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.
Find Advice on Common Behavior Problems and Challenging Situations
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.
Dogs bond strongly to humans. They can learn to be alone for moderate periods but it doesn’t come naturally. It’s not surprising, then, that about one in five dogs show symptoms of separation anxiety when alone: uncontrollable urinating or defecating; destruction of furniture, walls, windows or flooring; self-injury while attempting to escape kennels; vomiting and drooling; or long periods of barking and crying.
Puppies come with a set of pre-installed behaviors: urinating and defecating when they feel the urge, chewing anything that fits in their mouths, whining and crying if they find themselves alone, eating any food they encounter (not to mention many NON-food items!), greeting by excitedly jumping up, and play-biting all living things. These are all normal behaviors for any puppy or untrained adult dog. Notice that there is little on this list that humans approve of.
Almost all puppies play bite. They do it to other puppies, to adult dogs who'll let them and to their owners. It's important to distinguish this constant biting from bona fide aggression, where a dog threatens or bites when guarding his food, when uncomfortable about someone touching him or when uncomfortable about strangers coming too close. Aggression is less common in young puppies than in adult dogs but is not unheard of. If you think your puppy is showing signs of aggression, get yourself into competent professional hands. Many kinds of aggression can be resolved.
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.
When choke or prong collars stop a dog from pulling on a leash, they do so because they hurt. The dog learns that it hurts to pull and so he stops. The reason you sometimes see dogs gasping away on one is that sometimes the collar doesn’t hurt enough to dissuade a particular dog from pulling. This is a matter of individual pain thresholds and the technique used. For instance, sometimes owners start out with a regular collar and, when that doesn’t work, try a choker and then, when that stops working, go to a prong collar. Ironically, although they are trying to be kind by gradually escalating the painfulness of the device they are using, they might be desensitizing their dog to the pain and so end up using alarming levels of force to get the job done.
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
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.
Indoor cats have a lifespan that is 4 - 6 times greater than a cat who goes outdoor (studies show indoor cats can live twenty years or longer, while outdoor cats rarely live past five years.) In addition, they aren’t exposed to disease, won’t fall victim to predatory animals (or humans), can’t get stuck in traps, be hit by cars, get lost, be stolen, or suffer frostbite or heat stroke...
When we think about bringing a new dog into our home, we think of a lot of things – snuggles and belly rubs, long adventuresome hikes, silly tricks that amaze our friends… Somehow in that idyllic daydream, we always seem to forget about bathroom habits. Face it, almost any new dog that comes into your home will have to be re-trained to eliminate in the appropriate way, as she learns to adjust to your family’s schedule, and learns to tell you how she needs to go outside...
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