Compulsive Dog Behaviors

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Image Credit: Claudia Bensimoun

Going to the dog park can be stressful if your dog is not well-behaved. Since dogs thrive on play with other dogs and need to exercise,they also need companionship and meaningful social exchange with dogs, other animals and people.

Problem #1

Dog Park Aggression

Dogs that have been raised in social isolation have a hard time engaging in necessary social play.Dogs need company from the beginning, and need plenty of socialization and exposure to other dogs, people, children and animals from day one.Dogs that are hand raised by humans, and have had very little contact with other dogs, never learn how to signal defeat or how to understand another dog’s signals of surrender.

Problems Faced:

Separation Anxiety



Destructive Behaviors

Sleeping The Hours Away

All these behaviors could be a sign that your dog does not have an outlet for his predatory instincts. He may be bored, lonely and mentally unstimulated.

Solution:Keep your dogs well exercised. Start off by taking them to the dog park during puppyhood.Provide for all your dogs’ social and mental needs.Environmental enrichment provides your dog with a meaningful and exciting life.Try out agility,Frisbee,obedience, tracking, hiking or Schutzhund training. Today doga and pilates are also popular with pet parents.

Problem #2

Fear of the Unknown

Fear is a common problem that underlies various behavior issues in dogs.Some dogs panic when alone, and may be aggressive with strangers and new dogs.Training sometimes is not enough in certain situations because these fears are sometimes irrational.

Does Your Dog Do The Following?

Barks excessively when the doorbell rings

Barks at strangers he meets

Suffer from thunderstorm phobia

Become anxious , fearful or aggressive when he sees other dogs

Barks at people wearing hats, pushing strollers or carrying strange objects

Solution: Understand the genetic factors that may influence abnormal fearfulness.Some breeds like the Shepherd or Pointer have a genetic tendency to be fearful.If you raise these breeds in the right environment without exposing them to any scary situations, there will be no cause for them to be fearful later on in life.Get puppies to play together with other pups and dogs.Do not expose your pups to any oppressive situations.A genetic predisposition to fear makes even training hard for some dogs.

The first 12 weeks of your pup’s experiences have to be good ones, since any damage done during this period is hard to reverse.Expose your pup to real life events, new people and other dogs, new sounds and new experiences, so that he will be comfortable around strangers.Socialization from a young age is key to everything.Expose, expose and expose your pup to new and safe experiences. Praise him often and reward with healthy treats when he does something you like.

Problem # 3

Compulsive Behaviors

Ever watch a big cat pacing in his cage at the zoo?Dogs, when psychologically deprived of mental stimulation or physically deprived of exercise will develop some unusual behaviors.These are known as stereotypes and include self-licking,tail chasing,licking paws repeatedly,pacing and circling obsessively.

Does Your Dog Do The Following?


Chase his tail

Self-lick obsessively

Circle repeatedly

Does he have any compulsive behavioral tendencies?


Like any compulsive behavior, the longer it has been in existence, the harder it will be to break.Any environmental changes that are not to the dog’s advantage may trigger the behavior.Repetitive behaviors in dogs are triggered by acute stress and anxiety.Dogs that are chained up, or have spent too many hours alone and bored, combined with any adverse environmental changes or experiences that may contribute to a dog’s genetic predisposition, will start off with a compulsive tendency.Both nature and nurture contribute to a compulsive tendency.


Understand your breed and breed tendencies.Become an informed owner and make all the necessary environmental adjustments to benefit your dog.Do everything in your power to give your dog the right amount of exercise, mental stimulation, positive training and socialization to prevent this from occurring in the first place.

Behavioral problems still do occur even when everything is being done correctly.In this case consult with your veterinarian in case this is a medical problem.

Thanks for visiting!

Woofs & Wags!


Copyright © 2014 Claudia Bensimoun

  2 comments for “Compulsive Dog Behaviors

  1. January 2, 2014 at 12:32 am

    thanks for sharing these ideas.

  2. January 7, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Great advice. We always bomb proof our puppies right from the start and it seems to leave them ready for new experiences. Happy New Year to you too!

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