Aggression | Barking | Begging | Chewing | Climbing on Furniture | Digging
Fear | Jumping | Possessiveness | Stealing


For dogs, aggression is just another form of communication with people or other animals. Aggression is a dog’s way of setting boundaries to protect their resources-food, toys, or even owners. We need to teach our dogs that this is unacceptable behavior.

Aggression Warning Signs-aggression is a potentially dangerous problem and needs to be stopped before it escalates into harmful behavior. If you dog persists with any of the following behavior repeatedly, you may want to consult with your vet or an animal behaviorist specialist:

• Growling
• Barking
• Snarling
• Lunging
• Snapping
• Biting.

How to prevent aggression
The best way to treat aggression is to prevent it in the first place.

• Establish yourself as leader from day one.
It is important that from the very first day you bring home your new dog or puppy that you maintain “I’m the boss”. Do this by setting rules that are HUMANELY consistently enforced. If you must reprimand your dog, a firm, verbal rebuke is enough. NEVER, NEVER, strike or harshly punish you pet, this type of punishment will further cause aggression either out of fear or pain.

• Socialize your dog or puppy
Socializing your puppy with other humans and animals will prevent him/her from being insecure. Obedience classes are a great way to not only train, but socialize your puppy or older dog. Since your dog gets his cue from you being his owner, it is important to stay relaxed and calm around people, animals, with your dog as you are socializing.

Make sure that you new dog or puppy is handled by all members of the family. This will discourage any unwanted behavior against those in the family they feel are “strangers”.

• Remain the Boss
Make sure that your dog realizes that you are the master. Do not allow him/her to push you around when playing, play rough with you, or cater to their every desire. Once they realize that you give in to all whims and let them “push you around”, the times you say “no” they can act aggressively towards you or members of the family.

• Discourage Aggressive Play
Games such as tug-of-war, which spark your dog’s competitive instinct, should be discouraged. In the wild this type of behavior establishes who the dominant dog of the pack is. Play cooperative games like fetch where your dog is obliged to obey you but has fun at the same time.

• Avoid Confining Your Dog For Long Periods of Time
Dogs are territorial creatures and when confined to the same space -backyard, small room, etc.- they become so attached to their space that they’ll threaten anyone they think is invading their territory.

• Don’t Coddle
If your dog is frightened or aggressive, don’t make a fuss. By rewarding bad behavior, you will only cause it to continue. Remain calm and relaxed, give your dog a firm verbal correction or gently ignore.

• Tire Your Dog Out
A tired, well exercised dog is less likely to become aggressive. By walking or running your dog on a leash, it will not only tire your pooch but also reinforce your role as leader. Just like humans, a dogs’ emotional health benefits by regular exercise.


It’s a fact, all dogs bark as a form of communication. Some more than others! They bark to communicate excitement, fear or even warn of intruders to protect us. You will never stop your dog from barking altogether, you can modify their behavior if you first know the reason for the bark. Remember to take corrective action while the behavior is occurring.

There are three main reasons for barking:

• Loneliness: A lonely dog will bark to gain attention whether from its owner or a stranger.
• Boredom: Like people, our dogs need attention. If they have lots of energy they need an outlet if you are not giving enough exercise.
• Fear or Nervousness: When encountering something or someone of the unknown, dogs will bark.
• Protecting Territory: Some dogs tend to bark at outsiders visiting their territory. They do this as a sign of “this is mine, stay away”.

Possible Resolution(s):

1. Ensure that you dog is getting appropriate attention. Different breeds require various amounts of attention.

2. If your dog is left alone during the day, train him to be alone. Place your dog in a separate room and say “quiet” and leave. Reward him with a treat when he stays quiet for a short period of time.

3. Provide enough stimulation through the use of toys.

4. Obedience training classes can curb unwanted behavior.

5. Don’t yell when your dog barks, this only reinforces that if he/she barks they are rewarded with your attention.

6. Socialize your dog with other people and places to curb unwanted fears.

7. If your dog is barking to protect you from intruders and you are not threatened, take your dog to a quiet area away from its fear.

8. At a last resort, when your dog barks, a water pistol with a light spray when barking should deter over time. No one wants to be squirted with water!


There isn’t a dog known to mankind that doesn’t want that extra “treat” now and then. Their pleading eyes, fixed upon you during a wonderful dinner are hard to resist. They see us enjoying our food and want to take part of the activity. Once in a while giving into this behavior is acceptable, but should not become a habit.

You can train your dog not to pester you at the dinner table by finding a spot in sight of your table and lead them there and give them their food. If they come back for your food, gently, lead away back to their spot and show them their own food. It’s also a good idea to feed your dog prior to your own dinner, when full, they are less likely to “beg” from you.


