If you’re a dog owner, most likely you’ve encountered some of the common dog behavior problems every pet parent like me deals with every day. Nobody’s perfect, including your dogs, so you need not give up easily if your precious pooch is displaying bad behavior.
There are several factors why dogs behave badly. Probably, your furry friend is bored or does not get enough exercise he needs. Some dog behavior problems are normal dog behaviors which became a problem upon domestication such as digging and barking. In some cases, dog behavior problems are inherited from your pet’s parents. But whatever your dog’s problem is, you just have to patiently teach him how to do away with the bad behavior he’s displaying.
17 Common Dog Behavior Problems and Solutions
While some pet parents resort to punishment, this will less likely resolve any issues you have with your dog. What your precious pooches need are love and understanding. If you understand why a dog behaves badly, you’ll be able to offer the best solution for his behavior problems. Read on and get to know some of the common dog behavior problems you’ll possibly encounter.
Digging is one of the natural dog behaviors and dogs love doing it. In order for him to stop digging, you need to train him. Catch your dog when he’s about to dig then say “no.” You can distract him by giving him his favorite toy or you can allot a digging place for him in your yard where he can be allowed to dig. If he digs in his spot, praise or reward him by giving him treats. If he digs in an unacceptable spot, you need to direct and supervise him to his digging place.
2. Destructive Chewing
Dogs chew for a number of reasons. For puppies, chewing relieves pain caused by the painful process called teething. For adult dogs, chewing keeps their jaws strong. Chewing is also a way for dogs to battle boredom. But, if your dogs are chewing your valuables, then there goes the problem. You can correct destructive chewing by using the replacement theory. Simply replace the things your dog chew on with a dog toy he loves.
Aggression is one of the most common dog behavior problems and also the top reason why pet parents ask assistance from professionals. Some signs of aggression include baring of teeth when reaching for your dog’s collar, standing over to guard his favorite toys, or greeting violently other dogs when walking. If your dog manifests any of these signs, you need to do something about it immediately or it could possibly lead to a bite incident in the future.
You can set limits to what your dog can do and reward him only if he shows positive behavior. Do not respond emotionally to his aggressiveness and evaluate his diet. These are the steps you can take immediately in your home. But if the aggression escalates with these measures, it’s best to seek help from professional dog trainers and behaviorists to manage your dog’s aggression.
4. Play Biting and Nipping
Puppies are in nature playful and curious, spending their time chewing and biting objects with their teeth. This behavior should be stopped as early as possible so they won’t think biting is okay and will stop the habit before they mature. Teach your puppy to be gentle and instead of giving your hand to bite on, give him toys.
Begging is one of the dog behavior problems usually caused by pet parents’ negligence. Your dog will not develop this habit if you don’t allow him to. To prevent this from happening, confine your dog in his crate when you’re about to eat and let him out once you’re done eating. If your dog already developed this bad behavior, you have to be stiff and consistent. Even if your precious pooch is barking and whining, confine him in his crate and let him out only if he shushes.
6. Excessive Barking
Aside from body language, barking is another way of communication of our furry friends. Your dog may bark when there’s an intruder if he senses danger to alert you or to tell you that he needs to unload and do his business. But, if your dog is barking excessively to the point of annoyance and disturbing the whole neighborhood, you need to step up and do something. Of course, you cannot eliminate the barking as it is normal for dogs to bark.
Your goal would be to reduce the excessive barking. You can teach him to bark on request by training him. When your dog is calm and quiet, teach him how to shush while when he starts to bark excessively, teach him to “speak.” You have to keep in mind that training dogs would be a lot easier if you associate things he could easily remember. Never encourage him to bark even more by barking back — meaning yelling at your dog.
7. Jumping on People
Normally, jumping on people happens when your dog is too excited to greet and welcome guests. While your precious pooch means no harm, it can scare your guests, especially those who are not fond of dogs. In order to prevent this, you must not give attention to your dog until his front paws are on the ground. You can also train him to sit and stay calm. Do not encourage jumping by keeping your greetings subtle. This will minimize excitement and will help keep your dog from jumping.
8. Not Coming When Called
It can be very frustrating when your dog doesn’t come when called but with a lot of patience and training, you can be able to rectify this one of the most common dog behavior problems. When your dog comes to you even when not called, always praise him. In this manner, your dog will think it is good to come to you.
When your dog doesn’t come when called, never chase him. Instead, you can call him again as you move away. If you move away from your dog, it might get him coming after you. You might want to use the commands “come” or “here” as your dog possibly do not understand you want him to come if you simply call him by his name.
