Many times, a dog who is usually obedient and friendly suddenly exhibits eccentric behavior for no apparent reason. Dogs also suffer from certain psychological disorders which force them to behave in a strange manner. This behavior can be corrected with the help of training, medications, etc. However, the treatment can be effective only if the cause behind the behavior problem is known. Given below are some of the causes responsible for unusual behavior in dogs.
Some dog breeds are genetically programmed to behave oddly. Such dogs have a tendency to become aggressive or dominant for unknown reasons. Hence, while buying puppies of lesser known breeds, make sure you acquaint yourselves well with the traits of the concerned breed. If your otherwise quiet and friendly pet suddenly exhibits violent or dominant behavior, then it may be due to some other reason.
Dogs suffer from various anxieties, separation anxiety being the most common type. It may force the dog to behave nervously and resort to ways of self-mutilation. An anxious dog may attack others or may even harm himself/herself.
Behavior in dogs is controlled by neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. Higher levels of serotonin are required for stability. Whenever there is an imbalance in the constitution of any of these chemicals, it may lead to odd behavioral problems. Medications can effectively restore this balance.
Some dog breeds are naturally hard workers. So, if you do not exert them enough, they are more inclined to spending their energy somewhere else. Barking unnecessarily, snapping in mid air, or picking fights with other dogs are some of the signs of strange behavior resulting from boredom. This problem can be solved if you make sure your dog is getting enough exercise.
Treating Strange Behavior
Much like humans, strange behavior in dogs can be cured with counseling. However, this is a long and exasperating process. Since it takes 6 to 8 months for humans to experience the positive effects of counseling, you can expect a much longer time with dogs. However, before the vet settles for any treatment option, your dog is likely to undergo several blood and urine tests to check if there is any underlying physical condition that is preventing him/her from behaving normally. If everything appears normal in the physical examinations, the vet may check for hormone levels and the levels of neurotransmitters. Medications can be prescribed accordingly.
The training process for correcting your dog's strange or dangerous behavior requires a lot of patience on your part. You incessantly need to repeat the training techniques to enforce good behavior. A professional trainer can be of great help, since they are better acquainted with a dog's psyche and the corrective measures to be taken. Moreover, your dog is more likely to obey the orders of a stranger. Do not resort to corporal punishments if your dog refuses to obey you. That will have an opposite effect on his/her psychology.
Also, do not forget to reward your dog whenever he/she shows good behavior. This will help him/her understand what kind of behavior is appreciated by you. Also make sure you are exerting your dog enough so that he/she has little energy left to indulge in anything else. Try to understand your dog's psychology and do not take him/her for a muted human being. Dogs do not understand what is right and wrong according to human perspective. Hence, it is unlikely that he/she will follow the human norms of behavior. Allow your dog to follow his/her natural instincts, just make sure that he/she does not pose any threat to himself/herself or the people around.
Sometimes, this odd behavior disappears as suddenly as it appears. Hence, do not hit the panic button immediately after your dog exhibits abnormal behavior. Be patient and raise an alarm only if he/she displays persistent strange behavior.