Obsessive behaviors and fixations can be annoying, and may even be destructive for your dog as well as for you and your surroundings. The behavior is like an addiction that the dog has a difficult time controlling. If you have observed persistent behaviors in your dog that go beyond normal play and interactions, where they will not change their focus or listen to commands, you may be seeing obsessive behavior.
Signs of Fixation
Playtime should be lighthearted and easygoing. When the activity reaches a level where your dog is so fixated on something that they are not even responding to your verbal or physical cues and commands, they may be obsessing.
Dogs are like any other living animals. When their actions result in rewards, they will continue the actions. For example, if your dog gets praise, encouragement and head pats when he jumps on you or performs any other undesirable action, he will continue to do so. He thinks your positive reaction indicates that you approve of his bad behavior. On the other hand, when a dog gets rewarded for good behaviors, like sitting calmly when directed to do so, you can expect that behavior to continue as well. Teaching a dog about impulse control can take less time that you might imagine, when you use the proper tools and methods.
Assume a Position
Whether you want your dog to lie down on his mat during dinner time or you want him to sit calmly at the door before being let out, you need to first teach him how to be still. To do this, you’ll need some high quality treats like CANIDAE Grain Free PURE, a spot to work with your dog, a visual and vocal command, and a position to teach.
Take your dog to the area where you will be working. Tell your dog to sit, stay or whatever command you decide on. Use a hand motion picked just for this command, and use the hand motion and voice command at the same time. The moment your dog is in the position that you desire, reward him or her with a treat. Remember that consistency is vital.
Dogs are pack animals and in any pack, someone has to be the leader to help your everyday interactions run smoothly. Like a well maintained clock, the relationship functions at its best when each member is doing his or her own job in the right way. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to let your dog know that you are in control and you’re the one they need to listen to and trust.
From the Beginning
Whether you get an adult dog or a small puppy, it’s essential to begin to establish the role of pack leader with them from the moment they become a member of your home. The role will take time to develop between you, but once your dog realizes you are the pack leader, it will make your life together much easier. Like children, dogs need to understand the rules and know who is in charge to know who to listen to and follow. Letting your dog know who the pack leader is helps you maintain a healthy balanced relationship and a keeps a good bond between you. As pack leader, you are the one who runs everything. If you let your dog know that from the beginning, everything will run more smoothly.
For some dogs, an opened door is an invitation to rush through before it closes. But for us, it’s frightening to watch our beloved pet bolt across the yard and disappear out of sight, or head towards a road with a car bearing down on them. Cheyenne, my Siberian Husky, looked for any chance to escape through the front door, and I developed a technique to use when someone rang the doorbell. Cracking the door open so I could block it with my body, I stood on one leg and used the other one to keep her away. She just wanted to go for a run, but there are other reasons why dogs fly out an opened door. Fortunately, I found a better technique than the one-legged dance to teach my dog not to rush through the door.
Why dogs try to escape out the front door
Dogs are individuals, and some are more adventurous and independent than others. Working breeds, terriers, scenthounds and sighthounds were bred to do their jobs away from their human, and are likely to bolt out a door to run down an interesting scent or chase an animal they see. Some dogs may be focused on finding a mate. If that’s the case, spaying or neutering your pet may help reduce a desire to wander. A fearful dog may see an opened door as a way to escape what he fears. Homes with multiple dogs might charge the open door as a competition to see who can get outside first, and some dogs enjoy the “game” of their owner frantically chasing them down the street.
When you share your life with a dog and there are no other humans living in your house, your pet may become so accustomed to interacting with your gender that she develops a fear of the opposite sex. Not the sex opposite from her, but the sex opposite from you! This can become a serious issue. Since your dog has limited opportunities to interact with the other gender on a regular basis, they are strange and unusual to her. She may react badly towards them.
I’ve seen it from both sides. My cousin lives alone with his German shepherd mix, Leon. These two are inseparable; the dog goes everywhere with him. People often talk about the special bond my cousin and Leon have, and it is a beautiful thing to see. The other side of the coin, however, is that the dog is not friendly towards women. It’s so bad that he will snarl and show his teeth when a woman is anywhere near. He behaves differently towards men.
A neighbor friend and her roommate live with a tiny Chihuahua named Brutus. The two women and Brutus take long walks every afternoon. Whenever my husband and I happen upon them, Brutus allows me to pat him but he won’t let my husband within a 10 foot radius. The women say Brutus acts that way towards all men.
Like us, dogs use their voice to convey intentions and express how they are feeling. Barking is as natural to canines as talking is to us, and expecting a dog to never use his voice is an unreasonable expectation. However, that doesn’t mean you should allow him to bark nonstop. Never punish a dog for barking, and don’t yell at him because that will only escalate the barking. There are more effective ways to get your dog to stop barking excessively.
The first thing you need to do is understand why your dog is barking. A few weeks ago, I covered how to correct frustration, demand, and boredom barking. This article deals with correcting four more types of problem barking: alarm, excitement, territorial, and anxiety barking.
Sometimes what a dog perceives as danger isn’t, but to him it is a serious threat and his “Timmy’s in trouble” bark is meant to get your attention. Your dog thinks something isn’t right so he’s alerting you, his leader, to come investigate. Most of the time there’s nothing to be concerned about, but you need to go see why your dog is barking because he could be alerting you to a brewing problem, like smoke coming from the kitchen or someone prowling around outside.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.