How to Stop 5 Dangerous Dog Behaviors

Imagine if your dog ate all the dirty socks off your floor or dashed out the front door while you were bringing in the groceries. Nerve-wracking, right? Suppose he lunged for a bicycle while you were out on a walk and the cyclist fell over. Yikes. If these scenarios sound all too familiar, then you might need our help. Your dog doesn’t mean to get into trouble and possibly risk his  — or a human’s — life, but he’s probably not aware of the consequences of his actions. For instance, if he's determined to find the source of a mouthwatering scent, he's probably going to find a way to do it — even if it means crossing a busy road. It’s up to you to help prevent your dog from getting into these dangerous situations. Thankfully, there are plenty of tactics to try and commands to teach that can help curb your pup’s hazardous habits. Learn more about them in the photo gallery below.

Curb These Risky Canine Habits

Puppy tugging on sock

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Eating Inappropriate Things

Coming home to find all your shoes or socks in shreds isn’t just annoying — it’s dangerous. If your dog accidentally ingests an inappropriate object, it can cause damage to or get caught in his gastrointestinal system and require surgery for removal. And ingestion of a toxin could have serious consequences. The best way to help stop this from happening is simple: keep dangerous items out of your dog’s reach. This may require installing baby gates or simply putting tempting items like socks away in a drawer. You should also teach him the “drop it” command, which could save his life if he puts something bad in his mouth.

Dog roaming

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Roaming and Running Away

Roaming is one of the most dangerous dog behaviors. Dogs who exhibit this habit are more likely to be hit by cars or become lost. Certain breeds, such as Huskies and Labs, are more likely to roam than others, but any dog is capable of running away — especially if he or she isn’t fixed. A dog who isn’t spayed or neutered may roam to find a mate. Fortunately, spaying or neutering your dog can help curb the urge to roam. Dogs may also roam or run away out of boredom. Add some mental and physical stimulation to your dog's life by playing games, teaching tricks and providing interactive toys. And even if your dog has never tried to sneak away, make sure he’s a pro at coming when called — it could save his life.

Dog standing at door

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Bolting Out the Door

Seeing your dog fly by you and bolt out the front door is a nerve-wracking experience. To help prevent this from happening to you, trainer Mikkel Becker has three strategies: First, attach a dragline or leash to a harness on your dog’s back when the door is likely to be opened. That way, you have more control of him if he tries to bolt. Next, teach him to wait at the door. Use this command when your dog is at the front door or at any exit points in his regular routine. Finally, teach him to go to his mat when the door opens.

Dog biting fingers

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Nipping and Biting

This behavior may not seem so threatening when your dog is a puppy, but if he continues the behavior as he gets older, it’s a whole other story. Most of the time, nipping and biting is a play behavior, but sometimes it can be aggressive — and it can be hard to tell the difference. If your pooch is still a puppy, you can reduce his mouthing by letting out a yelp and withdrawing attention when he bites. If he stops biting, give him praise. If you have an adult dog, preventing this behavior may be more difficult. Try these strategies to help reduce mouthy behavior.

Dog lunging on leash

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Chasing After Cars, Bikers and Joggers

Does your dog lunge for the delivery truck or run after joggers when they go by? This could be risky for you, your dog and the passersby. You’ll need to redirect his desire to chase. An easy way to help deter this behavior is to teach him to turn and sit: when the dog turns his body toward you and goes into a sit. Once he masters that, it’s time to move to the next step: adding a distraction like a bicycler or joggers. If your dog has a history of biting people or seems aggressive, you should talk to a veterinary behaviorist.

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