Dogs enjoy and get a natural exercise of their jaws by chewing. We like it more when they do it on their own toys or bones versus our good shoes! An adult dog that spends a lot of time alone tends to chew to relieve boredom, anxiety, and frustration. A puppy chews to ease the pain of teething and explore new tastes.

Old or young, don’t try and stop this natural activity:
• Find appropriate objects for your dog to chew
• Giving your dog attention.
• Never give you dog “discarded” items of yours to chew on; they will not know the difference between your “old” shoe and your new one.
• Place items out of their immediate way to prevent from being destroyed
• Spray chewing targets with bitter apple natural spray
• Bobby-trap the item, put coins or rocks in a can and attach to item

Climbing on Furniture

At some point every dog is going to climb on your furniture. It’s comfortable, gives a better view than the floor, and has your sent. Continual climbing on the furniture can be a sign of dominance and if not corrected, you may become the guest in your own home. You need to reinforce their subordinate position by discouraging this behavior.

• Lay plastic bubble wrap on the furniture under a sheet. The popping noise will startle and deter. Continue this until the climbing stops.
• Spray with a list squirt of water when they climb on areas they are not supposed to be lounging on.
• Place balloons or plastic mouse traps under a sheet on furniture
• Provide a comfortable dog bed or substitute in the family area where they can feel part of the family activities.


Dogs love to dig and it may be a natural instinct based upon their breed. For example, terriers are instinctive diggers; arctic breeds such as huskies may dig to create a cool spot to lie in. Research your breed for “dig” attributes. Many dogs will also dig as a way to relieve stress or burn off energy.

• Know your dog’s motivation for digging. If digging to burn energy, more exercise is needed. If digging occurs to locate a cool spot, provide an adequate cool space for relaxation.
• If its part of his nature, consider setting a spot aside in your yard such as a sand box. Fill it with “buried treasure” such as toys for stimulus. Lead your dog there and let him find the treasures waiting beneath the surface.
• Sabotage his digging area. You can bury lava rock in areas that they dig, once found the texture is uncomfortable and they will not want to dig in that spot.
• Try cutting their nails so that digging is uncomfortable. Don’t cut too short as to damage the quick.
• A firm “no” and lead away from the spot


A well adjusted, socialized dog that has been handled by various people will adjust to new situations much more rapidly and will not exhibit fear tendencies. When frightened, dogs will cower or bark, runaway, or just try and hide. If you don’t curb their fears it can lead to aggression and fear biting.

Ways to alleviate your dog’s fears:

• Socialize your dog from a young age.
• Obedience training will build confidence and alleviate many fears
• Act naturally in new situations with your dog
• Adjust them to loud noise. Rattle pots and pans while their eating. Play loud music while playing.
• Touching or feeding your dog next to the “ monster vacuum” can alleviate the fear of the object


Many dogs like to jump upon their owners or strangers when excited or as a show of dominance. Don’t let your dog jump upon you in some situations and show it as negative in others. It’s confusing to your dog.

To curb this behavior:
• Ignore them. If she try’s and jumps upon you gently push her down and turn your back.
• Keep your dog on a leash when greeting strangers or guests. When they go to leap, step on the leash while giving a soft command of “sit or stay”. Reward with a treat for good behavior
• Crouching down to greet your dog.
• Head collars are helpful for persistent jumpers


Dogs are possessive of items they deem as valuable to them. Most common items are food and toys. This instinct goes back to the wild dog days when survival was dependant upon protecting your food or position within the pack. Your dog may be forgetting that in your family he is not the head of the pack and is challenging your authority. If not stopped, it can lead to aggressive behavior.

To curb this behavior:

• Teach him to share. Give him a new toy and ask him to give back by saying “drop it”. The moment the toy is released or slightly released give him praise and a treat. Repeat this pattern and then put the toy away. Do this drill until they are comfortable with playing with the item and giving it back to you.
• Devalue the objects your dog thinks as prized possessions. Instead on having one ball, give him four or five to play with.
• Create a win-win situation. Trade him another toy for the one he is playing with. When he releases his toy for you, praise and reward with a treat.
• Never take food away while your dog is eating.
• Obedience training always helps


When your dog doesn’t have enough things to keep them occupied or they are bored, they will find something else to stimulate them. Usually something of yours. If you catch them taking something, don’t overreact. If you start yelling or chasing for the object, they may think it’s a game or become fearful of you.

What to do if your dog is stealing:

• Try bobby trapping the item so they make a loud noise when taken.
• Teach your dog the “drop it” command
• Give a fair trade for the object
• If its food, keep food out of reach from your dog
• Baby gates may protect certain parts of your home from objects disappearing.

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