Behavioral Issues and Anxiety Disorders in Dogs
Coming from their original abode in the wild, dogs have shown a remarkable affinity with humans. However, while living among humans, dogs have also adopted some of the human traits, including physiological and psychological disorders.
Barking, biting, chewing and aggression are normal in stray dogs or canine species extant in the wild. Yet we disapprove these actions in pet dogs and consider them as incorrect behavioral issues in pets that need to be corrected.
Major causes of behavioral issues in pets are
- Lack of exposure and socialization
- Genetic disposition and breed-specific problems
- Degenerative diseases and ageing
- Excessive kenneling, cramped living condition or solitary confinement
- Events like lightning, thunderstorm, bad weather, fireworks, deafening music, carsickness
- Separation from owner
Dogs exhibit behavioral problems when they are afraid, nervous, threatened or exited. Following are the major symptoms related to anxiety disorders in dogs.
- Barking, Howling: Dogs bark to seek attention, to keep away other dogs and unfamiliar persons, as warning sign or simply out of excitement.
- Biting: Millions of dog bite cases are reported each year, with most victims being children under 12. Breeds such as German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Dalmatian and Chow Chow are more prone to biting. Unintentional provocation by the victim is often the main reason.
- Aggression: Dogs display aggression by furious growling or barking. Reasons could be territorial defense, pain, females in heat, or any underlying disease.
- Fighting: Territorial defense, asserting dominance and mating rights, protecting food and pups are the reasons why dogs take on other dogs.
- Chewing: Shoes, socks, toys or anything with your smell on it are the usual ‘victims’ of dogs’ destructive chewing.
- Digging: Dogs dig because of boredom, to hoard food, to make a cool place to sleep, or simply for fun.
- Begging: If you feed table scraps to your dog with that ‘longing’ look, you are instilling a begging behavior in him.
- Chasing: In chasing a car, a dog shows his predatory and territorial instincts, as any moving object is a prey to a dog.
- Jumping: Spontaneous jumping is the dog’s way of showing he is the boss around the home.
Please note that under normal conditions, these are ‘natural’ signs of dog behavior but any action in excess should be dealt with patience. A visit to your veterinarian or advice from professional dog behaviorists should solve the problems. Above all, obedience training, behavior modification and exercising your dog are of utmost importance and should not be ignored.