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10 Common Dog Behavior Problems

Caring for a dog is an experience unlike any other. Watching your pet grow from a wide-eyed puppy into a loving and confident adult dog is rewarding beyond words.

Of course, things are unlikely to turn out that easy. The journey from puppy to adulthood is one fraught with pitfalls and it’s easy to let a problem behavior fester until it becomes a bad habit.

We’re here to provide some tips that can help keep your pets in line. Use them to properly train your canine companion and turn them into the dog you’ve always dreamed of having.

1. The Problem: A Biting Behavior

Biting - Dog behavior problemBiting is a reflex behavior for many dogs. It’s something they do not just when they’re in the middle of a fight.

Sometimes, dogs will bite you when they feel afraid. They may lunge at you in an attempt to keep you away.

A dog may also bite because it is in pain. If your dog has an injured leg, it may try to bite you if you bring your hand near.

The Solution

To discourage your puppy from biting, you should show them that you don’t like it. Training for this will involve playtime. The moment your puppy bites you hard, let out a loud noise and step away from them.

Make it clear to your pet that you didn’t like what happened and wait for them to settle down. Resume playtime and see if your pet bites you with force again. Continue reacting negatively to your pet’s forceful bites until they get the message.

2. The Problem: Displays of Aggression

Aggression - Dog behavior problemDogs display aggression in many ways. They may express it through growling, flashing their teeth, lunging, changing their posture, barking, and biting. Those are just the most common forms of canine aggression and there are others you may see in your particular pet.

Any dog that displays aggressive behavior should not be taken lightly. There is a chance that they will attack and someone could end up badly hurt as a result.

The Solution

Unlike many of the behavior problems included in this article, your dog’s aggression is not something you should attempt to curb on your own. You want to enlist the help of a behaviorist or a trainer so they can determine the triggers of your dog’s aggression. Once they identify the underlying cause of your dog’s aggression, they can address it more effectively.

In the meantime, make sure that your dog is always accompanied by someone whenever they’re outside. You should also consider outfitting them with a muzzle to prevent any attacks.

3. The Problem: Chasing Anything That Moves

Chasing - Dog behavior problemDogs like to chase things. It’s something hardwired into their DNA. According to the American Kennel Club, certain breeds including Afghan Hounds and Whippets are especially likely to have the habit of chasing anything in sight.

Chasing is not a form of behavior you can just permit. After all, your neighbors likely won’t appreciate being run down by your pet whenever they’re walking by. Kids in particular may be terrified by the sight of an unknown dog chasing after them.

The Solution

Proper training is critical to curbing your dog’s chasing habits. Teach them to approach you immediately after you issue a specific command. Use the leash often so you can stop your pet from chasing any random thing nearby.

It’s also a good idea to engage your pet in games that involve running around. Help them satisfy their desire to chase after things during playtime. Soon enough, chasing will be something they can resist.

4. The Problem: Excessive Chewing

chewing-dog behavior problemAfter leaving some of your stuff on the floor for a few hours, you may come back to see them covered in bite marks. Your pet already got to them and now they’re ruined.

Pieces of furniture are also not safe from dogs that like to chew. Your expensive wooden table may quickly depreciate after your dog has its way with it.

The Solution

Excessive chewing tends to be a more prevalent problem in puppies compared to adult dogs. That’s mainly because excessive chewing may be caused by teething and curiosity.

To stop your pet from chewing everything on or near the floor, try giving them some toys. Literally give them something else to chew on so they don’t damage something valuable.

You should also take your dog on long walks to expend their energy. By the time two of you return home, your pet will have no energy to chew on anything.

5. The Problem: Loud and Disruptive Barking

BarkingBarking is not necessarily a bad thing especially since dogs typically use it to signal the presence of a stranger. However, some dogs just bark way too much.

They’ll catch a glimpse of someone’s shadow somewhat near the door and start barking loudly. Some dogs will also bark throughout your interaction with someone they don’t know.

Things can get to a point where your pet’s barking becomes disruptive. Even your neighbors may start to complain about it.

The Solution

You can stop your pet from barking all the time by teaching them appropriate commands. Teach them a “stay quiet” command and employ it whenever they start barking. Eventually, your dog will understand that you want them to refrain from barking so they will tone it down.

