friend or relative’s house—he will expect the same rules to apply.
If you don’t yet have children, you may feel differently about your dog’s sofa privileges once a baby joins the family. It’s easier to start off with stricter rules then to introduce them later on.
How to change the rules
If you’ve already been allowing your dog on the sofa and would now like to stop, it’s not too late. Start by earning your dog’s respect through obedience commands—such as sit, stay, and down. Then, begin consistently redirecting your dog to a different spot such as a dog bed. Remember, dog training involves consistency and repetition, so stick with it and don’t give in. Your reward will be a more obedient dog—and more room on the sofa.
In the end, allowing your dog on the sofa is just a matter of preference. Whatever you decide, make sure every member of your family sticks by the rules. If you or anyone else lets him up on the furniture, he may just think he’s welcome all the time.
Dogs eating Grass
It is not uncommon for dogs to eat grass and is generally un-harmful to the dog providing the grass has not been chemically treated. The dog will often vomit the chewed grass with frothy saliva, not long after eating it. One suggestion for dogs doing this it ot relieve an excess of digestive juices that accumulate in the stomach when it is empty. Some dogs will graze on fine grass and may even digest it to provide roughage in the diet. It is important that dog’s main diet is nutritionally balanced and the correct amount of food is being fed for the dog’s life stage. If the grass eating is accompanied by prolonged or persistent vomiting, and particularly if the vomitus contains blood, veterinary advise should be sought.
Coprophagia (eating of feces)
Coprophagia, or eating of faeces , is very common in dogs, and is often seen in puppies. It is not dangerous to the dog’s health, but can be unpleasant habit to live with . Treating the problem can be simple and involves thinking ahead. Any feces deposited in the garden should be removed as quickly as possible. A dietary imbalance or parasites can on occasions cause coprophagy. Make sure that you dog is recieving complete and balanced food and dewormed regularly. Coprophagy can transmit parasites also.
One method of training is to walk your dog on an extending lead and puposely direct him towards some stools. As soon as he stoops to try to eat feces, the dog pulled gently and effectively away and at the same time, unpleasant distracting noise such as “NO” shoud be sounded and immediatly after this make him to sit and praise for compliance with kind words and physical contact. The dog should not be punished as he will not associate the punishment with the action. This type of exposure should be repeated several times. We suggest Professional training if it is associated with behavioural problem. Some advise products containing (or spraying) pepper or mustard on feces are ethically questionable and feeding a slice of pineapple or peppermint oil may work in some dogs
Keep in mind that occasional digging is an instinctive behavior. For thousands of years your dog’s ancestors dug dens in which to sleep and give birth, and to find small animals to eat. However, habitual digging can be a sign of something else. Once you determine its cause, it’s easier to find a solution.
Is he bored? Often a dog that digs excessively is sending a sign that he is bored. Dogs require a lot of mental stimulation, and if they don’t get it, they’ll find other ways to channel their extra energy—and most of those ways are destructive.
The solution: Give him puzzle toys, not just chew toys. Try putting a favorite treat in a Kong or other puzzle-type treat dispenser. Your dog will be occupied for hours as he tries to get at the treat. Exercise should also play a big role in a dogs life. Opening the door and letting him loose in the yard doesn’t count. Before you leave for the day, take him for a long walk or jog to burn off energy.
Is he stressed? When dogs are stressed they sometimes react by digging. If you notice that your dog begins to dig when there are a lot of people around, especially children or other animals, it could mean that there is too much commotion.
The solution: Try to keep overly stressful situations to a minimum, or let your dog relax with a safe toy or rawhide to distract him.
Is he cooling off? On hot summer days, you may find that your dog digs a lot more than usual. This can be because he is feeling the effects of the heat and is digging a hole to lay in to cool off.
The solution: During periods of extreme heat, make sure that your dog has enough shade and water to remain cool and well hydrated. If there is an extreme heat alert, it may be best to keep your dog indoors until the weather cools. Another solution is fill a child’s plastic swimming pool and let him cool off with a refreshing splash.
Is he just having fun? Sometimes dogs will dig because they are looking for bones that they might have buried, or are chasing rodents. This is playtime for them.
The solution: Set up a water sprinkler in the area where he digs, then position yourself near the faucet. As soon as your dog starts digging, turn on the sprinkler. After a few times he will understand that digging causes the sprinkler to go on. And since he will think it’s the sprinkler that’s reprimanding him, not you, he should stop digging whether you are around or not.
If all else fails, you may have to set aside a special spot where your dog is allowed to dig. Choose an area and make sure its boundaries are clearly defined. Bury a toy there, and when your Golden finds it, praise him. If he digs anywhere else, you should not praise him.
Over time and with proper supervision, exercise, and attention, these solutions will help him forget all about his digging past.
Mixing cats and dogs
Dogs are friendly and pleasant dogs. If socialized properly, is a joy to have around children, and can get along well with other animals—even cats. However, without socialization and training, a dog will instinctively chase smaller animals that he may view as “prey,” even if that animal happens to be the family cat.
Tips to ensure harmony
The following steps can help smooth the introduction of dog and cat:
Keep control of your dog: If you allow your dog to approach your cat, he will scare it. Initially, hold your dog on your lap or put him in his crate before allowing your cat to approach him.
Allow your cat to investigate: Once your dog is secured, either call your cat over, or let his natural curiosity lead him to your dog. Let the cat approach the dog so that it can become familiar with the dog. Do not hold your cat, as you may be scratched if it tries to escape.
Allow your dog to sniff the cat: If you are holding your dog, allow him to sniff the cat. But make sure that he doesn’t get too close. If the cat gets scared she could lash out and scratch him. However, most cats will swat a new dog with claws retracted. This is the cat’s way of giving a warning and exerting dominance over the dog. This gesture shouldn’t be discouraged.
Make sure your cat has an escape route: Your cat should always have somewhere to run—preferably a place where the dog can’t follow. If a cat feels trapped and frightened it will most likely lash out at the dog. This can cause injury and create a poor start to their relationship.
Training your dog to get along with your cat takes patience and consistency, and the sooner you start, the better. Repeat the introductions daily for the first few weeks. When you see your dog and cat becoming comfortable with one another, slowly allow your dog to get closer to the cat. Eventually, they should be able to live happily under the same roof