Most Common Dog Behavior Problems

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 01:44:24 PM America/Los_Angeles

The soft ears, happy face attached to a madly wagging tail when she sees you, the paws gently touching you when you feel ill, the happy yap when you come in the door, and the cuddle buddy when you're watching TV sometimes develops behavioral problems common to all dogs.

Some behaviors are due to the history of the animal such as digging holes and barking. Other dog behavioral problems, such as separation anxiety, stem from their attachment to their pet parents. Other behaviors are simply the way of the beast like chewing your bedroom slippers or the sofa cushions.

Understanding the basis of the behavior will tell pet parents how to deal with the behavior. For example, should the dog go through a spell of urination in the house, even if she's housebroken and just been out, this could be a sign of anxiety. All the pee pads at Petco won't solve the basis of the problem. Your vet will recommend pet psychiatry first, and medication only as a final resort. Let's examine some behavior problems common to all dogs as well as the psychology behind them and their solutions.

bad dog- By Javier Broschvia shutterstock

Javier Brosch via shutterstock


A Word About Teaching Your Dog

Pet parents should remember that, just like infants, dogs can't speak. They can't tell us they're barking out of fear, making “mistakes” on the floor because no one was home to let them out, or that their tummy hurts. When they are smacked on the nose for some indiscretion, they don't understand why. They become afraid or wary of their pet parents. Patience and understanding is the key to recognizing and treating common dog behavioral problems. That said, let's learn about barking.



Remember it hasn't been that long, say 100 years, that some animals were domesticated. Dogs, cats, birds, and even wild animals like foxes and skunks are now counted among “house pets”. That hasn't been long enough to get out of their systems the ingrained behaviors of animals in the wild.

Instinct still makes dogs bark, whine and howl. They do this to signal someone coming (they always seem to know the UPS guy is coming), a threat of some sort (if the postman is a threat), excitement, and carrying on a conversation with the dog across the street. At times, the excitement makes them piddle on the floor. At those times, a dog potty solution would be best. There are solutions that are much easier to train your dog with than potty pads. Dogs & puppies want to go to the bathroom on real grass.  Therefore, fake grass or wee wee pads aren'y going to do the trick. The best way to get your dog to stop peeing in the house is with a real grass dog patio potty like DoggieLawn.

First, the pet parents need to determine the cause of the barking. A little barking is okay, but when it becomes all day, then something must be done. Neighbors tend to get upset about it, especially if they work the graveyard shift.

Solution: If boredom or anxiety is the cause of the barking, then the pet would benefit from her attention being switched to something else. Take her for a long walk, play with her in the park, dance with her, work out with her, and give her toys which won't bore her too soon. These take her mind off her problem and engages it in long-term thinking.



Another thing animals have done since the dawn of time or the advent of your new autumn sofa pillows is chew. Chewing keeps the jaws strong, the teeth razor sharp, and answers something deep inside the animal. Puppies, just like human infants, chew in order to help with the pain of teething. They both also satisfy their curiosity by putting everything in their mouths to check them out. Anxiety will also cause your dog to chew.

Solution: Put up any personal items you don't want her to chew. Put sofa pillows into a cupboard until you get home after work. Stock in plenty of chew toys, including toys into which you can stuff a treat like chicken or peanut butter. Hide little piles, no more than a tablespoonful, of kibble around the house. Your dog will love games like this.


Separation Anxiety

Many dogs become agitated when their pet parents leave them alone. Generally, their behavior encompasses rubbing against the pet parents, shadowing their movements, and possible crying or barking.

Sometimes, dogs deposit a “mistake” on the floor in an effort to make their pet parents stay with them so they won't have to do that. They want their pet parents to stay with them, to take them out when the need arises, and to play with them. Sometimes a DoggieLawn can help with this. It will remind your dog that they are independent and can potty themselves. 

Solution: When a person or situation makes your dog uncomfortable, she must be distracted or desensitized to the trigger making her uncomfortable such as a thunderstorm, truck or train horns, or her pet parents leaving for work. A step-by-step or systematic program is necessary to get to recognize her triggers and automatically take the steps necessary to avert the discomfort of the situation or person.

This would begin just before the discomfort begins of her pet parents leaving the house. Her favorite toys and snacks would be given her just as the situation is happening. The idea is to change the emotions behind her discomfort, thereby changing the triggered behavior. Engage her in cognitive endeavors like puzzle toys, give her her favorite snacks and toys as you leave. Soon her emotions will change. Then the behavior problem should disappear.



Hardly anyone can resist that pitiful, sad brown eyed look when food is present but she isn't getting any. Dogs whose owners give in and feed them table scraps suffer from obesity, diabetes and stomach disorders.

Solution: Send her to her bed or into another room. When the meal is over, offer her a treat for being so good, but not every day. Once or twice a week should suffice.