Playing with your dog also helps with barking. Let them expend all their energy during their play sessions so they will be content to stay quiet and rest later.

6. The Problem: Constantly Begging for Food

Begging - Dog behavior problemThe love affair dogs have with food is intense. They are especially fond of whatever it is you’re eating even if they’ve never had it before.

Not long after spotting you with a plate of food, your dog may approach you and start begging. Every time you look at them, they just stare back with those big ol’ eyes and it becomes impossible to resist.

Still, you shouldn’t give in. You’re not doing your dog a favor by giving them extra treats. If anything, you could be jeopardizing their health.

The Solution

The best way to stop your pet’s begging habit is to prevent it from developing in the first place. From the time your pet is a puppy, refuse to give them any food from your plate so they never learn that begging can lead to treats.

If your dog already knows how to beg, you should start having meals together. Eat at the same time to encourage them to focus on their food instead of yours.

7. The Problem: Jumping Up on Everyone

Jumping Up - Dog behavior problemWhen dogs beg for food, it is often accompanied by some form of jumping. They may start hopping on your leg to let you know they want a treat.

Outside of mealtime, dogs may also jump up on people because they’re excited to see them. Your dog may do exactly that whenever you get home after work.

It’s important to note that not everyone likes having a dog jump on them. You’ll have to control that behavior if you’re planning to bring guests around.

The Solution

You can stop your dog from jumping by ignoring them. This is the best way for you to get the message across that you don’t like their jumping habit.

Make sure everyone in your family does the same thing when your dog or puppy starts jumping. Once your dog sees that jumping is not the way to get attention, they will learn to stop doing it.

8. The Problem: Messy Digging

Dog behavior problem-DiggingDigging in your backyard may not be your pet’s first instinct, but they may eventually try that under the right conditions. You don’t want that to happen because it’s hard to dissuade your dog from digging once they realize how much fun it is for them.

Pretty soon, your yard may turn into a patchy mess because your dog has dug holes everywhere.

The Solution

Since digging occurs when the conditions are right, your aim should be to never expose your pet to those perfect conditions. Never leave them alone in your yard for an extended period of time and don’t leave half-dug holes open because you didn’t finish your gardening.

You can also discourage your dog from digging by giving them toys. The tried and true solution of walking to expend their energy also works here.

9. The Problem: Inappropriate Elimination inside Your Home

Inappropriate Elimination-Dog behavior problemAll pet owners understand that finding urine or poop inside the house occasionally is inevitable. The key word there is occasionally. If your pet has a habit of urinating or pooping inside your home, that’s a different matter that must be addressed through training.

Failing to address your pet’s bad bathroom habits can ruin your home. Staying in a confined space with all that waste is also not good for anyone’s health.

The Solution

Diligent training is the only way to fix your pet’s inappropriate potty habits.

While they’re young, develop a routine of walking them so they can handle their business away from your home. Be consistent with your walk times so your pet can understand when they can go.

Early on, you may also need to utilize a crate to train your pet. Keep up that training until your dog understands that pooping and urinating inside your home is a big no-no.

10. The Problem: Separation Anxiety Behavior

Separation Anxiety-Dog behavior problemTo this day, we don’t know why dogs experience separation anxiety. However, we have learned to recognize its symptoms better.

Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety will poop and urinate inside your home even if they’ve been potty trained. They may also display some of the undesirable habits we’ve discussed here such as excessive chewing and loud barking despite the efforts you’ve made to eliminate them.

An anxious pet may attempt to escape from their place of confinement. That can be dangerous because they could get injured while trying to get out.

The Solution

Separation anxiety is something you can address by communicating with your dog. Have a short talk with them whenever you leave to reassure them that you’ll be back. Try to do the same thing when you get home.

If developing a routine around your departure and arrival doesn’t work, you should go to the veterinarian. Your veterinarian can prescribe medication that will help keep your pet calm.

After some time, your dog or puppy will get used to you leaving and returning and their separation anxiety will be easier to manage at the very least.

Any behavioral problem your dog presents has a potential solution. Hopefully, the information we’ve provided here will help you better deal with whichever issues your pet is currently presenting.


Do you need help with the common dog behavior problems mentioned in this article? We are here to help! Take part in our free Ask A Trainer zoom call or learn more about hiring a dog trainer on on our dog training service page.



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