The Top 10 Common Dog Behavior Issues

A 2019 questionnaire found that, out of a set of 2,480 dog owners, 85% reported behavioral problems in their pets.

This study wasn't the only one to report such a large number. Multiple studies have recorded similar results. A Japanese study of 2,050 dogs, for example, found that 86% of them exhibited behavioral problems.

dog behavior issues

It is clear that most dogs experience behavioral problems. Therefore, it is important for dog owners to know about common dog behavior issues and how to deal with them. Read on to learn just that.

1. Aggression

Even if an aggressive dog doesn't cause injury, its behaviors can make people and/or other animals uncomfortable. This can lead to people wanting to avoid the dog and, thus, the owner.

Owners might also feel that they're not getting what they want out of the pet/owner relationship. The best version of this is full of love and mutual respect.

When that doesn't happen, an owner may not see the point in keeping their dog. So they end up taking or returning their dog to the shelter.

How To Fix Aggression

The first step in fixing canine aggression is to observe the dog's behaviors. Owners should note what causes their aggressive behavior. Common examples of triggers include pain, the drive to hunt, possessiveness, and fear of harm to self or family.

Once the owner learns the triggers, he or she can begin reducing the dog's exposure to them. They can then train the dog to stop exhibiting these behaviors with positive reinforcement and careful exposure.

However, dealing with these behaviors alone can be very dangerous. Thus, owners should strongly consider working with a pet trainer or veterinarian to help fix the behavior.

2. Barking

Barking in dogs can be both good and bad. The behavior can help to alert owners to dangerous strangers or situations. However, many dogs bark too often and this can become a nuisance.

Excessive dog barking can annoy both the owners and their neighbors. This can cause stress in both parties and lead to tension and violence. Therefore, it's best for owners to address and reduce the problem when they can.

How to Control Excessive Dog Barking

As with aggression, the best first step is for the owner to learn why their dog is barking. Common reasons that dogs bark include greeting the owner, seeking attention, and indicating a perceived danger.

Once the owner identifies these, he or she can begin taking the steps to reduce the dog's barking. He or she can block a dog from seeing things that cause them to perceive danger. If this won't work, he or she can train the dog to stop barking on command.

3. Chewing

Unfortunately, chewing is a very natural behavior in dogs. It helps a dog explore its world, strengthen its jaw, and reduce stress. In puppies, chewing can help reduce the pain of their teeth growing in.

However, it can frustrate owners when they find their favorite items destroyed by their dog's teeth. Their dogs can also become injured by pieces of objects getting caught in their throat. As both consequences of excessive chewing can come at great expense, owners will probably want to reduce the behavior as soon as possible.

How To Control Chewing Behavior

Owners cannot stop their dog's chewing entirely. It's best for them to redirect their pet's chewing behavior to other objects.

They should put objects they don't want to get harmed out of their dog's reach. Then, they can provide plenty of toys, bones, and other items. Puppies who are teething may also appreciate a cold cloth to reduce their pain.

When a dog is chewing on something inappropriate, the owner can replace it with an appropriate item. They can then praise or reward their dog for choosing the new item instead.

4. Begging

It can be difficult for owners to enjoy a meal while their dog is pawing, nuzzling, or whining for a share of their food. This might also cause the guests of owners to become uncomfortable while they eat.

On top of this, eating too much human food can be bad for dogs. Therefore, if they successfully manipulate certain family members a lot, they can quickly become unhealthy.

It's best for owners to deal with this problem before the consequences occur.

How To Control Begging

Not feeding a dog human food is the best way to prevent begging in the first place. If a dog begs from the moment it comes home (such as when a previous owner fed it), the best option is to ignore the action. An owner should also tell the family to not give in to the dog's demands.

If this doesn't reduce the behavior, the owner can put the dog somewhere else while the family eats. These places can include a crate or other room.

5. Digging

Digging does more than just make a back or front yard look untidy. It can also cause damage to grass, flowers, or other plants. The holes can also become tripping hazards for the human occupants.

Unfortunately, digging is a very natural behavior in dogs. This can make it difficult to dissuade a dog from stopping the behavior. However, this isn't an entirely impossible endeavor.

How to Control Digging

If an owner can, they should provide their dog with a place where they can dig. This can be a sandbox or a certain section of the yard. The owner can then reward the dog when it digs in that spot.

Another idea is to find the cause of the dog's digging and then fulfill the dog's needs. Common causes of dog digging behaviors include boredom, nerves, and needing to cool down.

6. Mouthing

Mouthing is when a dog wraps its mouth around an object without biting down. This object can often be an owner's or another person's hand.

Usually, a dog mouths as a way to play. However, they might still press down too hard or tear the skin. In addition, some owners simply might not appreciate this behavior.

How to Control Biting

In a younger dog, an owner can let out a yelp when the dog mouths too hard. This will teach him or her how gentle they need to be.

Another option is to stop playing with the dog once they mouth. This will teach them that mouthing is not a playful behavior.

7. Inappropriate Pet Relief

A dog relieving themselves in the house causes many problems. An owner will not appreciate the smell and having to clean up the mess. The dog's wastes can also ruin carpet, flooring, and plenty of other items.

This behavior can also make it difficult to include the dog on many family trips. Going to a groomer or the vet can also be difficult. Having your dog relieve themselves in a hotel room, a vet's office, or a friend's home can cause much expense and embarrassment.

How to Control Inappropriate Pet Relief

Inappropriate relief is not only the result of poor training. Many medical conditions can also cause it. An owner should check with their vet first to eliminate these causes.

Once owners do this, they can go back to basic potty training techniques. Before they deal with this, they can have their dog wear special diapers.

8. Jumping Up

A dog that jumps up on a person is actually attempting friendliness. Dogs greet each other by sniffing faces. By getting up close to a human's face, a dog is trying to replicate this behavior.

An owner may not care if their dog jumps on them. However, many people don't appreciate a dog throwing his or her weight against them. With bigger dogs, this may even result in injury.

In addition, a dog with mud or dirt on its paws can also stain clothes. Therefore, it's usually best to curb this behavior.

How to Control Jumping Up

An owner should teach a dog to not associate jumping up with friendly behavior. When their dog jumps up to greet them, an owner should not react. This can take the form of standing still and wearing a neutral expression.

The dog will eventually return to the floor. The owner can then greet and interact with him or her with friendliness.

9. Leash Pulling

A dog getting excited and tugging too hard on the leash rarely ends well. An owner might lose control of their dog. If they don't, they can get injured by tripping or straining their arm.

In addition, a dog can injure themselves with the collar as they pull. Stopping this behavior in dogs will prevent this from occurring.

How to Control Leash Pulling

Special harnesses and leashes can prevent a dog from pulling. An owner can buy one to curb this behavior.

After this is accomplished, an owner can begin positively reinforcing a dog's behavior. During a walk, owners can praise their dog and give him or her treats when she or he walks beside them.

10. Separation Anxiety

A dog who becomes fearful when its owner leaves will probably exhibit a lot of behavioral issues. Many of these will include the behaviors mentioned above.

There's no clear reason why dogs experience this. The theory is that a dog who has lost owners before may believe they could become separated again.

Luckily, it's not too difficult to deal with the problem.

How to Control Separation Anxiety

Psychologists can eliminate fears in a person by teaching them to associate the object of their fear with something good. An owner can perform a similar trick with their dog. For example, an owner that's ready to leave can give their dog a special treat.

Another idea is to leave a dog at a daycare service. That way they can have lots of fun activities to distract them from their fear.

Dog Behavior Issues Aren't Difficult To Control

Owners can control common dog behavior issues easily. All that it takes is the right strategy and information.

Also, if any of these dog owners need dog boarding services, they should contact us. We offer a great place for dogs to play and interact while addressing common dog issues. Reach out to us today!