… PULL ON THE LEAD?
Usually this is because dogs are excited at the prospect of an adventure, and just can't wait to get going. If a dog sees something interesting up ahead he wants to investigate immediately. Sociable, extrovert dogs pull to close the gap between themselves and interesting looking sights, smells and sounds, such as other dogs, people, or that great-smelling lamp post. Nervous dogs often pull on the lead to gain as much space as possible between themselves and the cause of their anxiety. Pulling on the lead can quickly become a habit, but positive methods soon teach a dog that it's more pleasant and comfortable to walk close to you.
… BARK AT THE MAILMAN/WOMAN?
Dogs communicate mostly through body language, but a lot of communication takes place through vocalizing. Barking, whining, yipping and growling are just a few of the sounds they make. Dogs will bark in order to alert people to the presence of an intruder. When your mail arrives, the mailman/woman puts it through the mailbox or hands it to you, then goes away. Your dog takes the view that it's his barking that has driven off the intruder, so this sets up a pattern.
… CHASE RABBITS AND SQUIRRELS?
Dogs are natural predators, hard-wired to chase and kill in order to ensure their survival. We have bred out some of this instinct (and bred an even more highly developed chase instinct into working breeds such as Sighthounds and Terriers), but vestiges of it remain in even the most laid-back dogs. Dogs love to chase, whether this is a game or a real hunt, and small, fast-moving furry animals provide a powerful stimulus that dogs often find too tempting to resist.
… JUMP UP?
This stems from survival behaviour in early puppyhood. Pups jump up at the mother as part of a greeting ritual. They also jump up to lick the mother's face in order to stimulate her to regurgitate food for them. Unless they are taught to keep all four paws on the ground, dogs will naturally jump up in order to give you the exuberant greeting they think you want and deserve. As they get older, jumping becomes a problem to their owners. Ruined clothes and the embarrassment of visitors being knocked off their feet when they arrive are usually the main causes of complaints about jumping.
… CHEW YOUR BELONGINGS OR FURNITURE?
Chewing is normal in puppies, while they strengthen their jaws and soothe the discomfort of teething. In adult dogs there are several reasons for chewing. One is inadequate exercise or mental stimulation - a bored dog has to find something to keep himself occupied! A diet with inadequate fibre can make a dog chew, in an attempt to gain fibre from non-food substances. Dogs left for too long on their own may chew because your belongings carry your scent. Primarily, dogs chew because they find it soothes anxiety. Chewing releases a rush of endorphins (pleasure chemicals) in the brain and brings a sense of relief and comfort to a stressed dog.
… GROWL WHEN YOU TAKE SOMETHING OFF HIM/HER?
In the wild, dogs are opportunist eaters. They take whatever comes their way,because there may not be another meal for some time. If one dog tries to steal from another, survival could be at stake. This instinct to hold on to prized resources is natural, but some dogs will go too far to 'guard' food, toys, or anything else that he views as a trophy. A growl is a warning sign that tells you, 'Back off, this is mine,' and in a dog's mind possession is 100% of the law. If you chastise your dog for growling, he may repress his warning signal and take the next step of biting. Positive methods can soon end resource guarding without any risk of conflict.
… TOILET INDOORS?
There are a number of reasons why this happens. Lack of toilet-training, or inconsistent toilet-training; feeling he has to hide away to toilet because he has been chastised after an 'accident'; stress and anxiety; fear; inadequate access to outdoor space; and marking - literally making his 'mark' around the home as a way of signaling that this is his territory.
… SNEAK ONTO YOUR BED?
Your bed smells more strongly of you than any other item of furniture. Dogs will go on the bed in order to feel close to you and, although some owners enjoy sharing their bed with their dog, in some cases this can lead to conflict if the dog decides the bed is his domain.
… ACT POSSESSIVE OVER YOU?
If your dog drives off other people or animals who come too close to you, the role of your protector that he has taken on has gone beyond acceptable behaviour. Essentially, a possessive or over-protective dog views himself as having to take responsibility for protecting his owner. Teaching your dog that you are his guardian and champion relieves him of that stressful feeling of responsibility.
… REFUSE TO COME WHEN YOU CALL?
Dogs have a far more sophisticated sense of sight, smell and hearing than humans. This makes the world an incredibly exciting and stimulating place. So much to explore, and so many distractions! You have to make your company more interesting and exciting than everything else that pulls on his attention.
… ACT AGGRESSIVE TOWARDS OTHER DOGS?
Your dog may not have been socialised when young, or missed out on learning appropriate dog manners for a variety of reasons. Or he may have been attacked by another dog in the past, so fear could prompt him to instigate attacks on other dogs. Or he may view other dogs as encroaching on his territory.
… HOWL WHEN LEFT ALONE?
Dogs are social creatures, but can learn to cope when left. If a dog is left alone without coping strategies, he may howl or bark in order to call for his owner, or may chew or destroy doorways in order to try to escape to be with you.