A Little Activity and Little Love Can Help Your Dog's Behavior

By Ron Ayalon

She was perfect! As soon as you saw her, it was love at first site - for both of you. As if the sea parted so you could meet your new BFF, there she was. Healthy coat of thick black fur. One green eye and one blue one, and the weirdest bark you've ever heard! It didn't matter, because Negrita, as she came to be known, was your buddy!

After bringing her home, you two spend lots of time running and playing and you're inseparable. Everything is going great and the only issue you have is that you wish you could bring her to work with you; you love spending that much time with her. Hey, your coworkers get to bring their kids. Seems Negrita feels exactly the same way, because seemingly out of the blue to you, you start noticing behaviors that you have no clue where they came from. You wonder who came in and took your Negrita and left you this dog with unexplained behaviors.

Separation Anxiety

One of the most puzzling behaviors for dog owners occurs when their faithful dog begins to get destructive when left alone. This is usually caused by separation anxiety. Negrita gets nervous when you leave her home alone. She misses you and wants you to come home and give her some attention. Because of her nervousness, she may dig at the floor, destroy the blinds, urinate or defecate in the house, bark and howl, or escape her confinement area.

Spending some extra time with Negrita and giving her some comforting items when you leave can help to minimize the chance of separation anxiety. In some cases, separation anxiety is caused by a lack of exercise, so you should try taking Negrita out for some extra walks in the morning and in the evening.

Compulsive Behaviors

If you happen to notice Negrita pacing the floor, spinning around, barking repetitively without cause or licking surfaces on a regular basis, she may be suffering from compulsive behaviors. The same is true if she bites, licks or scratches herself so often that she develops sores. While you should take Negrita to the veterinarian to rule out possible health problems, the actual problem may be that Negrita is begging for your attention and some time outside playing.

Activity Suggestions to Keep Your Dog Happy

Walking Negrita every day is one of the best ways to let her get some light exercise. As a bonus, you get to get fit, too. Even if you aren't into walking, you can still help Negrita to get her exercise. Playing fetch is a favorite game for almost every dog. Give Negrita some variety by letting her chase discs or tennis balls. While it may be tempting to throw sticks to Negrita, be careful doing that as she may chew on the stick. When Negrita chews on a stick, the stick begins to sliver. Small slivers of wood can get stuck in her throat or digestive tract, and they can also cause small cuts or irritation in those areas.

If Negrita likes water, you can take her swimming. When you choose a place to let her swim, choose one that has water deep enough for her to paddle but shallow enough that you can get to her if she gets tired while swimming and needs help getting back to the shore.

Showing Your Dog Some Love

Many dogs are content when their owners pet them. Some dogs, however, require more than just a little petting to stay happy. If Negrita is a loving dog and needs special care, there are some ways you accommodate that. One of the easiest ways is to just let Negrita snuggle up with you. If you don't want Negrita on your furniture, don't ever get into the habit of letting her up there to snuggle. You will soon find that she jumps up on the sofa whenever she needs some attention.

Another easy way to show Negrita some love is to play with her. Try to avoid playing tug with her, as this can lead to a power struggle. You may think it is cute when she growls a little and jerks on the rope; however, this behavior can easily lead to aggression and may make Negrita think that she is challenging your Alpha Dog status. Instead, roll a ball and let her chase it or find a dog wind-up toy for her chase.

Just like a child, a dog needs a lot of love and activity. If Negrita is being destructive or starts to do strange things, she may need a little correction mixed with a lot of love and quality time with you, as well as a lot of exercise.

Ron Ayalon
Article by Ron Ayalon
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