It isn’t always easy to work out the cause of a dog’s behavioral problems. It also takes a lot of hard work to resolve them. Because many dogs are euthanized due to such problems every year, it makes sense to try and prevent them in the first place.

There are four main reasons that behavioral problems develop in dogs.

1. Breed characteristics. Some breeds need a lot of handling and socialization as puppies to prevent them becoming nervous and anxious adults. Some breeds are more likely than others to become problem barkers through boredom. This is often the case with intelligent working breeds that don’t get the physical and mental stimulation they need. Choose the right breed of dog for your lifestyle and you are less likely to have these problems.

2. Genetics. Aggression is thought to have a hereditary component in some breeds, and even just in some families in those breeds. This can make it very difficult to manage these individuals, because they are basically “genetically programmed” to be aggressive.

3. Socialization. It is vitally important that you socialize your puppy during the critical period between 8 and 14 weeks of age. They need to be allowed to meet lots of different people and experience lots of different places, and these encounters must be relaxed and positive. Puppy pre-school is a great opportunity to let your pup interact with other dogs under supervision, so they learn to interpret doggie body language. If a pup isn’t properly socialized as a youngster, they can become fearful in new situations or when meeting strangers.

4. Training. Your dog should continue learning how to behave for the rest of their life. By doing this, you are making sure that any bad habits don’t become ingrained, and that your dog knows their place in your family pack structure.

In Summary – It’s not easy to properly raise a dog, but if you get it wrong, you could be dealing with a behavioral problem such as aggression that is even harder to manage. Put the effort into bringing up your pup with the right socialization and training, and you will be much less likely to have to worry about such issues.