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Why Do Dogs Misbehave

dog behaviour... perhaps we should ask, do dogs misbehave?

Certainly, dogs are dogs, and unless given appropriate guidance, puppies will, without doubt, grow up to behave like dogs. Most behavior problems that irritate owners are, in fact, perfectly normal, natural and necessary canine behaviors.

From a dog’s point of view, it is every bit as normal to bark, chew, dig and urine-mark as it is to wag a tail or bury a bone. Just as it is a physiological necessity for dogs to urinate and defecate, it is a psychological necessity for dogs occasionally to bark, howl, chew, sniff, dig, run, jump, chase and play.

Obviously, dogs have an inherent need, desire, drive, and motivation to act like dogs.

Since people have invited dogs into their human homes, and since people, and not dogs, consider some dog behaviors to be inappropriate and unacceptable, then people should do their best to understand and respect dogs as dogs. Understanding their point of view, yet teaching them how to express their natural dogginess in a manner that does not frustrate or offend their human housemates.

It is unrealistic to expect all dogs to grow up automatically to behave like Lassie. Lassie was in fact both fictional, and several highly trained performing dogs.

If owners have rules and regulations regarding how they would like their dog to behave, they should not keep these rules a secret from the dog. Otherwise, the poor dog will predictably break rules that he didn't even know existed and no doubt, be punished for his inevitable transgressions.

Owners must teach dogs how to express their basic doggy nature in a manner that is both acceptable and appropriate within the domestic setting. Otherwise, the dog will be left to improvise in his endless quest for some kind of occupational therapy to pass the time of day and most likely, the owners will take considerable exception to the dog's selection of activities and entertainment.

Specifically, owners should teach their dogs what to chew, where to eliminate, where to dig, when and for how long to bark, how to enjoy spending time at home alone, when to pull on leash, and especially how to greet, socialize and play with other dogs and people.

Adapted from, and all credit to, Dr Ian Dunbar, and James & Kenneth Publishers