9. Separation Anxiety
Some dogs cannot handle being left alone and can sometimes go gaga and be destructive. In order to rectify this dog behavior, let your precious pooch know you will still come back when you leave. Start by leaving him alone for about 10 minutes then come back to him. Until your dog gets used to it, you can leave him by himself for a longer period each time. To keep your dog from getting bored, give him something to play with or you can leave the radio or TV on.
You should always be calm when you leave and return so your dog will think it is alright to be alone. One great way to do away with separation anxiety is to crate train your dog.
10. Getting on Furniture
When your dog has boring toys, sees something he desires on furniture such as food and a not so comfortable space, he might adopt the habit of getting on your furniture. To keep your furry friend from getting on your furniture, avoid putting objects that may attract his attention or give him toys he actually likes to stimulate his brain. Also, provide your dog a comfy space where he can relax. If your dog still exhibits this bad behavior, give him a time-out in his crate or in an isolated room.
11. Leash Pulling
When you bring your dog for a walk, he can get all excited being outdoors. With so many things to see, sounds to hear and scents to smell, your dog will probably want to explore everything around him. On that note, he might develop the bad behavior of leash pulling.
To keep your dog from pulling his leash, train him to walk in a calm manner. If he starts pulling, never follow him or he’ll think it’s okay to pull the leash. Instead, you should stop so he’ll stop as well. If he comes back, you can reward him by giving him treats then you can proceed walking.
Stealing is one of the common dog behavior problems easily solved. Your dog may develop this bad behavior only when he has access to things he is attracted to steal such as food or clothing. The first thing to do is to be vigilant and observe what your dog normally steals. Common spots to be on the lookout for are garbage cans, laundry bins or furniture within his reach.
Keep the inappropriate objects he’s attracted to from being accessible and distract him by giving him lots of dog toys he can play with. When he steals something, don’t go after him as he may think you’re playing and it’s okay to steal things. Let him come to you and command your dog to “leave it” while removing the object from his mouth. You must be very careful as your dog might become aggressive. If he does become aggressive, leave him for a moment and confine him in his crate when you’re already able to. You may want to seek help from a professional if aggression is involved.
13. Submissive Urination
Submissive urination happens when a dog is intimidated such as when being scolded or when he’s overly excited perhaps during playing or greeting people. A dog does this behavior problem to show submissiveness and he’s not in any way a threat. While it’s common to puppies, some adult dogs display such bad behavior as well.
You have to make sure with your vet this is not a health issue. If the health issue is eliminated, you can do away with this behavior problem by confining your dog in an area where it is easy to clean. When greeting your dog after being away, do it in a subtle way where you don’t pose any emotions. Dogs can pick up your emotions which lead to their anxiousness.
Whining is another way dogs communicate their present state. Dogs do this to seek attention from their pet parents. Sometimes, when they’re too excited or anxious, dogs whine as well. To keep your dog from whining, you need to teach him it’s best to catch your attention when he’s quiet. Do not encourage this behavior problem by giving into his whining. Instead, turn your back when your dog starts to whine and look away. When your dog shushes, that’s the time you should pet and play with him.
15. Resource Guarding
While it’s normal for dogs to guard their possessions, it can be a bit alarming when your precious pooch growls and gets aggressive on you. To prevent this behavior problem, let your dog feel it is safe when humans are near his food bowl or any valuables he has. You can train him to “trade” on request whatever it is he’s guarding in exchange of his favorite treat.
16. Car Sickness
Just like us humans, dogs can also feel sick when traveling through cars (or even with boats or planes). You can prevent this dog behavior problem by making your dog’s car ride as comfortable as possible. You may have to lower your car windows to let air from outside come through and balance the air pressure. This can help ease the discomfort your dog experiences.
17. Stool Eating
Stool eating is one of the most common dog behavior problems every pet parent encounters. While this is truly a gross thing dogs do, there are a number of reasons why they eat their poop. Either your precious pooch gets bored or your dog has health issues, sometimes when they’re anxious or been alone for a long period of time, they tend to develop this habit.
For me, the best way to do away with this behavior problem is to immediately clean your dog’s poop after he’s done doing his business. If there’s nothing for him to eat, you won’t be grossed out by this behavior problem. You can also break the habit by spraying taste deterrent products to your dog’s poop to make it less desirable for your dog to eat it.
Don’t know what type of collar to use in training your dogs? Watch this video by SecretZakVids:
Dealing with dog behavior problems can sometimes be tiresome but never lose hope on your precious pooch. You must remember just like humans, dogs need love and understanding too. Solutions to these dog behavior problems may vary from dog to dog but one thing’s for sure, all you need to do is equip yourself with lots of patience, be consistent, and try to understand why your dog acts the way they do. If you’re not successful rectifying behavior problems on your own, seek help from a professional.
Have you encountered any of these dog behavior problems with your pet? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. For interesting facts and information about dogs, click here.
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Feature image via IAMS