Behavior

GTVETS

4011 South 79th East Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74145

(918)748-3333

gtvets.com


Aggression in Dogs:
Aggression in dogs is defined as a threatening or harmful behavior directed toward another living creature. This includes snarling, growling, snapping, nipping, biting and lunging. Dogs that show such behavior are not abnormal; they are merely exhibiting normal species-typical behavior that is incompatible with human lifestyle (and safety). There are many reasons why a dog will act aggressively toward strangers or even his owner. The first step, when attempting to find out why your dog is being aggressive, is to take him to your veterinarian. Some veterinarians will visit you at your home - but dogs tend to be more aggressive on "their" territory. If there's no medical cause for the aggression, your veterinarian may refer you to a behaviorist, who will then obtain a full behavioral history and recommend therapy.
 
Stool Eating:
Coprophagia is the practice of eating stool (feces). There's nothing more disgusting to a dog owner than seeing their dog eat its own or another dog's stool, and then to have the dog saunter up, tail wagging, looking for a kiss and a few kind words. Attraction in this behavior? We may never know for sure but we do have an inkling about what initiates the behavior and can surmise how and why it continues. In the majority of cases, coprophagy can be successfully treated at home by means of a combination of management changes (exercise, diet, and supervised outdoor excursions) and environmental measures, but be wary of the occasional medical condition that masquerades the same way (your vet can help rule out such conditions).
 
Barking:
Barking serves different purposes. Sometimes it is used to repel and sometimes to attract. Some barking tones indicate, "stay away," whereas others (particularly in the appropriate context) can be interpreted to mean, "I'm over here, where the heck are you?" Even the most inexperienced of dog watchers will notice that dogs have a variety of different types of barking ranging from the muted "woof" of appreciation or alarm to loud angry series of barks indicating aggression. Barking often serves as an alarm call. Many owners appreciate such alarm barking and some domestic dog breeds have been selected for an enhanced warning system of this nature. When the barking produces the desired result, the "language" is reinforced and perpetuated. But not all of this "language" is wanted or appreciated by friends or family (let alone the neighbors). The key to dealing with barking is to be able to turn it off. In order to deal with a barking problem, you first need to know why your dog is barking.
 
Submissive Urination:
Submissive urination can be a frustrating and embarrassing problem. Fortunately, it is often easily corrected. Shy, timid puppies are the most likely candidates for submissive urination but occasionally it persists into young adulthood. This problem is most common in female puppies under 1 year of age. Before embarking on treatment for this problem, it is wise to contact your local veterinarian. He or she will perform a physical examination of your dog to rule our medical problems that may be contributing to the predicament. If medical problems are involved, your vet will discuss the various treatment options with you like surgery, drugs, and/or various coping strategies.
 

Nipping and mouthing: 

When puppies play with each other, they use their mouths a lot. When they play with you or when they are petted, they usually want to bite or "mouth," too. This behavior is not frankly aggressive at this stage - though it may be pre-aggressive. There are two different life stages in which mouthiness can be an issue - before maturity and after maturity. The pre-maturity variety, all too often not taken seriously, and misguidedly interpreted as puppy play, leads to the adult version. Bear in mind that it is easier to "nip" the problem in the bud at this stage by training youngsters what is and is not acceptable behavior. Even if the behavior has been permitted to flourish into adult maturity, it is still possible to take corrective measures. Many people don't realize that attention in any shape or form, positive or negative, may serve as a reward and can reinforce an unwanted behavior. If a dog takes hold of your arm and you start to yell and wave your arms around or push the dog away, you may be perceived as a big squeaky toy that can be animated for amusement when the going gets get slow. If your dog meaningfully grabs your arm with his mouth when you grab him by the collar, and you retreat, the dog's bad behavior is rewarded, ensuring that the behavior will be repeated in the future. The only way to avoid scenarios like this is to set certain limits and to become your dog's unequivocal leader.