If you have noticed a change in your dog’s behaviour and you’re not sure why first and foremost you should take them to get checked out by your vet so you can rule out any injuries or illness, this is particularly important if the abnormal behaviour has become apparent suddenly.
If you have visited a vet and they have confirmed that your dog is fit and well, there could be a number of explanations for dog behaviour change. These factors include:
• A change in circumstances
If you move to a new house or take your dog somewhere new this can cause a change in their behaviour and sometimes create a lapse in house training among other issues because your dog is confused. This is often something that will improve over time as your dog gets used to their environment just as us humans would.
• A shift in daily routine
Just like humans, dogs require a certain sense of security. A shift in your daily routine, even if it’s something that may seem small to you like taking them out later than normal for a walk, it can really throw your pup off leading to anxiety that will fuel a change in behaviour.
• Lack of exercise
Puppies and dogs have a lot of energy, because of this, they crave physical exercise to be happy. If your beloved dog is going through a period where they are getting less exercise then usual or you simply walk them around your block on their lead, this might not be enough for them. You don’t necessarily have to take them on long walks or out for vigorous exercise, simply playing some fetch or allowing them more time to run around outside can do the trick.
• Lack of mental stimulation
Similarly, to exercise, mental stimulation is also important for our canine companions, yet it’s somewhat overlooked. If you’re unsure how exactly to stimulate your dog, some simple training games or hiding their food inside the house and around the garden can be a super enriching activity to keep your dogs’ mind sharp and keep them nice and busy.
• A change in diet
Switching your dogs’ food can most definitely cause them to act up, particularly if they don’t like it. Diet can have a huge impact on dog behaviour changes. So, if you notice your dog is acting differently after you’ve made a change to their diet, this may be because the food doesn’t agree with them. You should always try to feed your dog a high-quality diet and if you do need to make a change to it, do it gradually over the course of a week.
• Poor socialisation
It is important that dogs are around other dogs, just like humans, they need to socialise. This is particularly important for puppies aged between 3 to 16 weeks as it’s a crucial stage when it comes to getting used to their own kind. If your dog doesn’t get enough socialisation this may lead to them becoming shy, aggressive and fearful as an adult dog. Be sure to try out puppy classes and dog walking meets to introduce your canine to more companions.
There are a number of reasons for a change in dog behaviour, if you struggle to identify the trigger as mentioned above, it’s very important to get your dog to the vets to rule out any serious issues before you attempt to flag the reason for the behaviour change and take steps to manage it.