7 Common Dog Behavior Issues and Solutions
Depending on how your pup is trained, their genetics, or even their environment, it is not unusual for dogs to develop behavioral issues. Dog behavioral issues are common and may range from inconvenient to dangerous. If your fur buddy has developed an unwanted habit, there are simple solutions that can help you resolve the bad habit.
Here are the most common dog behavior issues and how to solve them.
All dogs bark and some breeds like Huskies tend to be more vocal than others. However, excessive barking can become a nuisance for you and other people. In most cases, dogs vocalize to alert you, get your attention, or due to anxiety. However, in some cases, your pup may develop a habit of barking when they are bored or simply want attention.
How to fix
The first step to curbing excessive barking is understanding why your dog is barking. Do they bark when left alone, when around other dogs, or when you are not paying attention to them? Once you understand why you can then use the appropriate method to solve the problem
- If your dog is simply barking for attention, ignore them until they are quiet. Do not engage the dog while it is barking as this will only reinforce the behavior
- Teach your dog the quiet command and reward them when they successfully obey the command
- If your dog barks when overexcited or around other dogs, remove them from the situation until they quiet down.
Hyperactivity and Unruliness
While most dogs love to run around and play, some dogs become hyperactive and unruly making them hard to manage. If your dog tends to be hyperactive, it is mostly because they are looking for mental and physical stimulation. Dogs may also become unruly when they are not properly trained.
How to fix
- Depending on their breed, age and size, dogs have different exercise requirements. Always ensure that your dog gets the appropriate amount of daily exercise.
- Including too much sugar in your dog’s diet especially from sugary human snacks can cause hyperactivity. Avoid sharing table scraps with your pup and ensure their diet contains healthy nutrient-rich foods.
- Get doggie toys. Boredom and lack of mental stimulation can lead to unruly behavior so toys and playtime are a good distraction.
- Obedience training. Training your dog to obey commands like sit and stop will help to curb unruly behavior. Patience and consistency in training are the best way to get your pup to respond to commands. You can also engage a professional trainer to help with obedience training.
Aggressive behavior can be particularly problematic since it may lead to dangerous situations for your dog and others. If you find that your dog has started displaying signs of aggression such as growling and baring teeth it is important to address this issue quickly. Most issues with aggression stem from poor socialization and lack of proper training.
How to fix
- Consult your vet to rule out any medical issues. In some cases, sick dogs may become more aggressive.
- Engage a professional trainer to help deal with aggressive behavior.
- Always ensure that your dog is on a leash while outdoors to ensure it does not harm other pets or people. Never leave an aggressive dog alone with children or strangers.
Your pup may develop a habit of jumping on people as a way of greeting them. Jumping up may seem harmless but it can be dangerous especially when your dog does it to strangers or children. In most cases, jumping up is attention-seeking behavior. This means how you are responding to it may be reinforcing the behavior.
How to fix
- Avoid petting, cuddling, or talking to your dog when they jump up on you. If you acknowledge them then this reinforces the behavior as an effective way to get your attention.
- Every time your dog jumps up, simply ignore them and turn away until they are calm and their feet are back on the ground.
- Reward and praise your dog once they stop jumping. If they jump up again, ignore them and turn away. If you repeat this consistently every time they jump on you, the dog will soon learn that they only get your attention when they are calm and on the ground.
A dog that poops or pees in the house can be a handful. If you find that your dog keeps eliminating in the house or has accidents constantly, it is important to first understand why this could be happening. Inappropriate elimination can be due to lack of proper house training, not allowing your dog out to eliminate, or in some cases health issues.
How to fix
- Check with your vet to rule out medical conditions. This is important since some medical conditions can make your dog incontinent.
- Make sure that you are letting your dog outside to eliminate at least 3 to 5 times a day. Dogs that are locked up for hours on end may have no choice but to eliminate inside the house.
- Retrain your dog on house training basics. This means taking them out to the appropriate place to eliminate and teaching them where to pee or poop. Be consistent and take them out to the same spot until they learn that is where they should go to eliminate.
- It is important to note that inappropriate elimination is normal in puppies under 12 weeks but with proper house training, they will soon lose this habit. Older dogs are also more prone to having accidents so they may need to be retrained.
Biting is a dangerous behavioral issue that can make it difficult to live happily with your pup. While most dogs will bite when they feel threatened or anxious, your dog may get into the habit of nipping and biting when they want attention. It is important to fix this issue as soon as it starts before it becomes dangerous for you and others.
How to fix
- Puppies are more prone to biting since they use it as a way of exploring. It is therefore important to train your dog as early as possible to ensure that the dog knows it is inappropriate behavior.
- Ensure that your dog is properly socialized and exposed to different settings. Dogs that are not socialized early may become anxious around people, pets, or new surroundings resulting in biting behavior.
- Engage a professional to help train your pup to stop biting. Ignoring biting behavior will only teach the dog that it is okay to bite.
- Never leave a dog that is prone to nipping along with children, other pets, or strangers.
Chewing is a common behavioral issue in dogs. Most dogs will chew on things like furniture, shoes, and other items around the house out of boredom, anxiety, or excess pent-up energy. However, puppies mostly start chewing on items when they are teething. Chewing is destructive behavior and can quickly become a nuisance if not stopped in time.
How to fix
- Make sure that your dog is getting sufficient exercise and playtime. Bored pups will look for ways to expend their energy and this may lead to chewing behavior.
- Get your dog enough toys to play with. Chew toys are especially important for teething puppies.
- When you catch your dog chewing on things they shouldn’t distract them with a sharp noise or firmly issue the stop or no command. Then once they stop you can give them an appropriate chew toy.