Have you ever wondered why your dog acts a certain way or has particular behaviors? The reasons why they do what they do are often simple if you look at it from the dog’s perspective. So, if you have ever asked: “why does my dog do that” then read on!
Answer #1: Breed Origin
The dog as we know it today is derived from basically one original wild source, but it has been mutated over thousands of years to create the genetic diversity we now see. Man has created umpteen different breeds all for different purposes like hunting, vermin control, protection, and herding.
Many of the issues people see in their own individual dogs is directly related to the breed of dog and what it was originally bred for. If your dog has certain tendencies, it is likely a very instinctual desire and knowing that makes training easier.
Here are some examples:
Terriers love to dig! Many terriers are go-to-ground dogs, which means they were bred to independently go into burrows and underground holes to either assist a hunter or control vermin. These guys will burrow to China, if bored.
This is an issue that happens with active livestock herding breeds like Corgis, Shelties, and Aussies. These guys are bred to move livestock, and nipping (along with circling and barking) is a classic device used to control difficult livestock. This can be very frustrating if the dog lives with small children that run and scream a lot.
This happens in a lot of breeds where barking was bred into them for alerting purposes, so it can be seen from tiny terriers to large guarding breeds.
Suspicious and aloof with strangers:
Typically occurs in either herding breeds, which have to be suspicious of intruders to protect a flock, and guarding breeds, where suspicion is primary in the job description. Early and on-going socialization is a must!
Mouthing and chewing:
Mouthing and chewing happen with breeds of dogs that are orally fixated, usually a lot of the retriever and bird dog breeds.
Smelling the ground:
Any tracking breed like a beagle or bloodhound simply cannot resist smelling on a walk!
These are just a few examples, but knowing your dog’s origins can help to explain a lot of what you might be having a hard time dealing with.
Answer #2: Boredom and Lack of Exercise
The goal every day should be to have a tired and happy dog. If your dog is not physically and mentally stimulated every day, he will exercise himself in other manners like chewing the house apart, incessant barking, or digging.
Challenge your dog with a variety of forms of exercise like his own sand digging pits, child’s swimming pool with diving toys, vigorous walks, or more advanced training options like agility, lure coursing, obedience, herding, or tracking.
Provide mental games too with busy toys that release food, like the Buster Cube or games of hide n’ seek.
Answer #3: Lack of Consistency
Many troubles people have come down to the simple lack of consistency in the dog training process. Dogs cannot decipher when something is okay and when it is not if you are not consistent.
For example: Loose Leash Walking
If one family member allows the dog to sniff and pull wherever it wants on a walk, it makes it substantially more difficult for anyone else in the family. Everyone should have the same system of walking and the same rules so that the dog clearly understands what is expected of it by everybody.
Only when you are 100% consistent with rules (no jumping on anyone, ever) can a dog fully understand what to do. If you break the rules, even just once, your dog will not forget that time, and you will continue to have problems.