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The Maryland SPCA Adoption Center will be CLOSED today, Monday, August 19, 2019.

The shelter will reopen tomorrow, Tuesday, August 20 for regular business hours.

If, after reading through the common behavior problems and situations below, you have additional questions about your pet’s behavior, please call to speak to an MD SPCA behavior expert at 410-235-8826, ext. 151 or email [email protected]. Our behavior experts are available to pet owners to help work with them on animal behavior problems. Correcting behavior issues improves the relationship between owners and animals to ensure the animal stays in that loving home.

Behavior Library

Barking

Dogs bark for a variety of reasons:

  • Watchdog Barking serves the dual purpose of alerting pack members that there is an intruder and warning the intruder that they have been noticed.
  • Demand Barking is the dog’s way of communicating to the owner that he would like something NOW. Typical requests are “open the door NOW,” “pay attention to me NOW,” “let me out of here NOW,” “I wanna see that dog NOW” etc.
  • Spooky Barking occurs when the dog is uncomfortable about something in the environment and barks to say “I’m dangerous! Don’t come any closer!”
  • Boredom Barking can result when the dog’s daily needs for exercise and social stimulation are not met. The dog has gone mad from boredom.

Fido’s New Home

Life changes are hard for all of us: moving to new cities, gaining new employment, adding new family members, attending new schools, etc. Dogs, too, experience stress when they are subjected to change. Keep this in mind when you are considering adding a new dog to your family or fostering a dog for a shelter or rescue group. Your new furry friend needs all the help he can get to gradually acclimate to his new home.

Top Ten Dog Behavior Myths

#1: Dogs are naturally pack animals with a clear social order.

This one falls apart immediately upon scrutiny, because all the evidence suggests that free-ranging dogs (pariahs, feral and semi-feral populations) don’t form packs. Dogs actually form loose, amorphous, transitory associations with other dogs.

Confinement and Crate Training

Owners are often unsure whether they need to crate train their puppies or newly-adopted dogs or whether to simply confine them in a dog-proofed area during the early weeks or months following adoption. Crate training helps with the following:

  • Housetraining: prompts the dog to hold bladder and bowels when unsupervised
  • Chew-training: prevents the dog from chewing furniture, walls and anything else except the chew toys he is crated with so good habits automatically form
  • Settling down: patterns dog to be inactive when alone
  • Preparation for possible close confinement: dogs that are used to crates are less likely to be stressed when caged during a hospital stay or travel

Housetraining

Dogs are naturally clean animals: given a choice, they will urinate and defecate away from their sleeping and eating areas. However, it is not obvious to dogs that carpets and floors are inappropriate elimination sites. They must by systematically taught to discriminate indoors vs. outdoors and to exclusively use the latter. The key to housetraining is getting a history of rewarded trials in the desired area.

Caring for Convalescing Dogs

After certain medical procedures, your vet will recommend your dog stays on crate rest and/or reduced exercise to allow them to heal. In many cases, your dog will feel (and act) ready to get back in the swing of things well before it is safe to do so. The following tips will help keep your dog’s brain busy—and therefore tire them out—until they are vet-approved for regular exercise. Don’t forget that convalescing dogs might need much more sleep than before—even 16 or 18 hours.

Household Destruction

Shredded couches, frayed rugs, and scarred coffee tables.  They’re in the nightmares of every cat owner, but they don’t have to be.  Don’t get me wrong – your cat needs to scratch things.  It’s a stress relief for them, and the stretching action can even prevent arthritis as they age; however there are ways to allow – even encourage – the benefits of scratching without sacrificing your home...