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Common Dog Behavior Disorders: Why It Happens and How to Stop It



Eating Poop

First time a dog sees a poop eating behavior is near their mothers. Up to 30 days after birth, mother dogs instinctively eat their puppies'; poops both to protect her puppies from enemies and to clean the environment. For this reason, although it is disgusting for humans, it is not unusual for dogs to eat poop. So, do dogs eat it just because of this instinct? Answer is no. The main reasons can be listed as below:

- During the transition from mother's milk to solid foods, puppies may regurgitate some of the nutrients they eat with poop because of the digestive system's inability to work properly. This may lead them to eat poop.

- If puppies kept in very narrow spaces after birth and have to defecate in the environment where they eat, they may eat their poop for cleaning the environment or mistaking the poop as food.

- Puppies who throw some of their food without digesting due to malnutrition may tend to eat poop.

- In cases like metabolic diseases, pancreatic enzyme deficiency or parasites, a tendency to eat poop may be seen due to the foods that are thrown out without being digested.

- Even if they do not eat, some dogs may display attention-seeking behavior by passing the poop around in the mouth.

- Some dogs may show more interest in cat poops since cats are more carnivorous creatures. In other words, cat poop are much richer in protein.


Compulsive Tail Chasing

It is one of the behavioral problems mostly seen in working line dogs with a high hunting drive. Since this behaviour is not easily eliminated, it is important to understand the reason behind this behavior, how it occurs and becomes a stereotypical behavior disorder. When the behaviors that trigger this movement are examined, it should first be investigated whether there is a pathological cause. In such cases, it should be questioned whether the dog starts this movement due to a pain in the hip area. At this point, the hip and tail area should be examined in consultation with the veterinarian.

If there is no pathological cause, what could be the reason?

- This behavior can occur if working line dogs are uninterested, stressed, or too lonely. After a while, the situation can become completely uncontrolled. Especially the dog owners who find the tail-chasing movement funny and react with a laugh may trigger this behavior for dog to seek attention. If this movement continues, the dog owners will probably attempt to correct this movement with "no" command, a treat or a toy which will cause this movement to be reinforced by the dogs. We should not forget that although the yes or no response we give to a dog's action is different for humans, it is the same for dogs. So since a dog receives a reaction, it reinforces that movement and begins to do it more. This movement can be compared to the situation of a person who has a habit of nail biting without being aware of it.


What can be done to fix this behavior:

- First of all, the dog's brain chemistry needs to be regulated. In other words, it is necessary to make interventions for the secretion of some anti-stress hormones. (be sure to consult your veterinarian)

- The dog needs to be put into a serious regular exercise program. By ensuring the secretion of anti-stress hormones with physical and mental exercises, the dog should be prevented from being alone, especially when he/she is in high energy.

- When this behavior is seen, it should not be reinforced with any positive or negative reaction.

- In particular, interactive games, fetch or tug games should be designed to satisfy the hunting impulse of such dogs. This process must still be under veterinary supervision.


Digging

In fact, digging is one of the survival behaviors for dogs. Let's examine the reasons for this behavior, which can become challenging for dog owners, especially with city life.

- The main trigger is stress and boredom. This behavior can be seen in dogs that are uninterested, unplayed, and unexercised.

- It can be seen in dogs living in the garden because these dogs create a den simulation for cooling in summer and try to reach the cool area. Such situations can be understood when the dog lying on the ground it digs.

- This movement can be seen due to an escape effort. Especially dogs living in fenced gardens may show digging behavior to escape or access an outside stimulus (another dog etc.).

- Puppies can display this behavior for fun.

- Dogs can bury valuable objects like toys or bones in the ground to store and retrieve them later. Similarly, they can hide it between the seat cushions in home environment. Giving too many bone-like foods to dogs living in the garden can also cause dogs to dig up the bones that are given after they are full and hide them for later eating.

- Again, dogs digging up seats and pillows in the home environment caused by stress and distress, and as a result, getting attention from their owner can reinforce this movement. Although this event starts to become annoying for its owner, showing a reaction only serves to reinforce this action.

- The digging movement can be seen with an effort to reach the roots of plants or to reach creatures such as worms and mice that move underground.

- This movement can be seen for the purpose of preparing a bed for oneself. The digging movement can be seen to make room for itself in the home seats. Although there is no difference in reality, the dog thinks that it has made room for itself.

- Dogs that will give birth can be seen digging certain points in order to make room for themselves when the birth approaches.


The most basic solution is to exercise the dog well and prevent it from getting stressed. Dogs living in the garden should not be given more than enough bones and similar food.


Scooting

Normally, scooting is a way of trying to alleviate something wrong in hip area for dogs. That might be an irritation, itch, a pain, or other problem that have varying levels of danger. Generally, there are organs called anal sac, which is located on both sides of the anus of animals, that secrete pheromones, especially in cases like when dogs meet other dogs.

- Normally, your dog's bowel movement triggers their anal sacs to empty. But if they are not working properly, the fluid can build up. This anus infection usually occurs when there is severe constipation, prolonged severe diarrhea, and tenesmus that is the outward movement of anus. When the infaction happens, dogs begin licking or rubbing their anus to prevent inflammation.

- In addition, due to parasitic infection, dogs may feel sudden itching in the anus area and may rub to relieve it.

- Another reason is that the dog rubs against the floor for cleaning the anus, as there is poop at the tip.


The most basic thing that can be done to prevent the anal sacs from filling up is to avoid foods and diets that will make the dog constipated or diarrhea, and sudden food changes. If a parasitic problem is experienced, the veterinarian should be consulted. If the anal sacs are filled, the veterinarian will also intervene to empty the sacs. At this point, the important thing is to solve the stuffing of the anal sac before it becomes chronic, and to eliminate what caused this phenomenon.

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