Health is the next step in our foundation because it must be one of the first things to troubleshoot as a possible cause for a behavior problem or at least a factor. Also, if the dog is not in good health it will make it difficult for the dog to perform the physical demands of formal obedience training. Let’s take a look at some examples:
- There are countless conditions which can cause pain in the dog – ear infections, teeth problems, soar joints, etc. These must always be ruled out before dealing with a dog that is aggressive to the touch, non-compliant, or suffering from an anxiety disorder.
- Many conditions which aren’t necessarily painful, like mild skin conditions, can be enough to cause bossy behavior to solicit attention such as petting to help soothe the discomfort. When petting isn’t available for the uncomfortable dog there can be increased anxiety.
- A dog on a poor diet or with parasites is more prone to eating disorders and related behaviors such as eating feces, dirt, raiding the garbage/countertops, and begging.
- Poor diets can also be a factor in housebreaking issues by making the dog more thirsty or creating larger stools that are more difficult to withhold.
- Poor diet has also been lined to impulse control and aggressive behavior.
- When a dog is urinating in the home – we must look at urinary infections, kidney disease, incontinence, etc.
- Also, don’t forget to rule out hearing and vision problems when dealing with a dog that seems to overreact to close stimulus or having difficulties with following commands or body signals.
If you do not suspect an underlying health problem with any of your dog’s behavioral issues at the very least I always recommend paying attention to these often overlooked factors that can help get the most from your dog: