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Updated: Mar 22, 2022

Dog behavior is often misunderstood by dog owners.

A dog always adopts a behavior following a specific event that marked him.

If it is natural for him, sometimes his behaviors become embarrassing for his human family. Understanding the most common behavioral problems in dogs is the first step to solving and preventing them.

Here are the 10 most common behavior problems in dogs.

Among the 10 most common behavior problems in dogs is excessive barking. Most dogs vocalize in one way or another. They can bark, howl, whine and more. Excessive barking is considered a behavior problem. Vocalizing is one of the many ways dogs communicate.

Before you can correct excessive barking, determine why your dog has started vocalizing. Here are the most common reasons for a dog to vocalize:

  1. Out of fear or anxiety

  2. By excitement

  3. Out of frustration, to demand attention

  4. out of boredom

  5. To alert

  6. In response to other dogs

Some of these folks will tend to vocalize more than others. You can teach your dog to "silence" by rewarding times when he doesn't vocalize. But, first and foremost, you need to find the underlying causes of the barking. If your dog is anxious, you should probably bring him to safety. If it is out of frustration, he must be taught to manage his outbursts of emotions. If it is out of boredom, there is no doubt that you have to meet your needs.

2/ Chewing and destruction

Biting, chewing, destroying toys, pieces of wood or any other object with his jaw is a natural behavior for dogs. It is even an important activity for the balance of the dog. However, excessive chewing can quickly become a behavioral problem if your dog constantly destroys. The most common reasons dogs destroy are:

  1. Boredom or overflow of energy

  2. Anxiety

  3. For puppies: the teeth that are put in place

  4. Taste out of curiosity (especially in puppies)

You should then encourage your dog to destroy acceptable things by providing plenty of appropriate chew toys. Keep personal items away from your dog. When you're away from home, don't leave what's important to you lying around.

One of the most important things you can do is get your dog to exercise so he can deplete his energy and be stimulated that way rather than relying on chewing.

3/ Make holes and dig in the garden

Given the chance, most dogs will dig holes. It is a question of needs and instinct. Certain dog breeds, such as terriers, are more prone to digging due to their hunting history. In general, most dogs dig for:

To get themselves out of boredom

Too full of energy

To hide objects or food

Because of hunting instinct

To hide or cool down

To escape and gain access to an area

It can get quite frustrating if your dog likes to dig in your yard. Try to determine the cause of the search, then try to eliminate that source.

You can install a bin where your dog will be allowed to dig. In addition, do not hesitate to encourage him to dig during walks so that he discharges his energy outside your garden. Finally, do not garden with him. This will prevent him from enjoying it if it bothers you.

4/ Separation anxiety

Many dogs do not learn to be alone. This is why, when the dog finds himself alone, he becomes anxious and may even panic. A dog with separation anxiety may:

  1. Bark excessively

  2. Destroy objects carrying the scent of the owner in the house

  3. Defecate all over the house and trample them

  4. The dog wants to follow his owner everywhere to reassure himself

Dogs suffering from separation anxiety behave like this as soon as the owner leaves. The dog is really having a hard time at this moment. Above all, it should not be grounded when you get home. Otherwise, you are punishing "your return" and not what seems to you to be misbehavior.

5/ Dirtiness

Uncleanliness in dogs often pushes owners to the edge. However, you have to be kind. Indeed, dogs generally do not have access to the toilet when they want throughout the day. However, defecating is totally natural and everyone should be able to relieve themselves whenever they need to.

If your dog is unclean overnight, it's very important to get a veterinary checkup to rule out health issues. If no medical cause is found, try to determine the reason for the behavior, which may be one of the following:

  1. Wee of emotion (the dog is too happy to see you again or on the contrary it causes him stress)

  2. Olfactory message, marking often linked to frustration

  3. Anxiety

  4. Bad conditioning (breeders often teach the puppy to go on concrete, so he does not understand that it is necessary to go in the grass)

  5. No learning

  6. Sphincter still in formation (for puppies)

  7. Physical inability to hold back (puppy up to about 6 months old, illness, old age, poor diet, etc.)

In any case, we do not punish the dog for its “mistakes”. We're going to teach him what to do. So it's best to stay alert. It should be taken out after eating, drinking, playing, after waking up or getting excited.

Congratulate him when he is in the right place and take him out regularly. You can during your absences, restrict its space a little or close the doors of the rooms to avoid accidents anywhere in the house.

6/ Frustration

Poor management of frustration in dogs often leads to behaviors that are not acceptable to humans. However, we must not forget that this management of emotion is difficult and above all requires learning. If your dog manages his frustration poorly, he may:

  1. Barking at you

  2. Take bites in order to unload emotionally

  3. Make urine markings

  4. Get excited easily

  5. Not listening to your directions

  6. To help you understand and manage this frustration read our article: Frustration in dogs.

7/ Predation in dogs

The dog being a carnivore, will naturally adopt behaviors related to hunting. This hunt can be done on animals, small dogs, but also on moving objects (ball, car, motorcycle) or on humans (bicycle, rollerblades, child, etc.).

Uncontrolled, this predation can be dangerous for the dog as for others.

Although we cannot erase an instinct, we can “file” it in order to turn it to our advantage thanks to basic education or a sporting activity. We can then:

  1. Teaching your dog to recall

  2. Always make our area more positive (the fact of staying next to us)

  3. Meet the dog's needs such as going for a walk every day (even if there is a garden) for at least half an hour when the dog is an adult and in good health. Hire a dog walker if you work or are unavailable.

  4. Do a sports activity such as treibball, cani-paddle, cani-cross, hooper, etc.

8/ Jumping and being rude to humans

Jumping is a common behavior in dogs. Puppies rise to reach and interact with their mother. They will reproduce the same thing on their human family. Dogs can also jump when excited or reach for an object in the owner's hands.

The first thing to do is ignore your dog. This means that you should not talk to him, not look at him and especially not touch him. Walk away if necessary, pretend it doesn't exist. Some dogs are pushy. You can then divert him to a toy, treats or ask him to wait in an area like his basket (if he has been taught this)

As soon as your dog relaxes and has calmed down, reward him calmly by reconnecting with him and saying hello.

9/ Aggressiveness

Dogs bite and nip for several reasons. Puppies bite and nip to explore the environment. Mother dogs teach their puppies not to bite too hard and to discipline them when necessary. This helps puppies develop biting inhibition. This learning continues after its adoption. To facilitate learning, you can participate in puppy playtime.

But, if the dog has not done his learning or has done it badly, he risks becoming aggressive with his congeners. Aggression can be linked to poor understanding of others, poor socialization, frustration, hormones or even fear.

Any dog ​​can bite if the circumstances justify it (pain, illness, irritation, fear, etc.). Biting is an integral part of dog communication. It's a way to stop what's happening. If your dog has ever bitten you, it is best to identify the cause and work with a professional.

10/ Pulling on a leash

Pulling on a leash is a problem often raised by dog ​​owners. Leash walking must be learned, otherwise the dog has no natural reason not to pull. The dog pulls on the leash because:

  1. You unwittingly taught him that pulling = moving forward

  2. Because you are using a leash that is too short (a good walk is done with a lanyard of at least 5 meters)

  3. Because you use unsuitable equipment (traction harness for example)

  4. Because your dog's needs are not met (outings every day, congener encounters, exploration, etc.)

  5. Because you simply didn't teach him to stay relaxed by your side.

  6. Because you haven't taught him to give up (therefore to take pleasure in coming back to you and giving up what interests him.

In any case, walking on a leash can be learned. It is often thought of as a simple educational basis, when it is much more complex. Indeed, if the dog is on a leash, he must walk at our pace, and he must often give up what interests him which in turns makes him not free to move, and naturally creates a reflex of opposition.

Among the 10 most common behavior problems in dogs, have you found your dog's problem? No matter what problem you are having with your dog, be kind. Dogs propose behaviors based on what they experience on a daily basis. Which means that even without wanting it, you have probably induced or reinforced this behavior. Take the time to meet your dog's needs (which are specific to him) and don't hesitate to reach out to us.

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